Word balloons: Early days of The Flash explored in 'Year One' storyline
He’s the fastest man alive — but how did he get that way?
DC Comics will explore the origins of Barry Allen, aka the Flash, in a new storyline that began this week.
“Flash: Year One” kicks off in “The Flash” #70, by writer Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter.
Allen is a forensic scientist as the story begins, but when he’s struck by lightning and doused in chemicals, he gains the ability of superspeed. This origin has been basically the same from the original “Showcase” #4 comic book that began the Silver Age of comics in 1956.
In 1956, artist Carmine Infantino designed the sleek red-and-yellow costume of the Silver Age Flash for a story written by Robert Kanigher. (The first Flash, Jay Garrick, had been created in the 1940s.) The creation and success of Allen sparked the Silver Age of American comics. Without the visually striking, modern Flash bringing superhero sales from the brink for DC Comics, it’s unlikely Stan Lee and Marvel Comics would have ever had the chance to thrive starting in the 1960s.
The Flash’s origin has been tweaked slightly both in the comics, in 2009’s “Flash: Rebirth,” and in two television series starring the character. But while the basics remain, the early days of Allen haven’t been extensively explored in modern comics.
In “Year One,” Williamson said he’s planning on taking a deeper look at the character’s early days. In an interview with Den of Geek, Williamson said he looked at the classic “Showcase” #4 for inspiration.
"Of course we looked at Showcase #4 a lot, but there's actually a second story in that one that no one ever remembers that was really interesting to me," Williamson told the site, referring to “The Man Who Broke The Time Barrier," in which Allen tracks a criminal to the 50th century.