THE FLASH #71
THE FLASH #71 BY JOSHUA WILLIAMSON AND HOWARD PORTER
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THE FLASH #71 continues the "Year One" arc with another stellar issue. Joshua Williamson continues to bring amazing characterization to the table. Howard Porter also continues to stun me with his fabulous art.
97 %
Superb Second Chapter

THE FLASH #71 continues the fantastic “Year One” arc with another solid issue. In this book, young Barry Allen, newly imbued with the Speed Force, finds himself face-to-face with a future version of himself in a dystopian future. Joshua Williamson adds new lore to The Flash’s origin and backstory in a very enjoyable way. Future Barry is an absolute delight to read. He represents everything good about Barry Allen. He keeps a brave face on while facing insurmountable odds, and he stays optimistic all the while. That attitude clashing with young Barry’s cynical pessimism makes for a fun read. Howard Porter brings more hyper-detailed art to the series. Every page is chock full of little details and beautifully expressive characters.

Journey to the Future in THE FLASH #71

In the last issue, Barry Allen, a shy, depressed, pessimistic crime scene investigator is doused in chemicals after a rogue lightning bolt hits his lab. After falling into a coma for months, Barry wakes up to find that he has super-speed. He decides to test out these powers in a number of ways. While testing how fast he can run, he ends up going a bit too fast and lands in a dystopian future. There, he meets a man who claims to be himself from the future. THE FLASH #71 begins with Barry trying, and failing, to process what just happened. He appeared out of nowhere in a Central City where armored goons force slaves to wear shells and do menial labor. They work for The Flash’s future villain, The Turtle.

THE FLASH #71
THE FLASH #71 pages 2-3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The older Barry snaps his younger self out of his daze after a group of Turtle minions notice their presence. They run until they’re safe. Older Barry explains that he can’t tell his counterpart too much about his future, lest he risk mucking up the timeline. He just lets younger Barry know he goes by The Flash and he will have an exciting, action-packed life. After confirming that he is actually his younger self, and not from a different timeline or universe, they hurry to a secret spot. He explains on the way that The Turtle took over after biding his time for an extended period, and now he craves any type of speed he can find. A bunch of henchmen ambush the duo, but Older Barry makes short work of them. They get to what he was looking for: The Cosmic Treadmill.

Will Young Barry make it back to the past? Read THE FLASH #71 to find out!

Old Barry — A Delight in THE FLASH #71

THE FLASH #71 contains one of my favorite (sorta) new characters from this book in a while: Older Barry. Joshua Williamson knocks it out of the park with this character. So many times you see alternate reality stories where characters become grizzled and edgy in the wake of a disaster, like Old Man Logan and the Age of Apocalypse X-Men. However, Williamson flips the script with Older Barry. He’s actually more lighthearted and optimistic than his current counterpart (what with HEROES IN CRISIS and all). I really love how Barry doesn’t let the despair and devastation of his timeline get to him. Instead, he retains his hope. That gets to the core of the character, much like in the last issue. No matter what, Barry should keep his hope. It should be unshakeable. That’s the heart of Barry Allen.

On that same coin, I also enjoy what Williamson is doing with the younger Barry. This Barry is still hung up on his mother’s death, and, as such, he hasn’t had much reason to be hopeful. It shows that Barry’s optimism isn’t just something that comes naturally. This also explains why and how the current-timeline Barry is filled with despair. He slipped back into his depression, which is something that happens frequently in the everyday world. It makes Barry into a more fleshed out character. Williamson shows that it takes effort for Barry to be so hopeful. I can’t wait to see how Williamson gives Barry his optimism for the first time in this arc.

Dynamic Detail

Howard Porter’s art in THE FLASH #71 is filled to the brim with detail. It’s his strongest suit, in fact. It’s especially apparent this issue. The opening page is a great showcase of his abilities. It’s a 15-panel grid where almost every panel alternates between Barry’s POV of the unfamiliar, scary future and Barry’s reactions to these sights. A bunch of small panels make up this page, but within those panels, Porter shows how detailed he can get. The POV panels show the Turtle goons ordering civilians to work, pushing them into cramped glass pens and aiming their weapons at others. It’s amazing how much is conveyed by these tiny panels. Porter tells a story with just those panels.

THE FLASH #71
THE FLASH #71 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What makes it better are Barry’s reactions. He looks around in all different directions with varying degrees of slack-jawed shock. It culminates in a larger panel where Barry looks ahead in a complete shock-induced daze. It brings home just how out of sorts Barry is after his journey through time.

Final Thoughts: THE FLASH #71

THE FLASH #71 is yet another awe-inspiring chapter in the “Year One” story arc. New readers really should be picking up this arc.

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