FLASH: THE HUMAN RACE (DC)
Written by Grant Morrison & Mark Millar, drawn by Paul Ryan, Ron Wagner, Pop Mhan, Joshua Hood & Mike Probeck
Collects Flash Vol. 2 #136-141, Secret Origins #50
Even though I have great respect for what Geoff Johns did with the character, my favorite version of Wally West was the crazy horn dog from Justice League Europe. He was very fun, to me he was what I always heard Spider-Man to be, cracking jokes and loving the whole superhero thing, but looking to get down whenever possible. Books like this one and Johns’ trades are swaying me more towards the dating Linda Park version of the character. Mind you, I always liked LInda and Wally when he was with her, but it always seemed like when your crazy friend starts dating someone and starts to calm down. You still like him, you just kind of miss the old version of him. Anyway, this is the second trade collecting Morrison and Millar’s run on the book, but you don’t really need to have read the previous book to understand this one. The trade collects two basic storylines, the first being Wally running across dimensions against his supposed imaginary friend from childhood for the fate of the world and the second being Wally dealing with Linda’s apparent death and the Black Flash. Both stories are great, as you might expect from the pairing of writers (though I’m no fan of Millar).
The book does a great job of showing why Wally is cool without telling you, which is something that Johns hasn’t been doing a great job of with Barry since his return in my opinion. First off, he saves the whole universe by running. It sounds simple, but it’s across time and space, so not only does it look cool, but really gets into his head in some smart ways that I really liked. Then, you see Wally at one of the lowest points of his life. He basically quits on the hero gig because he lost his speed and is devastated by Linda’s death. He does come back, though and that’s what makes him a hero. The inclusion of the Morrison-written Flash Secret Origin story is a nice extra that I appreciate for completist sake. The art in the book is kind of all over the place, but the Pop Mahn stuff really stands out for me.
HUMAN TARGET (Vertigo)
Written by Peter Milligan, drawn by Edvin Biukovic
Collects Human Target #1-4
After checking out an episode of Human Target on Fox, I wanted to read the comic to see how similar the two are. And the answer seems to be very little. I know this Vertigo take on the character probably doesn’t exclusively follow the history set up in his previous adventures, though it does seem like it would fit in, but the whole concept of the Human Target in comics is that Christopher Chance takes on the potential victim’s identity to draw out assassins and take care of them. From what I could tell of the one episode I saw (and I haven’t seen any more after that) he’s just a bodyguard, so I’m not sure why they bothered shelling out the licensing fees for just the names. Anyway, this book is okay, but not necessary for anyone to read. The plot is a bit overcomplicated with Chance’s former assistant actually taking on Chance’s identity and then that of a pastor. His problem is that he wants to be anyone but himself, which laves his wife in the lurch. Milligan handles all the twists and turns of the story well, but I felt like the story should have been more about Chance himself and not him dealing with his old protege. It reminded me of 100 Bullets, but didn’t hit me anywhere as much as that book did on a nearly monthly basis. Also, Biukovic’s art looks a lot like Eduardo Risso’s but it’s a little more rounded. So, while this book didn’t really do anything for me, I would like to check out some other Human Target comics because I like the concept. It’s such a strong concept, in fact, that they should make a TV show out of it.
BOOSTER GOLD: REALITY LOST (DC)
Written & drawn by Dan Jurgens with some Chuck Dixon issues
Collects Booster Gold Vol. II #11, 12, 15-19
This is the third trade collecting what I think has been a great run on a book starring a character I’ve had a fondness for since I first picked up Extreme Justice and some other Justice League books backin my formative years. Since his 52-era reboot, Booster’s been running around keeping time safe for humanity learning lessons about what you can go back and save and what you can’t. You might think this isn’t the best place to start, but issues #11 and 12 were written by Dixon who took over from Geoff Johns and my buddy Jeff Katz and then Jurgens takes over as writer with issues #15. I’ve gotta say that it bugs me anytime a trade like this doesn’t just collect everything in one volume. Would it really have been such a difficult task to include the two issues written by Rick Remender and drawn by Pat Oliffe? I’m not a big fan of those guys thanks to how the ruined All Star Atom at the very end, but I’d rather be able to skip some issues in a book than have to read things all out of order.
Anyway, the story starts off with what should have been a simple stopping of a crime and ends up involving several trips back to the same Killer Moth job. Dixon wrote these and while they might seem like throwaways, Jurgens uses them later on in his story which involves all kinds of time travel, past stories and two Boosters teaming up to fight a former colleague of Rip Hunter’s. The story did get a little confusing because it goes in and out of previous issues and I always wonder what happened in the issues that aren’t collected. But, it will go back on the shelf with the first two trades so I can read them all in one sitting later. Also, Jurgens has been killing it art-wise on this book as far as I’m concerned which is great because after Battle For Bludhaven, I really thought he had lost it.