DC Comic Presents: The Flash #1 Review

Reviewer: Mathan “Enough Deadshot Already” Erhardt
Story Title: The Fastest Man—Dead

Written by: Jeph Loeb
Penciled by: Ed McGuinness
Inked by: Dexter Vines
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Richard Starkings
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Inspiration: Julius Schwartz

Story Title: Flash Back!

Written by: Dennis O’Neil
Penciled by: Doug Mahnke
Inked by: Mark Farmer
Lettered by: Jared K Fletcher
Colored by: David Baron
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics

Julie Schwartz, a visionary in the comic field, passed away earlier this year. DC Comics has decided to pay tribute to Schwartz, a man who helped herald the Silver Age, by honoring one of his innovations; the cover driven story. Schwartz would dream up covers, then assign a writer to come up with a story that supported the cover. So now DC has selected eight classic covers from Schwartz’s tenure, commissioned them to be recreated by modern cover artists, and also commissioned some of the industry’s brightest creators to come up with the stories behind the covers.

This issue’s cover is a recreation of Flash #163, which features the image of The Flash with is hand raised, halting and warning the reader; “Stop! Don’t pass up this issue! My life depends on it!”

The first story features Barry Allen testifying in a case. Being the star witness, he’s targeted for execution, by Deadshot. Barry fakes his getting wounded, but worries that Deadshot will continue to hound him until he’s really dead. This he needs to find evidence to put Deadshot away, and he finds it in the unlikeliest of places.

The second story features Barry paying a visit to Julie Schwartz’s office at the same time as another dimensional cop arrives. The cop shoots Julie, but Barry takes the shot from the foreign weapon. The bad news is that Barry will die in 15 minutes. The good news is that there is a way to save him; if 168 people realize the danger he’s in, it will be negated, but they have to find out in two languages simultaneously. Fortunately Julie has a plan, and it involves the Cosmic Treadmill! The plan works and all is well in the world.

Both stories are great. Loeb does a really good job of showing how Barry’s life is in danger, and how the comic saves it. He also nails Barry’s “voice.” O’Neil’s story is very sci-fi and thus very Julie. It’s a fun throwback to the Sliver Age, full of clever twists.

McGuinness’s art is splendid. He had me wishing he was on the Flash title. The first story is so cool looking. It’s clean and neat. It’s crisp and an example of how everyone imagines comics look. With the second story Mahnke and company do a great job of adding fantastic elements to everyday settings. It’s also pretty fun to see a young Julie.

Alan Moore’s obituary is perfect. He really captures the spirit of a fan and coworker. It’s some pretty touching stuff.