Today’s Super Comics — The Flash #201-206 (2003-04)

flash-201Nothing wrong with a change of pace once in a while, and that’s exactly what this Flash storyline is.

This Flash (Wally West) hadn’t kept his identity a secret since he took over his uncle’s mantle, but following tragic events in the previous storyline, a powerful being magically erased everyone’s knowledge of the Flash’s true name…including Wally’s. This sets the stage for a story of rediscovery (it’s almost Flash meets Hook, but far less upbeat).

The tone is darker than that of most Flash stories, and so is the color palette. Though the Flash is typically one of DC’s sunnier superheroes, Wally now works the overnight shift as a mechanic for the Keystone Police, thereby minimizing his exposure to daylight. Meanwhile, a new villain starts killing cops and framing Captain Cold for the murders. Alberto Dose’s art, particularly at the beginning, is pretty bleak and might make readers think they grabbed a Vertigo book by mistake.

Definitely not a typical Flash story—and I would never want this to be—but it works because it provides a sharp contrast to our usual expectations of a Flash story. And when that bright red streak starts cutting through the darkness, we remember why we love the character.

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Alberto Dose

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; Flash: Ignition (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up