The Flash #74 Prepares Barry Allen For The Fight Of His Life

by Tony Thornley

Barry Allen has always been known for doing the right thing. Though it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about him as a character, it’s one of the core tenants of his character. So The Flash #74 puts Barry in a difficult position- what if the right thing to do could cost him everything?

Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi Color, and Steve Wands give us the penultimate chapter in Barry’s origin in this issue!

The future Turtle has arrived in Central City, following Barry from his trip several issues ago. He has one goal- to subjugate this era just like he has the future. This leaves the Flash with the toughest decision of his life. Does he face the Turtle and risk everything or allow his future self to try to save the day without his help?

This is primarily a set up issue, with most of the issue putting the pieces in place for the last issue of the storyline in two weeks. However, Williamson makes a point to give us moments worth admission, such as the heart to heart between the two different versions of Barry, and Iris springing into action. He also sets up the reveal of Barry’s first moment in costume perfectly, a fantastic tandem moment with Porter.

Porter is the star of this issue though. He gives us more career best work, with some amazing splashes and stunning sequential work. One highlight is a variation of the tiny panel layout he’s used throughout this story. In every other issue, it’s been to show Barry growing as time passes. Here though, it’s simply a sequence of Barry deep in thought, with a sequence of increasingly smaller but identical panels. The narration trails off halfway through the page (which Wands does perfectly with his lettering), but even in silence it tells us all about what’s going through Barry’s head.

He also does a fantastic job at showing the Turtle as a genuine threat. The character’s design is inherently goofy, and Porter acknowledges that, but then pushes it to an extreme that makes him threatening. We also see the effect he has on everyone around him, which makes him even more frightening. This is especially true of the future Flash who has a look of defeat and fear on his face the entire issue.

The Flash’s toughest fight lays ahead of him now, and it’s going to be a great read.

The Flash #74 is available now from DC Comics.

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