The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive: Lightning in a Bottle

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How is it possible for so much to happen in such a little comic??

The FlashFastest Man Alive continues the Flash legacy.  After Infinite Crisis, Bart Allen  has returned to our world, but somehow he’s aged 4 years. What’s more, Wally West and family are nowhere to be found, and Bart has no memory of what transpired in his missing year.  All we know is that the speed force is gone, and Bart is just trying to live a normal life.

Of course, we all know it’s not that easy, and while Bart is working at Keystone Motors there’s an explosion that somehow gives his friend Griffen superpowers.

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Unlike other heroes, Griffin is in it for the fame and money, quickly skyrocketing to a level of popularity within the city by saving lives, even if it means killing to do so.

These powers come with a price, as Griffin begins rapidly aging every time he uses them. We learn that the speed force isn’t really gone, but has somehow changed and mutated.  The speed force now lives within Bart himself, and he struggles to deal with its unpredictability, wishing he could remove the power.

This is a poor summation simply because there’s so much happening in the trade.  While Bart deals with adjusting to life as an embodiment of the speed force, he draws closer to Val Mota, a tech at S.T.A.R. labs, who just so happens to be the daughter of the Flash villain.

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The smoochin’ means they’re a couple now, in case you missed it.  Of course, there’s a bit of a “will they, won’t they” storyline in here, but it’s pretty obvious from the start that these two have a connection, so this was pretty inevitable.

That is, until Val’s father kidnaps her and leaves a note, telling Bart she’s moving away.  My only complaint with this trade is that this storyline isn’t wrapped up here. I’m really hoping Mistah J has the continuation on “the shelf”, because I’d like to know where this all goes.

The comic closes with Bart officially adopting the Flash persona, as he finally remembers where Wally and co. are: Living on one of the alternate Earths, meaning they’re out of the story for now, but will inevitably make a return at some point.

I love the Flash, but there are just so damn many of them. Jay, Barry, Wally, Bart, not to mention all of the other speedsters who work with them.  It must be tough to juggle so many characters, wanting to include them all yet being forced to pick and choose, simply because it gets a bit confusing with multiple Flashes running around.  That’s one of my only complaints about characters like Flash and Green Lantern: the title is a bit of a revolving door, passing from person to person with some regularity.  It keeps things fresh, but it can also make storylines convoluted.  I guess I tend to prefer the consistency of Batman over the ever-changing characters in these comics.  Still, it makes it easier for new fans to jump into the story, so I can’t fault them for that. This was a pretty solid comic overall, and it’s nice to see how far Bart’s come in his role as a speedster.  He’d make his grandfather proud.

-Jess

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