Well, I picked up JLA Secret Files 2004 today. Not because I read JLA, or even Justice League Elite (I read the first two issues, but it hasn’t really grabbed me), but because I figured there’d be a good image to scan of the Flash’s alternate costume for JLE. (It’s odd to be using that abbreviation again.)

The main story, as it turned out, focused on the Flash dividing his time between the two teams as they work cases that turn out to be related. It’s an OK story, up until the end, which features the most boneheaded use of super-speed I’ve seen in a long time.

The two teams end up in major, world-shattering battles, one in Berlin and one in Greece, simultaneously. Naturally, the Flash has to be in both. So he’s running back and forth between the two battles (changing costumes along the way), going faster and faster…

It all comes down to a moment in which he gets stuck with two do-this-now-or-the-world-ends tasks that (of course) no one else can accomplish. And rather than doing one of them, then running a few thousand miles to do the other, he continues to switch between the two battles! On one page, he’s running toward villain A. On the next, he’s running toward villain B, thinking “I pray a little that my mind doesn’t split in two before this is over.” Then he’s running toward villain A again.

They didn’t actually alternate panels, but I think that was mainly a concession to the fact that they used a different artist for each team, and it’s easier to break down artwork by page than by panel. The inner monologue certainly implies that he’s still bouncing back and forth, and the following page shows the two teams — himself included — looking at each other through opposite sides of a portal. He then passes out, “exactly midway between teams.”

Now think about this for a moment. Even for the fastest man alive, it’s going to take less time to run twenty feet, grab something from Villain A, then run a thousand miles over to Villain B and grab something else than it will to run a foot toward villain A, run over to the other battle (changing his costume on the way) and run a foot toward Villain B, run back and run another foot toward Villain A, etc.

And in all that? Only one slightly-usable picture of the costume.

2 thoughts on “Two places at once

  1. Hey K
    What bone head thought that doing story the way you described it was a good idea? I totally agree. I bet it was an attempt to be artful.
    For me comics lost their luster during the great Crossover (MONEY GRAP) crisis. I can’t recall if it was the infinity gauntlet (marvel) or someother. But Man when I went into the store and had a 220 dollar bill waiting for me I stopped all comic book purchases.
    I am thinking of picking up the “Powers” you have spoke about. Thanks for the tip.


  2. $220! Wow — I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on comics, except maybe at Comic-Con when I was still tracking down back-issues. I can definitely see how that would be a wake-up call…

    I started reading comics just before Crisis on Infinite Earths, and I never really got into anything at Marvel (or Image, for that matter) until recently. It took Joss Whedon to get me to buy an X-Men comic for the first time, and he’s only been writing the book for 5 months! I think the most comics I’ve followed at one time is around 15 a month, not counting DC One Million, the only crossover where I picked up more than one or two extra issues. These days it seems like half of the comics I read only come out bimonthly, quarterly, or whenever the writer or artist gets around to finishing a new issue. (Planetary, Astro City, Girl Genius, etc.) I should make a list, if just to figure out how much I’m currently spending.

    For Powers, I’d recommend starting by picking up the Who Killed Retro Girl? book, which collects the first 6 issues of volume 1. It’s a good story in its own right, and it’s a good introduction to the characters, the world, and the atmosphere. If you like it, you can probably dive straight into vol.2 (I think issue #5 just came out — I haven’t been to the store yet this week) and fill in the gaps as your time and budget allow.

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