The Flash #70 (DC Comics)
Nearly every DC character has had their own “Year One” story, except for the Flash. But all that is changing with Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s The Flash #70, which goes back in time to show some of Barry Allen’s earliest adventures after gaining his abilities. While it does retrace a few familiar beats of the Scarlet Speedster’s origins, Williamson uses this story to pepper in some new wrinkles that will play off of the current and future runs on the character.
Barry Allen is a young CSI with the Central City Police Department, and he’s still desperately trying to learn the true secret behind his mother’s death. But after being hit by lightning and chemicals in his lab one night, he gains the ability to travel great distances in a short period of time. As he tests out his new powers, he learns that he can travel extremely fast by foot, and on his first time out cutting loose, Allen finds himself in the far future, face to face with his future self!
In a lot of ways, it seems like Joshua Williamson is borrowing a page from Geoff John’s plyabook with this story. Johns made a name for himself by reworking the origins of many DC heroes so they had connections with the stories that he was telling in the “modern day”, and that comes into effect here with Williamson’s script. Make no mistake though, it’s not a dig on Williamson that he’s borrowing a trick from Geoff Johns. In fact, I think it adds to the script, providing him with a solid blueprint to work from. At no point does this retelling of the Flash’s origin feel boring or “old hat”, and Williamson injects a lot of interesting moments for the character.
Howard Porter has a long history with DC Comics and Williamson’s run on The Flash, and to be honest, I couldn’t imagine another artist taking this story and making it look as good as Porter does. Porter’s style has a timelessness to it, which is probably the intent of the editors to make sure this story seems as evergreen as can be. Porter fills this issue with some fantastic panels, the highlight being the Flash testing out his speed and burning through shoes as he does it (literally).
At first glance, you might see the “Year One” title and wonder why we need yet another retelling of The Flash’s origins, but once you finish this first issue you can totally see why Williamson has decided to let this story unfold the way it does. Not only that, but the end page teases a pretty interesting story to come. Whether or not this storyline will stand on its own like other “Year One” stories in DC’s stable remains to be seen, but so far, it looks like Williamson and Porter have what it takes.