The Flash #70 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Howard Porter, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: A New Twist?
Ray: With the Flash franchise hitting some complicated waters due to recent events in Heroes in Crisis, the main title is taking a three-month break to take Barry Allen back to the beginning, as regular creative team Williamson and Porter launch “Year One” with The Flash #70. This new look at Barry Allen’s origin promises to unveil a new mystery that will impact Barry in the present day, and some clever twists set it apart from the run-of-the-mill origin retellings we seem to get every few years. The story opens with a flashback to Barry as a young boy who loves comic books, riding out a storm with the support of his mother. But as we all know, that happy life will be short-lived, and we soon flash forward to Barry as a withdrawn CSI tech, throwing himself into his work and failing to express his feelings to reporter Iris West – despite the urgings of his close friend, the doomed August Heart. Barry’s obsession with his mother’s case leaves him mostly in the lab – including when a freak storm douses him in chemicals.
We know that part of the story, but were this issue distinguishes itself is with the back half as Barry investigates his new powers and pushes them as far as they can go. Barry is a scientist by trade, so he views his new super-speed as a science experiment. There’s a lot of mishaps along the way, including a running gag involving his shoes catching on fire. For an issue about a man with super-speed, it gets the best mileage out of going slow – showing us how Barry views the world in this new dimension. He invents things that make running easier and pushes his speed past its limit – until he finds out exactly how far he can go. There’s a great last-act twist that introduces a new take on a classic Flash villain, and a possible new Flash who has a major warning for Barry. It feels like this origin story is going to launch a new direction for the main story, not just kill time, which makes it one of the best origin tales in a while.
Corrina: It’s good we’re missing all the stuff with Wally West because, ugh, that event messes with all my DC reading right now.
With an origin story, new twists are welcome. I particularly liked the scene with Barry and his mother because that’s the most characterization Nora Allen has gotten in years either in comics or television. Certainly, this run has never been interested in her before and, in the CW show, Nora only exists to die. I guess it’s good to get this short scene rather than nothing.
Barry training himself was excellent, especially the panel of the ruined shoes. Porter’s art has always been perfect for this title. I particularly liked Iris’ entrance surrounded by newspaper headlines and Barry’s discovery of his speed powers via knocking over his plate at the hospital.
I have mixed feelings about the cliffhanger ending. Did we need another Flash? Can I hope this is Mercury Morris or Jay? (It’s likely neither). I’m also not big on yet another time travel story but that is what the Flash does, so that’s me, not the story.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.