The Flash #73 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Howard Porter, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Continues To Be an Enjoyable Arc
Ray: This flashback story has been the best thing to happen to Josh Williamson’s Flash run in years, as taking Barry back to the beginning has done amazing work in making us care about the often-controversial character. Williamson’s Barry, at this stage in his life, is a clumsy and often wrongheaded rookie hero, learning about the nature of his speed piece by piece. Flash #73 is surprisingly intense at points – even as we know Barry’s going to survive, watching him try to remove a bullet from his own chest without piercing his heart or alerting Iris to what’s happened to him is one of the most dramatic segments I can recall in this book. The relationship between Barry and Iris is one of the best depictions of a beginning-stages romance I can remember in a superhero book – the way they both fumble and screw up, and do their best to fix it is very genuine.
Where is this Barry and Iris in the main timeline?
Equally good is Williamson’s take on the Turtle, long one of Flash’s least-threatening and punchline-worthy villains. The segment where Barry visits him in Iron Heights and tries to get info out of him, only for Turtle to reveal exactly how much he knows about Barry, is genuinely chilling. Even creepier is the depiction of Turtle’s origin, showing how he went from a loving family man determined to eke a little more time out of the day to a monster using everyone around him for parasitic energy. Flash’s villains tend to be a dichotomy – either they’re gimmick criminals with a sense of honor, or they’re sadistic monsters. Present-day Turtle is creepy enough, so when future Turtle shows up with future Barry in tow for the cliffhanger, you know this is going to be a good third arc. The action and use of the Speed Force is excellent but even better is just how well Williamson writes every Flash cast member in this arc.
Corrina: There’s a parallel between Barry and Turtle’s stories and it’s not the obvious one of having access to a type of speed: slow versus fast. it’s the story of how a person’s perception of the passage of time can rob them of their humanity. Turtle’s slow descent into seeing others as playthings cycles into this, with Barry also wondering how much he should let other people in on his secret. How far removed should Barry be to be effective as the Flash?
It’s terrific storytelling when thematic questions like that pop up.
And, yes, where is this Barry and Iris in the main timeline? They’re almost different people.
You have to love that wonderful splash page cliffhanger at the end but the art team also handles that sequence with Barry removing a bullet from his chest with equal skill.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.