The Flash #129
By Mark Waid and Paul Ryan
While Waid does a good job of hiding it, he can be a shameless romantic, and this shines most strongly in his Flash run.
Much of Mark Waid’s Flash run has been unjustly overlooked and overshadowed by the popularity of Geoff Johns’ subsequent run, so it’s easy to forget that it was a bright beacon in an ocean of grim comics DC put out in the nineties. It was a comic that was occasionally thoughtful, surprisingly clever and driven at an exceptionally fast pace. Sometimes it got a bit weary, and sometimes it got a little lost in its own momentum, but it generally hit the target.
Issue #129 was the last by Waid before he took a break in 1997 and let some guys named Grant Morrison and Mark Millar play in the Flash sandpit, and is the final part of the Hell To Pay storyline, with that dastardly Neron making a play for Wally West’s soul.
Some of that weariness was seeping in by this stage, with Brian Augustyn coming in to give Waid a hand with the writing duties, the art by Paul Ryan is typically stagnant (and marvelously consistent) and it gets really, really cheesy.
Which is fine by me, because when it comes to food, women and comic books featuring people who can run faster than the speed of existence, I’ll take a double helping of cheese very time.
This comic has Neron – who has the worst design for a Devil figure ever – crying in pain over the damned of Hell. It has Wally West and Linda Park beating that devil when everybody else failed with their awesome love. It has the Rogues seeing the damage and death they’ve caused, and they’re genuinely horrified. (Fortunately, this comic came out before the Wrecker started massacring schoolkids.)
It has the bad guy defeated by the Power of Love, which manages to save everybody. Everybody knows Wally West is the fastest man alive, but he’s also the luckiest when Linda is in his arms. Because like any son of a bitch who has ever fallen in love with somebody, that’s what it fells like, and Waid taps into that sentiment with unashamed passion.