The Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1 review

Covid-19 put paid to a cruise I was meant to be taking this month but thanks to this DC Digital First debut, I get to go on holiday. My companions? Iris West, Barry Allen… and King Shark.

King Shark doesn’t know the difference between a ship and a boat. Neither, it turns out, does Barry

Scary. The issue opens in media res, with Barry, in his superheroic identity as The Flash, facing a very big problem.

And the evening had begun so well.

TV Iris meets a comics Barry with a very Henry Fonda vibe – and why not?

Writer Gail Simone, artist Clayton Henry and friends craft – no pun intended – a wonderful one-and-done story. In 16 pages they spotlight Barry’s keen mind as much as his super-speed, show Iris inspiring and challenging him and evoke a smidgeon of sympathy for one of the scariest villains in the DC Universe.

That dancing page is a gem, bringing a rare, real sense of romance to a superhero story; Simone knows what love is, and Henry captures the tenderness and bliss Barry and Iris are feeling. There’s an equally wonderful moment later in the issue, a delightful flashback of the boy Barry and dad Henry watching Jaws at the cinema – Simone’s well-chosen words and Henry’s nuanced expressions perfectly capture a relationship.

Henry also deserves enormous credit for taking the time to draw in the detail of the clothing – how many times have you seen a suit in comics that hangs like nothing in real life, or a tuxedo that’s solid black, no detail? Here we see where Barry‘s lapels meet the front of the jacket, how the cloth creases. Check out the floatiness of Iris’s gown, the details of her shoes and clutch bag.

The artist even manages to make super-speed look fresh after eight decades of Flash stories – just look at Barry’s fiery flying fists!

And the colours of Marcelo Maiolo make the pages even better; the sunshine as Barry phones Iris, the night-time sky and waves, the subtle blush of nervous Barry’s cheeks at the Pictures, Iris’s eye shadow matching the lower part of her dress… This is how all-ages superhero comics should look.

An extra burst of colour comes with Rob Leigh’s yellow on red internal narration boxes for Barry; the lettering looks great throughout, from the menacing title font onwards.

A cover by Dan Panosian repurposed from this story’s original appearance in Flash 100-Page Giant #1 complete a tremendous package – all this goodness for just 99p. DC, you are spoiling us.

6 thoughts on “The Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1 review

  1. Sounds interesting but TV Iris means a no go for me. When they’ve done this before my brain keeps saying ‘that’s not Iris’ every panel she’s in and ruins the book. BTW, I know King Shark is the doofus from Superboy’s book. What happened to the Shark that preceded him and Johns ruined?

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  2. Oh, how I love this series. Simone and Henry are perfect for Flash, and the rest of the team is firing on all cylinders too (as you note). I’m enjoying the long Williamson run on Flash well enough, but that’s SO dependent on the larger Flash mythology. But this is just pure superhero fun, and exactly what I loved about the Flash in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too. I think the Speed Force mythology — a neat invention in its day — has kind of outlived its usefulness. Williamson has done his best to explore it about as far as he can — the strength force, the mind force, whatever — but it’s become the crutch that the various multi-colored lanterns became in the GL comic.

        In the meantime, Simone & Henry manage to tell great stories that don’t discount the speed force as an element, but don’t rely on it, either. It’s just what I want.

        Liked by 1 person

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