Chapter 1 of “Year One” Gives Us the Flash Origin Story We Needed – Review of THE FLASH #70

I’ve been a fan of the Flash for over 50 years…and THIS is the origin story I’ve been waiting for all this time! Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter have brought together elements from Flash tales throughout the years, creating a fresh take on Barry’s origin story that deserves every Flash fan’s attention. Yes, I’m gushing…and for good reason. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

This story starts with a young Barry Allen, up in the attic of the Allen household while reading his favorite superhero comics. How cool is it that those comics belonged to his mother? And of course, they were FLASH and ALL-FLASH titles. One has The Fiddler on the cover, and the other features Jay Garrick on the front. As his mother speaks to him, she sees that Barry has gotten a black eye while defending another kid at school. Even then, Nora Allen knew that young Barry Allen stood for hope.

Fast forward 15 years to February 11th (year indeterminate) and we see Barry Allen, CSI. We meet August Heart (not yet a detective), Director Singh, and even Iris West. That night, the lightning strikes! Barry is in a coma for months, drifting through tragic memories of his mother’s murder. The symbolism of the colors in those panels is readily apparent, and a nice nod to Flash history without being overly graphic.

Barry wakes up from his coma on June 15th to discover he is super-fast. On the 16th, he begins to research his powers. This strikes a perfect chord for Barry Allen. As a scientist, this is exactly what he would do, and it’s great to see that played out here. After running through several pairs of sneakers (that pile of shoes was just perfect), Barry finally tries on a pair of boots made of WayneTech materials that were originally meant for firefighter use.

That takes us to August 28th, just a few days more than six months after being struck by lightning. Barry is ready to check out his top speed. He runs so fast that…

…he breaks the time barrier for the first time!

In the future, Barry sees that “King Turtle” has taken over Central City. Barry is saved from trouble by…an older Flash, who tells him, “When are we gonna learn how dangerous time-travel is?” That takes us to the end of Chapter 1 of Year One!

NOTES:

  • There are elements from almost every iteration of the Silver to Bronze to Modern Age Flash origins. You’ll find some Silver Age notes, a few nods borrowed from Wally’s early days (the calorie consumption especially), and even that evidence board from THE FLASH television show. All of those elements come together seamlessly here, giving a fresh take on a familiar story. A great balancing act that truly works here.
  • Check out the covers of those Flash comics, first in the early pages with young Barry, then once again when adult Barry is looking back on what happened to his mother. The Fiddler cover stays the same…but the Jay Garrick cover is now different, looking as if Jay is trying to “escape” the cover. Could be nothing…or could be foreshadowing of the first meeting of the “Flash of Two Worlds” later on.
  • Also check out the headlines that surround Iris in her first appearance. You’ll find a LOT of Easter eggs surrounding the future Rogues Gallery.
  • When Barry is ready to check out his top speed, his red shirt and blue pants are (of course) reflective of Jay Garrick. Nice nod there.

SUMMARY:

Williamson and Porter have knocked it out of the park with this first issue. I don’t know how to praise this one enough…except to give it a 10/10. Of course, that’s just my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 1 of “Year One” Gives Us the Flash Origin Story We Needed – Review of THE FLASH #70

  1. Unknown

    I think this arc has potential, but I really don’t like how they made time-travel a part of the plot.

    Reply
  2. Ade

    Superb blog,only just found it!
    About to read no.70,didn’t mind a few spoilers as I’d already had a flick through it!
    Recently bought
    FLASH silver age omnibus
    vol 2
    & hopefully getting vol 1 tomorrow!
    Started reading FLASH way back in 1977!
    Have been really enjoying Josh Williamson’s run on the title.

    Reply
  3. Ade

    Just read
    FLASH no.70….
    MOONS OF KRYPTON!!!
    (To borrow a phrase from my other fave hero!)
    IMO
    The best FLASH comic
    since the early 1980s!
    So much nuance, texture & depth to Williamsons script.
    outstanding art by porter!
    Really looking forward to part 2!

    Reply
  4. golddragon71

    I hope this will re-iterate Barry’s lifelong love of comics and not just relegate them to part of his youth. As I’m going through all of my Pre-Crisis back-issue buying I find that Barry was still an avid reader of comics as an adult. (In fact he actually has one adventure that centers around a specific issue in his collection.)
    I liked how Flash is building his suit from the ground up. (The fact that his boots were intended for firefighters was a nice nod to the TV Pilot where the entire costume was designed to be a protective uniform for the fire department. Although, I would have preferred it if they used the classic winged boot design. (maybe we’ll get those by the end.)

    Reply

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