Comic Reviews: The Flash and Excellence!
The Flash #70 (DC Comics)
Nearly every DC character has had their own “Year One” story, except for the Flash. But all that is changing with Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s The Flash #70, which goes back in time to show some of Barry Allen’s earliest adventures after gaining his abilities. While it does retrace a few familiar beats of the Scarlet Speedster’s origins, Williamson uses this story to pepper in some new wrinkles that will play off of the current and future runs on the character.
Barry Allen is a young CSI with the Central City Police Department, and he’s still desperately trying to learn the true secret behind his mother’s death. But after being hit by lightning and chemicals in his lab one night, he gains the ability to travel great distances in a short period of time. As he tests out his new powers, he learns that he can travel extremely fast by foot, and on his first time out cutting loose, Allen finds himself in the far future, face to face with his future self!
In a lot of ways, it seems like Joshua Williamson is borrowing a page from Geoff John’s plyabook with this story. Johns made a name for himself by reworking the origins of many DC heroes so they had connections with the stories that he was telling in the “modern day”, and that comes into effect here with Williamson’s script. Make no mistake though, it’s not a dig on Williamson that he’s borrowing a trick from Geoff Johns. In fact, I think it adds to the script, providing him with a solid blueprint to work from. At no point does this retelling of the Flash’s origin feel boring or “old hat”, and Williamson injects a lot of interesting moments for the character.
Howard Porter has a long history with DC Comics and Williamson’s run on The Flash, and to be honest, I couldn’t imagine another artist taking this story and making it look as good as Porter does. Porter’s style has a timelessness to it, which is probably the intent of the editors to make sure this story seems as evergreen as can be. Porter fills this issue with some fantastic panels, the highlight being the Flash testing out his speed and burning through shoes as he does it (literally).
At first glance, you might see the “Year One” title and wonder why we need yet another retelling of The Flash’s origins, but once you finish this first issue you can totally see why Williamson has decided to let this story unfold the way it does. Not only that, but the end page teases a pretty interesting story to come. Whether or not this storyline will stand on its own like other “Year One” stories in DC’s stable remains to be seen, but so far, it looks like Williamson and Porter have what it takes.
Excellence #1 (Image Comics)
A cool mix of Harry Potter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Excellence is a new science fiction fantasy series from Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph that, after a lengthly set up, essentially asks the age old question “what would you do with magical abilities”?
Now before you go complaining about yet another Image Sci-Fi series, Excellence actually has way more in common with franchises like Harry Potter than any hard science that the publishers routinely crank out. Thomas has created a series of interesting characters and ideas that I’m eager to see play out in the future issues.
Khary Randolph should absolutely be a bigger deal than he is currently is. Even more so than Thomas, Randolph gives the world of Excellence a real “lived in” feeling, with slightly the same features as our own, but with a magical secret world that keeps that keeps tabs on the humans of the world. Randolph’s art style for this series is pretty damn perfect, and his character designs are varied and extremely well done. I fully expect this series to elevate Randolph’s place in comics.
While some people may be hesitant to try out ANOTHER Image sci-fi series, Excellence is a really solid comic that’s worth the price of admission if you bank account can handle it. There’s some truly unique stuff that happens in this series, so the best way to see this is to check it out at you shop and see for yourself.
Posted on May 8, 2019, in Comic reviews and tagged Brandon Thomas, DC Comics, Excellence, Howard Porter, Image Comics, Joshua Williamson, Khary Randolph, The Flash. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.