Monday, September 25, 2023

The Flash #1 Review



Written by: Si Spurrier
Art by: Mike Deodato Jr.
Colors by: Trish Mulvihill
Letters by: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover art by: Mike Deodato Jr., Trish Mulvihill
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: September 26, 2023

The Flash #1 enters a new era of dark, surreal mystery when Wally West and his fellow speedsters notice something's off about the Speed Force, Mr. Terrific is given bad news about the end of reality, and the West marriage may be headed for tough times.
Is The Flash #1 Good?

Honestly, I don't know what to feel about The Flash #1. It's such a jarring, dark, moody departure from Jeremy Adams's wholesome, family-oriented spirit of adventure that it's like switching TV channels from a Little House On the Prairie episode to a bleak documentary. Regardless of the story itself, Spurrier put absolutely no effort into transitioning Flash fans from one story to the next.

Spurrier's script centers on Wally West and the West family going about their daily lives. Wally pulls quadruple duty as a father, husband, support engineer at Mr. Terrific's research lab, and the Fastest Man Alive. The kids, including newborn Wade, are busy being speedster scamps, and Linda... is not okay.


Flash notices something is off with the Speed Force as he encounters Grodd and his ape soldiers periodically raiding the city to take calculations and send random citizens into the stratosphere in stasis bubbles. For some inexplicable reason, Grodd believes Linda and Wally have broken up. A new speedster nicknamed the Indigo Streak clumsily pops in to help Falsh against Grodd. A mysterious figure secretly consults with Mr. Terrific to explain all the speedsters on Earth must die to save reality.

And then things get weird.

"Jarring" isn't a strong enough word to describe the transition from the previous creative team to this one. Everything about this issue feels heavy, ponderous, and overburdened. From the overblown pompous language (" tectonic plates under an ocean of honey...") to the overall feeling of misery and despair, i.e. Linda West's deteriorating emotional connection to her husband, a comic that should take twenty minutes to read feels like it goes on forever.

What's great about The Flash #1? Whether or not Si Spurrier can pay off the attempt remains to be seen, but we're in for a deeper explanation of the Speed Force. You could make the case the Speed Force doesn't need explaining because the mystery is part of the charm, but for readers who want to know, this might be the one. And to be fair to Spurrier, he puts a lot of meat on this bone with oodles of plot threads, developments, and hints of things to come.

What's not so great about The Flash #1? Besides the jarring transition between creative teams, the story already feels messy and complicated. Many of the issues the West family is experiencing are sourced from their unwillingness to communicate. If Wally senses something's off about his powers, why won't he speak up? If Linda is experiencing a form of post-partum depression, why won't she say anything? If reality is about to end, why won't Mr. Terrific let Wally in on the problem? Why is a shirtless Jai crying alone in his school's boiler room (yeah, that one's weird)? Why are dozens of civilians shooting up into space in a stasis bubble created by Grodd and his apes, but nobody seems overly concerned, and nobody is asking for help from just about anybody (Superman? Green Lantern?)?

Everyone feels closed off, isolated, and in various states of depression. At the risk of sounding redundant, Spurrier's run feels like a bummer compared to Adams.

How's the art? Also, not helping. Deodato Jr. has a fan base rightfully, but his style adds to the dark, heavy, ponderous atmosphere with stark, excessive shadows made starker by Trish Mulvihill's overly bright colors. The daylight scenes shouldn't feel like characters acting out their parts under an interrogation lamp.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

The Flash #1 begins a new era for the West family when the Speed Force gets wonky, new threats appear, and Mr. Terrific is let in on a reality-ending problem. Fans of Jeremy Adams's time on the title will get whiplash with the jarring shift in tone and attitude. Spurrier's foray into cosmic horror leads to more confusing questions than intrigue. The art team's stark, oppressive art makes this first issue in a new era a ponderous, joyless read.



  1. Spurrier isn't imitating anyone. He's written things in that style long before Ram V or Tom King became comic writers (btw I don't know in which world getting compared to those two would be peyorative).
    Anyway it seems that your main problem with the comic is the abrupt tonal change from the previous run. I don't see that as a fault of the story. Who cares nowadays if the runs right before New X-Men, Immortal Hulk or Batman Year One were tonaly different?

    1. I plan to the read the book now, but I understand that it is a new volume and a new issue 1. If we don't even allow a story that starts with a new volume to have its own personality because of a previous thing... And btw as a big Morrison reader I can say that Spurrier is nothing like him. His style is much closer to Warren Ellis, but with a Delano/Moore influence (talking about style, not saying he is up with those yet, but he always makes for an interesting read). Your "poor sales" point just sounds like one of those "culture wars" arguments from twitter: next we're gonna start saying that manga is miles better than comics and start labeling writers that do interesting stuff as "hacks". No thanks.