In Review: Convergence Flash #1

A powerless hero at a crossroads makes for excellent reading.

The covers: Trapped under the dome, the Flash races around the city, steadily making an incline to reach the top of the structure that is holding him and his city captive. This is a great classic looking Flash illustration by Michael and Laura Allred. Barry’s got streaks of energy coming off of him, but it’s done as it used to be and not the over-the-top lightning shooting out of him. I like the current incarnation of the Flash, but I grew up with him looking like this, and I’m glad the Allreds made him look this way. The Variant cover is a super close-up of the Flash by Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin. The Scarlet Speedster is slowly disappearing into the pink abyss, and I just cannot get enough of these Convergence covers designed by Chip Kidd. Overall grades: Main A and Variant A+

The story: All of the Convergence comics have the same premise: certain cities have been placed under domes and transported to another world by Telos, Once under the dome all the metahumans lose their powers. After some pages of seeing heroes trying to live their lives for a year without their abilities, Telos lowers the domes and commands their champions to fight one another for their city’s survival. The title characters either begin to battle their opponents or are just introduced to them by the conclusion of the first half of these two-part storylines. It’s a simple premise, but the results have been very mixed. Dan Abnett is not a stranger to writing comics, so I was hopeful he could really do something terrific with the Flash, and he does. This is the Barry that escaped to the future to live his life with his wife Iris. He returned to earth for a charity event and has been stuck for a year in domed Gotham, working in the crime lab. Barry is trying to adjust, but he’s lost his wife and his powers. He’s lost his way. He’s trying to decide if he should hold on to his past, hoping it will return, or should he embrace this new existence and forget the super days gone by? It’s a very real story with some very real conflict. He’s at a crossroads, and even advice from a friend in Gotham isn’t helping. He makes a decision, and then the dome falls. This is an excellent exploration of a lost soul–albeit a super one, and it hits hard. After enduring the life of this Barry Allen, the dialogue in the second panel on 18 shot though me like a bolt of lightning. I ran with Barry Allen in this new life, and now I’m ready to follow his journey. Terrific read. Overall grade: A+

The art: The visuals by Federicio Dallocchio remind me of the work of Jackson Guice, who was the artist on The Flash when Wally West took up the mantle. I was hoping for more of a Carmine Infantino look, but what Dallocchio works. As Barry goes about his morning routine, Dallocchio masterfully captures the humdrum way of life for this former hero. Small details hint at the past, a treadmill and a ring (Oh, how I miss the ring!), and tennis shoes receive a lot of focus. His morning jog is painful to watch because I feel the regret in the images that are created. The coffee drinking scene is terrific. I love the tight close-up on Barry that wring every ounce of emotion out of his dialogue. Telos’s announcement across the mulit-cities looks the best of any Convergence book I’ve read. I loved the point of view of the double-paged spread on Pages 15 and 16, and putting that middle panel in the dead center to break up the perspective is a slick way to show readers how the common folk view what’s transpiring. Page 19 was an absolute joy and every time I look upon it, which has been several times to write this review, my heart leaps out of my chest. This art made me unbearably sad and happy. Dallocchio played me like a fiddle and I’ll glad pay for him to do it again, anytime. Overall grade: A

The colors: I’m so happy to have another bright super hero book to read. Barry’s life should be bright, even if he is going on a year of depression. The Flash has always been a book that has bright colors, be it the heroes or villains’ garb or their environments. This book by Veronica Gandini has both, but without going overboard. This book has believable colors. It looks like the real world. Beginning on Page 3 Barry goes about his day and everything he does has the bright colors of a morning. His job has the normal shades one would expect in a crime lab. However, when Telos gives his speech, the sky turns a vivid green, instantly creating an unreal environment for the characters. And when Page 18 occurs, the colors become so strong and beautiful it almost made me weep for joy. Gandini should be on a monthly series. Overall grade: A

The letters: A digital clock, sounds, dialogue, narration, story title and credits, signage, Telos talk, and a “To Be Continued” tag are all whipped up by Tom Napolitano. I really like seeing the narration of a character be a different font than their dialogue, and Napolitano thankfully does this. I also like that he’s allowed to have italicized words in his dialogue so that characters’ speech has particular emphasis in certain spots. Well done. Overall grade: A

The final line: A powerless hero at a crossroads makes for excellent reading. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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