web stats

CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 149

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

As if we didn’t already have our fill of Flash moments, I’ve decided to do the classic Flash/Züm fight from JLA #3.


Thinking back, it’s almost staggering to think that this appeared in the same issue as Batman’s incredible showdown with the Hyperclan, but it did.

Here is the Flash’s fight against the Hyperclan’s resident speedster, Züm, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Howard Porter…

Simply amazing.

I guess as “the” moment, I’m going with the last “Flash Fact” bit.

Great stuff.


Grabbing the pot at the end isn’t too shabby either. I loved that moment.

That’s awesome. Trust Morrison to take something seen a million times before and make it fresh.

Normally, mixing the Flash with real-world physics — especially relativistic effects — just makes me cringe, but this moment is cool enough that I’ll just ignore all that. One punch!

The Mad Maple

May 30, 2009 at 5:07 am

This week can be summed up in three words:




I love how Morrison takes a quality of comics writing from the Silver & Bronze Ages (incorporating tidbits of science, history, etc into superhero stories) and makes that an actual habit of Barry Allen’s. “Flash Facts.” Brilliant!

If both characters are running at relativistic speeds, that’s only relative to an outside observer (such as normal Earth people.) Both speedsters are running at close to the same speed, so it’s really no different than if one guy punched another guy in the jaw while both were running a marathon.

Both speedsters are running at close to the same speed, so it’s really no different than if one guy punched another guy in the jaw while both were running a marathon.

Morrison made a point of saying that Wally “took the long way around”, which I took to mean the two speedsters were heading toward each other at near light speed. I admit that isn’t what Porter drew. However, that is a common problem with Morrison scripted books. The art and the story often seem to be “saying” slightly different things. When Morrison is working with a methodical artist (i.e. Frank Quietly, JG Jones) is when the art is most in synch with the script.

Of course, that is also the best work that Morrison produces.

On a personal level, “JLA: New World Order” is the story that brought me back to comics after a long hiatus. I had to see what the crazy guy from the Doom Patrol did to the Justice League. This was the moment that got me hooked again. It is a flat perfect moment for the Flash. It sums up everything that is cool about the character. He is wicked fast. He beats you with his brain, but is foremost profoundly human and humane.

Good choice! This is a very cool moment from Morrison’s JLA run, one of favorites. The first time I read this scene, it brought me back to Steve Englehart’s run on JLA (which could serve up quite a handful of cool moments) and a scene with Barry Allen Flash running while we looked in on his thoughts. The Dick Dillin/Frank McLaughlin art really captured Barry’s super speed and I think the Porter/Dell art on this sequence harkened back to that classic scene.

I liked the one where he saved the Korean villagers from the nuke a lot better.

Morrison made a point of saying that Wally “took the long way around”, which I took to mean the two speedsters were heading toward each other at near light speed.

It means Wally realized he was a lot faster than Zum, so instead of chasing him, he lapped him– ran around the world again, increasing his speed/acceleration, and then punched him in the face.

“Once ought to do it.” Brilliant.

Yes, but:

“The speed field beginning to form around me: a flowing world of mystery silver, morphing hyper-dimensional gels. Speed heaven, the source of my power.”

This is the worst bit of writing by Grant Morrison I ever saw. It’s automatic self-parody. It’s not there to be something a character is actually thinking at that moment; it’s there so we can all be hit over the head with GM writing up a storm. Every time I read this page, that thought balloon just yanks me out of the moment.

(Before anyone jumps in to defend Grant, I’ve been a fan of his for over twenty years and I’ve read nearly all his published work — when I say this is one of the few lines of his that makes me groan out loud every time, I’ve done the comprehensive research to back that up.)

Is there a page missing from this sequence? I’m seeing Wally rack his brains trying to think of something, and then I’m seeing the punch. Jumps from page 5 to page 7.

that moment showed that grant knew how to use the big seven including flash the way they are should be use almost gods and willing to think like their opponents and loved the wanting the vase for linda but did not have time to get it

You should post some moments from comics I haven’t read.

But good pick. :) The last page is the best.

[…] Should Be Good continues a week of Flash-themed Cool Comic Moments with Flash vs. Züm from Grant Morrison’s JLA: New World Order. (Züm of the Hyperclan would probably be […]

I had never seen these pages before – very cool! Ironically I wrote up a bunch of physics of the Flash stuff that included the very same blueshift idea – “Science of The Flash – or – I forgot what a geek I am”


Morrison is great at taking us to the world the characters live in…

“I admit that isn’t what Porter drew.”

On that note, gotta love Flash opining that Zum most likely had reached escape velocity, and Porter quickly showing that he doesn’t know what “escape velocity” means.

@papa zero:

Nice article. On the science of the origin, Bill Messner-Loebs did my favorite retcon of all time in Secret Origins annual #2. When Barry Allen was fighting the Anti-Monitor, he exceeded the speed of light, turned into pure energy and traveled back in time. Barry was the bolt of lightening that turned himself into the Flash. It reminded of a particle accelerator and was sort of poetic.

It also implied that a threat Wally in the future, since Barry and Wally had identical origins.

BTW, if Zum HAD hit escape velocity, he wouldn’t have come back down….. That’s what escape velocity MEANS.


Nah, he might have started at escape velocity but would have lost some momentum before he fully escaped. He was punched into the statoshere, there wasn’t anything maintaining his velocity after the punch, but gravity and friction were present to slow him down.

This is why Barry should stay dead. Wally took his “Flash Facts” and used them to be far cooler than Barry ever was!

@ Bob:

escape velocity means the velocity required to escape the conditions of the earth including gravity and friction.

Respectfully….In regard to “why Barry should stay dead….” While DC wouldn’t let you or me run wild with what we’d do with their characters, I think it’s inaccurate to say that Wally used Flash Facts in a cooler way than did Barry. That’s a subjective idea for starters – but as a character Barry was used in far greater fashion exploring the potential for his existing powers. Julius Schwartz was well known for his hardline editing style requiring writers to disregard the first five obvious solutions to any given problem. This forced writers (and one in particular) to push the envelope in imaginative ways rather than invent new powers.

@ Dean:

Yeah! A great story with a gratifying feel of symmetry.

As far as the escape velocitything goes … it merely states he’s going seven miles per second, but if he’s not moving outward he’s just going to smash into the earth at that speed, rather than into space. That said, it seemed pretty clear to me that Morrison meant Wally to punch the bad guy off the face of the earth, but Porter misinterpreted. Either way, it’s still a cool moment for Wally.

It doesn’t make me want to go out and buy it to read again, but it’s nice to remember how much I enjoyed this series way back when.

I like the pot moment myself. It’s pure Wally. Saving the world, loving every minute of it, still utterly a normal guy.

Yeah, saving the pot is the moment I always think regarding this scene. But it probably should be that last Flash Fact. Or “one punch should do it.”

Again, this would be much cooler had an artist better than Porter been involved. It’s just so…ugly.

@ wwk5d:

I have my problems with Porter as a story-teller, but he was a huge help to the title in other ways. For one, Grant Morrison was not yet the God of All Comics. “Doom Patrol” and “Animal Man” were sort of cult titles. Porter drew a promo image of the Big 7 that was sort Novick meets Kirby by way of Image, which brought a lot of people to the party.

Even in this sequence where he might be confusing the story, Porter is drawing a great Flash. He really gives you sense of the movement in a different way than Carmine Infantino did. Contrast that with the stiff poses of Ethan Van Sciver in the current “Flash: Rebirth”, which makes Barry Allen appear to be the Fastest Statue Alive.

Also contrast the great use of the “Flash Fact” bit by Morrison here with the douche-y way Geoff Johns has Barry use it in the current series.

Loved the JLA but it did suffer from being over written and over drawn.

Wally does in fact wonder what speed Zum is going, it’s never actually established as escape velocity, that’s just Wally thinking. Not clear I grant you but enough to warp your head around Zums return to earth. It also seems that Zum is as fast as Wally to start with but then Wally can shift it up a gear, and literally run circles around him. Sort of makes sense when you stop to think that Wally is taking Zum on at Zums level but because Zum is a military thinker Wally needs a little more clout (and thus doesn’t actually need to be coming toward Zum to punch him), but again not very clear.

Grant wrote this along side The Invisibles didn’t he? Explains a lot that does.

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives