It is very important, I find, that one maintains a critical distance between what they like and themselves in order to accept that their object of content is not infallible. With this frame of mind, I read through Mike Baron, Jackson Guice and William Moesssner-Loebs’ Savage Velocity.
Hot off the heels of Barry Allen‘s death in Crisis on Infinite Earth‘s, Savage Velocity sees Wally West don his mentor’s signature red and gold for the first time; it is immediately odd, as Wally shows none of the weight he seems to shoulder when he first held his mentor’s costume after his demise in mourning or later in Mark Waid‘s epic run. On the contrary, Mike Baron’s Wally West is so unlikable it left me wondering why people grew up thinking of him as “their Flash” and struggled with Barry Allen‘s return later in Final Crisis (… don’t ask, it’s comics), when people are ready to dismiss new people taking up heroes’ mantles after a couple of issues in this day and age. Baron’s Wally is a womanizer, which Geoff Johns later addresses in his epic run, but also borderline misogynistic (and aggressively so), petty and sociopathic. Baron seeks to remove the Flash from his mythos and seeks to ground him in reality without either making him empathetic or even accepting the inherent silliness that he is a essentially man with the power to travel at the supernatural speeds. And that is without getting into trying to give Wally “real life” family problems by making his estranged father a lifelong android (a Manhunter from Green Lantern’s corner of the universe).
The last three issues seem to be a late course correction when writer William Moesssner-Loebs takes over, but in terms of a story collected in a single book it is too little too late. I wonder what he makes of the title later on, but for this first part of Wally’s tenure as the Flash, it definitely was too late in my opinion.
The Flash: Savage Velocity – review by Raphael Borg