Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Flash Annual #2

I'm finally getting around to reading this!

My next regularly scheduled issue is The Flash #23, so I figured I'd better work through the Annual really quickly and sloppily.

I know it exposes my lack of culture and sophistication and intellectual whatnot but I'm with Hal. Jazz is poo.

I don't know if my dislike for jazz makes me a cultural buffoon or the fact that I called it "poo" does, but I'm sure all y'all jazz fans would agree either way. I get the feeling people who enjoy ordered, well-organized life find something thrilling in jazz that us "fly by the seat of our pants" types, as Barry just said, simply find it annoying. Maybe it's just me. But I also suspect that there is a large amount of intellectual and cultural cache in the appreciation of jazz whether one actually likes it or not. Anyway, I can't believe I agree with Hal on something!

A few panels later, Barry and Hal have been teleported to Arena World where a race of squid-headed monstrosities (yes, that's my bias showing!) weirdly speak civilly to them instead of spraying ink out of their anuses and into the heroes' eyes. Apparently Hal made some kind of deal with the aliens years ago which Barry was not aware of. Par for the touchdown, as they say in the sportingses.

What all of this craziness amounts to is it's time for a Barry Allen flashback to when he and Hal first met and battled talking monkeys! I think. Isn't that how they were said to have met way back in an early issue of Justice League?

Kids were disappearing from group homes and, for some reason, Barry cared about it enough to try and stop it. It turns out Hal did as well. What are these guys? Children lovers? Ugh! The world could do without them!

Is this the first modern conflict between two super heroes! Historical!

Before the two guys actually throw a punch, a strange light appears in the building and the kids disappear. Green Lantern flies up and into a portal while Barry turns into The Flash and runs through just in time to learn about space aliens!

Hee hee. What a dumbass.

After the first batch of kids are saved, Hal Jordan reveals his identity to The Flash so that The Flash doesn't feel so badly. In these early days, secret identities didn't mean much, did they? Over there in the early issues of Justice League, Batman just comes right out and tells Green Lantern that he's Bruce Wayne. Man, what the fuck was that about? Did they edit that in the Trades? Because my mind is still reeling from that moment. Batman just giving it up like it was nothing! Of course, he also seems to have told The Joker who he was too. Maybe he secretly wants everybody to know the truth so he can win a Nobel Peace Prize. Although maybe they don't give out peace prizes if you've put 25% of the population of the city in the emergency room at some time or another.

The Flash and Green Lantern rescue all but three of the children. And then Barry makes them cry with his insensitive remarks.

They're orphans, dick. They don't have homes!

That was a joke, you humorless twats. Besides, they're not real children. They're just colored ink on paper. They're not really sad nor are they happy nor are they scared. So if you'd like to argue that they do indeed have a home and a family and that the other children are their family and the group home is their home, go right the fuck ahead because what the fuck do I care? They're just fictional children.

When Hal and Barry realize the final three children are on Arena World, Hal comes up with the probably the worst strategy ever considering their super powers. He decides that he, Green Lantern, will do "fast" and The Flash will do "safety." Hah! Batman would piss his pants with laughter! The most horrible use of resources ever!

Over on Arena World, the Squidlies are trying to convince one of their competitors that humans are well worth training because they're truly something special and can really rise to greatness. And then they see Hal Jordan, a human Green Lantern.

Way to stick by your ideals, assholes.

I suppose after Barry and Hal take all the kids back to Earth, Hal probably makes a deal with the Squidlies to fight their battle for them to save their inky race or something. I'm sure there's some noble reason in there somewhere.

Once the Squidlies see Hal and Barry fight, they put a stop to it and give back the last kids. Barry takes them back to Earth while Hal Jordan signs a horrible contract with the aliens.

So less like a wrestling Battle Royal and more like a Japanese movie Battle Royale.

The Flash and Green Lantern wind up being the last two standing. Does that mean they killed some of them? Or did they just let the other aliens kill each other? Is the difference just a matter of semantics? Perhaps Barry and Hal are okay with killing aliens if they aren't too humanoid looking? Anyway, they're the last two standing which means they're one too many. Hal is incapacitated to leave Barry alone to fight the champion. But for some reason, Barry's powers are fading while on Arena World. Is that because he needs to refuel at Cinnabon every few hours?

Oh, I guess this far into space, he begins to lose his connection to the Speed Force. Does that mean there is a Speed Force for every planet? Or is it just a strange anomaly built into the Earth?

As his power is fading, Hal Jordan suddenly remembers the cover of the comic book and gives his ring to Barry to wear. And thanks to Barry's Speed Mind power, he's able to quickly learn the workings of the ring and utilize it with great efficiency.

And extreme hilarity!

I don't know. Do you really need the universe's greatest weapon to tell you to attack the crotch? If aliens ever land on our planet and they're humanoid shaped and aggressive, I know where I'd first try kicking them. And I don't have a cosmic ring to advise me!

And then Barry and Hal go off to celebrate over some space beer and a back-up story!

The Flash Annual #2 Rating: Green Lanternificent! It was also nice to read something (the back-up story) without vomiting my opinion throughout. I should try that more often!

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