I have gone on at length, at virtually every opportunity, about Josh Williamson’s tenure as writer on The Flash. Williamson and numerous artists have crafted a run that encompasses decades of Flash continuity, the entire Flash family, numerous rogues, and more over the last two years. He is far from finished.
Williamson will reunite with artist Howard Porter, who drew the excellent “The Button” story last year for “The Flash: Year One.” It’s exactly what it says it is, a deep dive into Barry Allen’s origin story. Believe it or not, Barry’s early days as Flash have never really been explored in comics. His origin story from 1956’s Showcase #4 is relatively unchanged, and that brief tale saw him emerge as a more or less fully formed hero. The only significant new element to Barry’s early days came from The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, which introduced the concept (later made famous on The Flash TV series) that Barry’s mother had been murdered by the Reverse-Flash, in a retroactive attempt to punish his greatest enemy.
But as for how Barry learned to harness his powers, design his costume, and first encounter his famed rogues? That has never been explored in detail on the comics page. Wally West had his own “Year One” story, Mark Waid and Greg LaRocque’s excellent “Born to Run” in 1994, but Barry’s early days remain unexplored in modern comics. It’s tough to think of a better writer than Williamson, who understands the Flash family better than anyone since the days of Mark Waid or Geoff Johns, to tell this story.
“We’re going to tell the story of Barry’s first year as the Flash,” Williamson told a crowd at New York Comic Con, “Barry Allen’s sense of hope, inspiration, and optimism is an important thing, and I really wanted to tell a story about how he came from when his mother died, where he could have had a negative view of things, and how he went from that to being the Flash and the hero we all know.”
You can see a teaser image (presumably the cover of the first chapter) by Howard Porter at the top of the article. Aside from the awesome visual of Barry in a proto-Flash costume atop a pile of discarded, smoldering sneakers, I can’t help but notice the red and blue color scheme. From Barry’s very first appearance, it was revealed that he had been a fan of the Jay Garrick version of Flash, having read his adventures in the pages of comic books. Could the blue pants here (ok, fine, they’re blue jeans), be a nod to Barry’s Jay fandom? Considering that Williamson and Porter were the ones who brought Jay Garrick back to DC continuity with “The Button,” this would be a fun callback.
“The Flash: Year One” won’t be a separate mini-series. It will run as an arc through the pages of the main title some time in spring 2019.
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