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Monday, September 8, 2014

DAMN Good Comics -- THE FLASH SEASON ZERO #1



Are you pumped for the Flash's long-awaited return to the small screen?  If not, you will be.

After two digital comics series based on the CW series Arrow, it doesn't take a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist to figure out that a new digital comic based on the spinoff series The Flash was a no-brainer.  However, since the TV series premieres just under a month from now, what better way for DC Comics to build anticipation than by releasing a "Season Zero" that takes place just after the events in the pilot episode?

With a story idea by The Flash's executive producer and writer Andrew Kreisberg, writers Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak start things off with our hero Barry Allen quickly reliving his secret origin that flashes (get it?) before his eyes as a large stone column outside the Central City National Bank begins crumbling on top of him.  It's a simple but effective narrative device to bring new Flash readers up to speed (sorry, I'll quit with the puns), especially if they haven't yet seen the pilot episode that leaked out over the Interwebz a while back.

In addition to the necessary background and supporting character introductions, "Freak Show Part 1: The Strongman Cometh" sets up the Flash's encounter with an extraordinarily strong circus strongman robbing the bank.  And yes, you just know he got his super-strength from that wacky S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator accident.  After a futile attempt on the Flash's part to subdue the strongman that results in a couple of broken ribs and a busted ankle, we learn that the strongman belongs to a small, mysterious circus located just outside Central City that might be familiar to anyone who read issues #7 and 8 of the beloved Jack Knight Starman series from 1994-2001.

As for the art, Phil Hester isn't the first artist you'd think of for the Flash, but he does a pretty nice job here.  His somewhat angular, cartoonish style gives The Flash: Season Zero a mostly animated appearance instead of lifelike depictions, but you can't deny the boldness and energy in his work.  Every page is interesting to look at, especially in the digital format where the colors really make his artwork pop.

All in all, a promising start to the series that should continue to entertain Flash fans on a bi-weekly basis every other Monday, alternating with Arrow Season 2.5.  If you're a Flash completist, someone who is curious about the upcoming TV show, or simply enjoy lighthearted superhero tales, be sure to check DC's digital comics store for more adventures with everyone's favorite Fastest Man Alive!

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