Flash (vol.2) #73 (February, 1993)
“One Perfect Gift”
Story – Mark Waid
Pencils – Greg LaRocque
Inks – Roy Richardson
Letters – Tim Harkins
Colors – Matt Hollingsworth
Assistant Editor – Ruben Diaz
Editor – Brian Augustyn
Cover Price: $1.25
Can ya believe it? It’s already time to kick off our (third annual!) Twelve Days of Christmas on Infinite Earths extravaganza! Just another reminder of how quickly time passes when y’ain’t paying attention! Any bets on how many of these synopsises are going to begin with “It’s Christmas Eve…”?
Now, not including the issue we’re going to look at today, there are 38 other Christmas-themed books that have been covered on the blog. You can click the Christmas on Infinite Earths button to check those out, if you’re still feeling holly and jolly!
Another cool thing I just realized, once we’re through this round of “Twelve Days”, we’ll be sitting at an even 50 Christmas Discussions/Reviews!
In the “down-below” portion of this piece, I did a little bit of decorating… the last two-years worth of “Twelve Days” trees, if you’re interested in giving them a look. Not sure how they look on mobile… okay, just checked… looks good… only if you hold your phone sideways though!
Anyhoo… let’s kick things off with Christmas Eve with the Flash Family!
It’s Christmas Eve… and Wally and Linda are sharing the evening with the Garricks. Wally is being especially anal about trimming the tree… which totally hits home with me. I’m the same way, only without the benefits of super-speed. In the kitchen, Jay and Joan Garrick are preparing dinner and discussing how great it is to be having a “family Christmas” once again. They’re also being constantly interrupted by Wally, who’d really like to help out with the meal. Joan asks Jay to removing the well-meaning speedster before she kills him. Yeah, that one hits home too…
The Flashes rush into town, and talk a little bit about times past. Jay asks if Wally is thinking about proposing to Linda anytime soon… but he dodges that one, artfully. Then they start talking about Christmas… it’s been a minute since they’d last shared one, and now Wally’s a full-blown growed-up! Wally talks about how the magic of Christmas has shifted from “gifts” to “family”… and while understanding that’s the way it oughta be, still misses the thrill of unwrapping something like a baseball mitt on Christmas morning. Yup… another emotion that’s hittin’ home with me!
The fellas do a bit of work at a soup kitchen before deciding to head back home. As they’re leaving, however, they notice a very pregnant woman wandering through traffic! Wally performs a quick-save, and the poor woman is just babbling on about trying to stop someone.
Turns out her husband (Joey) is losing his job that very day, and is looking to explore some nefarious means to procure some cash. At present, he’s wrapping up his last day working at Boone’s Department Store… from there, some wise guys have put him up to robbing their night deposit box! Just as she says this… wouldn’tcha know it, she goes into labor! Jay decides to fetch some doctors for the delivery, while Wally heads to Boone’s.
Wally arrives at the Department Store… and, considering it’s Christmas Eve, the place is an absolute zoo! He makes several passes through the joint, and is unable to find the fella he’s looking for. Now, if you’re thinking about a person who works in a Department Store until Christmas Eve… you might be thinking of, well, one of dozens of “seasonal employees”… or perhaps, the store’s resident Santa!
After a few passes, Wally figures that out too! He asks one of the “elves” where Santa got off to… and it turns out he knocked off for the night. Wally speeds away in pursuit just as the store manager informs the “elf” that a five-year old boy has gone missing.
We join Joey as he’s looting Boone’s night deposit… all the while asking for forgiveness. I guess it’s that whole “would you steal a loaf of bread to feed your family?” sort of thing. As he leaves, bag full’a dough, he’s approached by that missing five-year old… who chased after him to tell him what he wants for Christmas. Turns out, all he wants is for his father to come back from jail.
This little moment of profundity is all it takes for Joey to realize the error of his ways. He goes to take the boy back to the Department Store (with a brief pit stop to return some things to the night deposit)… unfortunately, the wise guys show up, and they’re not happy about Joey’s sudden change of heart.
And, get this… they just start unloading their guns at him! Wow, I mean, can’t we talk about this? Oh well, it’s a moot point anyway, because Wally arrived just in the nick of time to catch all’a da bullets.
After wrapping up the bad guys, Wally tells Joey that he’s gotta get over to the church, because he’s about to be a daddy.
We wrap up on later that night, where the Flash Family screws with Wally a little bit… saying that they’re all going to wait until morning to open their gifts. Linda finally gives him permission to open one of his gifts…
… and it’s a baseball mitt! How’bout dat?
As Wally thanks Linda for giving him a little of that childhood Christmas magic back… the doorbell rings. Well, just who in the world could that be? Well, it looks like the Christmas Miracles aren’t done yet… it’s Barry Allen?!?! It’s such a shock, Wally’s hair turned blonde!
Heckuva fun issue right here!
Strongest part for me, is probably the part I can relate most to… and that’s how Christmas changes when you grow-up. I remember as a kid, looking forward to Christmas Day… I just couldn’t wait to open my gifts and whatnot. Nowadays, Christmas Day is the one day I dread the most, because it means that the Holidays are over. That warm time with family and friends… it’s just done, and everyone’s gotta go back to work and real life.
I’d assume you might be able to recapture that “magic” as an adult through your children… their reactions, their excitement, their wonderment. But as a still-childless fella, that really isn’t an option for me at the moment. I still hold out hope for that “baseball mitt” under the tree though.
I really dig the Flash Family dynamic. One of the things I miss most about the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe is the Justice Society members as sort of the “grandparents” of the DCU. Legacy and family are the cornerstones of DC Comics… and to flush ’em for a few months beating Marvel in sales… big-time jerk move. C’mon, even though it’s Christmas, I still gotta get my New-52! digs in!
The Joey/Maria story… ehh, it was a nice little moralistic tale… and it ended the way it should have. Christmas stories need happy endings, I feel.
The twist ending, though? Man, I wish I were following this title back in the winter of 1992… and understood the significance of what a Barry Allen return meant! It’s really just about the biggest cliffhanger you could hope for as a post-Crisis Flash fan! Really just great stuff all around.
Overall… I’d say if you’re a Flash fan, this is one ya gotta read. If you’re a sucker for Christmas comics… this is one that’ll leave ya smiling. This one is available digitally.
“12 Days Tree” 2017:
“12 Days Tree” 2016: