Following up on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman’s Digital First comics it is now time for Flash to come up to bat with his comic book. The previous four Digital First comic books established that DC Comics is not tying any sort of continuity to these comics. Given Gail Simone’s history of writing a lot of great books for DC Comics I expect her storytelling style will be a good match for this. I’m also interested to see how Simone writes the Flash, a character I haven’t seen her write before. Let’s see how things go with Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1.
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Clayton Henry
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On a cruise ship Flash rushes all over to find someone. When he gets to the bottom floor of the cruise ship he finds a giant hole on the side of the boat that is causing it to sink.
One week earlier Barry Allen nervously asks Iris West out on a date on a two-day cruise that the Central City Police Department is letting their staff go to in shifts. Iris agrees much to Barry’s happiness.
At the cruise ship Barry and Iris enjoy all sorts of activities throughout the day. At night, after getting ready for the gala party Barry finds Iris, who he is stunned by how beautiful she looks in her dress. Barry keeps his composure and they go to the gala.
As Barry and Iris begin to dance King Shark attacks the cruise ship. King Shark announces that this is his new boat and everyone has ten seconds to leave.
Barry quickly changes into his Flash costume and is able to attack King Shark before he eats Iris. King Shark is able to use his tough skin and speed to land a hard punch on Flash. This gives King Shark a chance to dive back into the water.
Back in the present Flash wonders what he should do to patch up the boat. He doesn’t get much time to think as King Shark drags him underwater.
Everyone on the cruise ship rushes to the lifeboats but the CCPD Captain says that is a horrible idea since King Shark is underwater.
Underwater, Flash thinks back to the shark movies his dad used to take him to as a kid. Flash realizes he can use King Shark’s massive body as a surface to run on. Flash kicks his feet at rapid speed off of King Shark. This creates enough momentum for Flash to get above water and he runs back to the cruise ship.
King Shark gets back on the cruise ship even angrier than before. Flash gets King Shark to chase him into a dark hallway. Once there Flash has the CCPD officers turn on all the lights that end up momentarily blinding King Shark. This gives Flash the opening to knock King Shark out with a few shots using an iron bar.
With King Shark out for the count Iris approaches Flash and wonders why King Shark attacked them in the first place. Flash realizes that he never found out King Shark’s motives. King Shark comes to and reveals that the cruise ship has been poisoning the water by dumping waste once it got to international waters.
King Shark then agrees to go peacefully when Flash says he will make sure the cruise line crimes are exposed.
Later that night Iris tells Barry that this will make a great story. She then mentions that Barry still owes her a dance. End of issue.
The Good: Of all the Digital First comic books from DC Comics Flash: Fastest Man Alive is the most straightforward of them all. This is very much a comic book for those most familiar with Barry Allen from the CW Flash show. It is not a bad thing at all but may not be what everyone is looking for with new Flash related content.
Starting from the early parts of Barry Allen’s career as Flash allowed Gail Simone to explore the character in a period most comic and Flash TV show fans will be familiar with. There is young, fresh excitement from this version of Barry Allen as he isn’t the total veteran Big Seven of the Justice League just yet. Simone plays right into that with how Barry can’t control how his mind goes so fast he doesn’t can’t come up with quick solutions right away. Barry isn’t there but does come up clutch when needed.
The entire battle with King Shark shows that with how Flash makes a lot of rookie mistakes in battle. Even when he is able to run around quick Flash slows down just enough for King Shark to catch him and drag him underwater. But in making that mistake we get to see how resourceful Barry is as Flash with how he uses King Shark’s own body as the surface he needs underwater. It’s quick thinking like that which makes Flash’s Speed Force powers something that can become creative with the correct writer working on this comic. And Simone shows that creativity with this move.
Revealing that King Shark only attacked the cruise ship because the company running it was a nice twist to end Flash: Fastest Man Alive. It gave more of an understandable motive for King Shark’s attack other than simply being a villain. This also offered a chance for Barry to remember that he should look into his bad guys motives to understand what is going on before simply charging in.
Simone also did a solid job writing the relationship between Barry and Iris. You could easily get behind how Barry was trying his best to keep his cool even though he was completely stoked that Iris agreed to be on a date. Iris for her part showed that she knows there is more between them than just being friends. They are clearly in the place where the other is waiting for the signal about entering into an actual relationship.
It was also good to see Simone showcase Iris’ job as a journalist a little bit in this issue. In particular, having her remind Flash that they should ask King Shark why he attacked the cruise ship showed she understands that details are key. It gives more credibility to Barry’s earlier statement to how Iris has become an experienced journalist already.
Clayton Henry’s artwork throughout Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1 was solid. Henry did a good job keeping things clear even when Flash was speeding around doing his normal thing. The sense of motion was there that you expect from a Flash comic book.
The Bad: Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1 is a comic book that felt like it was writing with the fans of CW’s Flash in mind. There isn’t much here for fans of the Flash comic books other than if you are in desperate need of getting your fix on the character’s adventure. For some that will be acceptable, especially with the great $0.99 cover price. But for those looking for a bigger story involving Flash this isn’t going to likely satisfy you.
The scenes involving the police captain also felt like an excuse to remind readers that this was a gala for the Central City Police Department. The character didn’t add anything to this issue. He just broke up the momentum without adding much. That panel space would’ve been better used to give more screen time for Iris going from party mode to journalist who sees a story in this Flash vs King Shark battle.
Overall: Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1 gets the job done for those looking to get their Flash comic book fix during this time. Gail Simone showed a good understanding of who Barry Allen is during the early years of his time as Flash. But with a thin plot this comic book is really only for those looking for new comics to read. And with a $0.99 cover price Flash: Fastest Man Alive fills that need with a solid story.
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