Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Flash #50

Come on, DC. The Flash should at least make the cover of his own comic book.

The Review
The Flash is still considered a bad guy because The Riddler is apparently such a genius that he manipulated all of the time travel events in such a way that it turned everybody against The Flash. Or maybe he's just decided to take advantage of the fact that Captain Frye is a huge idiot and doesn't know the difference between criminals and heroes. I realize that line is super fuzzy in the DC You (and possibly other comic book universes but these commentaries don't focus on those universes). This comic book is still bad and relies on tired plot points and stupid readers. I may be stupid in a lot of ways but I'm not a Stupid Comic Book Reader at all! I'm a Grand Master Comic Book Reader and I declare this is a terrible comic book.

The Commentary
I have a feeling I'm going to be buying a lot more comic books than usual in May thanks to some of these titles being so far behind. Issue #50 on April 28th?! Looking up the release dates of the last two issues of PreRebirth Flash comic books, I see another one is due next week and Issue #52 is due the day Rebirth begins. I suppose that'll be the same for all of the other books that are way behind, like Justice League and Batgirl and Black Canary and Cyborg. Although maybe Black Canary and Cyborg have caught up by now. And also, they don't have the same amount of pressure on them as the comics that need to get their 52nd issue published, so maybe they'll just wrap up whenever. Not that it matters to me since Cyborg really could have wrapped up before it even started. Such a boring comic book!

When we last left The Flash, Central City's Police Department was acting like it was Backwards Law Day. They decided The Flash needed to be arrested while they began paying known criminals to help catch The Flash. I get that superhero comic books have been published for so long that there just aren't many new stories to tell, especially if the writer isn't very imaginative, but can we stop writing this story about how the law turns against the good guys so desperately that they ignore all the wrongdoing super villains have done? From now on, when a writer walks into a pitch meeting and says one of the following, I would like the editors to just shoot them in the head:

"Get this...the superhero loses all of her powers!"
"Imagine, if you can, the framed by the bad guy and everybody loses trust in him!"
"You're going to call me crazy, but how about this for the next Superman story: he faces an alien that is more powerful than he is!"
"The theme of our Wonder Woman run will be how Wonder Woman has time for both a social life and a working life! Plus she should be seen in the shower a lot!"
"The hero falters but the people rise up to do the heroes job and the hero acknowledges that we are all the hero!"
"I don't know if this has ever been done but how about a Justice League story where they're beaten down for four issues and then, in the fifth issue, they rise up and win the day through sheer force of forcefulness!"
"What if we have some thing...I don't know what to call it...maybe a crisis? And it will involve all of the heroes and change continuity in critical ways and maybe renumber the comic books too!"
"Have we ever considered lobbying congress to demand a law be passed that forces people to buy our products the way that Obamacare forces people to buy corporate insurance or face severe tax penalties? Fucking geniuses, those guys!"

There are hundreds more like the story where a bad guy kills a female second cousin of the protagonist and the protagonist has grief. Or the one where the female hero is raped by the bad guy and experiences grief. Or the one where the male protagonist's mother is raped and killed so that the male protagonist grieves. Or the one where the sidekick is killed so that Batman gets a chance to grieve.

How about telling your aunt to stop publishing untrue articles about how dangerous The Flash is when all of the death and destruction was caused by other people. She's a lousy fucking reporter.

Iris is on scene as The Flash is arrested to ask Captain Frye one question: "What the hell are you doing?" Am I wrong? Did I remember things incorrectly? Didn't Iris write an article with a headline that was like and probably not exactly "FLASH: MENACE OR BIGGER MENACE?!" which questioned the safety of The Flash operating in Central City after the police headquarters were destroyed? I suppose if she did, it was enough issues in the past that nobody is going to read this bit about Iris and think, "What a fucking hypocrite she is!"

Meanwhile, The Trickster reports back to his new boss who I guessed was Ron Howard with Heat Wave in a fish tank. But judging by his green suit and gloves, it's obviously The Riddler with Heat Wave in a fish tank. He has plans to take over Central City in the same way that he could never take over Gotham. But first he had to get the law to turn against The Flash which was totally easy because he lives in the DC Universe where everybody simultaneously hates and loves superheroes, depending on which way the plot needs them to feel.

Flash's dad calls in a favor to help his son break out of prison before he gets unmasked. That means Girder and Overload take a hit on their sentences simply to help out. Maybe they're good guys too and I didn't realize it because of Central City's Backwards Law Day.

This is another horrible comic book trope. If there's a power outage, all of the prisoners go free because DC Prisons can't afford manual locks or electronically controlled locks that simply remain locked if the power goes out.

The Flash saves all of the cops and prison guards before Overload causes a massive explosion. This brings us to the next example in what seems to be a comic book meant to showcase lazy plotting: Captain Frye once again trusts The Flash because The Flash saved his life. I mean, The Flash saved his life when the Police Department exploded as well but I guess that was just normal Flash saving lives life saving. This was extenuating circumstances Flash saving lives where he saves the lives of people actively incarcerating him for no fucking good reason at all.

Flash now has to stop a massive prison break and riot at Iron Heights because that's just a thing that heroes have to deal with now that cell doors can't seem to stay locked. But at least maybe Iris will write an article with a new headline: FLASH CAUSES PRISON RIOT WHILE ESCAPING CUSTODY! Hmm, maybe that isn't the direction she should go with this story.

Flash saves all of the guards but doesn't attempt to stop the inmates himself since they're stuck on an island for a bit. I mean, the ones who can't fly are. Unless they pay the ones who can fly to fly them off. Anyway, forget about the prison! It doesn't matter anymore. It's time for The Flash to battle the Rogues again because Captain Frye hasn't had the chance to tell them they've been fired. Although if they can save his life, maybe he'll rehire them and begin mistrusting The Flash once more.

It's during the battle that The Riddler makes his big reveal and explains his motivations. You see, he noticed The Flash has never been beaten and he wanted to take a crack at beating him. Christ, Enigma. You're supposedly super smart but you can't figure out that there are cities in the world that don't have resident superheroes? You couldn't beat Batman who has no superpowers so you decide to go against the one that has arguably the greatest super power of all? You really are a delusional megalomaniac!

The backup story is about Wally West playing dodge ball but I stopped reading it when it was revealed the fat kid's nickname was Chunk. Go fuck yourself, Van Jensen.

I lied! I kept reading it! But then I stopped when it was revealed the red headed kid is a mean bully. Go fuck yourself, Van Jensen!

Okay, I lied again! The story is about Wally West meeting a future dead version of himself who time traveled to explain the changes Wally's body has been going through. Do I even need to say it a third time? Yes, yes I do! Simply because it feels good! Go fuck yourself, Van Jensen!

I probably shouldn't be writing such mean things to my theoretical best friend Van Jensen (according to Facebook in which we share one friend in common!) but The Flash really has been terrible with all of this time travel stuff. Van Jensen is at least acknowledging that it's a bunch of bullshit when he has time traveling Wally West say, "Time travel, dude. Don't even get me started." It's possible all of this time travel crap was editorially mandated because Brian Cunningham has a sexual fetish for horribly contrived time travel stories. Also he might just find the time travel stuff the most fascinating thing about The Flash. It's actually the worst thing. Even DC themselves tried to stop all of that bullshit with Flashpoint and The New 52 and putting a moratorium on time travel. But that didn't last because horrible writers decided it was still okay to have people time travel from different non-Flashpoint timelines into the Flashpoint timeline. Those horrible writers were Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell, and Tom DeFalco. Also possibly others.

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