Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Haunted Story of the Flash

Smallville HauntedIf anyone has noticed, I spend an exceptional time looking at Smallville comics in comparison to the normal New 52 continuity. I find the Neverwhere-verse version of the DC universe to be riveting. It’s a nice amalgam of what was and what could be for all DC characters while providing them in a real world scenario.

While the show focused heavily on Superman specifically, and the journey it would take of a small-town farm boy who is insecure in everything he does into the Man of Steel, Smallville (the comic) focuses more on the rest of the world. With light reminders that this did come from the show and that Superman is the beacon for the world. In all, it feels like Clark’s relevance is not over-emphasized, as it could be, but not so forgotten that fans cannot remember that he was the reason this world was started.

Smallville Haunted Part 3The last arc focused on Batman and how his relationship to Superman was working, but this arc does more than just introduce new characters and show the origin of their relationship with Superman. Miller did that exact opposite with this arc. In this arc, the audience is giving the return of the Fastest Man Alive; a guy who was one of the few people in Smallville to constantly pull one over on “slick” repeatedly.

Smallville Haunted 2If you haven’t guessed yet by all of the pictures, and had any experience with the DC universe, Flash is back. He was always quick – if not smooth- talking. His back story was sentimental and sympathetic when the character was introduced. He went through any means to survive. Being thought of as a freak, he was shunned and outcast. Trapped away from society would make anyway an easy target for certain interested parties. You know, like criminals. “When I sleep, I am just as slow as anyone else,” is what Bart is famous for saying, since sleeping in a place nicknamed Suicide Slums makes him paranoid and afraid for is life. As such the transition from a true outcast, who is afraid to close his eyes into The Fastest Man Alive who throws himself in harms way, eyes closed or not, is just as interesting as the origins of Superman.

Smaville Haunted Supes and FlashThe return of Flash does more than just move the story of Smallville forward. It does an excellent job of showing how far these former boys (now men) have grown in their time away from Smallville. Also, it goes to show that Flash is helping people all on his own because of the influence of Clark. Proving Clark is not just some stiff individual, who makes his life all about saving people. Both have personality traits from the other.

Smallville Haunted SupermanThey found a balance that made them both interesting to say the least. It helped give them characters that made them whole people, not just black and white simple characters from the 50s comics. These relationships and changes makes them their own, different from incarnations the audience has seen and leaving something memorable for this audience.

[toggle title=”SPOILER” state=”close” ]Now in this, Flash is “Haunted” by his greatest foe to date. He has to fight the very force that gives him his power: The Speed Force. For a creation to fight it’s creator puts Bart in an eye-openingly different situation. It’s something that makes him revert back to the boy from Suicide Slums who is afraid to close his eyes. That would make running his best option. For the Flash, that is kind of easy. Together with Clark, they confront the foe. But they do so Clark’s way: THE SMART WAY. As Kryptonite hurts Superman, it makes sense that Clark would understand the things that can hurt him instead of just fearing him. Clark helps extend that mentality to Bart. Which makes things a bit easier because there is precedence for having a Flash. Jay Garrick is less than helpful but that doesn’t take away from the whole picture. The story has it’s back and forth until the final confrontation with the Speed Force monster.[/toggle]

There are two additional interesting developments. One, they reconfirm something about Superman’s power set. Fans who love the Flash like saying Superman’s speed is derived from the Speed Force because all things that are fast are derived from the speed force. In the words of Lex Luthor from Superman Returns, “WRONG!”

Do you see what you specific fans have done to me? You made me remember Superman Returns! DAMMIT!

Superman’s speed is NOT derived from the Speed Force. If it was, he would be much faster than he already is.

Two, Flash was given the Speed Force to command. Which makes it HIS. It does not command him, he commands it.

[toggle title=”SPOILER” state=”close” ]With this power, he can do whatever he wants with it, including running through time. However, Flash does something much more dangerous. He uses it to defeat the Speed Force monster. He does this as Clark is in a suit that lets him siphon the Speed Force, making him ridiculously fast.[/toggle]

Flash diesBut at the end of this story, there were a good portion of flashback, making the audience who watched the show really enjoy what was there. In the words of internet people, it gave people “feels.” In my opinion, the story made the audience relate to Flash once more and to Superman. Once more, Superman has lost someone else in his journey. It has to be remembered that Superman will outlive those who come before him and those currently in his life.

This story serves for so many purposes: the end of an old friend and new hero, a reminder to Clark, a good side story for Chloe making her relevant and showing for everyone that too much power has consequences.

Overall, the story was really strong. Every page had a purpose. The side story did its job, making side characters more important. The main story shows changes, both new and old. It reminds fans once more what a hero is. 

“A hero is made in the moment, not from questioning the past or fearing what’s to come.” And Flash’s death made him a hero. The choice to stand, fight, protect those who cannot protect themselves.

This story had everything it needed. The interaction between characters was something right off the screen. Making the Speed Force into a monster was something I had not seen, so the new ideas were well done in every way. If you are going to pick up any Smallville comic to date, this is it. Usually a story rubs me the wrong way in one way or another; instead, this story made me have a new found respect for this The Flash. With nerdy references left and right, proper character growth and interaction, and an interesting story, Smallville Haunted is definitely worth the read. It’s only failing is not a failing, more like a small irk. It found yet another way to make Superman stronger.

But, that is only an irk. It does not really hurt the story. Personally, I think the reason these stories are so good is because Bryan Miller, former writer for the Smallville TV show, had ideas for the show but due to lack of budget, casting problems, or the fact that the show may have overstayed its welcome, they never were seen. Therefore might be being seen now. It is still very good to see these stories whatever the reasons may be. I, for one, am not complaining.

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He loves his comics, focusing on DC comics. He is majoring to be an engineer and loves all forms of Science Fiction. Fantasy has a special place in his heart.

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