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The Flash (1987) (New Editions) #1

The Flash: Savage Velocity

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Welcome Wally West!

After the devastating loss of his mentor, Barry Allen, former sidekick Wally West must take up his idol's mantle as the Scarlet Speedster! But at only 20 years old, is Wally ready to drop the "Kid" and be the world's one and only Flash?

In his first year as the Flash, Wally must face the immortal super-villain Vandal Savage, tech terror Kilg%re, human black hole Chunk, and more, all while fearing he's not living up to his new title. Plus, a new speed-enhancing drug triggers a spree of super-speed robberies--but how can Wally stop the spread of Velocity 9 when all of his enemies are now just as fast as he is?

Writers Mike Baron (Nexus) and William Messner-Loebs (Wonder Woman) and artist Jackson Guice (Birds of Prey) kick off the adventures of Wally West as the Flash for the first time. The Flash: Savage Velocity collects stories from Flash #1-18 and Flash Annual #1.

480 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2020

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Mike Baron

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews857 followers
May 29, 2021
The death of the Flash, sees Wally West pick up the mantle, and his own comic, a huge change to The Flash franchise post Crisis. 6 out of 12.
I read the comic books collecting Mike Baron's The Flash run - The Flash volume two #1-14 and Annual #1, but it's great to see that there's now a graphic novel available.
Profile Image for Chad.
7,720 reviews868 followers
September 28, 2020
I'm glad to see DC finally reprinting some of these runs from the 80's that have never been collected before and I really hope they collect the rest of William Messner-Loeb's time on the book. Mike Baron's writing doesn't hold up very well here though. You can see his misogynistic views coming through the writing. Wally treats women like garbage and is just a straight up jerk throughout. There are some interesting villains, Vandal Savage, Kilg%re, Blue Trinity, Speed Demon, along with the speed drug Velocity 9. So if you're really curious about Wally West's early days as The Flash, this might be worth a read.
Profile Image for Gus Casals.
51 reviews14 followers
October 25, 2020
For a whole generation, this is THE Flash. Wally, greedy Wally, horny Wally. Mike Baron got a brief for "different" and he ran with it. Messner-Loebs (also present in the collection) perfected it, and Waid, who gets all the credit, only did so standing on their shoulders.
So many of the concepts in these year and a half of stories have been influential for over 30 years and across all media: Chunk, Tina McGee, reinvigorated Vandal Savage, Velocity 9... and of course, Wally himself.
Baron's joke was making Wally rich, Messner-Loebs to make him dirt poor. Both work. The latter also set up a year long story that has me wishing for a second volume of this ASAP, which would include my all-time favorite issue, 24, as well as the actual return of a full-blown Flash.
The art is more of a mixed bag. Guice, as Baron, was going for all-different, but not always successful. Also, he did not complete a year worth of stories, with professional-but-neutral Mike Collins filling in. Then comes in LaRoque, who is an acquired taste, but who would complete a healthy 5-year + run on the book, and in my eyes, Wally is his Wally.
Enjoyed reading through these stories again, and could not put it away. here's to more collections!
Profile Image for Philip.
360 reviews7 followers
June 22, 2021
Most of this collection doesn’t hold up so great after 30+ years. However, the last 4 issues (the ones written by William Messner-Loebs) are great, developing the supporting characters quite a bit, and introducing new ones. I fervently hope DC continues to collect this run, so Messner-Loebs’ issues see print again.
Profile Image for Shannon Appelcline.
Author 22 books138 followers
November 4, 2021
It's easy to forget how phenomenal Mike Baron's run of The Flash was. But his The Flash #1 is a groundbreaking and revolutionary issue that simultaneously treats Wally as a real person and considers his speed from the perspective of real physics. The result is a foundational change in The Flash.

The pseudo-realism cuts back a bit after the first few issues, which is a shame, but there's still plenty of great material in Baron's run, including the usage of Vandal Savage as Wally's archvillain, the introduction of Tina McGee, and the introduction of new speedsters such as Speed Demon, Red Trinity, and the Velocity 9 Junkies. They're nice tight stories, with a good villain, and a good supporting cast.

I was prepared for a big downgrade when William Messner-Loebs took over, but at least in these early issues, it's a slow fall. Even if he annoyingly reverses Baron's ironic final takedown of Savage, Messner-Loebs still provides some decent stories for Savage and for Speed McGee. But, it's hard to love the new supporting cast he's creating, with people like Mason (who?) and Chunk. Baron's pseudo-realism is slowly turning to Messner-Loebs' farce.

Overall, though, it's great to get this Baron run finally back in print, and though I don't think the Messner-Loebs issues were actually necessary to finish the story, they're still an interesting coda.
Profile Image for Nicholas Palmieri.
133 reviews3 followers
December 18, 2019
The first few issues were good, but Baron lost steam pretty quickly, and I'm not a fan of the early Guice art (those unintentionally misproportioned legs...). The later Baron issues were terrible- lifeless and anticlimactic. However, the last four issues collected here, written by Bill Messner-Loebs, are a masterclass in how to take a few poorly executed concepts from another writer and reconfigure them into a great superhero soap opera. In his first issue alone, he weaved together almost all of the characters and concepts that Baron had introduced but failed to develop. Really looking forward to reading the rest of Loebs's run.
Profile Image for Michael Malloy.
82 reviews
August 29, 2021
I didn't love it it but didn't hate it either. It started off good, really lacked in the middle and the 4 issues by Messner-Loebs saved it at the end. Hoping DC keeps the run going.
Profile Image for John.
1,662 reviews32 followers
August 28, 2020
This starts out inspired, but quickly ran out of speed. I like Baron's approach--it's got the deconstruction of the Flash needing high caloric intake, clothing that deconstructs, etc. His insane metabolism affects his lifestyle. He can't slow down!

Vandal Savage wanting to harvest superhero organs is also a fun idea.

And this superhero f*cks. He's in his 20s and dating a lot. I think he sleeps with six women during the run. Pretty risque for the 80s.

But then there's a lot of suspension of disbelief such as Wally West winning the lottery at the end of the issue. And the woman he's dating--her ex-husband is a super-villian who becomes jealous. Baron simultaneously does an excellent job of updating the character to the times, but also falls pray to some eye-rolling melodrama.
Profile Image for Andrew.
736 reviews17 followers
December 26, 2020
Collects the first 18 issues of the Wally West Flash. That's the entirety of the Mike Baron run, plus the first four issues of William Messner-Loebs. Baron's Wally West is a believably dumb and directionless 20 year old, with an overbearing mother and a string of stupid romantic decisions. I enjoyed Baron's focus on the physical demands of Wally's superhuman speed -- he's constantly eating and sleeping for 16 hours at a time.

Baron has an absurd sense of humor and a bit of a mean streak. That, combined with apparent disinterest in coherent plotting, pushes this towards satire rather than straight superhero comics. This sensibility works surprisingly well with Butch Guice's stiff but technically proficient art. There's a noticable drop in quality once Mike Collins takes over from Guice late in Baron's run, and Baron makes a half-hearted attempt at an actual storyline.

Messner-Loebs would write Flash comics for a long time and eventually add his own stamp to the character, but his four issues here are just a dutiful clean-up job, tying off as many of Baron's many loose ends as possible. The Greg LaRoque art is a nice return to form after the bland Collins issues.
1,602 reviews10 followers
November 16, 2020
Reprints The Flash (2) #1-18 and Annual #1 (June 1987-November 1988). Barry Allen is dead, and after years as Kid Flash, Wally West discovers he is now stepping into Barry’s shoes. Being Flash isn’t easy for Wally who doesn’t have a secret identity, but when Wally hits the lottery, Wally discovers his luck is changing. With more speedsters, and more danger, Wally finds being the Flash is a whole different level than his days as a Teen Titan…and when Vandal Savage targets him, Wally better watch out!

Written by Mike Baron and William Messner-Loebs, The Flash: Savage Velocity is a DC Comics superhero collection. The volume follows the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths which relaunched much of the DC Universe and also included the death of the Silver Age Flash Barry Allen. The collection features art by Jackson Guice, Mike Collins, and Greg LaRocque.

Despite having Barry Allen in things like The Flash TV series and Super Friends, Wally West was always my preferred Flash. When I started the jump from being a complete Marvel reader to picking up some DC Comics, it was in the thick of Wally’s “run” and I found him to be a much more identifiable character than many of DC’s big names like Batman or Superman…reading The Flash: Terminal Velocity, I found that it was a long and painful road to get there.

The series really struggles. While much of the comic could have revolved around the changes in Wally’s life simply by taking on a new title, the comic decided to focus in on the really negative aspects of Wally’s life. The lottery “deus ex machina” was a wild card that kept Wally from being Peter Parker and always looking for his next paycheck…but it also kind of turned him into a womanizing jerk that treats everyone around him poorly.

He jumps from woman to woman (rarely breaking up) and he even has some racists undertones that Cyborg picks up on in an exchange about “chitlins and gravy”…it doesn’t make him very likable. In fact, no one in the series is likable. Everyone’s worst aspects seems magnified. It feels like an attempt to make Wally “human” gone wrong.

In addition to that, the story completely stalls. The series takes too long to get into events and the Vandal Savage storyline stretches almost the entire first eighteen issues. It would have been nice to see more variety in the title and maybe bring in characters that aren’t normally Flash villains since Wally isn’t “the Flash” of old. A Teen Titan villain or two might have been what was needed.

The Flash: Savage Velocity is a struggle. While the collection is nice and big, it had me wishing I was reading Waid or Johns’ runs instead. Despite this, I would continue to get The Flash collections to see how Flash evolved…not only that it would be nice to see him get past the sleeping and eating phase of his powers (that also slows the story down). I hope The Flash: Savage Velocity gets a sequel and that eventually we’ll see it merge with The Flash by Mark Waid to finish the whole 1987 Flash comic book run in reprints.
Profile Image for Brian Rogers.
821 reviews5 followers
March 1, 2021
This is a real mixed bag. The initial stories are Baron doing a rapid cut, almost disjointed book emphasizing the characters immaturity and speed. Wally, always the midwest Republican in a Teen Titans full of coastal Democrats in the Wolfman/Perez run this is building off of, becomes more ideologically shallow while his parents have a Post-Crisis retcon moving from being a fine loving family Wally has to remember to slow down and spend more time with (in Titans) to a dysfunctional hot mess where his dad is a grifter latching on to a galactic conspiracy as part of his big chance and his mother as a stymied, scared woman who feels she's wasted her potential. In this Wally makes mad decisions by moving to quickly, being a raging bag on insecure hormones, etc. Looking at it again for the first time in 20 years there's parts that work as a character study, but the super-hero elements fall flat early on as Baron loses steam.

Then at the end of this volume Bill Messiner-Loebs takes over as writer and the book changes tune. Messiner-Loebs, rather than playing somewhat into 1980's Reaganism, is running against it. Wally becomes a vehicle for seeing inequities even as he remains quick to accept the status quo and slow to change. Messiner-Loebs can get preachy, but he has an ear for dialogue and a deft handling of the supporting cast that Baron for some reason had left behind on Nexus. The three issue arc "The Adventures of Speed McGee" that closes out the book are incredibly deft - you're still in Wally's head as the narrator, but you're seeing him through the eyes of older, sadder, more experienced Jerry McGee, one of the villains earlier in the run who is in the process of making one of the best Heel/Face turns in comics.

After McGee deftly lays out every confused, self centered thought in Wall's head:
Wally: "How did you know I was thinking that?"
McGee: "I was twenty once."

The change of artists from Jackson Guice to Greg LaRoque makes a huge difference. Guice's stylized anatomy with its elongated legs and strange freeze frame positioning works well with Baron's deliberately disjointed, quick cut writing, while LaRoque's smoother style (which has a touch of animation in exaggerating some characters facial features to make them more distinct) makes it clear the book is going in a new direction.
Profile Image for Andrew.
27 reviews
May 30, 2021
I got all these issues as singles from the library store as a teenager so I wanted to see if they were as fun as I remembered and I was pleasantly surprised. Outside of a bit of directionless rambling with the crossover manhunter storyline the various story arcs were genuinely fun with interesting characters. Speed Demon, Chunk, Red Trinity and Vandal Savage all are very charismatic in their own ways and offer a variety of strange situations to read about. West is a bit of an arrogant womanizing dick early on so he's not always super likeable but I found it to be totally believable with him growing up with super powers and winning the lottery at 20 years old. The art is pretty hit or miss with some backgrounds left totally blank, I'm assuming to save on costs and make their publishing schedule, but some of these covers are in my mind totally iconic, in particular issues 7, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18.

Also a note on the price - $30 for a now thirty year old collection of comics seems a bit steep, and the ebook is the same price which is just totally baffling considering it eliminates many of the costs associated with publishing physical material.
August 1, 2022
The Mike Baron run isn't very good, to be honest. I liked some aspects, like the arc in the Chunk's world, which I wished it was longer, Randal Savage as the main antagonist, the first issue (easily the best part of the run) and the attempt to make Wally West a flawed character.

However, all the characters are annoying, subplots like the fact that Tina is a married woman goes nowhere, Flash flirts with all the women he meets, even when he is supposed to be in a relationship, his parents are awful people and the father has a whole subplot that is forgotten and is just an excuse to tie the story with the Millennium event, psychologists are portrayed as self-centered and useless people for some reason, the annual comic has pretty misogynistic and xenophobic remarks that weren't needed at all, the anatomy sometimes is so weird that it is distracting (especially with the legs) and the romantic subplots are so underdeveloped and derivative that they become boring.

In conclusion, this is a really low point in the life of Wally West, but at least reading this will make you appreciate the Mark Waid run a lot more.
Profile Image for Leo.
62 reviews
April 12, 2021
First two issues by Mike Baron were great, after that he started to slip in quality. He introduced tons of cool characters and concepts and his run was overall good, but I disliked how he kept throwing love interests at Wally while he was already in a commited relationship. Also didn't like how he put Frances Kane on a bus in the third issue. But Chunk, The Mcgees, The Kapitalist Kouriers, are all worthy additions to the Flash canon, so all is forgiven.

William Messner-Loebs then comes in for the last four issues of this trade and... it doesn't feel all that different. Honestly the way he wraps up some of Baron's subplots I would have guessed it was Baron himself.

All-in-all a good take on my favorite Flash. Liked how they focused on the oft-ignored side-effects of having super-speed: a ravenous appetite and the need to get 20 hours of sleep at a time.
Profile Image for Seth Isenberg.
52 reviews
May 7, 2021
This begins the now-classic "post-Crisis" run of Flash with the former Kid Flash playing lead. What I loved so much about this run is that Wally is de-powered, down on his luck, and a bit of an a-hole. Throughout the first 80 issues or so he undergoes a gradual change of character as he learns and grows. Mike Baron set all this up really well in the first issues. There is some promise unfulfilled, as I would have liked to see him go deeper into what is motivating and eating at Wally, (later writers do a better job of this) but it still sets the stage magnificently. It was fun revisiting the creation of villain Kilg%re, and Jackson Guice gives him menace in a particular 80's slightly abstract style that works so well and looks great in 2021.

Again, this is far from perfect, but it has so many of the elements that Wally Flash carries through much of the run.
Profile Image for Paxton Holley.
1,437 reviews8 followers
December 8, 2020
I originally read this Flash title back in 87 starting with issue #3. Off the rack. I read and collected the issues for the first few years. I even still have my original issues that I bought off the rack in a filing cabinet.

I’ve been meaning to revisit this title for years. This collection contains the first 18 issues of the title and it was so much fun to revisit. Everyone remembers and talks about Mark Waid’s run on this title, but he didn’t come in until issue 62. Everyone forgets about Mike Baron and William Messner-Loebs runs in the first few years of the title. It’s really very good.

Very much looking forward to continuing on with further issues of this title.
Profile Image for roberto ortiz.
199 reviews
February 13, 2023
Ok. Volver a leer estos números después de 30 años y más de 35 años de ser publicado. Un nuevo Flash (Wally West) con el traje rojo y el relámpago. Quien es este joven que es irreverente, interesado en el dinero y las mujeres. Todo era nuevo, excepto el traje, los villanos iban apareciendo y principalmente estaba el dibujo de Jackson Guice. Uno se suele enganchar con el primer dibujante de una serie, el cual marca el camino con su realista estilo, a mi.patecer dejando la vara difícil de alcanzar por Mike Collins y posteriormente x quien duraría mucho tiempo como Greg Laroque. Buen ejercicio de nostalgia presentando un buen personaje que tenia lo mejor x venir.
Profile Image for ISMOTU.
732 reviews1 follower
September 27, 2022
A new hero for a new era. Wally West inherits the mantle of the Flash at a time when he’s maybe not quite ready for it and makes some very believable terrible decisions. The general crumminess of Wally’s attitude and demeanour over much of this run makes his journey toward true heroism all the more rewarding and enjoyable over the course of the next underrated run by William Messner-Loebs and into the more remembered Mark Waid years. The art by Jackson Guice, Mike Collins, and Greg LaRoque is bar none spectacular.
Profile Image for aiyonna.
13 reviews9 followers
April 29, 2023
everyone’s so creative

my favorite parts of this run were made on accident like wally spiraling after crisis and the death of barry + iris and being forced into the flash = he’s an asshole most of the time. i love the atmosphere/vibe but the plot is lacking to put it kindly and sometimes outright offensive. but it’s fun it’s wacky it’s commenting on the politics of the era
Profile Image for Richard Schaefer.
182 reviews6 followers
May 12, 2021
I give this five stars because I’m glad DC is reprinting these stories in a trade, and I hope they’ll print the rest of the pre-Waid issues as well. The stories themselves are probably 3-3.5 stars for me; enjoyable but not a high water mark for the character.
Profile Image for Eric Saye.
9 reviews
November 7, 2021
Love how Wally is depicted here. It is cool seeing how he started as flash, and his mindset as a 20 yr old. Knowing the man he grows up to be this is awesome.
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