It’s been a few months since The Flash #800, where we got a glimpse at what Si Spurrier, Mike Deodato Jr., Trish Mulvihill, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou have in store with their new run on the titular character, but it seems like this brand new The Flash #1, another in the line of the Dawn of DC initiative has come zooming to us right in a Flash.
If you’ve read that previous issue, you’ve only got a taste of what this has to offer. The biggest praise I can offer The Flash #1 is that it’s the most gripped I’ve been with a premise in a Wally West book since Waid’s iconic run on the character. That’s not to say that the previous runs were bad, but rather, there was always something missing, an essence – that feeling of wonder that we got when we started discovering the speed force and its capabilities for the first time, both in the sense of what it means for our protagonist and his surrounding characters, but also for what it means for the narrative at large.
This first issue brings it all back. It introduces something new with it, something that captivated me in a way Flash comics haven’t in a while, and I’m so in for what’s in store.
Before going into the specifics of anything, I’m absolutely in love with the marriage of writing, art, and lettering here. It’s so perfect, yet new and unique, in a way not a lot of comics do, which leaves me with very high expectations from what they’ve got cooking.
Starting with the art, I love Deodato Jr.’s panelling in this issue. The nature of the Flash as a character invites the very feeling of speed, of chaos, and the composition in these pages communicates that feeling so well. Sometimes a panel will be split into a few, whether it be vertically or horizontally, but still have the same image across the borders, emulating the blitz of a strike or just how fast a character is going. It really forms this feeling of motion I haven’t quite experienced while reading a comic. It’s so cool. Mulvihill’s colours are also absolutely stunning. I love how Wally pops with his bright reds and yellows at any given moment, as well as how they play with various effects to – once again – really sell the motion.
The writing though. Wow. As a fan of Spurrier’s previous work, I was excited for him to write one of my favourite characters from the get-go, but I was really interested in his take since his stories tend to be more about the spiritual, the occult, as well as the premise of this book being ‘cosmic horror’. When the issue kicks off, we get some narration over Max Mercury, as he runs, and it’s got this very classic feel to it, a bombastic yet dramatic opening to what’s in store. From there, as we shift to Wally, we immediately get to see more of Spurrier’s voice for him, and he just gets it. Wally’s always talking to himself, always reassuring himself while talking at super speed to try and maintain the illusion of control in a situation, and it’s great.
There’s a lot of setup here, between Wally and Linda being on the verge of a fight over handling a newborn and his being a speedster, while not fully understanding what his wife is going through since she just stopped being a speedster, Mister Terrific’s investigation into what’s going on with the Speed Force and what’s up with Jay & Irey. It’s that balance of the personal life and the superhero life that really stands out here, and I hope this is maintained as we keep progressing with the book.
It’s also extremely accessible. Even if this is your first Flash book, it does a good job of introducing you to everyone and where they’re at, before kicking you right into the action. Of course, context absolutely helps, but you’ll be fine without it.
The lettering too is absolutely fantastic. Otsmane-Elhaou is, to me, one of the best letterers in the business, and it’s on full display here. Between the usage of different fonts to really sell that bombastic opening with Max Mercury, to the chaotic internal monologue of Wally West, as shown by how the boxes aren’t following any distinct pattern but just the motion of the character, to how Linda’s is framed like a newspaper article, it’s such a treat to read and a blessing to the eyes.
The Flash #1 is one of those really perfect #1s that immediately sell you on a book, even if you don’t have any prior knowledge of the character at large, with beautiful art and lettering to boot. If you were on the fence about picking this up (which, why were you?), then please do. It’s a phenomenal issue, and I have full faith that it will be a phenomenal run, in the very same way Wally has faith in the Speed Force.