Heroes & Villains: The Flash Delivers + Star Trek First Contact Day

Wow, Wednesday again? Good thing time has no meaning!

So did I read The Flash last week? What did I think of it? The kick is up annnnd….

It was good!

I ended up enjoying the issue a great deal since it brought a little bit of the classic Wally West Flash flavour to the title. Insomuch that Wally struggles with assuming the title of The Flash, contemplates quitting, then hijinks ensue. There was a certain lightness to this issue that seemed to have been missing from The Flash recently which I rather enjoyed.

Of course, this is coming from someone who also like Joshua Williamson’s run on the title which seemed to be a little more crime focused. The overarching character trait for Barry Allen post-The Flash Rebirth was that he was motivated by tragedy, trying to solve his mother’s murder and thus ensuring his entry into the Super Hero Dead Parent Club. That retooling of his origin never really sat right with me since Allen was originally just an average police scientist who didn’t need a motivating factor to be a good guy and become a hero. It’s probably more telling about today’s world when heroes need more motivation to be good…beyond just being good.

Is a more complex back story more interesting? Does Superman have the market cornered on just being a good guy? Do all heroes have to have their origin Batman-ed up to compete in today’s superhero market?

I’m not prepared to answer any of those questions right now, I’m just happy that The Flash has the potential to be fun again and that both Wally West and Dick Grayson could be getting legacy character redemption revamps.

As part of this column, I reached out to our own Uncle Mac and fellow Wally West truther to get his take on the issue:

There you have it, folks.

Nothing Ever Ends, No One’s Ever Really Gone

Star Trek’s “First Contact Day” was this week and for those of you scratching your heads about what that actually IS…It’s the day that Earth makes first contact with alien life in the context of the Trek universe (April 5th, 2063). In reality it’s Paramount’s answer to Star Wars Day, May the 4th (har har), and an excuse to trot out the myriad of Star Trek projects that are currently in development.

Long time readers of…whatever it is I’m doing here will know that Star Trek is very important to me. It was, and continues to be, a way for me to bond with my father, the escapism it offered got me through high school, and it continues to offer and optimistic vision of the future when we need it most. My escape during lockdown last year was rewatching the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation and it only made me love the series even more than I already did.

Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) celebrated First Contact Day this year with a few first looks at what’s next for Star Trek Lower Decks, Star Trek Discovery, and Star Trek Picard. I’ve unilaterally enjoyed the aforementioned shows and I’ve always been of the opinion that more (thing I love) is good.

It’s an especially odd time to be a fan of some franchises now because there is always going to be a vocal internet contingent that absolutely hates what’s going on now. If the IMDb reviews are to be believed, Picard was an unmitigated disaster that completely tarnished the legacy of TNG, when in fact it was quite the opposite. Personally, I didn’t care for Voyager or Enterprise but I didn’t take to the internet to actively shit on either (it should be said that the internet barely existed for either so who knows, really). I just moved on with my life and watched stuff like Farscape and Stargate SG-1 instead.

Since I’m getting close to the bottom here, my point is this: It’s okay not to like things. It’s a drum I’ve beat before and will continue to beat until it sinks in for some people. Those who know me know that I can beat it for a long time (You’re fired. – Ed.). The existence of something you don’t like in no way diminishes that which has come before it. For example, I pretend that Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Dark Phoenix don’t exist! I’m much happier that way.

Now to what I made note of in the sub headline above, two quotes that for me encapsulate what it’s like to be a fan these days, “Nothing ever ends” and “No one’s ever really gone.” Beyond the simple fact that we’re now faced with IPs that literally rake in billions of dollars for companies these days, these franchise have subverted or otherwise remixed the myths of yesteryear and may well endure long after I’m gone. Can you imagine if Gunsmoke was the one that stuck?

The original Star Trek premiered when my dad was just twenty years old and just over a decade later he showed it to me for the first time. Good stories, simple morality plays and the like always end up enduring for generations, this past Christmas I gifted my niece a shirt that read “Future Jedi” because what kind of uncle would I be if I didn’t?

Without question, one of the finest Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes was its finale “All Good Things” which also has the distinction of being one of the best TV finales of all time. In an episode filled with high points, it stuck the landing with its ending. The following exchange always stuck with me:

So, of course, you can imagine how this teaser for season two of Picard got to me…

Leave a Reply