"Yesterday's" Comic> The Flash #53
Flash #53 DC Comics (August, 1991) "Fast Friends" WRITER: William Messner-Loebs PENCILER: Greg LaRocque INKER: Jose Marzan Jr. COVER PENCILER: Dan Jurgens COVER INKER: Jose Martin, Jr. COLORIST: Glenn Whitmore LETTERER: Tim Harkins EDITOR: Brian Augustyn Wally doesn't have time to get over the shock of learning former supervillain-turned-ally The Pied Piper is gay. He has an appointment to keep with Superman. A guy calling himself the Silver Squid, whose drug-boosted electromagnetic powers can even hurt Superman, kidnaps Jimmy (hoping a picture of the former CIA agent will get him his job back) and tells Superman to bring him a dead dictator he has a grievance with, and a legitimate one as Superman would find out later. The Flash races to San Filipe to find the dictator very much alive and still protected by the CIA, so he kidnaps said dictator and with the Pied Piper's help, manages to trick the Squid and helps rescue Jimmy. What they got right: As a team-up it's not bad, even though they actually investigate on their own. It's not a super-important-everything-must-happen-and-be-huge-and-influential-and-change-everything-forever-until-the-next-story kind of thing like you have now. It's just a simple adventure where Flash helps Superman out. And whatever your opinion on homosexuality is, or was at that time, it isn't in-your-face with the whole thing. Flash at least accepts his friend is gay and still his friend, weirded out as he was for not guessing Piper was gay after going on about how there are obvious signs. What they got wrong: And yet, it's when Wally is asking if the Joker is gay in a conversation that comes out of nowhere. I realize the concept of asexual lifestyles (where a person isn't attracted to anybody) wasn't a "think" in 1991, and it does fit that Piper says the Joker doesn't swing any direction, but what was the point of that conversation? Just to have the Piper come out of the closet in a subplot that last all of three pages and a later reveal panel? I remember there were news stories about this on TV...over a month after the comic came out if I recall correctly...but nothing about this is that controversial unless you still think comics are just for kids, which they did and were at least friendly to younger readers in the early 90s, so judge as thou whilst. Recommendation: A good, simple adventure that we don't get enough of these days. It's worth picking up if you come across it. This was my first Flash comic, coming off the show of the time, and it did make me question the show using the wrong Flash.