FlashBack is a series of articles where I review comic book story arcs featuring The Flash. For those of you unfamiliar, the Flash is a superhero in the DC universe, he is known for his super speed and his quick wit. Flash is my favorite superhero, and I have a somewhat extensive collection of the character’s comics. This week’s segment is the “Finish Line” story arc. Or at least that’s what I think it is called, seeing as the first issue cover shows that it is “Finish Line: Part One”, yet every other issue has a different title. This was a tad bit confusing, as I thought I had some missing issues somewhere while reading it. This story arc spans four issues from The Flash Volume 2 issue #227-230.
Let’s just cut to the chase shall we? This story arc just isn’t that good. It isn’t horrible and has some redeemable qualities to it, but as an overall story it, it is very messy. Perhaps my expectations were just too high when it came to this arc. This arc has a new writer taking over from Geoff John’s first highly successful run on The Flash. The story arc before this one, “Rogue War,” was highly entertaining and extremely character driven, while still managing to bring us an intriguing and engaging plot. “Finish Line,” written by Joey Cavalieri, is poorly plotted and very confusing at times. My main issue with this book is that the Flash has a terrible dream at the beginning of each issue. Major events happen in these dream sequences that are never even brought up again the entire issue. They are simply there for “dramatic” purposes, but end up being annoying and off-putting.
The plot is very average and it doesn’t take long to figure out where the book is going (it gives away a big plot point that could have been saved for later in issue one). The reveal wasn’t very surprising. In the book, Wally West (Flash) is spending time with his wife and her parents, they tell him that they want their children to be spiritual. So he checks out the church that they go to to see if he likes it. He discovers that there is a group of super-powered beings living below the church who live in a utopian dimension. They tell the Flash that he and his family can live there as long as he can get them something called “the summoner” from the Flash Museum, because someone they know is dying. And while I understand that the Flash or any superhero for that matter would rush to help the dying woman, the Flash is too trusting of these people he has just met. The fact that he doesn’t even know what the summoner does, and the fact that it’s called the summoner, should be a dead give-a-way that it’s not very nice.
He gives the church “the summoner” and surprise, surprise, they use it to bring a comet to earth. Why? Because their leader is none other than Vandal Savage, the immortal human who ALWAYS tries to bring a comet to earth. To Cavalieri’s credit, he does have the Flash bring up the fact that Vandal has done this a million times before, and that it is getting old. In the end, the Flash manages to reverse the comet, and save the earth from destruction. And everyone and their mothers lived happily ever after.
This issue had so much wasted potential it isn’t funny. The story could have been an internal struggle for Wally, whether he should leave our world and the city he once protected so his family could be safe and live in the awesome utopia that was set in front of him, or should he stay in our world where his family could get hurt. This could have been a great metaphor for living a spiritual life and living a secular life. I honestly thought that is where the story was going with the first issue until the end.
However, the arc isn’t all bad. The dialogue, when not being cliché hero/villain comeback lines, is actually pretty entertaining and worth reading. But that is the only positive that I could find in the entire story. The art was the best part about the entire arc. Val Semeiks knows his character design and gets everyone of them down pat. While the story may not be interesting story-wise, it is great art-wise.
Overall the story is lame as all get out, the plotting is horrendous and the villain is just straight up boring. The only real “character development” we get is from the Flash and that’s only because we are forced to read through nonsensical dream sequences, EVERY. SINGLE. ISSUE. The art shines through all the crap though and remains the only the redeemable factor.
I give The Flash: “Finish Line” 2 out of 10 pocket protectors.