The Misunderstood Anti-Heroine

May 14, 2003

By Avi Green

Flash #196: Helpless
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler and Inker: Phil Winslade

Peek-A-Boo, the would-be delinquent who tried to steal a heart transplant to help her dying father, is trying to visit him at the hospital. On her way out of the room, however, a security guard makes the mistake of striking her over the head with a billy club, causing her to react with her power of imploding/teleporting, leaving the hospital hallway damaged as she goes out.

Lashawn Baez, introduced in issue #180, is a tragic character whoís being misunderstood and mistaken for a villainess has certainly won her my sympathies, and while the Flash may have to take her in here, he still wants to help her.

In between these plot points, we get a look at how Hunter Zolomon tries to talk Wally into using the Cosmic Treadmill to travel back in time to repair a disastrous time in his life that he feels led to a trail of disastrous dominos later on.

Wally refuses, however, due to the fact that time travel, as he tries to point out, is too risky, since thereís no telling whatíll happen if he were to try and change history, and no garuntee that heíll be able to make things any better for the present and the future either. Hunter isnít happy to hear it, of course.

We also get a pretty interesting explanation for why Linda wants to keep her pregnancy a secret for now: because she doesnít want the paparazzi banging down their door.

Makes sense. Wally may not be interested in fame and fortune, but heís still a celebrity, more or less, and so it wouldnít surprise me if any news of such an event would indeed get the tabloid press harrassing them day and night. Not something a pregnant lady should have to put up with, thatís for sure. Keep those nasty tabloid press reporters away from their apartment at all costs!

Then, who should turn up, but Peek-A-Boo again, who doesnít want her father to be subjected to the kind of operations theyíre giving there to try and revive him, since now, heís sadly dying. She grabs him up from the hospital bed and teleports him down to the parking lot, leaving an explosion that prompts the Flash to evacuate everyone in the vicinity as quickly as possible. (It makes me wonder, how does Linda enjoy being swept off her feet by her hurrying husband and sped around everywhere? Iíll bet for her all these years, and even for Joan Williams Garrick and Iris West Allen, it was quite a pleasure.)

In the parking lot below, Flash is knocked down and seriously stunned by an implosion of Peek-A-Booís when he puts his hand on his shoulder tyring to tell her that heís going to have to take her in, which causes her to panic and do aforementioned technique, and Linda, whoís still out there, is knocked back against a truck when Lashawn rematerializes, which apparently also bears some force, and Wally, unable to help his wife out for the moment, pleads with Peek-A-Boo to help out by getting her to the medical ward upstairs. She does, but having resentment for the Flash due to his initial misunderstanding of her and getting her locked into a hellhole like Iron Heights in the first place, she points out that sheís doing it for Linda, not for him. Whatever, itís a very good story in telling about how, while she may have pulled a crime by trying to steal a heart transplant and bears dangerous powers, and, while she is mad at Flash, sheís still a good person at heart who doesnít really want to cause harm to anyone innocent.

She turns herself in afterwards. With her father now dead, and her motivation for becoming Peek-A-Boo now gone, we probably wonít see her again, but she was still a very touching character, and Iím very impressed with Johnsí writing for her.

Later on, Linda tells Wally that she realizes that the time has come to tell the Flash family, that being Jay and Joan Garrick, Impulse, Iris Allen and Jesse Quick, about her pregnancy, and he's very delighted indeed. As am I.

Phil Winsladeís guest artwork, while not as colorful as Scott Kolinsí, is pretty good too. Speaking of Kolins, heíll be leaving the title after the soon to be coming 200th issue. Itíll be sad to see him go, since his was one of the most interesting styles Iíve seen in recent years.

Now, Iím interested in seeing whatís to be in the next issue, when Johns introduces an updated version of Barry Allenís worst archnemesis, the Reverse-Flash. Itís already sold out recently in sales, and itís bound to be very interesting.

2010 update: as of this writing, I no longer stand by this review. I have since changed my opinion and written this off as garbage, as explained over here.

Copyright 2003 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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