Happy Fastest Man Alive Eve!
It’s the day before the Flash’s world premiere(well when I’m writing this anyway), and despite the hurdles that are the rocky Season Zero comics, I can honestly say that I’m still excited. The Flash is one of those main Leaguers that the general audience knows, but doesn’t *really* know (He’s that red guy who can run fast, right?). So to see him getting a serious modern reboot from such a talented and creative group of people is nothing short of a dream come true. It’s a dream with it’s fair share of obstacles though, but if The Flash: Season Zero #3 really is a preview of what’s to come, it’s a dream that you can definitely file under “Attainable”. I mean, finally! We’re three volumes in and we’re actually getting some decent action! It’s kind of surprising how much this volume succeeds after failing so hard in the last two, so let’s crack this puppy open and figure out what makes it tick.
After investigating the bank to discover what exactly the Strongman was after, Barry, Joe, Eddie, and Iris are all on their way back to the station when they’re suddenly stuck in traffic, inside a tunnel, caused by loose tigers (*gasp* Whaaaaat?). But I’m doing a disservice to this volume by talking about the last one.
Season Zero #3 opens with a familiar superhero problem with the “There’s danger, but I’m surrounded by people and need to keep my secret identity!” trope. Regardless of how much this cliche seems to be abused, it’s usually worth it to see how the hero manages to get past it. This time, Barry uses his considerable intelligence to work around his problem, and it’s such a relief to see a focus on that aspect of his character after so long. This time the first person narrative works for the story as Barry, as he makes stupid jokes and comments about being out of shape while he works to save everyone. It’s a small detail, but it helps us empathize with Barry as he makes very human observations. After being absent for so long, it seems Barry’s character is finally solidifying and becoming a worthwhile passage in to his exciting world.
After the action stops, the Flash #3 doesn’t let up. We finally experience a pretty significant amount of scenes with something we have been led to expect from Barry and his team (Caitlin and Cisco) working together. They gather information using they’re intellect and resources, all the while playing off each other in an entertaining ways. There’s even a scene involving Barry doing an investigation as a CSI, that showcases his incredible command of obscure knowledge and intelligence. It’s yet another strong part of his character’s personality that works better in action rather than insinuation, giving us more of a reason to be wowed by it.
To match up with the big step up the storytelling makes, Phil Hester puts forth a solid effort this time around. He increases the amount of detail in virtually everything from the environments and characters to little things like facial expressions and even showcasing the effects from Barry’s abilities. The colors jump out, drawing your attention at every panel and the camera angles are drawn with diversity and intensity. It’s still typical Hester style with rough jagged lines, that still don’t look enough like the show’s counterparts, but the art has definitely raised in quality, with dynamic poses that play more loosely with perspectives and dimensions with positive results that help bolster the narrative.
The Flash Season Zero #3 is it! It nails the formula that the show will need to succeed (on the level Arrow has), and pulls the best work out of everyone involved to make the highest point of the Season Zero series thus far. Volume #1 and #2 didn’t set a high bar for #3 to get over, but that doesn’t in any way diminish how much #3 accomplishes. It exceeds expectations so completely, blowing away it’s predecessors in both visual and narrative quality. It’s an awesome story, worthy of The Flash; and if it’s any indication of the work that Andrew Kreisberg and his team are putting in to the show, a promising step toward bringing the Scarlet Speedster to life in a live-action setting. It’s a must read that’s sure to get you amped for the series premiere, and even makes the struggle through #1 and #2 seem worth it.