Morrison/Millar: Not Necessarily Suckage

FLASH #136-138, DC Comics, April to June 1998Another Grant Morrison/Mark Millar co-production is The Human Race story arc on the Flash, a series I dearly loved through the Mark Waid years and can't believe I didn't do a single review of yet. These three issues are a fine example of Silver Age retro-madness and proof that Millar doesn't always sour Morrison's sauce.

The basic plot has some giant Galactus-like Kirbyesque alien gamblers force the Flash, Wally West, to run a race across space-time against his imaginary friend from when he was a kid. Silver Agey enough for you? This stuff is crazy with a capital K. Really, the only difference I can find between a story like this told now rather than in the 50s or 60s is that the characters aren't smiling through the whole thing (a crucial difference that makes the story believable).

So if Wally doesn't win this race, our entire world dies. The stakes are extremely high, and Wally describes his journey to the people of Earth via a headset, his lifelines being the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick, and the love of his life, Linda Park (that's her name, I swear it's not a symptom of my Enterprise withdrawal). His opponent in the race is Krakkl, a fuzzy animal-shaped critter made of radio waves from a planet that seems populated with tv cameras. He's Flash's equivalent of Bat-Mite, Mr. Mxyzptlk or Aquaman's Quisp. Before Wally was even Kid-Flash, he used to talk to Krakkl over the short-wave radio, but he's not real, is he?
Totally ridiculous, but he's won 6 races to date, and there lies the problem: Even if Wally wins, he'll have to run again and again and again until he loses. It's the friggin' Kobayashi Maru. His world hangs in the balance too, but he at least considers himself a friend of Wally's, and he's a little tired of the race. And it's quite a race: Through black holes, to the Big Bang and back, to Krypton as it blows up, and through a dinosaur hunt with prehistoric Guardians of the Universe. Even the pit stops are insane:
Where's the Little Prince when you need someone to wash your feet? Out getting screwed by a fox, no doubt. But did I say Kobayashi Maru? That's right, Wally pulls a Captain Kirk in Wrath of Khan and refuses the no-win scenario, and then he pulls a Captain Kirk in The Gamesters of Triskelion (you know, the one with the candy-colored brains) and offers the Gamblers his own wager.Great double-take, right there. Oh you think I'm projecting my Trekkie obsessions on the script after all? I'm not. Wally got those ideas from Star Trek directly! Don't believe me? Here's a shot of his room as a kid:
Barry Allen Flash stuff, of course. One photo of the Elongated Man (that's like having heavy metal band posters all over your room, plus one of Hansen) and... a model of the USS Enterprise!

And Wally's is a pretty cool plan that involves saving both worlds from the Gamblers, and everyone on Earth running for our mutual survival. Hey, in '98, I did my part. Did you?

2 comments:

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Some of your pictures are in the wrong spot. Thought you might like to know.

Siskoid said...

Thanks!

Been trying to post on the run while on tour with my improv troupe. Thankfully, I'm back and will be able to spot mistakes quicker!

 

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