Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Flash, Volume 6: Out of Time Review (Robert Venditti, Brett Booth)


The Speed Force has broken. Future Flash is lamenting the death of Wally West while Even More Future Flash decides to go back in time, fixing all the problems he couldn’t before (mostly KILLING his rogues!), returning to the present – whenever that is! – and killing himself(!), thus fixing the Speed Force. Present Flash has to solve a murder mystery involving his rogues’ weaponry that has nothing to do with anything and has FILLER written all over it. Also, Barry and Wally go to a ball game.

I’ve yet to read a great Flash comic and that includes Out of Time, which should really be called Out of Ideas!

This is one steaming mess. I remember just a few years ago when Robert Venditti produced amazing work over at Valiant. Read those first four volumes of XO Manowar to see Venditti producing first class comics. Then Valiant decided to go the Marvel/DC route and introduced crossovers and event comics and the quality slid further downwards. Then Venditti joined DC to write Green Lantern and Flash and here we are with Venditti at his lowest ebb.

Hasn’t Venditti just recycled the same idea he used for his Green Lantern series for Flash: the power the hero draws from is broken/decreasing and they have to fix it somehow? I should stop focusing just on Venditti as Van Jensen was the co-writer on this disaster. 

I can’t stress how boring this book is – and overlong! This story could’ve been so much shorter. It wouldn’t necessarily be any better but it’d be over sooner! Present Flash plays stepfather to Wally West, a surly, unlikeable brat, for no discernible reason than the two become friends in the future, while his aunt Iris makes the googly eyes at Barry much to Patty’s dismay. Again, not sure why Barry’s giving Patty the run-around but then contrivance is this book’s watchword.

It’s like a bad soap. I could not care less about Barry cheering Wally up. I realise Venditti/Jensen have to focus on it because that’s Future Flash’s main motivation but it’s so unconvincing and boring. Present Flash also has the most half-assed murder mystery subplot ever. It could not be more forgettable or poorly set up and is just there to give him something to do while waiting for Future Flash to show up. 

Future Flash (who looks like he hasn’t aged a day despite being supposedly 20 years older!) meanwhile travels back in time – I guess the Speed Force isn’t THAT broken then! – killing rogues/setting things right, as he sees it. His goal of fixing the Speed Force (how did he figure that out again?) also coincides with his deathwish that he doesn’t want to be a superhero anymore – mighty convenient (not to mention uncharacteristically cowardly)! The problems again are that the storyline is written so poorly, it’s hard to understand what he’s doing or why, let alone give a damn about any of it.

What do people see in Flash? He runs real fast and punches people – and that’s his “interesting” side! As Barry Allen, he’s the definition of white bread: a dreary forensics guy with no personality and an equally bland girlfriend in an appropriately un-evocatively-named place called Central City. Every time I pick up a Flash comic I distantly hope that this one will make me realise ahhh, so that’s why he’s so popular! But nope, this one made me actively dislike the character even more instead. Do good Flash comics exist or, as I suspect, does he only work as part of an ensemble?

The Flash, Volume 6: Out of Time is thinly plotted, horribly overwritten superhero garbage. It’s beyond boring – I wish MY future-self came back and told me not to bother with this one!

The Flash, Volume 6: Out of Time

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