Tangent Comics: The Flash
DC Comics (December, 1997)
WRITER: Todd Dezago
PENCILER: Gary Frank
INKER: Cam Smith
COLORIST: Patricia Mulvihill
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Frank Berrios
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Dana Kurtin
EDITOR: Eddie Berganza
Lia Nelson is the daughter of astronauts Terrance Kelly and Celeste Nelson, conceived on the first manned trip to Jupiter. However, something in space caused their offspring to gain the power to transform into light and create solid light holograms. Now the superhero Flash she deals with her mom shoving her into the spotlight and not realizing her father is trying to capture her for the Nightwing organization…emphasis on trying since he’s having all the success of a Looney Tunes villain. At the premiere of her first movie she and her bestie Bently are unaware of her dad’s team and Francis “Black Lightning” Powell, a former member of the Metal Men war heroes, getting in each others’ way in trying to capture her, with Kelly using a Metallo robot and Powell using the uncontrollable light sucking Dark Star. So Powell sends out a woman with Flash’s powers, only for her to defeat this “reverse Flash” and warn Powell off.
What they got right: This was meant to be the more fun title and it succeeds at that. Lia’s powers and how she uses them are pretty cool in a teenage girl sort of way (I want to say she’s sixteen). She has a supportive best friend. Her parents are an interesting dynamic, and she’s given some decent villains.
What they got wrong: Too bad the comedy act of Kelly and his team take up so much time that Dark Star basically wastes his appearance…and himself, while the “reverse Flash” gets so little panel time it feels like it wasn’t worth the bother. We don’t get to see her battle either of them, with Lia winning her battle off-panel. I understand that Kelly’s group are meant to look like chumps but we’re supposed to take “Black Lightning” (who isn’t even black or used lightning so maybe the actual Metal Men Tangent comic explains that–I wouldn’t know as it’s one I passed on since I’m not usually into war stories) seriously in other books. It’s tough to given how spectacularly Dark Star fails. Plus, like, Lia and Bently talk a lot like, like valley girls and I’m totally exaggerating here mostly but it like does get annoying to listen to in your head while it’s clearly the old guy writing this taking pop shots as Jenny McCarthy and Tori Spelling.
What I think overall: This comic like totally doesn’t age well, but the story is fun. If this had been an actual first issue (I guess Dezago and Tangent concept creator Dan Jurgens had higher hopes, while we only get a second set of one shots after this one) it would have worked. As a standalone story however it feels like missing potential.