The Flash #73 // Review
The Flash #73 continues the uneven, but fun, Year One story arc, written by Joshua Williamson, with art by Howard Porter, and colors by Hi-Fi. Previously, Barry Allen was struck by lightning, granting him superspeed, and glimpsed a future, in which a villain named The Turtle had brought Central City to a standstill. Back in the present, he confronted the younger Turtle and managed to put a stop to his crime spree. Afterward, while investigating another crime, there's a run-in with Clive Yorkin, who began firing a gun into a crowd of people after being questioned by Iris West (Barry's girlfriend) mid-criminal act. Barry did his best to use his speed to catch all of the bullets, but upon arriving back at his apartment, he realized he had been shot in the chest. Now, the Flash is bleeding out, and he's not sure he will be able to save himself.
As Year One stories go, this one doesn't seem completely necessary, but Williamson is doing his best to make it worth the readers' while. Delivering first looks at Barry Allen discovering his powers, and having difficulties mastering them, is something the readers haven't seen much of before in the comics. Seeing the Flash struggle with catching bullets, or learning to vibrate through solid objects without making them explode is a joy for new and old readers alike. But, it's also something we've seen as recently as the opening year of The Flash television series, so why go back to the well so soon?
Something readers haven't seen before, is Williamson's fresh take on the Turtle, long time opposite number to the Flash. With such a dangerous power as being able to steal momentum from people and objects, it seems only natural that this character should be one of Barry Allen's top villains. Unfortunately, it never worked out that way. At best, he has had a couple of good stories devoted to him over the years, but for the most part, he has been the punchline of many jokes. Williamson has set out to change all of that. Right away, Barry discovers that the Turtle will potentially take over Central City with his motion-stealing powers in the future. Not only that, but in the present, he is presented as cool, calm, and calculating, willing to go "slow and steady" until he comes out on top. Even behind bars, he manages to shake the Flash's confidence. Add to that Williamson's bone-chilling new origin for the Turtle, and you have the makings of a classic rogue who never was.
Porter returns to deliver his usual fantastic work on this title, proving that this is the book he was born to draw. His revolutionary design on the Turtle breathes new life, and a rejuvenated sense of creepiness into the character, and his kinetic pencil work, combined with the stellar colors of Hi-Fi, make for a slick look that is needed in a book that is all about bright colors and motion.
Overall, you might start off asking yourself if this title needed to devote a whole story arc to re-telling the origin of the Flash, but by the end of the issue, you will be asking why nobody ever dug this deep into the Turtle. Williamson may not be giving the readers the story they asked for, but he is delivering a story nobody knew they wanted.