The Full Run: Mark Waid's Flash (Part 3)

A column article, The Full Run by: Maxwell Yezpitelok

Welcome to the Full Run, the sexiest comic book column in the internet and the one with the worst introductions. This time we're taking a look at Mark Waid's legendary tenure on Flash (click here for part one and here for all our past columns).

Context: Wally West is the third person to call himself The Flash and the awesomest. He's dating a woman called Linda Park, who is a reporter. That's pretty much it.


Flash #108 (December 1995) – "Dead Heat, First Lap: Flatfooted"

(Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez / José Marzan Jr.)

This issue is Part 1 of "Dead Heat", and it features super-fast ninjas. How did they get so fast, you ask? By stealing the speed powers from Wally's friends! Unfortunately one of those friends happened to be running up the side of a building when his speed was stolen, ending up all over a sidewalk. Cassiopeia from the Red Trinity/Kapitalist Kourier, you will be missed dearly. 





Flash #109 (January 1996) – "Dead Heat, Second Lap: A Swiftly Tilting Planet"

(Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez / José Marzan Jr.)

Those super-fast ninjas are working for Savitar, some guy who wants the Speed Force all to himself. Savitar is an old enemy of Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, and this issue implies that the only reason Max has been hanging out with the Flashes all this time was because he wanted to prepare them for the return of… this dude he never mentioned before.





Impulse #10 (January 1996) – "Dead Heat, Third Lap: Disaffected Youth"

(Mark Waid / Humberto Ramos / Wayne Faucher)

While all that exciting stuff is happening in the Flash book, Impulse has to stay out of the action because his powers were stolen by ninjas and all. This issue is mostly about Bart going to school and adjusting to not having his powers while his "Uncle" Max is in the hospital (after being tortured by Savitar). Best issue in the whole crossover, easily.






Flash #110 (February 1996) – "Dead Heat, Fourth Lap: Cut to the Quick"

(Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez / José Marzan Jr.)

Wally and Jesse Quick infiltrate Savitar's fortress to find out how he's stealing people's speed. One of his minions is Lady Savitar, formerly Lady Flash, formerly Lady Savage, formerly Christina Alexandrova from the Blue Trinity, aka the most indecisive lady ever (and possibly a dude at some point, I'm guessing). Anyway, Jesse breaks the speed-stealing machine! 






Impulse #11 (February 1996) – "Dead Heat, Fifth Lap: Breaking the Barrier"

(Mark Waid / Humberto Ramos / Wayne Faucher)

Bart and a whole bunch of other speedsters come help out Wally at Savitar's fortress, now that they've got all their speed powers back. At one point Johnny Quick gives up his life to save his daughter (joining the Speed Force). In other news, you know who rocks? Humberto Ramos. This issue made me wanna read more of his Impulse run. Hmmm…






Flash #111 (March 1996) – "Dead Heat, Final Lap: Godspeed"

Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez / José Marzan Jr.)

Since this Savitar guy wanted nothing but to get into the Speed Force, Wally figures what the hell, let him get into the Speed Force. Wally runs there and lets him hitch a ride -- and then Savitar disintegrates into lightning because, you know, that's what happens in the Speed Force. D'oh. That's the end of "Dead Heat"… and the beginning of the next multi-part saga.






Flash #112 (April 1996) – "Future Perfect"

(Mark Waid / Anthony Castrillo / Anibal Rodríguez)

This is a mostly Wally-less issue. At the end of "Dead Heat" Wally jumped into the Speed Force to drop Savitar off, but it's taking him longer than usual to come back, so his girlfriend and gay roommate are getting worried. In the meantime, another Flash shows up in Keystone City: John Fox, the time-travelling Flash introduced way back in Flash Special #1.





Flash #113 (May 1996) – "Race Against Time! Chapter One: Wally World"

(Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez, Anthony Castrillo / José Marzan Jr., Anibal Rodríguez)

Wally comes out of the Speed Force only to find out he's jumped all the way to the 64th century -- which happens to be the time period in which Flash is worshipped as a god. Meanwhile, John Fox reveals he came to the present because history shows that Wally never came back and someone needs to replace him. Also, Linda accidentally kills Captain Cold's sister, Golden Glider.





Flash #114 (June 1996) – "Race Against Time! Chapter Two: Sibling Rivalry"

(Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez, Anthony Castrillo / José Marzan Jr., Anibal Rodríguez)

Wally continues bouncing in time and lands in the 30th century, where he meets the Tornado Twins, aka Barry Allen's son and daughter from that time he lived in the future before dying in an anti-matter universe (what?!). In the present, John Fox and Wally's girlfriend spend some quality time together investigating some sort of conspiracy to bring forth a new ice age. 





Flash #115 (July 1996) – "Race Against Time! Chapter Three: Speed Metal"

(Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez, Jim Cheung / José Marzan Jr., Anibal Rodríguez)

Okay, this is where it gets slightly confusing: Wally lands in the 27th century and meets future Flash John Fox. Fox tries to help Wally go back to his own time, but something goes wrong and Wally disintegrates. So, Fox decides to go back himself and replace him… materializing in the last page of Flash #111 (that is, a few paragraphs above from here).






Flash #116 (August 1996) – "Race Against Time! Chapter Four: Flash Frozen"

(Mark Waid / Oscar Jimenez / José Marzan Jr.)

In this (Wally-less) issue we find out that when John Fox said he wanted to replace Wally, what he really meant was that he wanted to make out with his girlfriend, because that's what he's doing here. Seriously, what a dick. John and Linda investigate the Ice Age Conspiracy, which involves Doctor Polaris (DC's version of Magneto) and -- oh shit there's that Kadabra guy again.






Flash #117 (September 1996) – "Race Against Time! Finish Line: Double Team"

(Mark Waid / Jim Cheung / José Marzan Jr.)

As the title implies, in this issue Wally and John Fox double team Linda. To save her, that is, because she's been turned into ice by villains. Wally finally comes back from the future, tells John how much of a dick he is (spoilers: he's a huge dick), and then stops the new ice age by foiling Kadabra for the third consecutive time in Mark Waid's run (and it won't be the last).






Flash #118 (October 1996) – "Race Against Time! Aftermath: Cold, Cold Heart"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Sergio Cariello / Brian Garvey)

Fast robots from the future come to arrest John Fox for breaking the laws of time! Wally helps destroy them despite John being a huge dick who made out with his girlfriend while he was lost in time. John decides to leave the present because more robots might come looking for him, so that's the end of that storyline. It was fun, but there was way too much stuff going on.






Flash #119 (November 1996) – "Pray for the Dawn (The Final Night crossover)"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / José Marzan Jr.)

It's that time of the year again: A massive alien cloud-being is about to devour the sun, covering the world in darkness and despair. Of course, all of that happens in another comic. These yearly crossover events can feel a little forced, but Mark Waid averted that by cleverly tying this story to the time travel predictions from the past few issues. Solid done-in-one issue.






Flash #120 (December 1996) – "Circular Logic (Presidential Race, Part 1)"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

The Pied Piper becomes convinced that the leading presidential candidate is actually supervillain The Top returned from the dead, but nobody believes him. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Keystone City tells Wally to find himself a new home because he's bad for tourism. Also, Paul Ryan is a decent artist, but it really hurts him that the covers are now done by Mike Fucking Wieringo.





Flash #121 (January 1997) – "Down the Wire (Presidential Race, Part 1)"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

The Top has escaped Hell and possessed the body of the newly-elected President's running mate as part of a convoluted plot that began in a six-year-old Hawk & Dove comic. Now that The Top is Vice-President of the United States, he plans to murder the President and frame the Pied Piper for it. Wally solves everything by running really fast.






Flash #122 (February 1997) – "Running Away From Home"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg) Don't you just love it when Flash comics turn into a legal drama? The Mayor of Keystone City gets a restraining order against Wally, forbidding him from using his powers in the city. Wally and Linda continue living in Keystone, but from now on he has to commute all the way to Santa Marta, California, before he can do any superhero-ing. Which takes him like two minutes.






Flash #123 (March 1997) – "The Flash of Two Cities"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

…of course, all that crap from last issue was just an excuse for Mark Waid to use the name "Flash of Two Cities!" for Flash #123 (after the classic Flash #123 from 1961, "Flash of Two Worlds!"). Anyway it's Wally's first day in Santa Marta and everything seems to be going well, except for that time when a dinosaur showed up.






Flash #124 (April 1997) – "Quicker than the Eye"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

That dinosaur from last issue? Not real, sadly. Santa Marta's resident supervillain mastermind, a guy called Mr. Frost, starts messing with Wally's head by creating holograms all over the city. He also plans to kill Wally and livestream his death to Kobra, Vandal Savage and (for some reason) Lex Luthor. Thankfully this amazing new supervillain only lasts one issue.






Flash #125 (May 1997) – "Cause and Effect"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

So Wally has been living in Santa Marta for, what, four issues, and already a supervillain has come to destroy the city with a machine that causes earthquakes. It took like 60 issues for that to happen in Keystone. The villain is a revamped version of Major Disaster (yep, the guy from Justice League Antarctica), who sold his soul to devil in exchange for some cool red shades.





Flash #126 (June 1997) – "Trial Run"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Despite Wally's best efforts, Santa Marta is devastated by a tsunami caused by Major Disaster. You know, maybe the major of Keystone City had a point when he kicked Wally out. Or not, because in Flash's absence Keystone has been taken over by demon-possessed versions of Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, Captain Boomerang, Heat Wave and Captain Cold.





Flash #127 (July 1997) – "Hell Breaks Loose (Hell to Pay, Part 1)"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Wally returns to Keystone and pretty much abandons the recently inundated citizens of Santa Marta (though considering the effect he has on cities, he may be doing them a favor). Turns out the possessed Rogues Gallery villains are being controlled by Nero, that guy from the Underworld Unleashed crossover. Wally travels to Hell to ask Nero what his problem is.






Flash #128 (August 1997) – "Hearts and Souls (Hell to Pay, Part 2)"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

While the Morrison-era JLA and Jay Garrick help out against the Demonic Rogues Gallery in Keystone (without much luck), both Wally and Linda end up doing separate deals with Nero to protect each other's lives. His price? Their love. Seriously. So this is where Joe Quesada got the idea for One More Day, huh? As a result, Wally and Linda have a fight and break up.





Flash #129 (September 1997) – "An Attack of Conscience (Hell to Pay, Part 2)"

(Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Having sold their love to Nero, Wally and Linda can barely stand each other as they work together to save Keystone City. However, their love is so great that it stats corrupting Nero and turning him into a pansy, so he begs them to take it back. They actually say no, at first, until Nero agrees to leave Keystone City alone forever. He does and they make out, the end.







Highlights: After the success of the epic Terminal Velocity storyline, the Flash title pretty much turned into an ongoing crossover with few standalone issues in between arcs: the Savitar saga leads into the time traveling storyline, which leads into Final Night, and then the Santa Marta storyline leads into the Nero arc, which is connected to Underworld Unleashed.

In my opinion, none of these storylines comes remotely close to Terminal Velocity: part of what made that one so special was that multi-part events were pretty rare at that point. After a while, it starts getting a little repetitive: big villain comes to Keystone City, speedsters from different eras unite to stop him, and Wally and Linda's love saves the day.

Still, if I had to pick a favorite saga from this period I'd definitely go with Race Against Time. It just feels like a well-constructed story, and Wally's constant time jumping keeps things fresh and interesting. I'm also a big fan of Anthony Castrillo's John Byrne-influenced style (whatever happened to that guy?).

And finally, girlfriend-stealing dickishness aside, John Fox is actually a pretty cool character, and fans of Grant Morrison's DC One Million should check out his early appearances here.

NEXT: Morrison! Millar! Black Flash! Mark Waid takes a vacation!



You can find out more about Maxwell Yezpitelok at

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