This week, Mark Waid makes his
triumphant return to the Flash, a title he produced probably the best work he's done in superhero comics to date. I crossed off triumphant, because this one-shot, which is designed to bridge the gap between the end of the previous Flash series and the re-starting of the Wally West Flash series, is just about as triumphant as one would expect from a comic that is designed to bridge the gap between the end of the previous Flash series and the re-starting of the Wally West Flash series - which is not much.
The comic details what Wally and his wife, Linda, and their children Jai and Iris, were doing when the events at the end of the Lightning Saga took place. It then shows Wally's reaction to the murder of Bart Allen.
The opening scene is interesting, in that there was actually an edit made, APPARENTLY (as I cannot imagine why else it would be changed) because of folks pointing out that Superman did not, in fact, codename Bart "Impulse," as the original preview version of All-Flash #1 said. Now it just reads "He got codenamed Impulse." Pretty silly, huh?
The artwork was done by about 112 different artists (actually just five), and it is pretty impressive how cohesive the comic actually stands up, artistically. That was well done. I liked Karl Kerschl's pages the most - he opens the book strong (and comes back for an emotional confrontation between Wally and the villain who masterminded Bart's death).
Essentially, the book revolves around two points - 1. Reminiscing about/mourning Bart's death and 2. Wally despairing over the thought that it was his return that resulted in Bart being stripped off his powers, which led to the Rogues being able to (sigh) kick him to death.
Waid does a good job with the material he's being given to work with, and I think that Flash #231 might be very well be a good comic book (it appears from the short preview artwork by Daniel Acuna in the book that Waid is going to be taking a sort of The Incredibles approach to Wally, Linda and the kids, which could be a lot of fun) - this comic, though, is strictly filling in the gaps so that Waid can start Flash #231 off without having to address this stuff.
On that note, it's probably a good idea, in that it keeps Waid from HAVING to address all these plot points in his main comic book, and allowing him to just tell a good comic book story in Flash #231.
That's all well and good for Flash #231, but for this issue, All-Flash #1, it results in a sort of checklist of plot points that needed to be addressed, rather than a true comic narrative. It reads as poorly as most issues of Countdown (which also seem to be written with that checklist type of storytelling, as well), and that is not a good thing.
So for this issue, Not Recommended.
However, I am still ready for Mark Waid's REAL triumphant return to the Flash in the pages of Flash #231!