Barry Allen is the fastest man alive. Protector of Central City, the Flash leads the way for the Silver Age in the comic book industry, until his heroic death in 1985. (You know, when death actually meant something.) For almost twenty years, the Scarlet Speedster has remained dead, one of the longest runs for a superhero. With the new 52 launching, it seems appropriate this Flash should lead the way again. What does the new era have in store for our resurrected hero?
THE FLASH #0
Writer: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manapul
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Colorist: Brian Buccellato & Ian Herring
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in the Flash: A year and half ago, Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold, realized the equipment he and his Rogues used were no match for superhuman powers like those of his arch-nemesis, Flash. So, with the help of Darwin Elias’s machine, Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, Heatwave, and Snart’s sister gain superpowers, with disastrous results. Now, Captain Cold teams up with Flash to defeat the Rogues he helped create. However, once the tides turn in favor of Flash, Captain Cold betrays him, knocking him unconscious. This victory is short lived, as King Grodd and his Gorilla Buddies show up to take over Central City.
AN ORIGIN REVAMPED
Before the new 52, Barry Allen was an ordinary scientist working for the police when lightning struck him in his lab, mixing chemicals together to give him super-speed. With this issue, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato flesh out the origin story more by adding a key element – motivation. During the Silver Age, the Flash became a superhero once he received his powers. There was no real reason for it; he did it for the sake of doing good for Central City. Unfortunately, this would be a very weak premise in a modern, narrative driven storyline. Everything must have purpose, so the writers gave Flash meaning to his superheroism. Hinted in previous issues, Flash is haunted by the murder of his mother; a crime he believes his father did not commit. Although I think the murdered love one origin has been beaten to death with Spider-Man and Batman, it is different enough to separate it from similar comics.
This issue also explores the people in Barry’s past. From Captain Frye, the police officer who got him into the force, to his visits of his father in prison, to his memories of his mother when he was a boy; all contributed to Barry becoming the Flash. Their emotional impact is felt throughout the narrative, making it a good read.
EXPRESSIONISM AND COLORS
Once again, Francis Manapul continues to impress me, pulling double duty as co-writer and artist. As said earlier, emotion plays a key role in this comic and the artist portrays it well. In Francis Manapul’s artwork, I see fear, frustration, pride and other expressions jump out of the pages. I also liked how time is represented. The dry, brown and gray of the past really contrast with the bright colors of the present. The consistent, high quality art allows the reader to follow the story more fluidly, rather than be distracted by different art styles every three or four issues. Francis Manapul, with Brian Buccellato and Ian Herring, put a lot of thought and effort into the design of this comic and it pays off.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT STORY BUT THE TIMING IS OFF…
The reason why I do not like company-wide mandated issues, like issue zeroes, is because it can sometimes cut into a well-developed story. In this case, I have to wait another month for the continuation of the current arc. However, with a wonderful layered origin combined with great art design, the Flash continues to be one of the must read comics of the new 52.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!