THE FLASH VOL.1: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico w/ Neil Googe, Felipe Watanabe, Andrew Currie & Oclair Albert
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Letterer: Steve Wands
When these issues were first coming out, I had no idea that it would be the beginning of one of the best runs in Flash history. Joshua Williamson is nearing the 100 issue mark and shows no signs of stopping. From his first issue it was clear that Williamson had a deep love for the character, mythos, and legacy of The Flash. In this first volume he wasted no time adding to that legacy, bringing in new characters while also giving us a new Kid Flash. Everything he did was also setting up a new future for Barry/Flash that is still being touched on today. Anyways let's jump into the book.
With the effects of DC REBIRTH, and the return of the OG Wally West, Barry is now fully aware of the repercussions of his actions during FLASHPOINT. But at the same time there was still the mystery of the person who "stole" away those 10 years from the entire DCU. Of course who else is better equipped to solve this mystery than Batman. The scientist and detective joining forces was a nice touch. But it was the interaction with Wally that really showed all of is that Williamson was the perfect guy to usher in this new era of Flash. He just seemed to "get" what makes their relationship so special/important. While we wouldn't see Wally for awhile after this initial issue, it was enough just to see them running aide by side again.
Over the course of this volume Barry is confronted with a new type of enemy, Black Hole. This organization of former Star Labs scientist had found a way to weaponize the Speed Force and in doing so cause a Speed Force storm to attack Central City. What took place next was unexpected, the storm caused the creation of a bunch of new speedsters. One of them was Barry's detective friend August Heart.
August became Barry's new partner in fighting crime, and it seemed as if the Speed Force was giving Barry what he wanted. Someone he could train and rely on since he couldn't always be in 2 places at once. At first it seemed like the perfect partnership, until Barry met Meena. Meena was a fellow scientist who also became empowered and had a unique gift of being able to detect other Speed Force users. Barry and Meena not only trained the new speedsters but also became romantically involved. She seemed like the perfect match for Barry and even helped him save new hero, Avery, who would later become an important part of the Flash family.
But it wasn't all sunshine in Central City. After taking down Dr. Carver and his Black Hole organization, a new threat emerged, Godspeed. What might just be my favorite creation of Williamson's, along with the amazing design by Carmine Di Giandomenico, Godspeed has continued to play a part in Barry's life to this day. The mystery of his identity was held for a few issues but we eventually learned that it was August who had taken on this identity. He was stealing speed from other speedsters and in the process killing them, including Meena Godspeed was a villain unlike any Barry had dealt with before, especially one who had once been a close friend.
In the end it was younger Wally joining up with Barry that enabled him to save the day. Realizing that the Speed Force wanted to recombine, he and Wally took back the speed from all the new speedsters. I hadn't really been a fan of the new Wally in New52 but Williamson did a great job of making me like the character. Especially when he gave him the classic Kid Flash costume, which was a nice touch.
In the end Barry and Wally defeat August and tak him to Iron Heights. At the conclusion Wally reveals his powers to Iris and tells her that it's not Barry that inspired him to be a hero, it was her. I think it was one of the best moments in the book and shows why Iris West is such an important character. While she doesn't take much of the spotlight in this volume, the brief moments that she is, perfectly encapsulates why she is such a badass. She may not have powers but she is without a doubt one of the strongeatvwomen in the DCU.
While I've talked about how great Williamson is, I cant for that the amazing artists on the book. Di Giandomenico, Neil Googe, and Felipe Watanabe all contributed some amazing art, but it was definitely Giandomenico who stole the show. While I wasnt familiar with his art prior to this, he instantly became an artist I keep my eye out for. From his depiction of speed to his clever homage panels, he launched himself in to the upper echelons of Flash artists. He drew Flash's powers unlike anyone else and it made for so.e of the most exciting pages I've ever seen.
While I could go on about how much this run continues to blow me away to this day. I'll just leave you with this. If you're a Flash fan, or a fan of DC in general, this is a must read. Without a doubt this will go down as one of th greatest Flash/DC runs of all time. So if you haven't read this, run down to tour LCS and make sure you catch up before issue 750 drops next month.
Don't forget to click the hashtag at the bottom of this post for more Flash coverage in honor of his 80th Anniversary.