Monday, February 25, 2008

Lesser Known Joe Casey Comics: The Flash #151

[Continuing my look at the lesser known Joe Casey comics. I bet you didn't even know he wrote an issue of The Flash! Well, shit, brother, neither did I until a month ago! You learn something new everyday. Like with every other lesser known Joe Casey comic, after discussing the issue, I will tell you if it should remain lesser known and forgotten or if it is the shit and you would be stupid not to rush out and dive into back-issues bins to get yourself a copy. New posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]

This is a fill-in issue with the frame (one page at the beginning and one at the end) provided by regular Flash writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn (by the way, Brian is by far the most popular name for comic writers--I currently have labels for 7 Brians--and one Bryan--what's up with that?). If you'll recall, this was the period where Wally West from an alternate universe or the future or something was the Flash and, here, he reads his journal and we get an old Kid Flash adventure.

The plot is basically, Kid Flash stops a Gorilla from stealing a fossil from the museum, thinking it's Gorilla Grodd, but it turns out that this is a nice gorilla sent to retreive the bones of one of his people that a hunter stole from sacred burial grounds. Now, they need to get the gorilla back to his city in less than 72 hours or cause a gorilla/human war. Oh, and Kid Flash destroyed the gorilla's rocket-pack.

Instead of doing the smart thing and contacting the Justice League, young Wally decides he can get the job done himself, because, lately, he's been feeling powerless since he's only 15 and can't even drive. He can run faster than damn near anyone in the world, but that's a secret and girls dig guys with cars.

This is a pretty entertaining issue that, like a lot of Casey's work, leads into one of his off-beat works--in this case, The Intimates. Casey does teen angst well, as it rarely comes off as whiny, instead is very relatable. He gives us a downside of being a superhero that we don't see very often and has him working with fellow teen heroes Robin and Aqualad. There's even a nice bit where Robin was going to help Kid Flash and the gorilla sneak aboard a Wayne Enterprises ship headed for Africa, but Batman overhears thanks to phonetaps and has the ship leave early. Batman = douchebag.

Wally here is very easy to relate to and you can understand why he doesn't want to call in the grown-ups. It's also very stupid not to, but the desire to solve the problem on his own and see it through is understandable.

It's not the most adventurous story Casey's ever written, but has a few trademarks, like when Wally stops the hunter by stealing his clothes at superspeed and catching a bullet--and then remarks, "KINDA ANTI-CLIMATIC, HUH?"

Should this issue remain forgotten? No. You should check it out. Solid done-in-one issues are rare and this fits in perfectly between Casey's Mr. Majestic and Intimates stuff. As well, fellow Man of Action Duncan Rouleau provides some great art.

On Wednesday, I'll look at Captain America annual '99.