DC Retroactive: The Flash-The 90s #1 (DC Comics)
By Brian Augustyn, Mike Bowden, Mark Millar, Pop Mhan
Going all the way back to the 90s, one-time Flash editor and later (with Mark Waid) co-writer Brian Augustyn returns for this special that follows Wally West through one of the tensest times of his life. Rattling through time following his battle with Cobalt Blue, Wally finds himself stranded at some point in the timestream with his memories in a shambles and his old enemy Kilg%re ready to take him on. It’s not a bad book, and this is perhaps the most fertile period of the Flash’s 90s escapades. The amount of time-travel that went on makes it very easy to craft a story that slips through the cracks. It seems Augustyn is trying a little too hard to justify the fact that the story has never been referenced before, though – the idea of Wally’s memory being shattered seems a bit unnecessary, as the whole concept of Linda being his anchor to reality was already firmly established at this point. The strange shift in Wally’s costume also makes no sense. The costume itself isn’t bad (in truth, I prefer it to the one he’s wearing these days when he actually shows up) but there’s really no reason for it to switch or switch back. What does his memory have to do with his costume? If it’s supposed to be a psychological thing (I don’t remember if, at this point, we were going with the conceit that Wally’s costume was made of solidified Speed Force, but let’s say that it was) it doesn’t really come across that well. The back-up story comes from Mark Millar’s brief run as writer on this book, with the first chapter of his Black Flash storyline, where Wally’s extended Speed Force family (Jay Garrick, Jesse Quick, Max Mercury and Bart Allen – then Impulse) worried that the Black Racer is chasing Wally down. It’s not a bad story, but its inclusion is really random – there are so many great stories at that time period, why would they go with something so obscure and so incomplete? As much as I was looking forward to it, this isn’t one of my favorite Retroactive specials.