If you haven’t heard, DC relaunched everything last year, and they’re calling it The New 52. Today we’re going to talk about The Flash #1, and boy are you in for a treat. But let’s not take this at super speed (wink!), because you’re gonna want to savor it.
I’ve always loved The Flash. I’m even known on occasion to say he’s my favorite superhero (it’s so hard to pick sometimes). It’s certainly always been one of my favorite titles to read. My first subscriptions started in 1997 with Detective Comics, The Flash, and the newly relaunched JLA. At that time Wally West was The Flash, and I liked him. In fact, I instantly loved The Flash title. It starkly contrasted the dark feel of Batman. Save the existence of heroes, villains, and buildings, Central City and Gotham City are so different they might as well exist in separate universes. This, coupled with The Flash’s unique and solitary superpower (it’s super speed, FYI) gave it a really fresh feel. I stuck with my Flash subscription longer than any of my others titles.
All of this is to say that I’m a big fan of The Flash, so when reboots happen I get squinty eyed (I show suspicion by squinting my eyes). This was my general posture when turning the opening pages of The Flash #1, but it didn’t last long. By the time I reached the very first frames I was sold on Francis Manapul (of Witchblade fame) and Brian Buccellato‘s artwork. It’s exceptional. In fact, this is the very first thing that should stand out to you about The New 52: The Flash, the artwork is gorgeous. The colors are rich and vibrant giving The Flash #1 that fresh feel I remember from my early subscriptions. I could gush and gush about the artwork, but foremost I want to point out the creative and clever ways that Manapul and Buccellato illustrate in those classic comic book action words. Take a look below:
Since all titles were rebooted, The Flash of my youth (Wally West) is gone, and returned to the The Flash mantle is Barry Allen. This isn’t an origin story, however. DC is assuming you know how these heroes became who they are, so The Flash simply begins. This placed a bit of weight on Manapul’s shoulders, because he wasn’t going to get to rely on a free ride issue #1. And I have to give Manapul credit, he opens with an intriguing story that sucked me in right away. Something I appreciate about this reboot is that people don’t know Barry Allen is The Flash. By the time Wally West became The Flash he no longer used a secret identity. Each of those scenarios (to secret identity or not to secret identity…) create their own interesting issues, but I find I like my heroes mysterious (just like I like my coffee). Plus, The Flash is fast enough to do a quick change, so getting in and out of costume shouldn’t be a problem, right?
And on that note, the costume issue is a funny quirk of this reboot. Maybe this is a facet of who the Barry Allen Flash was, but I find the choice to have The Flash’s suit hidden in a ring a little puzzling. Seeing him thrust his fist out and (what I’m presuming is) running into his suit, which has just popped out of the ring, doesn’t quite feel like The Flash’s thing (aren’t we stepping into Green Lantern territory here?). However, I’m willing to overlook this, because, in a way, it does give the comic a bit of a Golden Age feel.
After finishing The Flash #1 I was so excited about the potential for this series that I made my wife sit and listen to me talk about The Flash. It brought back some very fond memories, and I think the future is bright for this title. If DC will allow this team to stay on this title for a while I think we’ll get some truly wonderful reading out of The Flash (As of this point they’ve done 10 issues together. Fingers crossed!). If you haven’t tried The New 52: The Flash pick it up. If you don’t love it you can send it to me.