Flash (vol.2) #112 (April, 1995)
Story – Mark Waid
Guest Pencils – Anthony Castrillo
Inks – Hanibal Rodriguez
Colors – Tom McCraw
Letters – Gaspar & Kevin Cunningham
Assistant Editor – Alisande Morales
Editor – Brian Augustyn
Cover Price: $1.75
Today I’m comin’ atcha from a blind-spot in my Flash-fandom… that weird John Fox arc, which… for whatever reason, I never prioritized reading. In fact, it’s with this piece that I’m reading it for the first time!
Let’s get to it!
We open with the villain Chillblaine holding a bunch of folks (including Linda Park) hostage in the Penthouse sales floor of Schwartz Jewelers. For Chillblaine, think dollar-store Captain Cold… kinda. It’s also kinduva “revolving door” persona, basically… if you’re dating the Golden Glider, chances are… you’re going to be Chillblaine. Anyhoo, he’s filled the joint with ice… including the elevator he took to get there. The elevator cable snaps. Luckily, John Fox just happened to be watching this unfold on the news… and so, he’s there lickety-split. He’s the Flash, ya know!
So, he saves the guys in the elevator… and rescues Linda, but Chillblaine gets away. That night, we return to the West-Park home, where John is staying. Ya see, he and Wally sorta “swapped places”… Fox is from the far-flung future, and came back to the late-twentieth century due to a possible new Ice Age setting in. Linda seems polite to him, however, has the Pied Piper (who was a good guy at this point) move in as well, just to be safe. Fox drops a bit of knowledge, claiming that there would be a “microwave scare” in 2015. Welp, we must’a dodged that bullet.
From here, we get the quick n’ dirty on Mr. Fox. A monster called Mota attacked during his era… and he (Fox) bebopped through time to get help from all of the prior Flashes. This time-travel left him with super-speed (convenient, no?)… with which he defeated the baddie. He’d go on to be the Flash of his time. Piper jokes that it’s a good thing Wally isn’t here, otherwise, knowing his “legend” lives on into the future, his ego would be going out of control…
Fox wonders why Linda isn’t all that upset that her boyfriend is missing in time. She explains that that’s just “Tuesday” for her. Wally’s always running through time… and he always makes it back home.
We shift scenes to the funeral of Johnny Quick. Before moving on, I gotta say… this guest-artist… you’d almost swear it was John Byrne. Some very Byrne-y faces here. Anyhoo, Johnny was killed during a recent run-in with Savitar… and the Flash family has come to pay their respects.
His daughter, Jesse Quick and his wife, the former Liberty Belle argue a bit about how the reward of superheroing isn’t worth the risk. Fox intervenes to tell Jesse that he knows for a fact that her father will be remembered in the future. He might be just sayin’ that though… either way, it made Jesse feel better, so what’s the harm?
Also present is XS, Barry Allen’s granddaughter and member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Just like her cousin Bart, she’s been stuck in the “present” for a little while now, only she’s starting to become homesick. John Fox has an idea! He fixes up Barry’s old Cosmic Treadmill to be a straightforward time machine. He prompts XS to hop on, and before we know it… she’s gone! Wow, that was anticlimactic, wasn’t it? She didn’t even say goodbye!
Later that night, Fox learns that Chillblaine is at it again. He and Piper head over to the Diamond District… where they find a bunch of shiverin’ civvies. Also, the entire ceiling of the joint is iced up… so, if anyone so much as sneezes… the whole thing’s going to come down. Cue some goofball sneezing… right here.
Future-Flash is able to rescue all of the civilians, however, Chillblaine escapes yet again. As Fox goes to give chase, he slips on the ice… and crashes right into a nearby squad car. He gets up annoyed that the baddie got away. Piper tells him to not to be so hard on himself… and to take this one as a “win”. After all, he saved all of the civilians.
Fox returns to Linda’s place… closes himself in a room… and lets out a terrific scream, which really messes the place up. Linda, hearing the hub-bub knocks on his door to see what’s up.
He tells her he just knocked over a chair. Lemme tell ya, this page is verrrrry Byrne-y. I’d almost swear it was him drawing it. Linda asks how he’s feeling, before teasing him about his “accident”… his big slip was broadcast over the news. Fox plays along and laughs at his goof.
Then… things turn serious. Linda says not to worry about Chillblaine… because, once Wally gets back… they’ll take him down, no problem. Fox breaks the news to her that… as of right now, Wally ain’t comin’ back!
So where in all hells is Wally anyway? I’m glad you asked… not that I have an actual answer for you. We wrap up this issue by shifting scenes… somewhere. Wally is waking up… somewhere very Flashy!
Not sure what took me so long to start reading this arc… it seems like something right up my alley.
Without proper context, it’s difficult to really parse this one. I’m not sure how it ends… I’m not sure where Wally is… I’m not even sure if John Fox is who he portrays himself to be! It’s a great place to be for reading… notsomuch for analyzing. I didn’t even want to risk checking the DC Wikia for Fox-Flash-Facts, for fear that I’d spoil the end of this one.
What we do get here is, John Fox trying to fill Wally’s shoes the best he can while he’s away. From the looks of it, he might be getting a bit too comfortable with Linda. Something happened during his last run-in with Chillblaine that “flipped a switch” where Wally was no longer going to return.
I’m left with a couple of (unfounded) theories. First One: Chillblaine is/was responsible for this “Ice Age” Fox came back for… or… Second Guess: Fox has fallen in love with Linda, and he’s making the call that Wally ain’t ever comin’ home. Either could result in an interesting story… and I’m not sure which one I’m pullin’ for (if either of those possibilities were to pass, that is).
Fox shows a fair amount of kindness here… he tells Jesse Quick that her father’s legacy will live on, and he manages to send XS back where she came from (well… not quite, but we don’t know that yet). The latter scene was a bit weird… I’d figure XS would have at least wanted to say goodbye to Bart.
I mentioned it a few times during the synopsis… but, man, this guest artist… definitely a John Byrne fan, right? Especially when it comes to the faces, it’s as spot-on Byrne as I’d ever seen. Really terrific stuff! So good that I’m surprised we didn’t see more from this Castrillo! Heck… give him five years, he might’ve been known as the “better Byrne”! Compare this with, say, Lab Rats… personally, I’d give this the nod.
Waitasec… this is volume 2… issue 112 of Flash. Two… One One Two… John Byrne wrote and drew a graphic novel called… 2112. Two One One Two. This 2112 concept originated as Freaks… a book to be set in the DC Universe… which would be sorta-kinda repurposed into later Byrne projects… Next Men and Danger Unlimited. There might be more here than meets the eye!!! Orrrr, I’m just being silly. Nah, it’s definitely some Illuminati stuff…
Overall… this probably isn’t the first issue of Flash you wanna read, however, if you’re familiar with the characters and concept… I think you’ll have a lot of fun with this one! A very solid package… which, isn’t always what we got in the 1990’s when we saw the dreaded “Guest Artist” in the credits! This issue is available digitally.