The cover of The Flash #74 prominently displays “Out of Time,” and he sure is out of time in more ways than one. The Turtle is sapping energy from Central City and Flash is in big trouble. Oh, and he’s also just now learning his powers. Not looking good, Barry!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“The Flash Year One” continues! The Turtle has made his grand entrance, and it’s about to bring down the house! As an untested hero with the mastery of his abilities still in its infancy, Barry Allen will face the toughest challenge of his life to defend Central City from the invading forces of those who seek its destruction. Our hero is faced with the fateful choice to either become a superhero or die trying!
Why does this matter?
This is the penultimate issue to the story arc, so if you’ve been following along this far you’re going to read this anyway. This arc has featured quite an awesome origin story for The Turtle, as well as a Barry Allen who is limited in power as he’s new to this whole hero thing.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Everything about this issue screams the calm before the storm for Barry’s internal struggle. He needs to find another gear and be the hero he was born to be, but with the Turtle literally frightening him with his power and the revelation that the future version is in his time to destroy everything, what can he do? Added to that is future-Flash literally telling him to sit and do nothing. There’s a call to action here that’s triumphant by the end and it helps get your blood pumping for Barry to be a superhero.
The emotional story Flash is going through is heartfelt and real. It connects to his mother and comic books, two things I’m sure most readers are going to love. It’s also interesting to see a younger Barry argue with his future self. Future-Flash is clearly beaten down and without hope and Josh Williamson infuses the story with a message about never giving up that’s inspiring.
Howard Porter continues to do incredible work. Hi-Fi is on colors and the green powers of the Turtle glow almost impossibly. Porter makes every zip and energy blast felt too. There’s an excellent moment where Barry runs through the rubble that’s so good you might linger for extra long time on it. If you’re looking for splashy comics, this is for you — double page splashes and double page layouts are used throughout. The double page layout is incredibly well done with the Turtle standing tall and the energy around him divvying up panels to show us what he’s doing to Flash’s city. There is also a 20-panel page that tells a silent story very well.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
This is a “Year One” story so it’s going to recycle some tropes we’ve seen before, but it’s hard to shake a few that are too on the nose. Never give up, face your fears, do what is right…these are all things Barry mulls over. It’s also a little too convenient that he gets away so he can have a moment to chat it out with future-Flash.
Is it good?
This is a good penultimate issue because it’s all about the hero finding an inner strength before they enter the climactic battle. As a “Year One” story it is building towards a finish that’s not just a fight, but a hero’s journey to becoming who he was meant to be.