The worst day of Flash’s lifePosted: 08/29/2012
You know who’s cool? The Flash. Most of them anyway. Y’see, the Speed Force, which gives our hero his powers, tends to be very generous with its recipients. There must be a good dozen or so speedsters. And by the way, great! It’s an awesome power. But the most well-known and well-liked are Barry Allen and Wally West, the latter being our focus for today.
Originally Kid Flash to Barry’s Flash, Wally served as an adorable sidekick for over 25 years. But in 1985, when Barry gave his life to save the universe, Wally took over the Flash mantle and served as the superhero until 2008, when Barry came back from the dead.
Now, Barry’s life had been defined by tragedy. His arch-nemesis Professor Zoom murdered his first wife, and caused his second wife to go mad. He even had to flee into the future for quite a while after a bogus murder charge. But Wally? Not so much. He’s won the lottery, became a playboy, and happily married a beautiful delightful woman. Plus, his identity is common knowledge and he’s a celebrated, beloved hero in Keystone City.
Well, unluckily for Wally, his long time buddy aims to fix that in Flash #197-200, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Scott Kolins.
Hunter Zolomon, the new Zoom, has had a majorly tragic life. His father turned out to be a serial killer who murdered his mother when she called the cops on him. Hunter eventually get a job as the FBI, working alongside his wife and father-in-law. After one bad call, Hunter became responsible for getting his father-in-law killed and his wife’s subsequently divorce. Finally settling into a boring desk job in Keystone City, the supervillain Gorilla Grodd attacked and paralyzed Hunter from the waist down. Lots of horrible stuff going on.
But the Zoom costume/powers? He asked his buddy Flash to use the cosmic treadmill in the Flash Museum (yeah, Wally has a good life) to go back in time and stop him from becoming handicapped. Flash refuses and Hunter tries the treadmill by himself. Of course, it explodes and thus he gains all these cool speed powers. Oh, and a seething hatred for his former friend.
Back to Wally, everything’s looking up! Good news ahead!
Exciting, right? Too bad that can’t last.
Being the town’s local superheroes, Flash and older Flash (Jay Garrick) go to investigate.
With that, Zoom bolts to make Flash’s life horribly terrible. Get ready kids, things are about to become really dark.
Here’s our first Flash/Zoom fight!
Okay, so this went badly for our hero. Zoom humiliated Flash and sonic boomed his pregnant wife. But you know enough about comics by now, the hero never wins the first bout. Makes the villain more terrifying.
While in the hospital, worried about the condition of Wally’s wife, the Flashes get interrupted. That’s right, Zoom doesn’t even wait till Wally’s out of the waiting room. Impatience makes for a great quality when establishing oneself as a superhero’s new arch-nemesis.
Oh, and to rub salt in Wally’s gaping, bloody wounds, Zoom goes ahead and reveals his betrayal.
Look, hard to deny that a superhero’s past and moral responsibilities aren’t defined by the previous tragedy in their lives. With Flash’s fellow Justice League members alone: Batman saw his parents killed in front of him, Superman’s home planet exploded and killed his entire race of people, Martian Manhunter witness the death of his family and now lives as the sole Martian survivor, Aquaman’s wife Mera went insane and vengeful after the death of the couple’s son, Wonder Woman has been exiled from her home island more times than we can count, and Green Lantern actually became possessed by evil and slaughtered all 7000ish members of the Green Lantern Corps. Bad times.
Flash is about to have his tragic story created. Buckle in.
You can bet that Zoom’s butt will be kicked by Flash. But you’ve seen the panels above, how’s he supposed to win against this guy who’s faster, stronger, and seemingly unable to be affected by Flash’s Speed Force abilities? Two reasons. First, Zoom’s insane:
And the second reason: science!
Let’s not delay.
Unfortunately for Zoom, all those past visions he’s causing with his powers are getting worse. Add that to his tragic life story, and odds favor sad over the happy flashbacks.
Thus begins a fight only Flash-esque superhumans can have. The delightful foot race/brawl combo.
If you haven’t figured out the ending to our story yet, it ain’t happy. Just because our comic book characters have wacky powers and wear bright colorful costumes, doesn’t mean they don’t have the same trauma and breakdowns as other fictional characters. And trust me, for a story that takes place all within 24 hours, no way it can end with flowers and smiles.
I can’t promise tomorrow will be any happier, but I do promise it can’t be worse than this.