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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 132

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at an acclaimed one-off issue of Flash by Williams Messner-Loebs and Greg LaRocque – “Freefall”!


The issue, Flash #54, opens with Wally taking down a generic looking supervillain…

Two important bits set up here – 1. “Nobody dies. It’s a rule” and 2. The whole “Flash can run against gravity” deal.

Wally boards a plane and befriends a waitress…

The villain’s friends try to spring him. Wally stops them, but in the process, a hole is torn in the plane…

this leads to…

How brilliant is that?

Here is a glimpse of Wally dealing with the woman while in the sky…

That’s a glimpse of what the rest of the issue is like – Wally and the waitress in the sky while Wally tries to keep them both from dying.

After all, “Nobody dies. It’s a rule.”

It’s a brilliant little issue with strong artwork by Larcoque.

Well worth picking up – I’m sure you can find it in a discount bin on on eBay pretty easily!


I have to say the whole run is amazing (the best is probably the Grodd issues) but this was such a wow moment itself. Plus this set up the storyline (either Loebs or Waids) of when Flash comes to the realzation that perhaps he can’t save everyone.

Honestly, if I had to rank the vol 2, Loebs would be first.

Have you been listening to the Replacements lately? “You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky…”

But I think they prefer to be called stewardesses or flight attendants.

The Crazed Spruce

May 13, 2010 at 7:34 am

Wouldn’t you know it, this is one of the few Loebs/Larocque issues that I missed.

They did another great one-off issue, though. Wally was watching a movie with his girlfriend when time suddenly stopped. Then he feels a bullet at the back of his neck, and realized he has to find every bullet fired, not to mention the shooter, all in less than a second. That was always one of my favourites.

So…how the heck did they get back on solid ground- intact?

Also, LaRoque was a pen name for John Byrne, right?

(I know better)

Oh, yeah…this was one of the best single-issue stories from the Wally West run. It’s always so hard to pick out a good issue from the series since most of it was written in the era of the multi-part story, even before writing for the trade became the norm.

To me, this is the best Flash story ever. It has everything. Wally is always a half-step ahead of the bad guys, but they are bad enough to be dangerous. Wally connects with the people he meets on a human level and it influences his decisions. Messner-Loebs underlines the limitations of Wally’s powers and then does something utterly awesome with them.

Greg LaRocque never seems to get any run as being one of the best Flash artists, but he certainly should be in that discussion. He reminds me of Infantino in a good way. None of his people are too beautiful, but they all have a warmth about them. Everything is smooth and modern.

Great stuff.

I love this run. I recently re-read issues 49 and 50 for a Top Ten Flash Deaths article (http://www.comicsbulletin.com/soapbox/127199731388027.htm, in case you’re wondering) and it struck me that this was the major turning point for Wally West as a character. Waid’s run wouldn’t have been possibly without all the amazing character work Messner-Loebs did during this time, or at least it wouldn’t have been that convincing. It’s really fascinating to see Wally slowly evolving from the insecure jerk Mike Baron had made him to the greatest Flash ever.

Also, as a kid I didn’t really think much of LaRocque’s art, but he kept getting better and better as the title advanced. His work in Return of Barry Allen blew me away.

Ha. The first thing I thought of was the ‘Mats, too, Jack!

Great, great issue. After Dave Campbell featured it as a Fuck Yeah file, I went out and bought it.

Wally West is a great character. Wait, no. Was. That’s right.

That close up of Wally’s face brings goosebumps. The end of it made me cry. That is a cool moment thanks for this one.

The last ten issues of Messner-Loebs run were some strong work. I believe that this was followed by one of the stronger War of the Gods issues and then the Piper coming out of the closet. If you want to see some strong character work from the main character through the supporting cast, the last year of Messner-Loebs Flash is worth the look.

This story is a favorite of mine from that run, so I’m glad to see it profiled. I especially like the scene with how Wally runs into an issue with cramping after kicking for a while (this is pre-speed force; he needed to eat like a pig to run). It’s a great way to extend the tension after everything seems like it’ll work out fine.

Good call here.

Yes!!! Single best Flash story I’ve ever read. It’s every bit as good as the peanuts in it :)

I also rate Loebs’ run the best of volume 2. I’m sure most of it is available for bargain basement prices in the backissues bins, which is a blessing for those who missed it since I don’t think any of it has been reprinted.

(If DC ever does a new “Greatest Flash Stories” volume, this issue should be the first one selected. They must know how much love this story gets, right? And all deserved. Bravo!)

Ok this looks damn good and I see The Crazed Spruce recommends what I’ve tracked down to be issue #30 (the bullet in the back of the neck in a movie theater one) but I was wondering if the entire run on Flash of this creative team, more or less 15-61, is worth tracking down? Please keep in mind I don’t much care for Flash at all and I think a lot (but not all!) of DC’s characters are pretty stupid. But I do like good stories. Thanks!

[…] A Year of Cool Comics – Day 132 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) VN:F [1.9.0_1079]please wait…Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)VN:F [1.9.0_1079]Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)You Got #ComicBooked 2010-05-12, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating […]

@PeterCSM I was a casual Flash fan at best before this run. It’s very, very strong and probably worth tracking down – it may make you care a bit more for Flash. There were also some annuals and specials along the way.

@Bill K

More comics I need to track down! You’re killing me, Bill! But thanks a lot, can’t wait to dive into these.

[…] Should Be Good features Flash #54: “Nobody Dies” (William Messner-Loebs and Greg LaRocque) in their Year of Cool Comics. It’s one of my […]

Good to see that this won a place on the Greatest Wally West Stories Ever Told poll – the highest ranking never-reprinted story on the list, I believe, and the highest-ranked single issue, too. Quite an achievement for a tale decades out of print!

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