This review was originally posted at InfiniteComix.com
With Convergence continuing its march towards irrelevancy (especially in the wake of The Multiversity #2 and Justice League #40), the concluding half of the two-issue miniseries have hit stands with a surprisingly favorable reaction from readers. Most of the releases gave fan-favorite incarnations fitting and emotional send-offs, such as Superman and Nightwing/Oracle. Then there are titles such as Convergence: Speed Force #2, which wraps up the main conflict and just… ends. Whereas the other series mentioned were able to end on a high note, providing payoffs for many dedicated fans, the ending to Speed Force falls depressingly flat.
Of the many Convergence tie-in series, Speed Force brought with it much anticipation. The combined admiration for the pre-Flashpoint Wally West as well as the less-than-smooth execution of the character’s New 52 introduction made this seem like an easy win for DC. But if anything, Speed Force is a reminder that prior to Flashpoint, Wally West stopped being interesting, or at least not as interesting as he used to be.
The idea of legacy characters was once the cornerstone of the DC Universe, and no character better exemplified this idea than Wally West. His reign as DC’s main Flash (Jay Garrick was still zipping around with his tin hat) was marked by character growth and storytelling so strong that it holds up even today. Wally was a rich jerk with superpowers. On occasion, he would use his powers to make a little extra cash on the side. But then he grew up, and with that came new responsibilities and maturity that enabled him to surpass his idol and mentor, Barry Allen, as the greatest Flash. Eventually, he would marry his love interest – Linda Park – and father twins. It is at this point, which was also the end of Geoff Johns’ celebrated run (The Flash vol.2 #225) where Wally’s story would begin to lose steam. Even the brief return of writer Mark Waid, who’s initial turn in the 1990s is generally considered among the best comic runs on any character ever, was met with apathy. So with fan interest shriveling up and story quality declining, DC decided to bring Barry Allen back from the dead.
This history of Wally West is important to keep in mind because it is the version that fans lost interest in that Tony Bedard and Tom Grummett have been tasked with portraying for readers. This is not the Wally that raced an analogue for Sonic the Hedgehog across space and time, nor is it the one that manipulated the Speed Force into a cast for his two broken legs while battling a foe. It is the Wally West that had the least amount of storytelling potential, and as a result the story is serviceable.
Bedard and Grummett do admirable work with what they are given. For the limitations that this version of Wally presents, Bedard captures the heart of a character that has clearly grown and developed through his personal experiences and relationships with the rest of the DC Universe. His verbal assault on the Flashpoint Wonder Woman not only speaks to the innate goodness of his character, but Bedard’s understanding of the Amazonian Princess as well.
Grummett’s art gives the title a decidedly old-school feel. Though this character is supposed to be representative of comics of the 2000s, the aesthetics are more representative of the 1970s or 1980s. Fastback’s appearance does not help matters, as the turtle with super-speed looks to have walked directly off the pages of the 1980’s Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew.
The fatal flaw in Convergence: Speed Force is that the story ultimately goes nowhere. When readers were introduced to Wally and his kids back in the first issue, they were waiting out the situation, hoping for the best. That’s exactly where they find themselves at the end of this issue – just sitting around hoping for the best. As a result, readers are left with anything but the best.