The Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice Review

By
Comic Books:
Eric Joseph

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On January 24, 2017
Last modified:January 24, 2017

Summary:

Although a very different beast from the TV show, the latest Flash trade paperback is every bit as compelling and is not to be missed by either the devoted or previously uninitiated.

The Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice Review

This review is based off a volume that collects The Flash: Rebirth #1 and The Flash #1-8

Knowing that The Flash is currently one of their hottest properties, it comes as no surprise that DC will want to impress readers both new and old by making his comic book series a top priority by landing great creators. That’s certainly not to say that hasn’t happened in the past decade or so, but a fair amount of pressure is put on you when you’re in an “all eyes on you” type of situation. Fortunately enough, when pressure is applied on this creative team, a diamond named Lightning Strikes Twice is revealed.

Writer Joshua Williamson capably handles one of the simplest concepts in superhero storytelling and runs all the way to the bank with it: If you had superpowers, would you use them for good or evil? Yes, it’s been done a thousand times, but the right writer can make any concept feel fresh and, rest assured, Williamson is the right writer. His understanding of Barry Allen, his world and supporting characters truly make him feel like a worthy successor to Geoff Johns, a man who has not only written some of the greatest Flash stories himself, but also helped in bringing the popular hero to the small screen.

Speaking of successors, Carmine Di Giandomenico is the rare kind of artist who is perfectly suited to a particular character; in this case, the Flash. Just as Francis Manapul set the visual tone for the Scarlet Speedster in the New 52, Di Giandomenico does the same for the Rebirth era. His contributions are kicked up to the tenth power thanks to Ivan Plascencia’s vibrant coloring, most notably anything involving lightning effects and, believe me, there’s a lot of that to be found.

As for the content itself, the opening chapter – originally printed as The Flash: Rebirth #1 – may very well be worth the price of admission alone. Embodying Rebirth’s mission statement by capturing such optimism and embracing the character’s rich mythology, it feels like the spiritual sequel to DC Universe: Rebirth #1, especially when it extrapolates on the Barry Allen-Wally West reunion. Simply put, it’s heartwarming superhero storytelling at its finest.

Aside from Barry’s own personal arc, the two most important journeys embarked on in this volume are by that of Wally West (not the pre-Flashpoint version I spoke of moments ago) and August Heart, the former on his way to becoming Kid Flash and the latter a loose cannon cop who doesn’t play by the rules. Having just been imbued with powers via the Speed Force, it’s Barry’s job to keep August’s hotheadedness in check and continue encouraging him to do things by the book.

It’s not long before a Speed Force storm – possibly connected to a terrorist cell called Black Hole, whose story felt quite secondary – causes citizens throughout Central City to become speedsters themselves, many of whom end up training under the Flash at S.T.A.R. Labs. Some even have unique powers, which, of course, brings us to the main villain of the piece, Godspeed.

Possessing an unbelievably cool name that is so obvious for a Flash nemesis, it makes one scratch their head wondering why it took over 75 years for someone to come up with it. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t doubt if he’s utilized on the TV series as soon as next season, but that’s a discussion for another day.

When you factor in Godspeed’s unique power that I almost revealed here (the hints are plentiful throughout the story) and his penchant for dispensing his own brand of justice, it’s not very hard to figure out his true identity. And, much like the TV show, there’s really only one real possibility when it comes to figuring out who the big bad may be. Sure, it may technically be a flaw, but the execution is immaculate.

In addition to the conflict that I probably shouldn’t spoil any further, I really enjoyed it when the book took a few moments to slow down and place the focus on Barry’s personal life. His budding relationship with Meena, who has adopted the moniker of Fast Track (don’t look at me, I didn’t name her), adds much charm and emotional resonance to an already uplifting tale. Still, you should be prepared for a dense read as this may very well be DC’s book that’s heaviest on dialogue aside from Harley Quinn.

Ultimately, The Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice can be looked at as a complete, self-contained story if need be that I have confidence will stand the test of time, provided that nobody alters the timeline. Fortunately, there’s more awesomeness to follow and new readers won’t feel the slightest bit disoriented if they use this as their jumping on point. Seriously, I can’t really find anything significantly wrong with this one.

The Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice Review
Top Honors

Although a very different beast from the TV show, the latest Flash trade paperback is every bit as compelling and is not to be missed by either the devoted or previously uninitiated.