REVIEW: DC DOLLAR COMICS: Presenting … The New Flash
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Mike Baron
Penciller: Jack Guice
Inker: Larry Mahlestedt
Letterer: Steve Haynie
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Reviewed by: Peter Gaudioso
New York City, March 28th 1987. The hyper metabolic Wally West, a.k.a. The Flash, receives a phone call during his surprise 20th birthday party. He speeds off to a hospital, where a Dr. Aikens asks Wally to run cross-country to deliver a heart to a patient in need. Despite being spoken down to and called “Kid Flash,” Wally agrees. But only on one very, specific condition. (No spoilers here.)
En route, West reflects on his memory of the former-Flash, the now deceased Barry Allen, and what it means to inherit the costume and title. Also whether or not it would be wise to skip a meal and make the 3 hour stretch to Seattle in one leg! Half way to his destination Wally has an unsavory run-in with a robust trouble maker named Vandal Savage. Hard pressed for time, Wally continues on, and his violent adversary remains a mystery.
As Wally continues through severe weather and terrain fluctuations, artistic duo Guice and Gafford really get creative with the drastically changing landscapes. It’s far too easy to quickly flip through the pages of a Flash comic. Guice and Gafford will stop you dead in your tracks with colorful panels and disturbing scenes.
Will Wally deliver this healthy heart to the dying patient in time? Was that brief brawl the only appearance to be made by Vandal Savage? At first, what seemed to be a simple-sounding plot, quickly expands into so much more. Writer Mike Baron crafts such a rich story that I don’t want to spoil anymore of it. You’ll have to read this book for yourself. Trust me, it’s worth it.
DCDCPTNF is a fun, fast paced adventure for Flash fans new and old. Cleverly placed among the quick page turns are a few recurring motifs. Wally West’s rapid metabolism, young age, and bookworm tendencies, all receive multiple mentions – which really flesh out his personality. For example, when negotiating the details of this long distance organ delivery, West displays some pretty surprising behaviour. When defining the parameters of his super-service to Dr. Aikens, Wally says, “The question is, what can you do for me?”
DCDCPTNF is truly a gift. Full of surprises, little clues, and well-threaded motifs, I would almost say it is a masterpiece. Unfortunately, the story ends with a cliffhanger. What am I supposed to do now that my appetite is teased and curiosity peaked by this near perfect issue? It would have been nice to receive a one-and-done story similar to those featured in previous DC Dollar Comics. Bright side is that a new graphic novel was released last November (2019) featuring more of these classic The Flash stories. So keep an eye out for The Flash: 80 Years Of The Fastest Man Alive, the next time you visit your local comic shop.
I think all audiences will have fun reading DC Dollar Comics Presenting…The New Flash. Wally’s jokes, which range from tongue and cheek, to sarcastic, to bone dry, are always hilarious. Jack Guice’s artwork has that classic 80’s feel but is certainly not dated. Wally West is in full-but-flawed super hero form throughout the entire issue, and displays plenty of the quirky traits that we have all come to expect from The Scarlet Speedster. With danger around every corner, and plot twists at every page turn, you won’t be able to put this book down. I’m very happy to have read DCDCPTNF, and highly recommend that you do as well.