Flash (vol.5) #13 (February, 2017)
Writer – Joshua Williamson
Art – Neil Googe
Colors – Ivan Plascencia
Letters – Steve Wands
Assistant Editors – Amedeo Turturro & Diego Lopez
Editor – Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $2.99
I don’t usually talk “numbers” here… because, I dunno… it’s kinda tacky, innit?
I’ll break that rule today though.
Despite our little span of Christmas comics coverage being some of my favorite times writing this blog, it doesn’t really do all that well in the ol’ “views” department.
Add to that, anytime I cover a non-Waid Flash book… numbers also dip, for whatever reason. Not sure what it is about the Flash, but the numbers don’t lie. Folks don’t seem to wanna read about him… or read what I have to say about him. Not sure why that is… but, it’s certainly a trend.
So, for the even-smaller handful of you reading, I hope you enjoy the Seventh Day of Christmas on Infinite Earths!
It’s Christmas Eve, and Kid Flash is taking care of business in Central City (not Keystone City, right?). He’s “on the job” tonight in order to keep all potential distractions away from Barry and Iris, who are finally on an official date. They’re quite serious about things going right this time around… as they enter the restaurant they promise not to let anything interfere with their evening… not news, not work, not the Flash.
Back on the streets, Wallace is doing the normal “street level” superhero gig… saving a woman from having her purse snatched and all that. During this he provides a bit of a monologue to talk about how difficult it’s been for Iris and Barry. It’s clear to anyone that they’re really into each other, but interruptions never fail to keep them apart. Speaking of interruptions, Kid Flash comes across… Tar Pit, who is in the middle of robbing a toy store!
Back in the restaurant, Barry and Iris have a… well-meaning, but still contentious chat about all the other women that Barry has been involved with since Flashpoint. He’s a regular Brand New Day Peter Parker, I tells ya! Hell, have you ever seen Carlie Cooper and Patty Spivot in the same place?! Anyhoo, the crux of this discussion is that Barry was able to find time for his other relationships… but not for Iris.
Back to Wallace… he approaches Tar Pit, and even swipes his goodie bag… only to find that it’s rather hot (as you might imagine). Tar Pit reveals that he’s not there to steal any toys… just the money (go figure!). What’s more, he needs the money. Well, I guess we oughta let him go then. Anyhoo, much to his own surprise, the baddie manages to tag Kid Flash with a hunk of hot slag.
As Tar Pit lumbers away, Wallace cools himself off in the snow. He catches up with the baddie, and decides to run circles around him in order to whip up some snow. Tar Pit pleads with the kid that he doesn’t know the whole story of why he had to rob the place.
Back to the restaurant… and hoo boy, Barry and Iris are having one heckuva hot date. Realizing they don’t have all that much to talk about, or want to talk about, Iris breaks her own ground rules and starts talking about work.
Outside, Tar Pit reveals that he only robbed the toy store in order to pay off some goons who are holding his niece and nephew for ransom. Ya see, his late-brother was kind of a jerk, and racked up some pretty big debts before passing away. The folks he owes are looking to take this out on the children. Wallace think about how his own father is a villain… and how he can relate to the “sins of the father” and what-not. He decides to help Tar Pit save the kids… but assures him when all’s said and done, Tar Pit will be going back to Iron Heights.
Before we know it, Kid Flash rescues Tar Pit’s niece and nephew… and drops the kidnappers off at the Police Station. That’s that!
We rejoin Barry and Iris as they head back to her place. Iris comes clean about not fully committing to their relationship. She’s afraid that if it doesn’t work out, she’ll lose Barry as a friend. He assures her that’s not possible. They enter her house just as Wallace is preparing them a couple’a mugs of hot cocoa… he buzzes off to let them have the rest of their evening.
We get a bit of an Animal House montage as we draw to the end. Wally heads over to the local kitchen to lend a hand… Tar Pit, back in Iron Heights, is visited by family… and Barry and Iris make s’more small talk.
We wrap up with Captain Cold rendezvousing with some dirtbag in the desert. Cold has paid this goof to provide him with some plans… when, dude decides he might wanna raise the price. Cold complies exactly the way you’d expect him to!
A pretty fun, if a bit breezy, issue!
One of the things I miss most about comics in the 80’s and 90’s is that, every so often, they’d take a break and deliver a “down time” or “quiet” issue. It would usually come on the heels of a big event or crossover, but they were great… they let everybody (inside the book and out) catch their breath before moving on to the next thing.
In the age of decompression and writing for the trade, we kinda lost the luxury of having a one-off every now and again… so, when we get an issue like this, it’s really quite special!
Let’s talk Wally/Wallace. Most of my Wally-experience comes from his appearances in Teen Titans… where he is probably the worst part of the book. He’s just such a wingey, whiny, milquetoast pain in the butt… I cringe every time he shows up on panel. He’s always complaining, quitting the team, or threatening to quit the team. Just not a pleasant character. Here though? I like him!
Sure, the rescuing Tar Pit’s niece and nephew got solved a bit quick… but, really… we didn’t need to see much more of it, did we? It was probably the right decision to just jam through that scene the way they did. I do wonder why Tar Pit was making such a to-do about robbing the store… you’d figure he’d at least try and be low-key about it.
Over to Barry and Iris. I thought their date was pretty well done. I mean, I’m against them “dating” to begin with… in my head, they’re still married… but, if ya gotta have ’em date, this was as good an awkward “first (real) date” as any.
I dig Iris’ fear that a romantic entanglement might hurt their actual friendship. That’s a natural fear and definitely something to keep in mind. Barry’s optimism that there’s nothing to worry about is pretty refreshing too.
The uncomfortable-bordering-on-contentious dinner discussion they shared felt calculated… but in a good way. We can tell that there’s a lot Iris wants to say, but in choosing her words the way she did… didn’t quite “get it all out”. It’s like she wants to gauge Barry’s responses before she lets herself dig in deeper… both in questioning and the overall relationship.
I appreciate Barry’s relationships being called to the fore. I really wasn’t joking when I compared him to Brand New Day Peter Parker… that was my initial take when I read the first post-Flashpoint issue… even down to his “safe” nerdyish love interest.
Overall… a really good issue, with a nice Holiday backdrop. Neil Googe probably wouldn’t be my first choice as a Flash artist (now, if they did an Impulse book, he’d be a natural fit!), but I gotta admit, I was pleased to see it wasn’t DiGiandomenico. This is an issue well worth checking out. This issue is available digitally (at full cover price? Really? Okay.).