While waiting for my Flash fix to return to the CW in a few weeks, I am reminded that The Flash adventures continue in digital form in DC Comics’ The Flash: Season Zero.
Previously in The Flash: Season Zero: Barry Allen is struck by lightning and tossed in a chemical bath. For most of us, we’d be dead, but months later, Barry awakens in STAR Labs to discover he is perfectly fine; the only side effect of his accident is the ability to run at super fast speeds. Barry, along with his friends at STAR Labs, have taken it upon themselves to round up all of the other metahumans affected by the STAR Labs accident.
Felicity Smoak is a great addition to the DC Television Universe. Even though she does end up becoming the damsel in distress in many episodes of Arrow, she’s still incredibly smart, and her constant appearances in The Flash television show indicate that she could be a character we should pay more attention to… which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that Felicity is the focus of this story.
This issue is the first part of a two part series, that has Barry (spoiler alert: He’s really The Flash) taking on the watery villain, The Hydro Hunter (note: The Hydro Hunter has only appeared in this comic series, and is not a nod to a main DC villain. For more Flash bits and pieces, be sure to check out our Flashback series at Major Spoilers). Felicity, now working for Ray Palmer (yes, THAT Ray Palmer), catches the fighty-fighty action on the news, just before a bunch of flying guys break into her office and throw her out the window. See what I mean about becoming the Damsel in Distress a lot of the time?
Being a digital first issue, and one that is only 99-cents, we are really getting the equivalent of half of a regular comic. The story is a lot of setup, and though I want to see who these flying guys are, I’m kind of disappointed most of the issue was taken up with a meaningless conversation between Felicity and Ray Palmer over a meeting she missed with the Prime Minister of Japan and Felicity’s desire to learn how make Fettucini Alfredo. If this issue were a television episode, this would be the first act, and not the midway point.
LOOKS LIKE A FLASH, RUNS LIKE A FLASH, MUST BE A FLASH
Marcus To is a name that is not unfamiliar to me. I’ve seen his work in DC Comics before (Red Robin, Huntress, Batwing, and so on), so I know what I’m getting when I see his name in the credits. He’s a solid artist and keeps the character’s forms in check, so I don’t have to worry about a character suddenly getting taller, bigger, or having an arm that looks hyperextended. The one thing I am not sure regarding this series, is if DC has secured the actor’s likeness rights for the comics. Felicity “kind of” looks like Emily Bett Rickards, and Ray Palmer “kind of” looks like Brandon Routh, but there is a lot of plausible deniability in the exact likeness of the real world actors. I’m completely okay with this, because To keeps the characters looking consistent from panel to panel.
As mentioned previously, this is a digital first release, which means the “pages” have been formatted to favor the horizontal instead of the vertical, which forces Marcus To has to work in either two horizontal or three vertical panels per “page”. To has a solid understanding of composition and framing, and there never appears to be too much dead space in the frame. He does keep the framing rather loose, but at least he fills that empty space with the environment instead of a solid wash of color time and time again. Colors, by the way, are provided by Kelsey Shannon, who does a fantastic job in this issue.
BOTTOM LINE: NEED A FLASH FIX FAST? HERE IT IS
With the mid-season break going on, there are a lot of television fans who are looking to get their Flash fix, but don’t want to wade into the non-television continuity of the New 52. The Flash: Season Zero #9 satisfies the urge for more Grant Gustin, even though his character is seen for less than half of the issue. I am fine with Felicity Smoak showing up multiple times and I’ll be honest, seeing her name in the solicitation for the issue was what tipped it for me to buy the book on comiXology. To get both parts of the story, spending $2.00 is a small price for some really good art. The setup is a bit rushed due to the “done in one” nature of the story, but I’m okay with Kreisberg and Guggenheim’s storytelling. If you are a fan of the Flash television series, The Flash: Season Zero #9 is worth picking up while waiting for the Man in the Yellow Suit to return to give Barry trouble.