Who doesn’t like a big finish? When it comes to superhero comics typically you get one in every issue, but it’s at the end of the arc when it is the sweetest. Case in point, Josh Williamson and Howard Porter’s big finale to their “Year One” story arc out today. Oh, it’s a huge ending.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
This oversize anniversary issue marks the end of Barry Allen’s journey to become the Flash–but at what cost? The Turtle’s final play will challenge our hero in every way possible, and by the end of the battle, a Flash will be born–and a Flash will die! Also in this issue, witness Lex Luthor’s offer to Captain Cold, whose icy vengeance waits for the Flash just around the corner…
Why does this matter?
This is an extra-sized issue with not one, but three stories. In a lot of ways, this is the finish to Flash’s first story, but also the beginning to future stories and possibly to the end of Flash as we know it. If you’ve ever called yourself a Flash fan you owe it to yourself to read this.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The conclusion to “Year One” runs about 17 pages and finishes off the Turtle’s reign over Central City. Flash is on the ropes and even his future self thinks he won’t make it. The creative team set up what appears to be a suicide mission, but if you flip that coin it’s also a mission of never giving up. As the story comes to head citizens of Central City come out to help. It’s a moment where a true hero shines and everyone sees what they’re doing and is inspired by it. This story arc has always been about what makes Barry a hero and you see that in how it wraps up.
Avoiding spoilers here, but there are some next-level sci-fi ideas at work here. It’s one of those time travel paradoxes that you might miss if you don’t think about it, but once you catch it you’ll realize it’s quite clever. It makes for what could have been an “easy” or quick ending a satisfying one.
Porter’s rocks these pages. There are two double-page layouts that are poster-worthy and should have fans screaming for more. The fluidity and energy of Flash are on full display and it’s a reminder Porter’s is one of the best on the Flash books.
Following this story is a story that directly connects to the main one drawn by Scott Kolins with colors by Luis Guerrero. I’m not going to lie, this story is one massive tease and I’d love to know when Williamson will give us the answers to the questions that pop up here. Whatever the case you’re going to be dying for more.
Following that story is a Captain Cold story drawn by Christian Duce with colors by Luis Guerrero and letters by Steve Wands. This final story ties directly into “Year of the Villain” and offers a chance for Captain Cold to be something far great. It’s a well-done character-focused short piece and it taps into Cold’s cowardice.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Generally speaking, most of what is here is great. The main story does have a few conventional superhero tropes at work, but that big time-travel idea is too good to pass up. The Captain Cold backup is solid but it does open with a page of Captain Cold young and immediately cuts to him older. It’s a confusing cut and I’m not sure why it’s even there.
Is it good?
A great extra-sized issue with a big idea, great sci-fi sensibilities, and one hell of a promise for some great stories to come.