Comic Book Review – The Flash #15 (Sept 1988)

What would you do in order to have powers like the Fastest Man Alive?

Vandal Savage has been offering ordinary people a drug called Velocity-9 in order to gain super speed like the Flash. The cost is much steeper than the price. Once Savage leaves town with the supply, people start to lose their powers, which leads them to wanting to kill themselves. Red Trinity, a team of speedsters from Soviet Russia, save these individuals from harm and take them to the hospital to be treated for their withdrawal symptoms.

Where is the Flash during this crisis and why isn’t he helping these people? Well, Wally West has lost his powers! To add insult to injury, he has lost all of his money in the stock market and his mom and girlfriend, Tina, bicker over what Wally should do to improve his current situation he finds himself in.

In the 1980s, the debate was which was the better prime time soap opera: Dynasty, Dallas, or Falcon Crest? Whatever your answer was at the time, Flash would have probably been my answer.

In this issue alone, Messner-Loebs tackles socially relevant issues like the War on Drugs and the Black Monday Stock Market Crash, not to mention Wally and Tina’s relationship. Tina McGee is separated from her husband, Jerry, who became the supervillain Speed Demon. Will Tina stand by her man Wally during his fall into despair and ruin or will Tina fall back in love with her husband as they help the Veloci-Junkies during their recovery? These and other developments will be resolved in the next issue!

Next to Peter Parker, Wally West was the one other superhero that readers could relate to and identify with. Both were young men trying to balance their normal everyday lives with their superhero costumed identities. Both endured tragedies more often than triumph. Both were trying to change the world without the world trying to change them.

There is a nice interaction between Wally and Chunk in this issue. Chunk was a villain that Wally put a stop to in a previous issue. Chunk realized the error of his ways and used his powers for good. As a thank you, Chunk offers Wally money to help with expenses. Wally’s impact on Chunk’s life was reward enough, but it was touching to see Chunk help Wally in his time of need.

Wally West had a rough go of it, but he always endured, perceived, and he kept moving forward. He would see brighter days after marrying the love of his life, Linda Park, and having two children, Jai and Iris. Even as a husband and father, when things seemed bleak, he overcame adversity standing in his way.

Just remember – when the chips are down, and you start to lose hope, you got to face front and just keep moving.

Next Issue – Tina McGee’s husband Jerry continues recovering from his Velocity-induced rampage while Wally continues dealing with his recent financial troubles.