Joshua Williamson, writer
Howard Porter, artist
This issue begins the Year One story arc by revisiting Barry’s origin story, re-establishing long term members of The Flash family, like CCPD detective, August, and Barry’s love interest and reporter, Iris West. Barry obtains powers after an explosion and spends months in recovery. He learns how to use his powers and then learns what some of the implications, both positive and negative, could be of him using his powers: He could hurt someone accidentally. The issue ends with Barry exploring the limits of The Speed Force, running faster than he’s ever run before. Could this lead to him being transported to the future or another multiverse?
My favorite part of this issue occurs when it revisits a special moment between Barry and his mother. He’s reading his mother’s comic books, which is always a welcome event, and he has a special conversation about being bullied. The conversation is connected to the themes Barry reads in the comic books: heroes protect others from harm, always remain hopeful, and use their powers to help others. In this way, the story informs the reader about the origins of Barry as a man, why he carries so much guilt, and why he always helps others.
The art is gorgeous from the opening panel which shows a young Barry Allen in his attic with stacks of comic book all around him with great detail and a cartoon-like innocence. Again, when Barry is up late in his lab the night where he was caught in an explosion that rips through the building and gave him his powers. Panels show the inertia of the blast, the colorful vials of chemicals flying everywhere, and Barry taking the impact full force. Howard Porter nails a perfect combination of detailed facial and physical features with cartoon-like appearance of characters.
The Flash’s origin story, both as a person, and as a hero are revisited in the initial issue of the Year One story arc. However, Barry runs into a big surprise at the end of the issue when he ends up a long ways away from present-day Central City in his city which is now occupied by strangers! I highly recommend this story for fans of The Flash!