Monday, August 25, 2008
Flash v. 2 #4 - "Kill the Kilg%re"
Writer: Mike Baron
Artists: Jackson Guice & Larry Mahlstedt
I love this issue's cover - the best so far - which strikes the right pulpy sci-fi-ish feel for this incarnation of the character.
What's interesting from a contemporary perspective is the way that Cold War paranoia has seeped into the storyline: they come up with a plan to stop Kilg%re - turn off all the power in the world - but the US government flacks balk because they're afraid the Soviets might use that as an opportunity to make a sneak attack.
The first action sequence in this issue is the first in the series that really flat out works, but there's still not much in the way of interesting use of Flash's super-powers.
I've also been going through the B&W first volume of Showcase Presents The Flash, as a kind of supplement to this exercise, and I can't help but note how inventive John Broome and Carmine Infantino are when it comes to figuring out different ways to show Flash using his powers. One of the premises of Baron/Guice's run is that while Flash is still really fast, he has lost a lot of his super-speed. He's not longer able to reach light speed or travel around the world eight times in one second. This is part of the overall move towards a more down-to-earth version of superheroics, but it also seems to have cut off opportunities for spectacular, flashy action.
The final fight is better, though: it's more of a chase and it emphasizes speed and motion.
I've been hard on Guice's work, but I should point out he's not at all a bad comics artist. He has a good sense of space and pacing. His figure drawing and characterizations are fairly expressive. However, four issues in, he hasn't yet shown that he's particularly comfortable as a super-hero comics artist and he hasn't been able to turn his discomfort into a virtue (a la Don Heck).
Overall, though, the book has recovered from the second issue's misstep.