Geoff Johns has been in the news lately for wrapping up his 9 year run writing the Green Lantern comic series.
But before he was writing Green Lantern, his writing talents were focused on the Flash. His issues of Flash are currently available in “The Flash Omnibus By Geoff Johns,” volumes 1 through 3.
Since the Emergence of DC Comics, the Flash has always been an important member of the prolific DC Comics universe.
Since the first Flash, Jay Garrick, debuted wearing the helmet of the Greek God Hermes in 1940, the Flash has been on the short list of A-list super heroes.
Jay Garrick would eventually be joined by new and sleeker Flashes Barry Allen and Wally West in the latter half of the fifties, but no matter who took up the mantle, the popularity of the Flashes remained.
However, besides being a great team member for the Justice League, I had no idea what made the Flash special.
To find out, I read Geoff Johns’ prolific five year run of the Flash.
To start, one element that makes Johns’ Flash special is the location.
The Flash protects the city of Keystone City, Kansas. He also frequently fights crime in its twin city named Central City.
Keystone City shares many qualities with Detroit in that it is the automotive capital of the United States. The majority of the people who live in Keystone City are automotive workers, and are all members of a union which is constantly fighting for their rights.
Many times throughout the issues, and the Flash’s narration, he talks about the blue collar nature of Keystone, and how he takes pride in being their superhero by upholding the same values.
The admiration and representation of working class values are one aspect that makes the Flash unique. He admires the how hard the people of his city work, and he wants to do right by them.
This an element of the Flash’s world that is special to him. Most superheros are capable of incredible feats, they all fight villains, and many have a city which they protect, but what is unique about the Flash is how he admires the values of the people that he protects. The hardworking, get the job done mentality of the city is what the Flash uses for inspiration. It is not a tragedy in his life, or a burden that falls on the Flash to make him do what he does, but it is the blue collar spirit of the people who surround him that gives him fuel to go out and fight evil in order to protect those honest and admirable people of Keystone City.
In the the world of the Flash, the blue collar culture of Keystone City extends to super villains who the Flash battles on a regular basis.
For the most part, the villains the Flash fights are not out to take over the world, or even cause widespread destruction. Instead, these villains fight crime as a way to survive.
Rogues such as Captain Cold and Mirror Master commit the crimes they do in order to pay their bills. While they are low-lifes and are a burden on Keystone City, they still fit city’s culture of working hard to get the job done.
Do not let the blue collar rogues fool you the, the Flash fights his share psychopaths as well, including the serial killer murmur, the mind controlling Gorilla Grodd, and the death cult leader Cicada.
Nevertheless, the presence of blue collar villains shows that the bad guys are inspired by the hardworking spirit of Keystone as much as the Flash is, in their own twisted way, they work hard to get by just like the rest of the city.
Legacy is another important component of the Flash’s world. Since there have been multiple Flashes, with each doing an admirable job of carrying the mantle of the scarlet speedster. The bond that Jay, Barry, and Wally form over fighting crime under the same name forms a tight knit family atmosphere between the three men.
The Flashes and their families frequently spend time together, even when Barry Allen was dead, Jay and Wally still made sure his wife Iris was always included in the family outings. To add to their legacy, the Flashes have taken two more speedsters under their collective wing. The first being Jesse Quick, the daughter of 1940s superhero Johnny Quick, who they help guide as she tries to balance being a superhero and a successful business women. They also mentor Barry Allen’s grandson Bart Allen, who goes by the superhero name Impulse.
In reflection, I was inexperienced with the Flash as a solo hero. I was never skeptical of him, I always knew he was a great member of the Justice League from reading the comics, and watching those great Justice League cartoons.
However, what I did not know, and what I was pleasantly surprised by. was the uniqueness of the Flash’s world.
His solo comic book not only celebrates the ability to run fast, but also the blue collar spirit that resides in America. It is truly a tribute to those who get up every morning and work hard, not because of the glamour, but because it is the right thing to do, and because it puts food on the table.
I highly recommend reading Geoff Johns’ Flash anyone who has even a slight interest in him. If you like comics, there is a very good chance you will like his Flash.