Review Date: 08/01/2008 

The Flash #242
DC Comics
Writer(s): Tom Peyer
Penciller(s): Freddie E. William
Cover Artist(s): Freddie E. William
$2.99 US 32 pages
D.C. Comics is credited by comic historians with initiating the Silver Age of comics with the introduction of the modern-day Flash back in September of 1956 in Showcase issue #4.  By the mid-1950's, Golden Age superhero comics had gone out of style, so D.C. revamped the 1940's version of The Flash with a new costume and new alter ego, and the Silver Age of re-emerging superheros was on its way. 

Given his own comic issue soon thereafter, The Flash hit its peak in the mid-1960's with story and art by the legendary Carmine Infantino.  Infantino's plotting and artistry of policeman Barry Allen, his sidekick Wally West and their superhero personas The Flash and Kid Flash represent some of the best art and storylines ever in the history of comics.

Such a rare level of quality is a very tough act to follow, so I approached reading the latest issue #242 of The Flash not expecting to be wowed.  While the issue naturally doesn't reach the peaks of the 1960's run, I'm pleased to report that, read in its own right, it's an excellent current version of the storied Flash franchise.
Issue #242 is written by Tom Peyer, drawn by Freddie E. Williams and inked by Tanya and Richard Horie.  The Flash franchise has evolved a lot since the 1960's; Barry Allen is long-gone, with former sidekick Wally West now wearing the costume.  He's married to biologist Linda Park West, and they have two super-speedy teenage kids, daughter Iris and son Jai, who wear sidekick costumes and run around with Dad.
Issue #242 is part five of a six-issue story arc entitled "Fast Money," and it's outstanding for three particular reasons.  First, credit has to be given to the writer and artists for pulling-off a rarity in any multi-issue story arc: in the first five pages, they clearly and smoothly bring the reader up-to-date on the basics of the plot covered in the previous four issues.  This is a rare and very admirable effort, allowing the new reader to enjoy the issue in its own right without feeling totally lost from the overall story arc.
Secondly, kudos have to be given to writer Tom Peyer for knowing his Flash history and basing major plots elements in the rich tradition of 1960's Flash storylines.  In this issue of the story, daughter Iris has been treated for a medical condition with some alien medical technology, leading to an unfortunate rapid-aging side effect.  The race is on (no pun intended!) to find a cure, which leads the entire Flash family to Gorilla City, where they deal with both good super-intelligent gorillas and the traditional Flash nemisis of Gorilla Grodd.
Gorilla Grodd was a standard Flash nemisis in The Silver Age; it was an unexpected kick to see him pop-up in a new Flash issue and it was also a lot of fun to see writer Tom Peyer blend the entire Gorilla City concept into a modern-day Flash tale.
The third and perhaps best reason to read The Flash is the whole Flash family concept as its now presented.  The D.C. team has pulled-off a very credible concept of a superhero who's entire family in center-stage with him as they deal together with whatever's going-on in each story.  The kids are a hoot; they seem very credible as modern-day teens, as opposed to stereotypical comic book sidekicks.  The Flash Family also starred a few months ago in an issue of The Brave & The Bold with the same high quality, so its clearly not just a fluke in Issue #242.
So all-in-all, a very high thumbs-up for Issue #242 and the 2008 version of The Flash in general.  For an enjoyable comic read of a modern-day superhero still incorporating silver age elements, this one's a keeper.  

Contest Announcement!

The good folks at That's Entertainment have offered to sponsor this contest:  In my last column, I reviewed Issue #20 of Wonder Woman.  Word on the internet is that there's a Wonder Woman movie or t.v. series effort floating through Hollywood (remember Lynda Carter as the old tv.v series Wonder Woman?  Here's your contest challenge:

e-mail me at Gordon_A@msn.com who you think should be cast as the new Wonder Woman and her sidekick Wonder Girl.  I'll select the winner in an upcoming review column, who will receive from That's Entertainment a free Wonder Woman graphic novel.  Get those entries in now!
-Alan Gordon


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