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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DC BEGINS: The Flash

This one seems kind of simple to me. What would I do to rejigger the Flash?

I’d bring Wally back.

You might be thinking that I’m just one of those negative internet pariahs who is never satisfied with the choices that the writers make. Not true. Let’s just say that I like Kyle Rayner, but I also like Hal Jordan. As long as the storytelling is good and the characters are interesting, I’m on board.

But after a year of reading Geoff Johns’ Flash, something continues to sink in. Barry Allen simply isn’t as charismatic as Wally West. In fact, Barry is kind of a morose guy.

Wally enjoyed being the Flash. No, he loved it. That always came across in the stories that I’ve read from Johns and the way he was portrayed in the fantastic Justice League cartoons. Barry just isn’t that guy, and it would be out of character to turn him into the fun-loving life of the party.

Do you need that to tell good Flash stories. No. I think good superhero stories involve putting your character in fantastic situations against impossible odds, keeping the reader excited to see how it turns out. However, great superhero stories add those same elements, but at their center are characters that we can relate to and root for. Ultimately, Barry Allen is not that guy.

Nostalgia seems to be the primary reason for
bringing the Flash back to the DCU.
While Barry Allen brings a sense of nostalgia with him, his character is not as compelling as the storylines he inhabits. I would be interested to see an issue where Barry spends his day away from the superheroics. A character issue where the reader gets into the head of their hero’s alter ego. I imagine that it would be rather dull.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed most of Johns’ current Flash run—though I thought the “Prelude to Flashpoint” dragged in places—I think the stories that Johns has constructed have been interesting, just not his protagonist. This also isn’t a slight on the writer because I feel as though he’s absolutely gotten Barry’s voice right.

If I to return Wally West to the DCU, what would I do with him? Well, he should still protect Keystone City, but I wouldn’t only concentrate on battles with his famous Rogues. Honestly, the Fastest Man Alive seems too powerful for just about all of his classic enemies.

I also think I would reduce the number of speedsters to two—Jay Garrick and Bart Allen. I think they have their own important roles in the DCU, Jay the elder hero and Bart the novice who is poised to one day inherit the famous yellow boots (for longer than thirteen issues).

While not terribly inventive in terms of reinventing a character, consider this post just a piece of advice on how to reinvigorate a character—in a flash.

Rumor has it that DC might start all (or many) of their books over at issue #1. "DC Begins" is our take on the biggest and brightest of the DCU.

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