With the television series debut less than a week away, DC Comics brings readers the first print edition of the digital-first adventures of the Flash in “The Flash: Season Zero” #1. With a cover bearing the brand “From the world of the CW TV show,” this comic book provides a spoiler-free sampling of what readers should expect, but with a few extras.
Free of the budget constraints of any television show or movie, writers Andrew Kreisberg, Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak are able to provide artist Phil Hester with an energetic tale that takes a quick look at the Flash, his cast and the troubles lurking in Central City as Barry Allen tries to use his powers to do the most good. Kreisberg is the showrunner for the television series and is credited with the story while television series writers Eikmeier and Walczak are credited with the script. Knowing this will be some fans’ first foray into the CW version of the DC Universe, the writers present a condensed, but detailed summary of Barry Allen’s origin story. Beyond that, some characters are afforded more of an introduction and deeper development than others in this first issue, but almost all of the “key” players are at least introduced. Through the course of this first issue, readers meet Barry, Iris West, Eddie Thawne (Iris’ boyfriend, adding in the requisite CW love triangle/turmoil), Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow, Harrison Wells and a pair of devious foes.
Rather than burst onto the scene with established villains, Kreisberg, Eikmeier and Walczak opt for the borderline cliche of the circus of crime: first presenting Flash with a strongman to battle, then unleashing a snakecharmer, whose abilities extend beyond simply charming snakes as she makes her presence known at the Central City Zoo. The issue doesn’t wrap up this tale, but instead leaves readers with a cliffhanger that can be followed in the next print edition or digital release.
Hester’s characters don’t bear painstaking likenesses to the actors from the show, but there are enough distinguishing features for each to help the reader track Barry Allen to Grant Gustin and Iris West to Candice Patton. Hester excels at storytelling, making the transition panels flow nicely while providing all of the characters with illustrative facial expressions. The foes present a nice match to Hester’s style and Eric Gapstur’s inks feel like a natural extension of Hester’s linework. Kelsey Shannon works in and around Hester’s drawings to provide splinters of lightning to indicate Flash’s speed being employed while also providing a strikingly bold palette to the entire tale as Deron Bennett contributes made to order lettering that is perfect for a story treading the universes of print and television.
A fun interstitial that allows for deeper, more expansive effects and more bizarre concepts, “The Flash: Season Zero” #1 is a solid read that introduces the reader to the world of the Flash in a quick (no pun intended) manner. As comic book fans and Flash fans ratchet up their anticipation of the new television series, this comic book series is there to serve as a guide and supplement, giving readers a chance to explore Central City while they wait for new television series episodes.