The Flash's Future Is Affecting Barry Allen's 'Year One' History

Story by
Art by
Howard Porter
Colors by
Cover by
DC Comics

Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter's retelling of Barry Allen's DC Rebirth origin as the Flash continues in the latest issue of the ongoing series. The second chapter of The Flash: Year One takes an unexpected turn, offering the fledgling Scarlet Speedster a terrifying vision of a possible future. The ramifications could potentially echo throughout the history of the character in an issue that proves that Williamson and Porter have an incredibly strong handle on the classic hero.

Picking up from the cliffhanger ending of the previous issue, Barry, still very much in the early days of his superhero career in Central City, finds himself trapped in a post-apocalyptic future and teamed up with a much older incarnation of himself. While running through this nightmarish vision of his hometown, the younger Flash learns about his heroic destiny while attempting to avoid temporal paradoxes and determine the true culprit behind the future destruction of Central City.

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Williamson has been writing Barry Allen since the start of the DC Rebirth era's launch over two years ago, and here continues to find interesting new depths for the character by focusing on Barry's nascent superhero career. With much of the issue containing two different versions of Barry, Williamson and Porter find a way to make both iterations of the character wholly recognizable as the Central City speedster while keeping them distinctly different from each other. Williamson has always had a laudably excellent grasp on Barry's voice and mental state, and the contrast between the two versions here further underscores this.

The idea of tying Barry's new origin story to a time-traveling, post-apocalyptic tale is an inspired one, and is perfectly in line with the character. There is no major DC Comics superhero (all due respect to Booster Gold and Rip Hunter) better tied to time travel than Barry Allen given his powers and background. This approach puts a fresh spin on the well-worn tropes of a superhero origin story while staying accessible to new readers and is virtually guaranteed to impact the series moving forward beyond the origin. It also ties into Barry's tragic past; just as the Reverse-Flash traveled back from the future to murder Barry's mother, this sojourn into the future by the newly empowered Flash will help shape the superhero's destiny by what he witnesses.

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Joining Williamson are illustrator Howard Porter and colorist Hi-Fi, rendering the new origin story, a paring that has have worked together for years. Just as Williamson captures the two Flashes distinct voices while keeping them instantly recognizable, Porter does the same artistically, the older, post-apocalyptic Barry still immediately recognizable as the Flash despite the added mileage and destroyed setting. Seeing the two Flashes in action against a familiar, futuristic tyrant powers the issue, both in terms of narrative pacing and bombastic superpowered derring-do.

Two issues in, and Williamson and Porter have staged their revised origin for Barry Allen's early days as the Flash with unexpected twists and turns while perfectly staying true to the character's core, subverting expectations present with traditional origin stories. And after witnessing a possible post-apocalyptic future tied to his upcoming superhero career, Barry will have serious questions about the implications of his destiny and new powers making this some of the most fun the creative team has brought to the series since last year's Flash War.

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