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FLASH #70 & #71

[ RUNNING FOR A BARGAIN
There once was a man called Barry, who did a pretty decent impression of Prince Harry. Until, one day, he was told, no way, because his impression offended Jim Carrey. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, and published by DC Comics in June, 2019.

TO QUOTE Jim Rohn:Either you run the day or the day runs you’.

THE REVIEW:
Many years ago, Barry Allen was just a regular guy with a job as a forensics officer for the Central City Police Department. However, one dark and stormy night, while working in his lab, Barry was suddenly involved in an accident, a terrible, terrible, accident, which caused him to fizzle out, power up, and indirectly propel himself way, way, way into the future. Or to be more specific about it, a dystopian future, full of carnage, death, and destruction, along with a more mature version of Barry, now known as The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, who intends to get his past self back home again.

Can this be done though? Can future-Barry help past-Barry get back to the present day without anyone else getting involved? Like, The Turtle, for instance?  To find out, please pick up issue 70 and 71 of The Flash today. In the meantime though, here, check this out…

Part One) POLISHING DUST:   When I first heard that DC Comics were going to revitalize Barry Allen’s origins, I immediately said to myself, ‘Sh#t! Here we go again! Here we go with yet another rehash that’s going to go nowhere fast’! Well, let’s face it, in the past, quite a few of these reinterpretations haven’t been good, haven’t been inventive, and haven’t been around for very long, especially when you take into consideration that they normally disappear as soon as a new creative team arrives. But then again, that’s the comic book industry for ya’! As it’s the type of industry that can’t think of anything new, unless it’s something old repackaged for the sake of being modern.

That said, however, when I finally sat down to read these two issues of The Flash, a.k.a. Part One and Two of ‘Year One’, overall, I was pleasantly surprised, as the art was amazing, the story made sense, and more or less, I was mightily impressed with this great, new take on Barry’s backstory! Well, in no uncertain terms, Joshua Williamson has carefully cherry-picked certain key events featured in Barry’s past, in order to establish what is and what isn’t relevant anymore. Now some of these scenarios include...

  • Barry Allen being a fan of the Jay Garrick comic book when he was a kid. 
  • That whole scenario revolving around his father killing his mother. 
  • The re-introduction of certain stock characters, such as Iris West and August Heart.
  • Barry falling into a coma after being struck by lightning.
  • The fact that The Turtle was Barry’s first foe, as seen in their first appearance together in Showcase #4, cover dated October, 1956
  • Barry trying to learn how to use and cope with his powers without any external help.
  • His romance with Iris and their first date together.

Admittedly, there were other juicy callbacks I could have also mentioned! But hey, if I did that, it wouldn't be nice and it wouldn't be respectful. Respectful, being the operative word in this case, because I think this story is trying to be as respectful as possible by picking and choosing from different versions of Barry’s origin, namely, the Silver Age version and the New 52 version, before amalgamating them both together to form this brand new hybrid

Now, depending on your perspective, you can look at this in either one of two ways. You can look at this as a distillation of the original, which needs to explore different avenues, regions, and ideas.  Or in stark contrast, you can look at this as a soft reboot that is trying to hang onto a strong foundation and an adventurous spirit.  Either way, a change has now been made, that’s for sure, and only time will tell if it’s going to be accepted or not.

Part Two) ART ATTACK:   Do you think it’s possible for DC Comics to legally kidnap Howard Porter? I mean, all they have to do, is track him down, lock him up, and then force him to draw, and draw, and draw, whatever script they decide to throw at him. And then, once he’s finished those, they can make him repeat the whole process until he eventually kicks the bucket. Ha! Only joking!

In all seriousness, folks, on the whole, I really enjoyed Howard’s work on these books. Not only because his characters are bold, expressive, and full of life, but in addition to this, he also composes and choreographs each scene as if they were meant for the silver screen. For example, when Barry first arrives in the future, we aren’t entirely sure where he is until it’s revealed to us in small incremental stages, starting off with small panels and smaller details, before gradually escalating the overall scope of the situation one panel at a time.

Similarly, Howard’s design work also deserves a well-earned pat on the back, Pat-Pat-Pat, particularly in regards to how he’s constructed the two new costumes worn by Barry Allen. Future-Barry, for instance, looks like a strong version of Kirk Douglas, vacuum-packed into a tight-fitting red wetsuit, whereas Young-Barry, on the other hand, seems more like Alex Pettyfer from the romantic drama, ‘Endless Love’, albeit in a less heroic makeshift outfit. 

Come to think of it, these two Barry’s were so different -- tonally, at least -- that I would’ve liked to have seen more of them together as a team in order to figure out some of their other traits. After all, Future-Barry comes across as if he’s an optimistic yet rugged character, while Young-Barry seems less idealistic and more jaded in comparison. But on second thoughts, this is a ‘Year One’ story, not a story about a man who speaks to himself from two different points of view! Plus, without giving too much away, Future-Barry’s role within this adventure seems more like a tease, a precursor of what is yet to come, rather than an integral part of the overall narrative from this moment onwards. 

In any event, regardless of my presumptions, at the end of the day, ‘Flash: Year One’ is shaping up to be a really interesting storyline, mainly because it possesses a fairly pleasant Silver Age vibe, and to some degree, felt like a respectful rehash of The Flash’s first appearance -- Showcase #4 -- done in a less obvious fashion. It was also very interesting to see this new version of The Turtle and that old version of The Flash. So, with any luck, touch wood, maybe the best is yet to come. 

THE MUSIC:
For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to associate this adventure with the Carly Simon classic, ‘Let The Rivers Run’, simply because they’re both slightly wet and about running.




THE COMPARISON:
To some extent, this current storyline kind of reminds me of how McDonald’s have tried to re-brand themselves over the last few years. So, with that in mind, comparison made, and make mine a double. 

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of issue 71, Barry quickly turns to his opponent and says... what? What do you think he says? How about something like…

  • You're in no shape, Ape.
  • Get ready for a blizzard, Wizard.
  • Middle of the road, Cold.
  • End of the line, Turtle.
  • Ready for a plaster, Master. 
  • Inside the zone, Drone.
  • Outside in the rain, Wayne.
  • Nowhere near here, dear. 

Nuff said.

FLASH #70 & #71 FLASH #70 & #71 Reviewed by David Andrews on June 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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