Flash (vol.5) #9 (December, 2016)
“Kid Flash of Two Worlds!”
Writer – Joshua Williamson
Art – Jorge Corona
Colors – Ivan Plascencia
Letters – Steve Wands
Assistant Editors – Amedeo Turturro & Diego Lopez
Editor – Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $2.99
Hey there’s an interesting cover… looks like we’ll be crossing one off my “Rebirth Wish List” here, the meeting of the Wally’s. As we have learn from the post-Rebirth pay-offs… we probably shouldn’t get all that excited, eh?
We open, and it’s Halloween in Central City. This ain’t going to be all that Halloweeny… but there is a pumpkin! Anyhoo, Iris has been getting mysterious bouquets of flowers for a little while now… which makes Barry a little uncomfortable, ya know, considering they’re not from him. Before she and the guys can do the Halloween horror movie thing, she is called away to a situation on the Keystone Bridge. Flash and Kid Flash decide to unknowingly tag along to help out.
The narration is Wallace’s, and he talks about “meeting your heroes”. He’s met his… it’s the Flash. Only one thing though, the Flash won’t share his secret identity with him just yet. After diffusing the bridge sitch, the two speedsters are joined by a third… the real Wally West. He taps into the Speed Force to stop an explosion, which leaves the younger Wallace a bit bamboozled.
As the dust has settled, the trio of speedsters get acquainted. When Barry goes to shake Wally’s hand, however… a bit of an odd reaction occurs, giving Barry some strange visions… and a heinously ugly full-page spread.
Then… dude snaps! He starts (verbally) laying into the Wally’s… refers to their both being abandoned by their parents. Heck, even mentions nu-Wally’s dad going so far as to pretend to be his uncle! This is all new information to nu-Wally, by the by.
Real-Wally explains that the Speed Force must be trying to absorb Barry… which, I mean, that concept is getting pre-tty, pre-tty old by now, ain’t it? Speaking of overstayed/overused concepts, there’s Zoom! Anyhoo, the Wally’s gotta nyoink him outta the lurch.
And they do… and it’s apologies all around. Unfortunately, nu-Wally heard some things he can’t un-hear, and so he throws a tantrum… which has gone on to become his defining character trait, unfortunately.
We jump ahead to a Halloween Party where nu-Wally and Chester P. Runk are supposed to be hanging out. Still not sure there was any point to de-aging Chunk… ya know, besides the whole “funny, ha-ha, look at this random character I know about” sort of reason. Anyhoo, they don’t make it inside, because real Wally is there for a chat.
They share stories about their unpleasant childhoods… and what it all comes down to, more or less, is… give Flash a chance, he’s not such a bad dude.
They then run off together so real-Wally can show him some Speed Force tricks.
We head toward the close with Barry and Wally talking about everything that’s gone down of late. We learn that Wally’s the one sending Iris the flowers… though, we already knew that since we’re reading this out-of-order. He refuses to inflict himself on her yet… not until he knows a bit more about why he’s back. They talk about Abra-Kadabra being responsible for making people forget about Wally, which… I’m sorry… just sucks. What’s wrong with just having Dr. Manhattan be responsible for the lot of it? Why complicate matters even further by adding some d-list villain to the mix?
We wrap up with Barry sharing one particular vision he had while in the Speed Force… he’s not sure what it was, but it filled him with hope. Psst, it’s totally a Mercury helmet… even with no memory of Jay Garrick he ought to be able to identify that!
As with many of our Rebirth-payoffs… this was quite underwhelming. We keep leaning on the Speed Force crutch as a facilitation device… and, I mean, there’s that law of diminishing returns we gotta take into account, right? I mean, we just rescued Real Wally from there… like twice, right? Do we really need to do this like every time out?
What is this art? I’m on record saying (usual artist) Carmine DiGiandomenico isn’t my cup of tea (especially on a title like this… and woof at that “Of Two Worlds” homage cover), but… what am I, reading the third story deep in an issue of X-Men Unlimited here? Is this a reboot of Ren and Stimpy? This art really hurt any “oomph” this story might have had right off the bat. I mean, this was supposed to be a big story, right? The two Wally’s meeting? Least I thought it was going to be a bigger deal. Maybe that’s my bad.
Because what we get… ain’t much. I feel like so many of these early-Rebirth era books are in such a hard spot, because there’s only so much they can do until DC Brass and Geoff Johns (who might’ve still been part of DC Brass at this point) decide what they’re going to do with the Watchmen characters. Looking back, it makes the entire “Button” reveal feel more like a gimmick and less like a long-term plan. It was the very definition of a “cheap pop”, without anything (concrete) to back it up. I mean, we’re nearly three-years removed at this point… and we’re still waiting! Worse yet… we’re still going to be waiting a long time (longer by the day, it seems!).
Even with all that said, however, this issue could have been better handled. It could have felt more special… and, it should have used a different artist. Nothing tells me a story matters less, than when they drop a fill-in artist with a unique “novelty” style into an issue.