“The Lightning Saga: Conclusion”
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artist: Ed Benes
Publisher: DC Comics
There are those who fly, and those who ride the lightning. It’s going to be really hard to contain my excitement over the conclusion to the “Lightning Saga.” I won’t lie and say that it wasn’t an odd JLA/JSA crossover because it was a bit strange, but in terms of the coming crisis, it makes perfect sense. This issue of Justice League of America does and doesn’t coincide with Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 which will be covered in this Sunday’s Slugfest. “The Lightning Saga” has featured all but one of DC’s major heroes. Both the Justice Society and the Justice League meshed cohesively together under the guidance of Geoff Johns and Brad Meltzer, and thus has brought us to this point. The Legion of Superheroes has been trying to revive a lost hero who will ultimately save the universe.
The general consensus amongst many comic fans was that Flash #13 would see the demise of Bart Allen and the conclusion of the “Lightning Saga” would see the triumphant return of Barry Allen. Let’s just say for now that the conclusion of the “Lightning Saga” is far more satisfying than the return of a hero that DC has been fine being without for almost 30 years.
The “Lightning Saga” did not necessarily need to feature both the JLA and the JSA. While in the end the mixing and matching of the two teams was handled well, this storyline could have just as easily revolved around Superman. This story as a whole is a crushing blow to the Man of Steel as he has been betrayed by his childhood friends, the Legion of Superheroes, and played for a fool. The whole story has seemingly played out like a throw back to an older story featuring the resurrection of Lightning Lad. I’ve never closely followed the Legion of Superheroes, so throughout this storyline I have spent a great deal of time visiting Wikipedia and brushing up on the history of the group. I will reiterate my point from my past reviews of this storyline: Johns and Meltzer have made this story enjoyable and entertaining and fairly easy to follow even for someone like myself who does not know a great deal about the Legion.
The premise of the whole story has been the Legion traveling to the present time to resurrect the “last legionnaire” who apparently will save the universe. The story alludes to two different individuals, one of them being Lightning Lad and the other being Barry Allen. Many readers, myself included, fully believed that the return of Barry Allen was imminent, but looking back I missed all of the clues. Each of the Legionaries, lightning rods in hand, are in specific locations necessary to bring back... whoever.
The clues were obvious, and they are even more blunt in this issue. Two of the most obvious being the locations where Batman and Green Lantern are trying to stop Timber Wolf and Starman. Those locations are the last place Barry Allen was seen alive and the laboratory where he gained his powers respectively. One would jump to the conclusion that Barry Allen is on his way back to the land of the living, but there are other locations that I overlooked and didn’t think too much of until after the fact.
This issue ends the slow-paced “Lightning Saga” on a high note. A successful crossover that at times felt a little drawn out but got the job done nonetheless. The importance of this crossover is obvious. It is just unfortunate that the main storylines in each respective series were interrupted and took a back seat to this story. I do believe though that DC made the right move by not making this a separate mini-series and keeping it contained in the confines of their best-selling books. While it may have taken a while to get to this point, I for one am satisfied with the conclusion of the “Lightning Saga.”
Fine… I can’t take it anymore. Spoilers ahead.
Welcome back, Wally. I have missed you. While everything in this saga pointed to the return of Barry Allen, I could not be happier that the Flash I grew up with, the Flash I know and love, Wally West, is back. Since he disappeared into the speed force during Infinite Crisis, the future of Wally was a bit sketchy. I realize I have been very outspoken about Bart Allen as the Flash, and there’ll be more on that later, but to me Wally West is the Flash. In an interesting twist, his twin children seemed to have aged quite a bit since we last saw them, but that doesn’t matter; Wally West has returned, and it appears he will be the savior of the universe.
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