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The Flash by Geoff Johns: Vol. 3 (DC Comics, 1987; #189-194)

I’ve mentioned Geoff Johns’s run on The Flash in passing when talking about Mark Waid’s and Grant Morrison & Mark Millar’s tenures on the title.  Waid’s is the place to go to learn brush up on Wally’s origins for Rebirth, and Morrison & Millar’s might be my favorite for sheer weirdness.  But Geoff Johns’s is the most contemporary of the three—and its second volume seems to be where they’re drawing inspiration from for season four of CW’s The Flash.

This arc picks up with Wally trying to clear the Pied Piper’s name after he is framed for murdering his own parents.  It’s a plot that has carried through much of Johns’s time on The Flash, and it doesn’t resolve in this arc.  It does, however, set the stage for Wally and CCPD profiler Hunter Zolomon to learn more about Iron Heights’s mysterious, ruthless warden.  That, in turn, segues into a prison break by Gorilla Grodd and a trip to Gorilla City.

There are a lot of moving parts, but Johns balances them.  Not everything begins or ends in this arc, and major reveals sometimes move to the backburner—for instance, Linda Park’s pregnancy seems to be a focus of this volume’s first issue, but little comes from it right away.  Rather than being unsatisfying, however, these fleeting threads have the opposite effect: they give the sense that The Flash exists in a living, breathing world—one in which not everything resolves right away with a neat bow tied on top.

As much as I always enjoy Johns’s work, his tenure on The Flash has a secret weapon: Scott Kolins, Doug Hazelwood, and James Sinclair’s art.  Guest art teams come in from time to time, and Sinclair’s colors keep them looking consistent—but when the regular team is in place, the art takes on a bold, weighty, imaginative look that sets it apart from a lot of other Flash runs.  Instead of focusing on speed, it puts design and action forward, even bordering on grotesque at times—like when Grodd rages on Wally.

One Flash or another always winds up in the middle of major DC events—especially when Geoff Johns is involved.  But that’s because Johns is passionate about the character, and that passion comes through in his Flash comics.  They’re celebratory, with a world that feels fleshed out and a rich sense of history.  You can pick up the beginning of his run without any real history of Wally’s world and almost immediately feel that history.  Anyone who is interested in the Flash should check this run out from its start.

Collected in

  • The Flash by Geoff Johns, Vol. 3 (#189-200)


Writer: Geoff Johns | Pencillers: Rick Burchett (189), Justiniano (190), Scott Kolins (191-194) | Inkers: Dan Panosian (189), Walden Wong (190), Doug Hazelwood (191-194) | Colorist: James Sinclair | Seperator: Digital Chameleon (189-190) | Letterers: Gaspar Saladino (189-190), Bill Oakley (191-194), Kurt Hathaway (193) | Editor: Joey Cavalieri

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