writer: Mark Waid
When last we saw Wally West, he had emerged from …elsewhere…
dazed and confused but clutching his family. Welcomed by
his extended family, the Justice League of America, it looked
like things were looking up for the Flash.
Then take a look at the cover of All-Flash #1.
Both that and the first page (some of Karl Kerschl's best
work) portray a Wally West without a trace of a smile. You
see, in a rare moment of editorial confluence, the very
same day that Wally returned from the Speed Force in Justice
League of America #10, his cousin Bart Allen ran his
very last race in Flash, the
Fastest Man Alive #13. There's a reason for that
really good timing, and one that haunts Wally throughout
It's been just over a year since Wally "retired." With
All-Flash #1, it's as if he and Mark Waid writing
him had never left, so smoothly do the character and creator
just pick up and run. From page one, this is the Flash we've
been missing - "My name is Wally West. I'm the Flash. The
Fastest Man Alive. And I'm still …too …late."
He can't save Bart; sorry, Wally, but that was an editorial
decision. In Waid's hands, he can quickly re-assert himself
as the hero we've loved for over twenty years while also
going over in a nutshell what has happened in Bart's life.
Some of it you do have to shrug off as Silver Age, take
it for granted, sort of plot points. As summarized here,
the whole issue of Iris Allen being from the future, having
spent time in the future with Barry Allen and coming back
again does make one wonder. How did that work again? And
it may be a quirk of inking over Joe Bennett's pencils,
but Waid seems to imply that Iris and Barry had a longer
happier life in the future than we may think of it. In this
case, then, thank heavens for those continuity punches.
Replaying a moment or two of Flash #13 also goes
far to reassert how Waid treats the Rogues' Gallery. As
I chose to believe was going on, but Waid makes explicit,
they're horrified by what they've done. It's not that at
heart they're decent people, but that with the possible
exception of Mirror Master, they've got a sense of honor.
They also get taken down elsewhere by what appears to
be the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Clearly, the answer
to why that's happening is supposed to be coming in Countdown,
but it makes for a minor annoyance here, a flaw in an otherwise
In the last two pages of the book, Waid and his new creative
Flash-partner Daniel Acuna lay hints of what's to come starting
with Flash #231. That numbering nods to the previous
series, and though it's a nice touch, it's also clear that
All Flash would make a better title. They've got
some cool stuff coming our way, and as he has been doing
in Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes and Brave
and the Bold, Waid looks to continue his commitment
to making accessible, fun books for all ages.
The Fastest Man Alive is back. And he's brought a good
comic book with him.