Friday, May 1, 2020

The Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1 Review

Watching the Ships That Go Sailing

Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Clayton Henry, Marcelo Maiolo
Letters By: Rob Leigh

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Once again, we have come together to review one of DC’s digital-first issues and frankly, my expectations are a little high right now. The last one I read was very well done and had a lot of emotional impact in it. Now, perhaps I shouldn’t allow myself to expect so much as these issues don’t even have the same themes or the same creative teams. If anything, I should probably expect less but I digress. I hope all of our readers have been staying safe during this troubling time and I wish you the best going forward. For now, though, let’s jump into this new digital-first issue and see where it takes us.

Our issue begins with The Flash rushing through a cruise ship. He rushes past the patrons and eventually comes up to a door to the outside. It’s here that we discover that the ship is actually beginning to sink and we get a bird’s eye view from the rear of the ship and see a massive hole near water level. We cut to a week before the incident and Barry calls Iris West up to ask her to be his plus-one on a two-day cruise which has been gifted to the entirety of the Central City Police Department. So here we learn about a couple major differences in this timeline. First off, the book takes after the CW’s Flash television show and portrays Iris as an African American woman. The second change is that Barry Allen is a detective with the CCPD rather than a CSI. Regardless, Iris agrees to the date which of course leaves Barry elated. We cut forward in time to the cruise itself and we see our couple taking part in normal cruise activities before they eventually get all dressed up for the big dance. The two share a flirtatious conversation as they make their way to the main hall. From here we get a couple panels of the two interacting with other CCPD members before they hit the dance floor.

However, their dance doesn’t last long as the boat is rocked severely. King Shark busts through the wall of the hall and quickly informs the people there that he is, in fact, a shark, and this boat is now his. Barry takes advantage of everyone’s attention being away from him to sneak away and change into his costume. Iris, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to get the scoop and a couple of pictures to go along with it. This annoys King Shark (who once again, is a shark) and he attacks her. Flash comes to the rescue but quickly realizes that King Shark (the shark) is not so easily taken care of and he dives into the water once again. This is where we finally catch back up with where we started the issue. While he tries to think of what to do, Barry is suddenly pulled underwater by everyone’s favorite shark, King Shark! Meanwhile, the passengers begin boarding the lifeboats as Barry remembers going to see the movie Jaws with his father. This clearly gives Barry an idea and after kicking the shark in the face a few dozen times he escapes the water and gets in touch with the people on the boat to put his plan into action.

King Shark pulls himself back onto the boat, reminds everyone once again that he is a shark and not, in fact, a talking guy. He attempts to attack a passenger but Barry is able to pull them to safety before becoming the bait himself. After leading the shark into the main hall once again, the crew turns on all of the lights suddenly which temporarily blinds King Shark, as he is a shark and is therefore sensitive to bright lights. Barry takes the opportunity to wack King Shark with a pole a few thousand times before finally claiming victory. After Iris approaches them, we find out that King Shark attacked because the cruise ship would poison the waters by dumping its waste in international waters. We are once again reminded of how King Shark is… a shark! (Shocking, I know!) and Barry quickly uses his speed to patch up the hole in the hull before eventually getting back to his boat date with Iris. This is where the issue leaves us.

Well, I was right. My expectation was too high. But now that they are crushed let’s look at this book as objectively as we can. First off, (and I may be wrong about this) I don’t recall Simone ever writing for Flash prior to this issue and that really shows. His inner dialogue feels very off for some reason and I can only really attribute it to the fact that Simone hasn’t written this character before (if I am indeed correct about that). Simone is a great writer but this issue just doesn’t feel like a Flash comic. It feels like a classic superhero comic in which the hero just so happens to have the same powers as The Flash. In addition, the dialogue for King Shark is atrocious. We get that he’s a bit dumb but did we really need to have him remark about how he is a shark so often? It’s almost every other sentence that he says. In addition, I don’t feel as though the art in this book really fits the Flash very well and while it isn’t bad, I wouldn’t write home about it either. Overall, this isn’t a bad comic or anything, it just not a good one either.

Bits and Pieces

This digital-first issue starring The Flash doesn’t really feel like a Flash comic. To me, it feels more like a classic Superman comic than anything else. The inner dialogue for Barry feels almost completely different from what fans have been experiencing for a very long time in his regular series and the dialogue for King Shark is horribly repetitive. This is King Shark, not Soloman Grundy. Overall, you could get some enjoyment out of this short issue but there are plenty of better books out there. This issue isn’t really bad, but it isn’t really good either.


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