First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.25: Flash #22 / Manhunter #9

Bass and Siskoid do another double-feature, but it's really a single story as the Flash Wally West (in #22 of his title) and Manhunter Mark Shaw (in #9 of his) team up to stop another Cuban crisis engineered by Durlans left behind on the island nation by the Alliance's retreating forces.

Listen to Episode 25 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings may apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.25 Supplemental

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15 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.25: Flash #22 / Manhunter #9

  1. As a Cuban-born kid who was raised in a lefty household (in a very conservative Miami), I really appreciate this Flash issue and (somewhat) its portrayal of Fidel (the term “dictator” was certainly never used around the house). Not surprising that Cuba was on the minds of Loebs and Ostrander/Yale; these comics came out on the eve of Cuba’s “Special Period”, the post-Soviet economic blow to the island, but it might very well be just a throwback nod to the Missle Crisis. In any case, these comics are way more effective on every front than the underwhelming Detective issue that took place in Havana.

    ITEM! Maggie, Hopey, and Penny made cameos at the party! Not the only time Love & Rockets dropped in on Flash (and other mainstream comics):


    1. Oh wow! I would not have caught that!

      Obviously, my knowledge of Cuba is pretty limited and impersonal, so I greatly appreciate your thoughts about its portrayal. I wouldn’t be surprised these writers were responding more to news of the day than 30-year-old Cold War history.

  2. You guys have brought up memories of why I just kind of shrug off the Messner-Loebs run on the Flash. He didn’t seem to remember he was writing a super hero comic a good chunk (no pun intended) of the time. It felt very “indie”, and not in a good way. Wally remained pretty unlikable, and his nagging, overbearing mother only made him more so. He had lots of odd supporting characters that sometimes seemed to be the focus of the book. When you have multiple titles like Superman, you can afford to focus on Jimmy and Perry every so often, but I didn’t buy Flash for “The Adventures of Mason Tollbridge and Mary West!” It did feel very much like a black comedy sitcom at times, with Wally being the beaten-down lead. There were highlights, sure, but overall there is just a lot of SLOWWWW non-Flash stuff going on in a title that should be fast-paced just by nature. Waid was a shot in the arm.

    Where’s Manhunter’s baton? I would blame the inker on that one. Marcos probably just decided not to ink what he thought was unnecessary costume detail Springer had drawn in. The baton was right in front of his chest. As for a no-prize, his baton has a stealth mode cloaking device?

    This whole story seemed a bit unnecessary. I think they could have wrapped things up in the first part of Flash’s book and moved onto something else.


  3. I imagine running a costume shop is a license to print money in the DCU: there’s so much more to choose from instead of the usual pirates, ghosts, and slutty nurses. I can picture some of them trying to get ahead of the competition by offering a deeper bench of costumes: “Ultra Boy! Gentleman Ghost! The Trickster! We have every costume in Who’s Who!”

  4. The Flash characterization is about to take a key turn right after Invasion! when Wally loses his powers and has a new beginning in one of my favorite single issues ever, #24.
    Regarding politics, Messner-Loebs was going for a left leaning tone, for sure, which I guess read even more odd back there and then. Reading this from a “third world” perspective (Third because of non US – non USSR position), it sounds like how Fidel was seen from outside the polarization.

  5. So Bass hates Wally West. Good to know, Bass. You are forever banned from Pod Dylan.

    Other than that, great episode, fellas. This was MY era of the Flash. I loved Wally West. While he didn’t ever compare to the JWShipp version of the character, Wally West was my comic book Flash. Admittedly, he had a rocky start. I think Mike Baron admitted to some coke use at that time. But Wally blossomed and the book was incredible for over 100 issues.

  6. I thought it would be fun to do a Wally West index podcast, even picked the name “Go, West!”, but whenever I re-read most pre-Waid Flash issues, I realise why I sold all of them in the late 90’s. Whiney Wally indeed! I will give it up for issue 19 though, with Wally attending the party with the Rogues, who are all about Barry since his death.

    This Manhunter issue was a hard one to find on the shelves when Invasion! was happening. I remember being quite disappointed by the actual story as opposed to the one I imagined based on the cover.

    I have a soft spot for Manhunter based on it’s association with Suicide Squad. Ostrander had a groovy thing going where Mark Shaw would bring in a supervillain in the pages of Manhunter, and the Wall would put them on the Squad mission shortly after. Happened with Bommerang and Count Vertigo IIRC.

    1. Boomerang was part of the Squad from the beginning (in Legends), but you’re right about Vertigo. Outlaw and Sportmaster II were also recruited from Manhunter’s pages.

  7. The Invasion! tie-ins, combined with the stupid mechs promised in the following issue, put me off on Manhunter. I own some issues from the “Saints and Sinners” arc that closed out the series, and read one or two of them, but mostly just skimmed the rest. That’s how bad this four-parter was.

    I had never liked the Wally West Flash, but I suspect the crossover marks the specific flashpoint of my outright hating that character forever. My brief stint buying his book off the newsstand ended around issue #8 or 9 (can’t recall if that Chunk cover put me off or if I ponied up for that final purchase.) I picked these books up as flea market back issues around 1991. I somehow ended up with a copy of #68 free, but did not buy and read a Flash on purpose until #80 (foil cover, prelude to streak of Nightwing guest appearances.) Second trial run of purchases ended with #84, but then I re-upped from #92 mostly through #100. In retrospect, I do not know why I did that. Fell for the hype, probably. I read and/or bought issues thereafter, but my last (ever) run was #207-219. If Geoff Johns and Howard Porter in prime form couldn’t get me off on reading this character, I figure no one can.

  8. Oh those Durlans. They were so dumb! Granted, I don’t really think turning into a fish to leave the island was a practical option. It would take days and days of swimming to get from Cuba to Florida, and not get eaten or killed by a bigger creature. But that’s not what they said! Instead it’s “Uhhhh, what is fish?” As Bass says, “are you kidding me?”

    Hey, a bass is a fish. I don’t know why I thought that. Uh….

    With the talk about Doug Rice, I believe issues 10-12 mark his return, right after this issue. The giant robots are a tribute to his Dynamo Joe comic. it’s too bad Doug didn’t do more on this series. I agree with you guys that only Doug drew the costume right.

    And of course I have thoughts on Whiny Wally. I didn’t always like his portrayal, but as I was the same age as Wally at that time, it felt like this was a “growing into adulthood” phase. He knew how to be a hero, but he made dumb decisions and then complained that they didn’t work out, which fits a couple of scenarios:
    1. The son inheriting the family business, and does contrary things just to assert independence from his father. (Barry)
    2. The successful child actor that doesn’t know what to do with his life. (Super powers since childhood, almost loses them, gets them back AND wins the lottery, now is losing powers again and not coincidentally also loses his money.) Thankfully, no robbing of conveniences stores, but treating friends poorly and sleeping around? Yeah, that fits.

    Yes, not my favorite version of Wally, but there was a “long game” in mind and had some real gems. I think you guys mentioned the airplane story last time? Wally jumps out of a plane to save a flight attendant, a situation where being able to run real fast is seemingly useless. Oh so good.

    Speaking of planes, I’m all caught up on this podcast during flights between the US and England last week! So fun. Thank you, gentlemen!

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