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The Flash Issue #0

Review by Paul Bowler

The Flash #0 sees DC’s innovative Zero Month drawing to a close, and Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato take full advantage of the opportunity to really give a new spin on the origin of The Fastest Man Alive. By resurrecting some elements from events before Flashpoint this issue tackles the murder of Barry Allen’s mother by Professor Zoom in the old DCU, which left Barry’s father, Harry, framed for his wife’s murder. The re-launch of the DC range during the New 52 effectively discarded this storyline, so the Flash #0 goes some way to redressing the balance within the context of the newly established continuity.

The story jumps backwards and forwards in time between Barry Allen visiting his father in prison and his own recovery in hospital after the accident in his lab that gave him his newfound powers of the speed force. The lightening that struck Barry through the window somehow charged the chemicals in the lab, causing them to explode all around him. Badly burnt, Barry falls into a coma where experiences the events in his childhood between his estranged parents that led up to his mothers mysterious death after he won first prize in a spelling contest.

The present intermingles with Barry’s memories as a child, we see Barry experience the shocking discovery of his mother’s body, and we learn how the Police Officer at the murder scene took Barry in and looked after him when his Father was imprisoned for her murder. His tireless quest to prove his father’s innocence invariably proves to offer at least some hope of closure, but as Barry’s burns heal at an astonishing rate, his speed powers emerge, shocking him out of his coma and into the life of a super powered hero.

I have really enjoyed Manapul and Buccellato’s run on this series, the art really conveys the sense of The Flash’s incredible powers, at times you almost feel like you are running alongside him as he races from page to page – and they even find time to show how Barry created his new costume! Flash #0 is their most accomplished issue to date; it fleshes out the character of Barry Allen, as well as offering up a more realistic slant on the “traditional” origin story. This has been once of my favourite titles from The New 52, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have in store for the year ahead.