Review: THE FLASH #74
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Flash #74: “The Flash Year One” continues! The Turtle has made his grand entrance, and it’s about to bring down the house! As an untested hero with the mastery of his abilities still in its infancy, Barry Allen will face the toughest challenge of his life to defend Central City from the invading forces of those who seek its destruction. Our hero is faced with the fateful choice to either become a superhero or die trying!
Last issue ended with the future Turtle having arrived in the past with the future Flash as his prisoner. In this month’s chapter of Year One, Barry rescues his older self and much of the issue involves a heart-to-heart discussion between the two Barrys.
I especially like how the Williamson has reversed the situation between them. In their first encounter, the elder Barry comments about how pessimistic his younger self is, but now it’s the older version of Barry that’s proposing the pessimistic course of fleeing the Turtle, while his younger version rejects this with a forceful “That’s not what heroes do!”
Barry may have already dipped his toes into superheroics, but it is this moment that he commits to the role and truly becomes the Flash. And quite fittingly, it is at this point that Barry first dons the classic costume.
Howard Porter’s full page image of Barry in the Flash suit is breathtaking. I would love to get this image as a poster. I especially like that it’s the classic Silver Age costume – well almost. It’s missing the wings on the boots and the lightning bolt around the waist isn’t the same, but it’s close enough. I don’t mind all the extra fine little yellow lines that Jim Lee added, but I’m happy to see that the Silver Age version is canonical again.
Also, I thought the layout design of the page where Barry is struggling with his inner pessimism was quite clever. Two panels of repeated artwork, then four, then 6, then eight. This brilliant device makes his indecision palpable.
Barry goes into detail about his feelings for Iris. If there is any doubt whether Barry and Iris are one of DC’s greatest romances, then this speech should remove it. And it’s hardly surprising that the way Barry speaks of Iris sounds very much like how Wally used to describe Linda: “She doesn’t just ground me. She inspires me.”
Once again, I love seeing the appearance of Barry’s mother’s old Golden Age Flash comics, although I’m unsure of what it says about Jay Garrick’s existence in the DCU. If Barry read these comics, why didn’t he recognize Jay in “The Button” crossover with Batman?
I can’t really find anything to gripe about except for my nitpicks about the Flash costume. But Porter makes it look so damn beautiful, I hardly even notice them.
I have been a fan of Williamson’s run on The Flash since the Rebirth special, but with Year One, he has managed to reach a whole new level. Between Williamson’s fantastic story and Porters superb art, it is no exaggeration to say that this is a must-read story.