Review: THE FLASH #73
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #73: “The Flash Year One” continues! As our hero picks up the pieces from his disastrous defeat at the hands of the Turtle, the rise of the Rogues in Central City gives the Flash renewed resolve. But Barry is still learning to master his abilities, and while an experienced speedster might know how to outrun a gun, this time he may not be so lucky…
Joshua Williamson starts the issue off with the tension ramped up to eleven. Barry is in mortal peril from a bullet wound with seconds left before he will succumb and die from it. But while he deals with the bullet lodged in his chest, Iris has come knocking at his door and starts pouring her heart out to him.
But Barry manages to use those scant seconds to master his ability to vibrate his molecules through solid matter. Barry pulls the miraculous feat of removing the bullet without surgery.
I thought this was clever idea. Barry might have eventually mastered this power, but Williamson places Barry in a situation where Barry is forced to learn fine control of his vibratory powers instantly.
Plus, Barry makes an important discovery: that the Speed Force can instantaneously heal major injuries. Thus, Barry has made some major steps towards mastering his superpowers.
But most importantly, he is able to heal himself in time to open the door to let Iris into his apartment… and into his heart. We get to see the beginning of one of the DCU’s longest and most important romances: Barry Allen and Iris West.
Also, we finally get to see something we have seen precious little of in this series so far: Barry Allen actually being happy. Unfortunately, this won’t last for long, but it’s nice to see Barry not being gloomy and depressed for a change.
There are also some interesting developments with the Turtle. In the original Silver Age stories, the Turtle is little more than a joke, but the modern version of the character proves to be much more sinister and terrifying. He is not just someone who is slow, but is rather an energy vampire, stealing life force to make himself immortal.
And on top of that, he quickly uncovers Barry’s secret identity as the Flash. He then decides to keep the knowledge to himself, reserving it for future strategic use.
Also, Howard Porter’s depiction of the Turtle makes the Turtle seem even more terrifying. You can see the malevolence oozing out of the villain.
I found it an interesting idea that although the immortal Turtle is happy to patiently bide his time in Iron Heights prison, he also manages to challenge Barry immediately. Thanks to the Cosmic Treadmill, the future Turtle travels back to Barry’s present.
And Barry is about to face an incredibly unbalanced fight. The future Turtle has had decades to learn and perfect his abilities, while Barry is just starting to learn what he is capable of. And the Turtle has already defeated a wiser, more experienced version of Barry. Given that Barry only beat the present-day Turtle by accident, it seems that Barry has no chance of beating the villain’s future self.
I can’t find any fault with this issue. Williamson is providing a riveting retelling of Barry’s early days as the Flash. And Howard Porter’s art is exemplary as usual.
I am confident that The Flash #73 will stand out as a landmark issue. We get to witness the beginnings of Barry and Iris’ relationship which is not only a milestone in The Flash mythos, but also a fundamental piece of DC history. Plus, Williamson has managed to make a goofy Silver Age character into a major threat, and potentially Barry’s true archenemy.