DC has finally seen fit to go back and collect Geoff Johns' very first story arc as writer of The Flash and with this trade all of Johns' Flash stories have been collected (seven volumes total, collect them all!). This trade collects issues #164-#169. I don't know why they didn't release this as Geoff Johns first volume of Flash, choosing instead to go with #170-#176 (Volume 1: Blood Will Run)* but whatever. I'm glad it's finally collected.
The Flash, volume 0: Wonderland sees Wally West trapped in a mirror world where superheroes exist but they play for keeps. After the defeat of this alternate world's Teen Titans (sans a Kid Flash) where only Robin survived, the adult heroes decided that only they should be allowed to fight the criminals and to hell with due process. Any masked criminal they can find, dies. In this world, Barry Allen is still a scientist but he was never doused with chemicals that would turn him into the Flash. No Barry Allen Flash and no Wally West Flash in this world. And Jay Garrick's long dead. Also, no Speed Force for 'our' Wally to tap into so he's a normal man running from the law at normal speed. He soon discovers that Captain Cold and Mirror Master are also trapped in this dark and unfriendly world. How did all three end up together in this strange world and with a powerless Flash, how do they hope to escape back to their own world?
Wonderland may at first look like a typical "hero in an alternate world" storyline but Johns turns a typical run off the mill plot into one with a couple of twists and turns. Without giving away too much, it's all an elaborate act of vengeance. Yes, Mirror Master had a hand in Flash's exile (trapped in a mirror world? Kinda obvious) but no, it wasn't his idea. The main baddie is someone new but when I first read the story, I thought Geoff Johns dug this guy up from some old Flash comic. Such is Johns reputation for using old plot points and old characters and giving them a fresh look that anyone who hasn't been reading the book for years and years would probably be fooled and yes, I was fooled. But in a fun way. Well done, Mr. Johns.
The entire collection is a quick, fun read and the art by Angel Unzueta (pencils) and Doug Hazelwood (inks) is very good though they went for the lantern-jaw look for Wally which always makes me giggle like a pre-pubescent girl whenever I see it (I'm easily amused, what can I say). This trade is a must have if you're a Geoff Johns fan and you collect every thing that he has written. For those who are collecting his Flash run, Wonderland is of course a no-brainer addition.
*According to Amazon, Flash volume 1: Blood Will Run, which is out of print is scheduled to be made available again in early 2008. Good news for those of us who missed the book the first time around.