The Flash #71 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Howard Porter, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: I’m Intrigued
Ray: It’s been a while since this title was as enjoyable as it is in Flash #71, and all it had to do was go a decade or so back in time. “The Flash: Year One” is easily the best origin retelling I’ve read in a long time, and I think part of that is that past Barry is a lot more likable than present Barry. No more fumbling into terrible universe-destroying decisions – the young CSI who stumbles into world-altering powers has a lot in common with the insecure Peter Parker. But at the end of the last issue, he was thrown into the deep end – accidentally running forward in time and winding up in a post-apocalyptic future run by obscure Flash villain The Turtle. There, he’s met by a graying future Flash who has confirmed this issue to be another Barry Allen. Time travel stories can get bogged down by continuity, but Williamson keeps things light – Old Man Flash is used to this, and seamlessly runs through the info he needs to give young Barry while keeping him in the dark about relevant things.
I’m not always a big fan of darker-and-edgier versions of obscure, silly villains, but this take on Turtle works with what’s been set up involving the Still Force. Like Flash uses the Speed Force, Turtle leeches it away and has used it to prolong his own life. In the future, he runs Central City with an iron fist and harvests the speed of random civilians to boost his energy. Barry and Barry aren’t strong enough to take him own, so after our Barry gets a crash course in using his speed, it’s back to the present day with some helpful advice. Barry, terrified, immediately vows never to run again – but it’s not long before he’s met with a bank robbery led by Turtle, and Iris West running right into the fray to chase a story. This run could have so easily been a bland retelling of a story we already know, but Williamson keeps packing surprises into it. It looks like it’s going to be an essential read before the next big storyline – “The Death of the Speed Force”, beginning in August.
Corrina: I’m not a big fan of time travel stories but, hey, it’s the Flash, so time travel is basically required at this point, especially in an origin tale.
It all works too. I’m so pleased this is another version of Barry and not another speedster, rogue or otherwise. It also works because the older Barry is easy with himself, confident, and without much of the angst and darker qualities we’ve seen in the present. Younger Barry is also refreshing, confused, out of his depth, more of an everyman-character. And Turtle with the Still Force is the best use of one of these Forces so far.
Porter’s art does the heavy-lifting of showing the battles, as both Flashes are moving around even as they talk, suggesting a dystopia in the panels behind past and present Barrys.
I must still note that we seem to have moved on fast (like a flash?) from Kristen’s trauma of being coerced into a physical relationship with Trickster. I’m guessing we’ll never get to unpack those consequences and it will be forgotten. Which is why I question why it was there in the first place.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.