Friday, August 22, 2008

Flash v. 2 #3 - "The Kilg%re"

"His finger."

Writer: Mike Baron
Artists: Jackson Guice & Larry Mahlstedt

Baron opens with Wally getting a speeding ticket while driving his new sports car (remember the lotto win). The irony is a bit too thick for me, but the tone is back on track after the confusion of last issue.

After that, Wally finds out that Frances has moved out on him. Did all DC comics of the late 80s go for this quasi-PG-13 feel?

Guice continues to have problems - IMO - drawing Flash in costume. He still always seems too posed, especially when he's in the same panel as "normal" characters. Looking at the GCD, it seems that at this point Guice had some experience drawing super-heroes, but not tons of it. He is unable to successfully integrate Flash into the rest of the action: he's always popping out, as if he were a cut-out figure.

I'd also point out that the fight with Vandal Savage from the last issue was a pretty standard super-hero fight. There's no reason it couldn't have been Daredevil versus some Man Mountain goon. That is: neither Guice nor Baron have done much with Flash's superspeed.

That's always a danger with the day-in-the-life approach to a fantastic subject. The spectacle - superpowers in action - is part of the draw of the premise. But day-in-the-life works partly by muting the spectacle.

So far, the best visuals were in the first issue's cross country trek, which was also had an effective matter-of-fact, all-in-a-day's-work feel to it. But it's hard to hit this balance: Kurt Busiek managed it only some of the time in the early Astro City stories.

The bad guy in this issue fits in much better to Baron's overall take on the character: Kilg%re is a giant other-dimensional robot, trapped just outside of "now". There's some neat background commentary on our reliance on technology: Kilg%re praises the humanoids for terraforming their planet to fit his needs.

Why I like Kilg%re more than Vandal Savage as a villain in this series: Kilg%re is a neat, contempo sci-fi idea (he anticipates some of the monsters from Grant Morrison-era JLA) that fits in well with Baron's contempo sci-fi-ish approach. There are many super-hero comics where Vandal Savage would fit right in, but (so far) this is not one of them.

I should also note the introduction of Tina McGee and the possibility of some more PG-13-ish stuff in the form of an affair between Flash and a married woman!

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