A Treasure Trove in THE FLASH Year One Chapter 2 (Review)

Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter have done their homework, and it shows here. There is SO much great Flash mythos packed into one issue that I am dumbfounded as to how they did it while keeping such a smooth story arc going. I’ll try to list as many of the nods to history as I can, but even still you may find some extra pieces of Flash history as you read it for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time…and it WILL be worth the time. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Let’s start off with the concepts that come into play here, keeping in mind that these are all new to this young Barry Allen:

  • Divergent Timelines
    • Some timelines can end in disaster
    • Changing timelines is a bad idea (foreshadowing FLASHPOINT). Older Barry says, “Our life is a loop that can’t be broken. If we were to create a time paradox, we could destroy all of reality, and we can’t take that risk. Understand?”
    • Still, younger Barry is sent back to just the right time with just the right information to hopefully make a difference for the future
    • Just a thought…if these divergent timelines happen based on choices made now, does that foreshadow METAL just a bit?
    • One more note: When older Barry introduces himself, we see the Silver Age logo, not the present-day one…indicating this time line is different and that “time is malleable”, to coin a phrase?
  • The Multiverse
    • There is a direct reference to the Multiverse, though Barry may not fully understand that right now
    • Older Barry in a way foreshadows off-world adventures with “Space Cops” (aka GL Corps)
  • Iris…and more?
    • This older Flash mentions “the great loves”. The Silver Age Barry found a new love after Iris was killed by the Reverse Flash, and was engaged for a time prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths. This fits with the use of that Silver Age logo…which may or may not mean anything here (still, it’s fun to think about)
    • All that said, before sending younger Barry home, he does say, “next time you see Iris, you say YES, dammit.”
    • When Barry returns to his time, he can’t stop shaking/vibrating at super speed…until he sees Iris. A very cool moment.
  • Powers at Super Speed
    • Barry has had trouble even with stopping on a dime. Older Barry shows him more…
      • Using Speed Force Lightning
      • Vibrating to let a punch pass through him
      • Punching back at super-speed
    • Barry does manage creating a vortex on his own with his left arm, and he learns how to stop from older Barry
  • The Cosmic Treadmill!
    • Barry returns to his time on the Cosmic Treadmill, after older Barry repairs it.
    • Barry has a sketch at the end of the book of that treadmill…likely to build it at some time in the future
  • Hope
    • Barry has lost hope after the death of his mother, and he wants nothing to do with being a hero
    • Older Barry is dismayed, wondering if he “I can’t believe I was ever that pessimistic”
    • Even after returning from the future, he wants nothing to do with being a hero…
    • …until he sees Iris in danger.
  • “Moving Forward”
    • Older Barry tells his younger self, “You and I have read the same comics, Barry. You know how dangerous it is to mess with time. No matter how bad it gets. You just gotta keep moving forward and fighting every step of the way.”
  • And finally, “Flash of Two (Timelines)” – a definite nod to “Flash of Two Worlds” as the Flash accidentally winds up in the world of another Flash in both stories (though the second time he actually meets an older version of himself).

There were some great artistic choices as well:

  • The older Flash’s chest symbol was reminiscent of Wally West’s symbol in the JLU animated adventures, though slightly modified here
  • Younger Barry has no chest symbol on that red T-shirt…until the last page when he finally faces the Turtle. This chest symbol will remind you of the first season of the TV show with Grant Gustin.
  • In that same panel, the speed-blur will remind you of the great Carmine Infantino’s depiction of speed.
  • The first time that the two Barry’s run from the Turtle’s henchmen, the way they are drawn may remind you a bit of Wallace West from Earth-22 in KINGDOM COME (minus the helmet).
  • And of course, the use of that Silver Age logo when older Barry introduces himself.

SUMMARY: The creative team of Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter gave given us another great issue. The story was solid, packing in a huge amount of Flash history while driving Barry forward to his destiny as a hero. It makes sense that he would be afraid of what has happened to him, with strange new powers and a head-spinning trip to the future and back. It’s good to see him growing into the role of hero instead of just flipping a switch in personalities. And, it is heartwarming to see the impact Iris has on his life. Just seeing her calms him down from that super-speed shaking…and watching her in danger makes him forget his fears and act as a hero for the first time. I’m digging this Year One story line…10/10 once again. Of course, that’s just my opinion…what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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6 thoughts on “A Treasure Trove in THE FLASH Year One Chapter 2 (Review)

  1. Jesse Richards

    Great observations about a really stellar issue. Three more things:

    1) The first time the 2 Barry’s run from the turtle’s henchmen, as well as the next-to-last panel of the book, reminded me a lot of Oscar Jimenez, an incredible Wally West Flash artist.

    2) The panel of the Turtle’s Hoard includes a lot of fun references, including T-spheres, Blue Beetle’s bug, Gambi’s sign, maybe a JLI teleporter?, and some definite Flashpoint references with the trident/helmet stuff.

    3) “Our life is a loop” makes me think of the classic Flash origin story in which Barry is shown upon his Crisis death to break the time barrier and turn into pure energy, becoming the lightning bolt that gave him his speed. I always thought this was amazing, but assumed it was moot ever since Barry returned to comics. I hope it still stands. Another theory is that Barry became the lightning bolt that gave WALLY his powers, which would extend his legacy like a loop (and finally explain that ridiculous coincidence).

    Reply
  2. God

    Is New 52 still a thing? Because if that’s the case, then even if Barry says yes, the date doesn’t go well and he’ll end up with Patty for a while anyway.

    Reply
    1. golddragon71

      I think they’re just going to wash the Patty Spivot crap out and have Barry and Iris’ relationship start off the way it did in the Flashbacks between Flash: Rebirth and Flashpoint.

      Reply
  3. Jesse Richards

    I think DC has thrown continuity completely out the window and now lets each writer do their own thing. This was famously true with the New52 and quietly (doubly) true again after Rebirth.

    I don’t know if this is good or bad; continuity can be a shackles but it’s also one of the unique joys of long-running comic book series.

    Reply
  4. Geekdad

    I’ve been reading your site for years now, but throughout the whole Hero’s in Crisis thing you’ve remained fairly non committal about all the ramifications surrounding Wally West. He’s not really been a part of many speedforce articles period. Have you decided to keep this mainly Barry Allen focused or are you not a Wally fan. Just curious. Great work. Keep it up.

    Reply
    1. Ed Garrett Post author

      That’s a fair question, Geekdad. We have another article up now that is specific to Heroes in Crisis, that I think will answer at least part of your question.
      To give a further answer, I have been holding back on Heroes In Crisis up to now (except for one article comparing its treatment of mental health issues to THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP and its focus on bipolar disorder), and I apologize for that. I was hoping that things would turn out better…obviously that wasn’t the case. And, I didn’t just want to rant about the poor treatment given Wally (even though he was treated so horribly in this series). I wanted to give a better, more reasoned response to the series. I hope my most recent article did that. Please let me know your thoughts on that one as well.
      As for the focus of recent articles, I just want to say that I’m a fan of Wally as well as Barry…and Jay, Bart, Max, Jesse…you get it. I’m hoping we can soon focus on all the speedsters of the DCU, as they all deserve a place in the spotlight.
      All that said, your comment is well taken – thanks! Please keep checking in and adding your own thoughts.

      Reply

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