The Flash is way faster than a speeding bullet, but running into a barrage of gunfire is a risky move, especially for a young superhero still learning the ropes. The current “Year One” storyline in The Flash looks back at the early days of Barry Allen’s superhero career, with writer Joshua Williamson, artist Howard Porter, colorist Hi-Fi, and letterer Steve Wands offering an updated take on Allen’s origin. “Year One” stories give creators the opportunity to go back to simpler times for their heroes, freed from the history accumulated over the years. But the nature of The Flash’s powers changes that “Year One” dynamic, and the time travelling ability granted by his super speed takes Barry into the future to discover a dystopian Central City ruled by The Turtle.
Williamson successfully looks back to enrich character relationships while moving the grand narrative of his entire run forward, and Porter’s already career-best artwork reaches even greater heights with the use of a 16-panel grid. This exclusive preview of this week’s The Flash #73 sees Barry dealing with his first life-threatening injury as a vigilante, pulling a bullet out of his chest before it hits his heart. Meanwhile, his maybe-girlfriend, Iris West, opens her heart to him in a very different way, sharing her feelings after surviving a near-death experience.
The stakes are high in these pages, which capture Barry’s rising anxiety as he tries to vibrate a bullet out of his body while listening to the woman he loves proclaim her affection. This excerpt highlights how well the creative team uses the grid, with Howard embracing the variety of panel configurations available while Hi-Fi changes color palettes to fit the shifting rhythms of the layouts. The panels become smaller in the lead-up to Barry and Iris’ embrace, creating a sense of confinement before the layout significantly expands, eliminating individual panel borders to make images bleed into each other. It’s an effective way to depict the feeling of release that comes when they finally connect, letting go of their troubles once they’re in each other’s arms.