“Convergence: Speed Force #1” Brings Smiles (Review)

“My name is Wally West. I’m the fastest man alive. I’m the Flash”

Those three sentences were all that is needed to fall in love with Convergence: Speed Force #1. When it comes to superhero comics, few runs are remembered as fondly as Wally West’s time as DC’s main Flash. The series as written by Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and William Messner-Loebs continues to be held in high esteem, the rare exception for superhero comics of the 1990s. While it may not hit the highest points of those writers’ works, Tony Bedard and Tom Grummett’s Convergence: Speed Force #1 is a fitting installment in Wally West’s canon.

The first thing that’s noticeable, beyond the smile-inducing opening lines, is that Tom Grummett’s art brings old school sensibilities to the world of Convergence. By the way, “old-school” does not refer to the 1990s sensibilities that have populated a large percentage of DC’s comics for the past several years. Think older, like from the 1960s and 1970s. Grummett’s art seems to be channeling classic Flash artists such as Carmine Infantino and Irv Novick. For a more contemporary example, Howard Porter’s work during the back-half of Geoff Johns’ run springs to mind. Regardless of who it reminds you of, Grummett’s art brings readers into a time when reading DC was a very fun time.

The fun of this issue is aided by Bedard’s handling of one of the more polarizing additions to Wally’s canon – his kids Jai and Irey. Before Flashpoint erased the Wests from continuity, fans were either apathetic or incensed by the inclusion the super-powered juveniles. Here, Bedard manages to write them in a manner that allows the reader to connect with them regardless of age. The emotional journey that Wally and his children have been put through is one similar to the many others featured in Convergence, the difference being that it feels genuine. The theme of “family” was once heavily prominent in the Flash title. The resurgence of that theme here enhances that genuineness.

What makes Convergence: Speed Force stand out from the event’s other tie-ins is that it breaks the mold of the Week One titles. Wally’s driving desire to return to Linda Park – his wife and “lightning rod” – takes the speedster [and his children] on a tour of the many cities fighting for survival on Telos. With much of the other books confined to the pre-Flashpoint Gotham City, Speed Force gives the readers a true sense of the event’s scope.

Convergence: Speed Force is not without its problems. Why so many “heroes” are rushing to fight first without asking any questions is perplexing. The same could be said as to why so many pre-Flashpoint characters ended up inside Gotham City before being taken by Brainiac. Convergence is a glum, polarizing event that is nearly impenetrable for new readers. However, this Speed Force tie-in is a reminder that there is always light within the darkness.

Note: This review was originally posted at InfiniteComix.com


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