Overview

The Flash #1

Review

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The Flash #1

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns
  • Art: Francis Manapul
  • Colors: Brian Buccellato
  • Story Title: Case One: The Dastardly Death of the Rouges
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Apr 14, 2010

As a first issue, The Flash #1 is a wonderful introduction into the hectic world of Barry Allen. No baggage necessary when taking this initial trip. Having little to no knowledge of Barry, other than the fact that he sacrificed himself over twenty years ago, it was tough to go into this with any kind of expectation. If anything, the current generation of comic readers have been raised to consider Barry Allen as a regal memory instead of a person. He was always referenced as a shining example rather than as a relatable figure. This could have been a disaster of characterization in the hands of another writer.


Geoff Johns is able to skip past any notion of Barry being altruistic, instead making him impetuously optimistic. Always hoping for the best and doing what he can to make sure he lives by that standard. As a side effect of this outlook, he's bound to instill hope in others. Herein lies the true appeal of Allen as a role model. He doesn't ask for it or acknowledge it, he merely acts with the best intention. A real fun example of this towards the end of the book shows a deal he and his wife Iris made years ago when they were dating. Barry is the kind of man to hold her to it, even after all these years, much to her chagrin.


The book opens with a blast of adrenalin, showcasing the astounding talents of penciler Francis Manapul. He has a warm and sweet style, almost reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke at times. Coupling this natural appeal with such kinetic lines, he creates a very original result that is both modern and classic at the same time. It’s rushed and deliberate. It’s a widescreen film as well as personal drama. Manapul captures the Flash in a way we've never seen. Also on the ball is colorist Brian Buccellato, matched perfectly with Manapul's line. Its a warm and almost painted texture that makes Central City and its resident hero look sunny and a little faded. They show it as a place in time and space with real character.


The genius is in the details, and boy, does this team deliver. From having a small bow tie next to Barry's name on Iris' phone to seeing the Flash fully dismantle a car in mid-air as it hurtles to the ground in a beautiful two page spread. There is something oddly refreshing about these artistic touches, adding to the whole of the issue.

Together, the creative team has made the old new again. This is your dad's Flash and it's a more exciting story for it. Gone are the almost impenetrable "cleaning house" maneuvers that Flash: Rebirth had to endure. In that mini, which paves the way for this new ongoing, Johns was tasked with not only cleaning up jumbled continuity but also reintroducing characters and setting up story points for years to come. It was a spinning of plates that just barely made it out the other side. Speed Force, time travel, resurrections, butterfly effects, costume changes and saving the day. I get winded just thinking about it. The promise of a clear vision, master plan, and a specific tone for these characters is what makes all of this that much more appealing. This isn't about the Flash Family, Speed Force physics, time logic headaches, or resurrected former villains from the future's past... At least not yet.


Having been kicking around the DCU since Final Crisis, this is the first time that we've been privy to what Johns and company have planned for the decades-missing Barry Allen. All signs indicate that it’s a pretty big plan, even hinting at it with something Johns has been prone to do in a new book. That's right, I'm talking about the "coming attractions" page, teasing a Flash focused event in 2011. He's practically telling us that the next year of this very book will be important, tapping into that fanboy addiction of not missing out. Touché, Mr. Johns. Touché.


The goal of this issue is to make you fall in love with Barry and Iris, and to consider Central and Keystone Cities as inhabited and alive places in the DCU. Mission accomplished, gentlemen. For the first time in a very long time, we care.

You may now proceed to tear it all apart.

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