WARNING! LOTS OF SPOILERS AHEAD!
Release Date: April 1988
Title: Chunk barges in
Writer: Mike Baron
Penciller: Jackson Guice
Inker: Romeo Tanghal
Guest Stars: Mary West, Tina McGee
Bad Guys: Chunk
The Cover: Steve Lightle
"The Great Escape". Flash runs towards us, a determined look on his face (and if you were concerned about what I said about the cover to Flash #4, you can rest easy now; Flash appears to have had his manhood restored). Looming behind him and filling the rest of the cover is Chunk's enourmous head, mouth gaping open in a howl of anger. Spilling out of his mouth are hordes of people in tattered, ragged clothes.
The Story so Far
Flash has been teleported to a strange wasteland dimension by the Chunk. The dimension is populated by other people Chunk has "popped" there; some good and some bad. Flash has convinced Chunk to take everyone back to the real world, but the bad guys (who've turned to cannibalism since they arrived) have attacked the good guys.
On with the story!
The fighting between the two groups has been halted by Chunk's sudden arrival on the scene, announcing that he needs to "eat something soon or I'll implode, taking this place with me". I might try that line next time I go to a fancy restaurant. The good guys argue between themselves briefly about whether then should take out Chunk while they have a chance, but the bad guys beat them to it, attcking Chunk en masse. Chunk retaliates by turning up the gravity, sucking all the bad guys up and absorbing them.
After his little snack, Chunk sits brooding by himself. Flash approaches, and after a brief philosophical discussion about Chunk's responsibility for his actions (Flash arguing that nobody will care that Chunk absorbed masses of people into a nightmare wasteland dimension once he shows everyone how smart he is; a surprising moral position for a superhero) Flash convinces Chunk to try and take everyone back to the real world. Everyone piles into Chunk's luxury yacht and Chunk, wearing a jaunty sailor's cap, pops them out of there, boat and all.
Back in New York, a garbage barge is being turned away from Long Island Sound, as the not-in-my-back-yard council has closed the landfill. The barge captain has apparently been carting the stinking pile of refuse around for three months, being turned away everywhere. Suddenly, Chunk's yacht pops into existence, above the water and upside-down. Flash zips around fishing people out of the water (doing the running on water thing pioneered by Barry Allen), but there's no sign of Chunk until he hauls himself out of the water onto the garbage barge, where he sits for a while congratulating himself for bringing everyone back. The police want to arrest him at first, but Flash manages to convince them to relase Chunk into his custody, telling them Chunk may be a great asset to the community, and he'll explain everything if the town council will hold an extraordinary meeting out at the docks the next morning.
Flash and Chunk head back to Flash's place, where his Mum (Mary) and Tina are overjoyed to see him again, possibly because they love him and possibly because they've been driving each other nuts in his absence. Wally discovers the place is in chaos, as Mary has taken it upon herself to landscape the grounds and remodel the interior, much to Tina's intense annoyance. Yawn.
The next day, Wally reveals to the town council that Chunk can help them with their garbage problems. Gilchrist seems happier with Wally now that he's caught Chunk, and says that the town council is proud to have Flash live there... as long as this stunt with the garbage works. Chunk is taken out to the barge, sits on the pile of garbage, concentrates for a while, and pops it out of existence. Unfortunately, a large quantity of water is gone as well, causing a whirlpool. Flash does the old running on the water in the opposite direction trick to shut it down, but Gilchrist is still pissed off at the near disaster, and says the council will have to "reevaluate its reevalutaion of its policy on super-powered individuals". Poor Wally having to deal with a difficult council. Poor us for having to read all about it, not to mention reading about Wally whining about it to his therapist, as we do for the final page.
Morally Doubtful Stuff
Wally has an interesting take on criminal responsibility, for a super hero:
Chunk: What about all those people I absorbed? They'll hold me responsible...
Flash: Don't worry about that! They'll forget all about that once you explain your matter transmitter... Look at Henry Kissinger! Bombed the hell out of South-east Asia and they still gave him a Nobel prize!
Chunk: True – Kissinger has done well...
Farewell, Jackson Guice
This is Jackson Guice's last issue on the Flash. He did expressive, realistic faces, but his anatomy just seems a bit weird. The legs are too long (this was mentioned by the editor in the letters page once as actually being one of the reasons they chose him for Flash - I guess the fastest man in the world would have a good long set of legs) and occasionally limbs bend in impossible directions (like on this issue's cover). I think Guice improved a lot by the time he worked on Action Comics around the time of the Death/Return of Superman, and his run on Flash certainly wasn't his best work.
Flash's current top speed is just under the speed of sound.
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