The Flash #71 Chapter 2:  Year One

Joshua Williamson, writer
Howard Porter, artist
Hi-Fi, colors

In the previous issue, Barry’s origin story is revisited, re-establishing long term members of The Flash family, like CCPD detective, August, and Barry’s love interest and reporter, Iris West. 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? This issue begins as Barry meets a future version of himself who teaches him about his powers and informs him of a powerful villain, The Turtle, who steals speed and gains control of Central City. Future Barry repairs the Cosmic Treadmill and sends present-day Barry back to his time period. When he arrives, so does the villain from the future.

Creatively and visually this has been a strong start to the Year One story. Needless to say, Howard Porter’s art has easily been the highlight of this story. There are many amazing panels, but the first to really catch my eye was Barry and his future self running through the ruins of Central City in the background and The Speed Force lightning crackling all around them. Visually the characters appear to be moving incredibly fast with the physical structures distorted all around them. Another highlight occurs when future Barry is confronted by one of his current enemies, The Turtle guards, and he utilizes hand tornado to hold them at bay. Future Barry teaches Barry how to do the maneuver efficiently and the effects are stunning.

However, the story plods along due to the enemy, The Turtle, not feeling like an original idea as he has the power to slow down and steal speed. However, it’s not always “the what” but “the how” that makes a book great. How will the writer reveal more about Barry’s maturing process through this conflict? How will Central City be affected by what Barry saw happen in his future? All very interesting plot points to be further explored.

Finally, a third art highlight appears when present-time Barry returns to his the present time on the Cosmic Treadmill with the Central City landscape in the background. The familiarity of Central City is a welcome transition for the reader as it brings about the possibility of normalcy after Barry’s trip to the future. The final art highlight appears when Barry’s notebook with etched drawings and notes is depicted. The detail involved in this piece of art is amazing.

Overall = 9.5/10

Final Impressions

This is a fun story that sets up some interesting coming of age dilemmas for young Barry Allen. Will he make different choices in his relationship with Iris and his use of The Speed Force now that he’s been mentored by his future self?  Only time will tell. I can hardly wait to see how Barry Allen’s life will change moving forward.