What better way to start my comic review stream than with what I think will become a great title, Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1!!!
The Flash mythos, as far as I understand it, is that when the second Flash, Barry Allen, sacrificed himself in Crisis on Infinite Earths he became what would be known as the Speed Force. Those with Flash like powers, eg Bart Allen, Wally West, Jay Garrick, can tap into the Speed Force to gain unbelievable speed and power.
In Flash: Fastest Man Alive #1, we jump into One Year Later, and things have changed in Keystone City. The only Flash left is Jay Garrick, and as we found out in Infinite Crisis #6, the Speed Force is no more and Wally West is missing. Star Labs' scientist Velerie Perez is attempting to find out what happened to the Speed Force and why Bart Allen is several years older (he was sixteen and is now twenty) and powerless.
In the first few pages we see a military transport terrorized and plundered for weapons despite the efforts of Jay Garrick, who we find out isn't nearly as fast as he was when he could tap the Speed Force.
Meanwhile we find that Bart Allen doesn't exactly seem to be missing his powers, in fact he has moved on, and is living with a roomie by the name of Griffin, a rather disrespectful upstart who thinks he is the be all and end all of all things, and a bad influence on Bart who may be twenty but is still intellectually and emotionally sixteen. Also he is working at a high tech automobile factory of some kind, where outside older workers protesting because they have been let go to usher in Bart and Griffin's young blood. When Valerie Perez approaches him, he is completely uninterested in finding out what happened to the Speed Force. Later, as Bart is working at the factory, one of the disgruntled protesters was the thief who stole the military convoy's payload of explosives, plants a bomb that causes Griffin to become trapped under several pieces of debris as unknown chemicals and also dripping onto him. Quickly we see that Bart can tap the Speed Force!!! Although it almost kills him when he does, he is trying to gain control over it, "own the Speed Force" as he puts it. The issue finishes with Jay Garrick running up to help, surprised by Bart Allen using the Speed Force, says they have to talk afterwards. The last line is Bart Allen's thought, "I'm not going to let it kill me."
Interlaced between the Bart Allen story is a beautiful sort of history of Barry Allen and the other Flashes and what happened before Crisis. One of the things I love about this issue is that it has a real science fiction feal to it. Keystone City is fictional and fantastic, Gotham has come to look like a dumpy part of New York, and Metropolis depends on the artist, but has often had either a New York feel or a look that would not be practical for any city, like highways stacked on highways all going nowhere. Keystone is gorgeous, and really puts the character in his own world, like Coast City is beautiful for Green Lantern. I think this is a amazing first issue that will hopefully lead into a fast paced action title! 8 out of 10!!