The Comic Spot is back! It’s been a while since I sat down with a comic, but I’ve gotten back to it and once again, I went with DC’s New 52 series. It’s not that I’m a DC fanboy – I could go DC or Marvel, to be honest – It’s just that the New 52 makes it easy for me to pick a start point and dive right in.
I’m taking a break from The Dark Knight for a change and I decided to pick up The Flash Volume 1 entitled “Move Forward”. This volume collects the first eight issues of The Flash in the new reboot series; a world in which Barry Allen is still learning his powers and finds him in a relationship with Patty Spivot rather than Iris West.
This is my first foray into anything concerning The Flash; I know the CW series has become very popular, but the idea of 20+ episode seasons seems like a daunting task for me these days. Having said that, the first volume of The Flash New 52 series is an enjoyable read and is easy to pick up without prior knowledge.
Famously, The New 52 was the relaunch that occurred in 2011 after the crossover comic event Flashpoint, which was a Barry Allen-focused story. There’s not any evidence on whether the events of that series takes place in the universe, but I’m going to guess that it does not.
The story in volume one starts with Barry trying to get a better sense of his powers, as he starts to tap into and gain control of the “speed force”, which is sort of the source of his super speed powers. But as he begins to access it more and more, he starts to realize that there are negative side effects that can cause destruction to the world. In becomes an interesting catch-22, which forces Barry to come face-to-face with the consequences of his powers as he learns the limits of them at the same time.
RATING: 4 out of 5
I’m a big fan of Brian Buccellato’s artwork in this volume. Compared to Greg Capullo’s moody treatment of Batman in his run, Buccellato’s world he creates for The Flash is bright and vibrant, which completely falls in line with the characterization of Barry Allen by Francis Manapul. Allen isn’t exactly happy-go-lucky; I mean, he is dealing with the fact that he may prove to be a danger to space and time, but he’s not the brooding hero we see in the Dark Knight, and his world is full of colors that you wouldn’t see in Gotham.
It’s also impressive how Buccellato is able to capture movement in this series. His use of his lines and the layout of the pages encapsulate how the Fastest Man Alive travels. It’s not easy to depict speed in a still image, but Buccellato is able to accomplish that in spades.
RATING: 5 out of 5
Barry Allen is dealing with quite a bit in this volume. On top of trying to control his own super power, he has to deal with possibly killing an old friend, reporter Iris West trying to expose The Flash as a villain, all while trying to maintain a relationship with Patty Spivot. I really like the fact that he’s dealing with this situation where his actions are directly affecting the world around him via the adverse effects of the speed force. It throws a wrench in the idea that he can just go really fast without cause for concern and puts a push-pull internal conflict into the mix.
Making his world more complicated are the two women in his life: Iris West and Patty Spivot. In the past DC universe, Barry was in a relationship with Iris West. In this world, he’s with Patty and Iris is the reporter that is trying to expose The Flash as a hero that is doing more harm than good.
RATING: 4 out of 5
In terms of villains, no one really stands out as someone that’s extraordinarily memorable. We start off with Mob Rule, which is essentially a collection of clones of Barry’s old friend Manuel. It’s an interesting idea, but it’s not super memorable. Before you have a chance to process the end of that storyline in this volume, we move on to Captain Cold whom, while being more compelling that Mob Rule, is more or less another Mr. Freeze.
RATING: 3 out of 5
As my first step into the world of The Flash, “Move Forward” is a great introduction. This is why I’m on board with the New 52 as a concept. It gives people like me a place to start and doesn’t require too much going backwards to understand the world you’re reading. From what I’ve seen, the artwork in these series is top-notch as well, which makes these comics even more inviting.