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Monday, January 15, 2018 

An accurate statement about Wally West

In a conversation with Rich Johnston, Ethan Van Sciver is definitely correct about something:

Very true. And whatever one may think of Crisis on Infinite Earths, if there's something Marv Wolfman and George Perez did right, it was making Barry Allen's exit heroic as he did his part to stop the Anti-Monitor. I've read reprints of the original introduction for Wally in late 1959, at a time when DC was developing kid sidekicks for the adult heroes much like Robin was the sidekick for Batman. It was almost a year after Supergirl had first been introduced when Wally was created. I have no problem with teen sidekicks and the teen heroes at DC went on to form the Teen Titans.

And there's a stark difference in how Wally replaced Barry as Flash, as opposed to how Kyle Rayner replaced Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, who had no teen sidekick (but did have allies like co-worker Tom Kalmaku): Hal was turned into a nasty killer in the form of Parallax, in contrast to Barry's heroic curtain call. If it hadn't been for such a forced setup for the sake of publicity and shock tactics, I figure Kyle entry would've been easier to accept...but then there's that little matter involving a refridgerator and the dismemberment of his first girlfriend Alexandra deWitt, at the hands of Major Force. The whole story by Ron Marz was just so forced and contrived that it'd make little difference whether Hal's exit from the mortal plane was heroic or not; they did not do a good job developing Kyle as a character, so it's no wonder sales declined to little more than 40,000 copies a month by the time GL's 3rd volume was cancelled. And even then, they didn't handle it well - Marz, writing the last few issues, had to cap it all off with a story where it looks like Kyle's mother wound up being murdered by Major Force, and even if she wasn't, Kyle, in one of the shoddiest moments, momentarily hands his power ring to Force. It makes no difference whether he took it back quickly after, he still gave the villain what he craved, and the motivations were unremittingly dumb.

You have to wonder why they had to go to such lengths to do that, instead of say, conceiving a story where one of the two nephews Hal had could now be grown up and become a successor to his ring-wielding uncle, and the passing of batons could've done under much more respectable circumstances. Hal may not have had a sidekick like a few other Silver Age heroes, but he did have relatives who could've served as ideal heirs to the ring.

As for Flash, it all went downhill after Geoff Johns took over, and that's why I think it's regrettable Van Sciver, correct as his statement is, had to work with him on the books Johns was assigned to. Johns, as I've said before and will again, is one of the worst, most overrated writers to ever litter comicdom, and not all that different from Brian Bendis, who, let's remember, is now going to work for DC, and the first book he'll be getting is the 1000th issue of Action Comics with Superman. I believe, if Van Sciver really wants to set things right, he'll call for restoring Wally West as the main Flash, and abandoning the brand new Barry stories, which as sales are proving, isn't enchanting anybody. And television shows already littered with partisan politics shouldn't dictate what characters you can use or not.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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