Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Quick and The Dead

Written by Mark Guggenheim; Art by Tony S. Daniel and Art Thibert; Cover by Tony S. Daniel


But some of us have stopped caring after the Bilson and DeMeo roadkill. This title was one of the few which actually had an OYL story to tell. Bart Allen was speedforced to adulthood; a new life awaited this brash, impulsive speedster trapped in a grown-up's body, an adult's world with actual responsibilities and bills to pay. Did he get kicked-out of the Teen Titans? Did he like where he was? Fact is, Bart as we knew him---Impulse, Kid Flash---disappeared. Grown-up Bart was just...dull. And I dropped the title easily. When DC announced that a new writer would be taking over, I took my chances. I love these Speedsters. I love their point of view; I love how they watch us waste our time. Marc Guggenheim's first issue (with the excellent Tony Daniel) on what would be the last arc of the title immediately brought back the Titans to Bart's life, and an unexpected family member from the future. It felt like a homecoming of sorts. Loose ends effortlessly trimmed. Re-focused storyline: Rogues United vs. The Flash. Which culminates here, in this week's (and arguably this month's) best story.

Tight, heroic, tragic.

The simplicity of Bart's final moments is brutal. Beaten to death. It's not actually shown in detail but the words echo in their subtlety. Depowering a hero is nothing new, but Guggenheim deftly writes it with palpable hope. Palpable desperation. More than his speed, Bart is more loved for his cocky, reckless nature. And in the last few pages, Bart finally becomes the Flash, still reckless, still stubborn, but now, undeniably, a hero.

"A hero is just someone who stands when their legs are gone." Mr. Guggenheim may just be talking about the title itself. Still, thank you.

Thank you for bringing Bart back to us and for giving him the best send-off that a hero could get. *****

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