Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cast in Bronze

It occurred to me that some younger/newer readers might not recognize some of the Flash's current supporting cast.

Patty Spivot, his new love interest? Not so new.
Patty was introduced as Barry's lab assistant in September 1977, actually.

As Enrichetta Negrini was to Ray "The Atom" Palmer, so was Patty Spivot to Barry "The Flash" Allen (specifically, the Sexy Female Colleague Who is the Hero's Intellectual Equal But Not His Girlfriend and is Around Largely to Make the Girlfriend Jealous and Make Readers Think There's an Actual Change to the Status Quo Possible, But Really There's Not).

Captain Darryl Frye? Well, he's also from Flash's Bronze Age (appearing first in May 1980). He was comedy relief who hero-worshipped the Flash. He was also, well--how do I put this in a loving and supportive way....? He was...

a total lunatic, who dealt with his mid-life crisis by trying to become a costumed vigilante "Captain Incredible".

People talk about the Silver Age as "that time of wackiness" in comic books. To which I say, "Balderdash".

The Bronze Age's deep, all-pervasive, underlying absurdity was far more insane than the showy splashes of zaniness in the Silver Age. In the Silver Age, your boss/authority figure would only become a costumed vigilante temporary because he was being affected by mind-controlling alien fruit (1961) or to defy the mayor's orders and jerk Vicki Vale's chain (1957), because that's always fun. You know... normal reasons.

But in the freakin' Bronze Age, people smoked super-cigars (1974) and got hit on the head and reversed their own alter ego (1978). These things, unlike mind-controlling alien fruit and adopting a costumed identity as an F.U. to the mayor, are just insane. And Captain Frye was very much part of that.

Oh, and Captain Cold's sister, Lisa? In her modern incarcation, her job, like many a relative written by Geoff Johns, is to die tragically and inspire her family to greatness (in either Good or Evil). But in the Insane Bronze Age, she was -- wait for it --an ice skating themed villain, the Golden Glider.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Tonya Harding of Bronze Age Earth-1. Wait, did the narrator actually just call her skates "uncanny"...?!

Which is, of course, insane.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Haikuesday with the Trickster

Poor James Jesse.

Is he a victim of the reboot? It's unclear; he's not been mentioned as one of "Captain Cold's gang of rogues", but the presence of Axel Whathisface in the Flash certainly means that James Jesse is not currently operating as the Trickster. Yet he must have; how else would Axel have "inherited" the title and the gadgets?

Is James Jesse dead? Or reformed? Or still in prison?

Really. How do you deal with a crook who might very well be giving you money, rather than taking it?

Jesse occupied a unique place among the Rogues as the unpredictable wacko, and its not a role you can pass to another one of them. Meanwhile, Axel's pretty weak sauce; is Geoff Johns preparing for the original Trickster to make a dramatic comeback at some point?

Because there is no way that little punk Axel could make a getaway on soap bubbles...

WHILE haikuing about it.


They are made of a
special type of soap which will
hold you, as you say.

What haiku can you compose in praise of James "The Trickster" Jesse?