Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Convergence: Speed Force #1

So I have a big question concerning this issue (and Convergence in general). Is it my problem, or DC’s problem, that I vastly prefer the Convergence-era characters to the ones available monthly? I don’t think I’m alone in this. I mean, I’m naturally drawn to reviewers whose opinions are similar to my own, but it sure seems to me that people really like seeing the “real” versions of these characters, not the watered-down new 52 folks.

Anyways, on to the actual issue. Tony Bedard has been an inconsistent creator for me. Some of his work has been absolutely brilliant, combining the best aspects of continuity and characterization into a great new creation. But some of his work (mostly new 52 GL stuff) has seemed a lot less inspired. Fortunately, Speed Force has the good Bedard working on it.

Wally West, along with his kids Jai and Iris, have been trapped in Gotham for a year. Hidden away on an alien world under a dome, Wally is having a hard time adjusting. He spends each day trying to figure out how to break free. He’s justifiably concerned that a year apart from his wife Linda will have her pretty worried. I thought it was interesting that Wally’s identity seems to be public knowledge in Gotham these days. (Although maybe that was the status quo in the old days too, I can’t remember.) Either way, I find myself pretty bummed at the idea that the old DCU is truly destroyed and this Gotham City is the last surviving remnant of that world.

My favorite thing about this book is Wally West’s attitude about the “contest” between the surviving cities. When Tellos flashes an image of the Flashpoint Hawks demolishing the Justice Riders, Wally’s first instinct is to race out to try to help them. He doesn’t even think twice. How wonderful is it to see that kind of concern for strangers in a hero again? Then, to make matters even better, we get Fastback the turtle from Captain Carrot’s Zoo Crew.

I have ZERO idea who Fastback is. I can only recognize Captain Carrot from Multiversity. But FB’s attitude about Tellos’ contest mirrors Wally’s, and my own; of COURSE there is another way. What kind of hero would just go along with a battle to the death to amuse some weird cosmic voyeur? Man, that is what DC comics are all about, heroes thinking outside the box and doing the right thing. It has been too long!

So the plot is OK, the setting is a little watered down, but these are the versions of the characters I love. Wally’s kids complicate his story a bit, but we’ve seen Wally’s journey as a hero start with childhood and continue into fatherhood. For Wally, his maturation is integrally tied to his hero’s journey. Iris and Jai are fun complications without being stupid or a disadvantage, a nice change for most kid supporting characters.

And Tom Grummet’s artwork. I always like Grummet’s stuff, but seeing the clean lines of the real Flash costume again? Seeing the costume so bright and inspiring? Man, it really makes me miss DC comics. I’m impressed that Grummet even made Fastback fit into Wally’s more grounded-Gotham. It pains me to admit, even Flashpoint Wonder Woman looked pretty dang imposing and cool on that final page.

So this is a GOOD comic. But my goodness, does it drive home how alienated I am by the current DCU. I think that will probably be the subject of a bigger write up after I read some more of these Convergence throwbacks. 

1 comment:

David Charles Bitterbaum said...

If I can give an answer that is a bit of a cop-out to your question, it is both DC's problem AND your problem. It is DC's problem in that they should give consumers stories they enjoy, and its telling so many fans like the older versions of the characters. However, DC wants to be more "modern" and try new things, which means they can't make all the fans of the older characters happy too. What is the solution? There isn't really one, or someone would be rich off of sharing it.