So far, as with any event of this sort, DC’s “zero issues” are hit and miss. Most of them are ‘before New 52’ stories and give us new retellings of some of the DC heroes and highlight the changes to the universe. This issue of ‘The Flash’ pretty much the same thing. It tells how Barry became the Flash and a little about his backstory and his life before the event.
The story opens five years ago on Barry as he visits his father in prison. His father is doing time for the murder of Barry’s mother and, since Barry thinks his father is innocent, he’s been trying to solve the case ever since. On the very next page, we get a splash of the Flash’s origin. Barry’s in his forensics lab when lightning hits. The combination of the lab’s chemicals with the electricity is what will give Barry his super speed. But for now, it lays Barry up in a hospital bed. He’s in a coma with burns over his entire body.
In a nice narrative turn, the coma is used to have Barry flashback over the events of his life leading up to that fateful accident in the lab. We see his family life before his mother was murdered, the murder itself, and the aftermath where Barry is adopted by one of the attending police officers.
After the flashbacks, we get a few pages of Barry’s realization that he has powers, the creation of his suit (although it’s not very detailed), and his first outing as the Flash. Then we see that, even though his father has given up, the truth behind his mother’s murder is what drives the Flash to keep moving forward.
Some origins in the New 52 have been completely turned on their heads. Batman’s parents were now murdered by the Court of Owls instead of a random crook, The Phantom Stranger isn’t a stranger any more, and Shazam! isn’t the same goody-goody as he has been in the past. On the flip side, the Flash’s new origin is pretty much the same as it was before the reboot. In ‘Flash: Rebirth’, Geoff Johns introduced the murder of Barry’s mom. Later, it was revealed that Professor Zoom was the cause of the murder. Whether that will be the case in the new universe remains to be seen.
Even though there’s nothing really new storywise in this issue, Francis Manapul continues to deliver intense story with some beautiful artwork. So, while it’s been told before, this is a beautiful take on the Flash’s origin story.
THE FLASH #0
Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art and Cover by Francis Manapul