Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: The Flash Chronicles Vol. 2

THE FLASH CHRONICLES VOL. 2 (DC, 2010; Softcover)
Collects The Flash Nos. 107-112 (cover dates July, 1959- May, 1960)
Wonderful! I was never much of a DC guy growing up, aside from watching the Super Friends cartoon and '60s Batman TV show (on reruns). I love The Chronicles line of trade paperbacks because they start at the beginning, offer a comprehensive presentation of a character's history by publication date, and are cheap. I would even consider an upgrade to an Omnibus for this title if DC were to offer one in the same format as the Green Lantern one.
I didn't really care for most of Vol. 1 of The Flash. The faulty, cheesy DC science rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn't until the last story in the book (Issue 106) that things seemed to hit their stride with the introduction of Gorilla Grodd. This volumes starts out extremely strong, with several rematches with Gorilla Grodd. He is quickly established as the Flash's arch nemesis. I have no idea whether or not this continues to be the case, as these two Chronicles trades are the only Flash comic books that I have ever read. My favorite story in this book is Issue 107's Return of the Super-Gorilla, in which Gorilla Grodd tricks the Bird-People who live on the floating islands beneath the Earth's crust into fighting Flash. I love the charm and innocence of this era of comic books. It's so much fun to read these things. The best part of this story is how the Bird People had drills which could puncture the Earth's crust, even though they had never been to the surface world or were even aware that there was life up there. Classic!
The quality of the writing (John Broome) and artwork (Carmine Infantino) is greatly improved in these issues as well. My only prior exposure to Infantino's work was his abysmal pencils in Marvel's Star Wars series circa 1978. His craft had seriously deteriorated when compared to this stuff. The only fault that I found with this book is the whole Kid Flash character, which is totally lame and stupid, the type of stuff that made me stay away from DC when I was growing up. I am definitely interested in a Vol. 3, if and when it comes out.

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