Title: The Flash: 80 Years of the Fastest Man Alive.
Editor(s): Sheldon Mayer, Maxwell Gaines, Julius Schwartz, Ross Andru, Len Wein, Brian Augustyn, Paul Kupperberg, Joey Vacalieri, Matt Idelson, Alex Antone & Jamie S. Rich.
Creator(s): Gardner Fox.
Writer(s): So many!
Illustrator(s): So many!
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: November 12th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
When thinking of a superhero, we often quickly have Superman springing into our imagination as his abilities cover everything essential to superheroism. Whether it’s his bullet-proof physique or his ability to fly, it’s hard to compete with the Man of Steel. However, while Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman remained the trinity of perfection and helped the comic book industry strive and know success in their early days, comics weren’t really focused on superheroes as all kinds of other genres (from mystery to humour) were explored through the graphic-literature medium. It’s with the arrival of a hero who could outrun a bullet and zip through life faster than lightning that a plethora of heroes, notably B-class heroes, saw themselves gain a significant amount of attention with their own stories. Unavoidably, The Flash became one of the most popular superheroes in popular culture as he continues to dazzle his fanbase to this day.
What is The Flash: 80 Years of the Fastest Man Alive about? Collecting various different stories marking The Flash’s saga, this beautiful hardcover deluxe edition features classic stories from the 1940s and onward where fans get to rediscover the men behind the costume throughout time and space. From origin stories for Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West to their first encounter with iconic villains from their quirky rogues gallery, such as Gorilla Grodd and Captain Cold, this anthology gives fans the opportunity to understand what these scarlet speedsters are capable of and how they cleverly outwit their enemies by thinking fast on their feet. This collection also features some short commentaries by former Flash writers, artists, as well as editors to contextualize the birth of these heroes in the comic book industry.
DC Comics continues to celebrate more of its iconic heroes and overall success in the comic book business with The Flash knowing his 80th anniversary this year, while Superman and Batman saw theirs arrive a little while back. This fantastic collection presents us with an excellent chronological evolution of the character through every era so far. Although I have always found that the hero’s rogue gallery is a bit too wacky or simple, they still manage to push The Flash to overcome his limits and further understand his powers as he continues to save the people he loves and his city from danger. What makes this hero so interesting is also the fact that multiple characters are known as The Flash, with various different costume designs, that have quickly grown on their fanbase. To make things even better, these different heroes actually end up interacting with one another, leading us to also open up the way to the multiverse that is now so crucial to the DC universe.
From John Wesley Shipp in the 1990s live-action TV series, Grant Gustin in the 2014 live-action TV series to Ezra Miller in the Worlds of DC movie universe, Barry Allen has become a stellar icon for superhero fans around the world. His popularity grows with every year and his stories always cover a wide array of themes that are usually jovial while occasionally venturing in the dramatic, with lessons in love and death. The artwork in this volume is also a testament to the beautiful transformation of his visual style, perfectly corresponding with the era in which they are drawn. From trivial character designs, accompanied with very little nuances in colours—since papers privileged primary colours—to much more clearly-defined artwork with an attention to details, especially in regards to facial expressions and character movements, it is a wonder to see what the hero has become under different writers (such as Gardner Fox, Grant Morrison or Mark Waid) and different artists (such as Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino or Francis Manapul) throughout time.
The Flash: 80 Years of the Fastest Man Alive is a striking and sturdy commemorative collection of stories featuring the scarlet speedsters’ most iconic moments in their dazzling saga.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!