The Flash #1 Review: Well Paced, but Not Lightening in a Bottle

Trying to keep up with The Flash in recent years was a bit of an exercise in frustration and [...]

Trying to keep up with The Flash in recent years was a bit of an exercise in frustration and family tree mapping. The title of fastest man alive changed hands several times, sometimes between generations of Flash and sometimes just depending on who happened to be alive or dead at any given time (Hi Barry Allen!). Throw in the fact that the suit doesn't change between the guys who possess the power of the speed force, and you've got quite the quagmire. While Flash was an integral part of the recent events in Flashpoint, which gave us the new DC universe, his world was so up in the air until that point that it's almost a relief that fans of the character and new readers get a chance to start over with this week's The Flash #1. Barry Allen is the man behind the red suit, and with that, a new opportunity to discover a character with a power that allows some creativity in its use. Overall, The Flash #1 has some good pacing and storytelling techniques, but nothing too riveting happens overall. Barry Allen is a young science geek, out for a night on the town with a date at a tech symposium, awing over a monorail system that runs on renewable energy, much to the pleasure of the man who invented it, Dr. Darwin Elias. As they chat it up, the gathering is disrupted, of course, by a gang of masked and costumed men, each of whom is numbered. Barry makes a VERY quick change, and the Flash does the best he can to apprehend the gang or at least stop them from wreaking havoc. One of the men left behind is dead, and as soon as his mask is peeled off, Barry recognizes him. His name is Manuel, apparently someone from Barry's past, but we're not told too much about him despite a pretty decent length flashback. Appearances are deceiving however, as Manuel soon turns up at Barry's house, looking for help. A chase follows, and it always seems like for chunks of this tale that Barry is always running from someone or something. Whether it's the men chasing he and Manuel or terribly pushy reporter Iris West, who hounds Barry about information on the case regarding the men crashing the symposium and the dead body. A surprise at the end means there's more to this newly alive Manuel than meets the eye, and issue two is set up nicely. For a books about a man with super speed, the pacing is quite effective, but nothing spectacularly great seems to happen in this issue, which feels pretty run of the mill. Hopefully the hooks will start to sink in, as it would be a shame to see this most recent Flash story go the way of some of the others. Grade: B-