Note: Originally published at InfiniteComix.com
Warning: This review contains spoilers
Convergence: The Flash #1 is a disappointment for those that have read a few of the event’s tie-in books. Readers see Barry Allen stuck under one of Telos’ domes for a year, only to have the dome fall and his powers restored, pretty much like every other Convergence tie-in. With that said, writer Dan Abnett accomplishes something fairly remarkable in giving this version of Barry Allen something he sorely lacked prior to his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths: a personality. Not only does he have a personality, but it is one that rings true with where that character was back in the 1980s.
Abnett does a solid job in informing the reader of who Barry Allen is without bogging down the story with heavy exposition. In the space of a few internal monologue boxes, readers have an idea that this Barry Allen is a bit different from the one zipping around Tuesday nights on the CW. His parents are (presumably) alive and well. He’s a seasoned superhero veteran. Lastly, he’s been living in the distant future with his wife (Iris West Allen) after an exhausting trial for the murder of Eobard Thawne. That Abnett keeps this information concise allows it to be naturally integrated into the story, rather than forced.
Despite his best efforts, life under the dome has does not suit Barry. Not only is he cut off from the Speed Force, but he has been cut off from Iris. To put it in perspective, Barry and Iris were soul mates – their love for each other knew no bounds. So his attitude for most of the issue is well justified. Moreover, he continues to hold out hope that they’ll be reunited one day. It’s a beautiful sentiment that reinforces a trait central to Barry Allen: hope.
The hope that Barry holds has its payoff in the issue’s closing pages. As the dome falls, Barry reconnects to the Speed Force. Even though he’s been powerless, he still carries his costume ring around (evidently because there’s a limited amount of pages for storytelling). He whips it out and BAM! he’s the Flash once more. The presentation of this moment saps much of gloom from the issue and replaces it with fist-pumping excitement. Attributing to this is the wonderful work of artist Federico Dallocchio and colorist Veronica Gandini. Their work gives the issue a very clean, detailed aesthetic that combines the sensibilities of classic comic art with those of today.
Despite the overall enjoyment of classic Barry’s return, Convergence: The Flash #1 is not without its drawbacks. Yes, readers get to see Telos declare the domes are down and the cities must fight. Pretty much every single one of these Convergence tie-ins has had the natural flow of the story interrupted with the same plot element. Most readers are likely skipping over those dialogue boxes at this point, even if the writers try to play around with Telos’ script. As enjoyable as Dallocchio’s art was, his portrayal of Barry Allen made the character appear much younger than he should be. Perhaps the most egregious fault of this issue is the mention of the term “Speed Force.” Though it is part of the general comics nomenclature, the concept didn’t even appear until Mark Waid took hold of the title in the 1990s. Barry Allen did not even learn about the Speed Force until he returned from the dead in the late 2000s, so the concept would be completely unknown to this incarnation of the character.
Despite its flaws and formulaic structure, Convergence: The Flash #1 is a solid examination of who Barry Allen is. For those that are relatively new readers, it should serve as an eye-opener to see how different, and yet how similar, this character is to the one running around the modern DC Universe. With the domes down, it should be interesting to see what becomes of the Fastest Man Alive.