Inspiried by G-Man "Garage Reviews" segment on the Vine I've decided to start doing my own. So, I went to my comic book collection and tried to pick something out. I had a bunch of issues I wanted to go back and review but I decided to go with an old Geoff Johns Flash to start. Since Johns has been in the spotlight for a while I thought it would be interesting to go back and read one of his earlier works and see how it hold up today. Is he as good as he is now with his current Flash run and Blackest Night/ Brightest Day/ Green Lantern? Well it's time to find out!
For the review I chose The Flash #165, simply because the cover struck me as interesting. I have most of The Flash vol. 2, from Waid through Johns but this one really stuck out. When I picked it up I remember thinking, Aquaman didn't die in a Flash book... I couldn't remember the plot of this arc at all.
This issue is actually part 2 of the arc, the first part is actually John's first issue of The Flash. In the first issue Wally wakes up under arrest and the world has never heard of him or The Flash, and he has lost his powers. While he's in jail Captain Cold shows up to free him. Chapter Two starts off with Wally in front of gravestones of each of the speedsters. We see stones for Jesse Quick, Rival, Max Mercury, Impulse, Inertia, Professor Zoom, Johnny Quick, Kid Flash, the Tornado Twins, Savitar, and even Speed Demon. The chapter also start with a Lewis Carroll quote, which is interesting and kind of cool. I've always been a fan of Carroll and I love when authors quote songs or books in the beginning of a chapter or book.
The next page starts with a Captain Cold narration in which he gives a little back-story about himself, and it's kinda funny because he makes fun of his own name... Leonard Snart. It is a pretty ridiculous name... He's about to do something he'd never expected he would... team-up with The Flash! Cold explains to Wally that the last thing he remembered was he was being chased by him then he woke up and now Keystone City is "upside down" and he doesn't even elaborate on what happened to Central City, he just say's "...well I'll have to show you". You know trouble is brewin' when Captain Cold is scared enough to work with Flash. Soon cops show up to try to take them down and Cold freezes a dudes jaw and punches it right off... OUCH!... probably killed the guy. Cold kills some cops and of course Wally is pissed and flips out telling him to stop killing people.
They escape and Wally says they need to find Jay Garrick, he's the one who caused this all. They head for Jay's house and find his wife, now married to another man. The guy is a drunk and pushes her so Wally attacks him, and has Cold take him inside so he can talk to Joan alone. Next there's a great scene of Captain Cold drinking booze and narrating about his parents house. He finds a book titles "Death of a Hero" and seems angry, but the drunk man tries to attack him and is frozen solid. Wally tells Joan to leave her new man because Jay wouldn't want her to suffer that. Cold shows up and tells Wally that she'll be okay, him and Edward "shook on it" and they take off.
They head for Jay's grave and find it and see that he was never the Flash and neither was anyone else. Cold shows Wally the book "Death of a Hero". Without a speedster, Mr. Terrific was killed in action during a fight with someone named Stalker, it hurt American morale so bad that we dropped the A-Bomb on Berlin and destroyed Germany. The JSA with Starman, Dr. Fate, Alan Scott, and others took out Germany and soon after retired out of shame. Decades later the Justice League of America started, with no Flash again. In a battle with Starro, Aquaman was killed because there was no Barry to save him. After this incident many alien heroes were rounded up or killed. Next the Teen Titans were formed, Aqualad was their leader. In a battle with Mr. Twister many of the Teen Titans were killed without Wally to save them. Then everyone started going crazy, trying to get their own vigilante justice. Wally and Cold arrive at Central City and they see it is almost destroyed. The Shade, The Thinker, and Fiddler had a war over it and it was left in rubble.
Wally then figures out that they did have a war, but it was over Keystone City not Central City, and Captain Cold is right handed, yet he is holding his gun in his left hand, everything is opposite and they are in Mirror World. Next thing we know, the police show up and Barry is with them, he recognized Wally and we are left hanging.
This is a pretty damn good story, for Geoff's second issue of The Flash. The story still holds up today as a great book and the arc is a lot of fun. Mirror Master shows up later on and you get to see some cool stuff. I don't know if Johns was a good back then as he is now, it's tough to say... Blackest Night was a real masterpiece and so is his run on Green Lantern. It's cool to see how even then Johns was using old stories from the Silver and Golden ages and working them into his stories. I'd give this issue a solid 4/5 and the arc is definitely worth the read.