Friday, August 31, 2018

Retro Review: Just Imagine Stan Lee's Flash (2002) Review

Rainbow Fight

Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: Kevin Maguire, Karl Story, and Bill Oakley
Cover Price: $5.95
Release Date: January 2002

I love the Flash so I couldn't wait to read this one.  Also, it was the only one of these characters that I actually had seen before reading these books.  So, does Stan Lee give us a kick-ass version of the "Fastest Man Alive"?  Yes and no.  Let's find out what I mean...
We open the issue with the bad guy...I mean gal, Andrea Zakara.  She is the evil head of STEALTH and she is trying to figure out time travel.  Well, she is actually yelling at people to figure it out for her while she stands around smoking like a badass.

We move on to meet Mary Maxwell who is indeed the hero of our story.  She is a teen girl who likes comic books, walks in the rain and throwing shade at her boring scientist dad.  We, we find out dad is not so boring after all and is actually hiding from STEALTH.  They need his DNA research to help people survive the whole time travel thing.

To escape STEALTH and their big goon, Zorgul, they jump in their rocket-powered station wagon and eventually end up in Australia.  However, Zorgul is quick to follow and we get our first real big moment when Mary breathes in a green fog and falls into the now green ocean.  It's not really explained, but it all makes her very tired.

Back in the States, Mary's father is concerned about her health and decides to do what any concerned parent would do...inject her with hummingbird DNA.  Of course!!!  The problems arise, though, when STEALTH arrives and shoots him just as he is injecting it, giving Mary a huge dose.  Why did he have that much in the syringe?  Why does it really matter???  Since this is a comic, the DNA makes Mary really fast and she makes a pretty cool costume and calls herself the Flash.

The rest of the issue is Mary training to take care of STEALTH while they try to perfect time travel.  Eventually, both happen, but not before some double-crosses, some unheaded warnings and one really stupid plan.  It seems that Andrea wants to time travel so they can go back a couple of weeks, steal money and come back with it.  It's the perfect plan, she says, since you can't get arrested for a crime you commit in the past!  I think she needs to think this through a bit more!

By the end, Mary escapes from STEALTH and while she really doesn't get revenge herself, the organization is left in shambles pretty much because Andrea was a greedy moron and every other person under her are even dumber.

This issue is completely ridiculous...and it's easily my favorite Just Imagine book!  It is played mostly for fun, the bad guys talk big, but are idiots and Mary is likable the minute she shows up.  The art is so bright and snappy which fits the story so well and also helps it rise above some of the other books in this series which are just dark and dreary.

Mary in Flash #52!

Bits and Pieces:

If you are going to read one Just Imagine book, this would be my suggestion.  It is bright and fun and the origin, while totally ridiculous, helps it distance itself enough from the original to feel totally fresh.  By the way, Mary Maxwell was in the recent Flash #52 so there is a chance we will see her some more down the road.  I really hope so!


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