Hey, that's 20 years of Wally West. And hasn't he grown, moving from self-interested whiner to caring dad.
So how is his anniversary issue? Better than expected. The first two Tom Peyer-written issues were disappointing, dominated by Wally's not-very-believable money problems and the worst Flash villain since Colonel Computron back in the Barry Allen days. Said villain is Spin, who can somehow manifest people fears, if they're channelled via a news broadcast. Yup, even in comics that a pretty weird MO. Is he changing reality? Is he casting illusions? How does the gnarled old guy in a nappy (that's diaper to you US types) fit in?
Plus, the work of new artist Freddie Williams III wasn't looking as good as I'd seen it elsewhere. Here, though, FW has upped his game, having added a Scott Kolins sheen while retaining his own style. It looks lovely.
And what's more, there's less Spin to draw, as he takes a back seat to Grodd - when Grodd shows up, everyone takes a back seat. He's a big freaking gorilla with awesome mental powers - Spin can manipulate events all he wants, he ain't no cool gorilla. Grodd is pretty much a bystander here, mind, though he does have a moment with Jay Garrick and we see how even Wally rightly fears the vicious Grodd.
The truly new element this issue is the debut of Dark Side Club henchmen Brother Thought and Brother Drive, who are out to capture two Forever People - no, not the Kirby hippie gods, but post-Kirby super-kids who will plug into Grant Morrison's Final Crisis storyline. We're talking Jai and Irish, Speed Force sprogs of Wally and Linda West. They'll be taking them to the fight club seen in this week's Birds of Prey, 118. And when they do capture them, something interesting happens . . .
Tom Peyer looks to be finding his feet with the Fastest Man Alive, toning down the silly excesses of the previous issues and ramping up both action and intrigue. For the first time in ages, I can recommend an issue of the Flash. If you passed on it - and given the way this book's been of late, I'd not blame you - run to the comic shop now.