Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Back Issue Spotlight: The Brave and The Bold#28

Happy Hump Day people!

Enjoying today? No? Yes?

Well today's a treat for you guys, in that I'm bringing back the Back Issue Spotlight, and what an issue to spotlight.

Back before the dreaded reboot, DC launched the old Silver Age anthology title, The Brave and The Bold with Mark Waid and George Perez behind the helm.

Well after they left, and some quick in and out fill-in teams, JMS took over the title. Now yes, he's a total divisive person when discussing his work, but he really seemed to thrive in the new B&B setting.

His love of DC characters really showed here, especially in this particular issue that I really, really love.

Now at first glance, you'd wonder, now how in the hell are the Flash(Barry Allen here) and the WW2-era Blackhawks going to meet?

Well that get's easily explained way as Barry's helping a French scientist test this new multi-spectrum laser in order to gain a better understanding of the properties and frequencies of light.

Barry races the laser beam, but gets caught up in the laser beam's field.
And BAM! Barry's now lost in time.

Explanation solved;)

From there, Barry quickly realizes where he's at due to Nazi soldiers shooting at him.
Oh and he can't run, because he also has a broken leg. Good way to handicap an easy fix on Barry's part with his powers right?

That's when Barry stumbles onto the Blackhawks....and right away the traditional hero meets hero fight then settle things out is done right here:

After a quick explanation the Blackhawks barely believe until Barry names a crucial bit of history for them, they all get attacked by an incoming squad of Nazis.

It;s here that JMS and the book's artist Jesus Saiz really shine is showing Barry's internal conflict about using a gun, despite being a cop himself.

Barry, not wanting to use a gun, comes up with the quick and brilliant idea to just toss bricks at the Nazi super-speed style instead. While it doesn't kill them, it still has to hurt like hell to be hit by a fucking brick at super-speed!

But the leader of the Blackhawks isn't amused, and chastises Barry for not killing the Nazi solders since they're at war.

It's then that Barry wonders off and and finds a dead US Soldier's uniform, and puts it on.

That scene right there, is what really convinced me to buy this issue. Barry says "The Flash doesn't kill. The Flash doesn't carry a gun. But Barry Allen, American, can do those things in the uniform of his country, which is at war."

Don't ask me why that line and scene tend to choke me up a bit, but it does.
If only the writers of the new Superman movie had read this and really, really thought about having Superman kill at the end, then maybe that wouldn't be exploited by DC, as they're doing now, in a poor attempt to sell readers on the premise of the "Trinity War" that's going on right now.


But I digress. Trust me if you weren't a fan of Barry Allen before, this issue should take care of that problem after your done reading it. Because I kinda liked Barry(preferring Wally more since he's the Flash I grew up with) but after reading this, I damn sure respect him all the more.

So Barry, sans Flash outfit and use of powers(remember he still has that broken leg) fights with the Blackhawks for an untold number of weeks.

Afterwards, the leader of the Blackhawks(his name's never revealed) asks Barry if they win the war and if it was all worth it.

Barry says yes they win the war, but that there are more wars that follow it, but ultimately yes, it was worth it.

Barry says "There are still men and women out there dying every day. There've been more wars, more fighting, more death. But the country is still the country. It has its flaws, and it isn't always right, but it's still intact. And I guess that's all that matters."

Such a very appropriate assessment of history then, and now.

Barry grabs his Flash uniform and heads back into the laser beam field as soon as it materializes, and goes back home.

The scientist says that Barry was only gone for a few seconds, despite the untold number of weeks that passed by for Barry.

The scientist is excited as hell by what's happened to the Flash, saying "Extraordinary!"
Barry says "No. what I do, what I've done, isn't extraordinary. They were extraordinary."

Couldn't have said any better myself.

Again, I love JMS' run on B&B, and highly, highly, highly recommend reading it.


karl said...

I got every issue of this series when it first came out, and it was a real curate's egg of styles.
I have only read half of the issues up to now, as I only collected for appearances by the LSH, the Fatal Five, Doom Patrol and the Challengers of the Unknown.
I did like the subtle arc plot that ran thru the first twelve issues, a decent attempt to bring some structure to a book that has different team-ups each issue.
Some good writer and artist mash-ups too.

Dale Bagwell said...

@Karl: Right? I need to read Waid/Perez's run since it was essentially a 12-issue storyline, but yeah, JMS' run just did it for me. I guess the personal stories and added new spins on old and older, unused favorites just spoke to me. I still have a couple more issues of his run to collect, but damn, what good reads!

Randomnerd said...

Say what you want about JMS, but he always knows where he's going. I guess that's why he was a good fit for Barry. His knowledge of overall story structure allows him to explore the inbetweens better than a lot of modern storytellers. This is one of my favorite Barry stories. Thanks for letting me relive it, Dale. :) It made hump day a lot easier to swallow.

Dale Bagwell said...

@Random....Ah I see what you did there;)

Again, I know his work hasn't always pleased, like his disastrous runs on Superman and WW, but it's here with his B&B work that never fails to entertain and make the reader think.
he just seems to make these characters shine and make 'em look better than they were when he found them. The hallmark of any truly good writer.

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