On Thursday October 7th at 8PM the world will have to opportunity to witness the origin of one of DC’s most beloved heroes, as well as the fantastic life he leads thanks to the efforts of the winning team behind the critically acclaimed Arrow series (Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti, and Geoff Johns). But until that happens DC Comics has been gracious enough to give would be fans a little taste of what they can expect, come this fall.
The Flash Season Zero: The Strongman Cometh is the opening chapter to the Freak Show arc that will most likely remain comic exclusive. The issue opens with the typical first person narration style that also permeates many of the Arrow storylines. Unlike Arrow however, Barry’s inexperience, as well as his incredible naivete, is clearly on display. It’s this inexperience that endears us to Barry as he struggles with doing the right thing without understanding exactly how to achieve it. It’s an interesting and well written character quirk that fits with his youth, but works at odds with his character’s background not only as a scientist, but an incredibly intelligent one. This polarization creates two different versions of the same character (The comic and television), rather than just one with a myriad of personality quirks. It has a disorienting effect that blurs the presence of the hero in the series, from what we’ve seen so far, and as a result (due to the first person style) creates an unstable passage from the show to the comic.
The art is Phil Hester in typical fashion. It’s a lot of rough jagged lines, but there’s a surprising amount of personality and, quite frankly, amazing scene composition as all of the action flows seamlessly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate well to the comic interpretations of real people. Despite having a passing similarity to the actors themselves, the characters are relatively flat and uninteresting, and don’t get to do much beyond fill up the panels.
Depending on what you’re looking for in a comic, you might be dissatisfied with Andrew Kreisberg, Brooke Eikmeier, Katherine Walczak, and Phil Hester’s first interpretation of the popular superhero. The art fails to capture the personality of what we’ve seen from the show thus far, the story introduces Barry but doesn’t really bother with anyone else, Barry spends most of the comic tracking back to events revealed in the pilot, and when it comes time to do some actual superheroing it’s all way too short and in too much of a hurry to tie everything up.
The book introduced the arc for the continuing comic series, but does little to reveal anything new about the characters of the television series. It’s short and dissatisfying, but the ninety-nine cent price-tag on the DC digital store, as well as the fact that it does give a little bit more insight in to the world of the Flash, still manages to make it worthwhile. Despite all it’s inadequacies Season Zero issue one is actually a competent superhero endeavor that has the potential to spread in to more adventures for an already beloved character. I’d say it’s worth picking up for it’s longevity potential as a supplementary to both the Arrow and Flash television universes.