Yesterday I put together what I thought were some good trades for Arrow fans to read this summer while the wait for the show to return in September. So today I thought I’d work up a similar list for fans of The Flash. The problem is that while the character has been around for a long time and there are a lot of good stories, there are only a few character defining ones similar to books like Longbow Hunters. But I’ve pulled together five that I think would be good. I’m sure there will be other options added in the comments below.
Flashpoint was just that, the moment that changed things in the DC Universe that lead to the New 52 and now Rebrith. So from that point of view, it’s a good story to read. Also, the season finale of The Flash sets up this story to be the focus of season three. So it’s a good story to read for that as well.
All of that aside, it’s a good story on its own focusing on what a de-powered Barry Allen with memories of a very different world. It shows what Barry is willing to do to set things right and how simple little changes could have drastic consequences.
Barry Allen died during Crisis on Infinite Earths and it was one of the most shocking deaths in comics. DC filled the roll with Wally West for years, but fans clamored for the return of Barry. They got that return from Johns and Van Sciver with Rebirth. Though it’s dealing with a lot of comic history, it’s still accessible to new readers and gives us a good connection to Barry, his origin, how the speed force works and that background on Professor Zoom.
This was a major influence on the television series and firmly establishes The Flash’s unique place in the DC Universe.
This was early on in Johns’ run on the Flash with Wally West as the hero. This trade includes the one-shot Iron Heights, the first collaboration between Johns and Van Sciver who would go on to team on Flash: Rebirth, Green Lantern: Rebirth and revitalize the entire Lantern Corps mythos. Iron Heights brought a horror touch to the series as a serial killer is loose in Iron Heights. And we get introduced to new villains Blacksmith, Double Down, Girder and Meltdown.
Though most of Johns run on The Flash is strong, here he seems to have hit his stride and is comfortable with the character and isn’t distracted by crossovers and events that would plague the later parts of his run.
What is The Flash without the Rogues? Both in the comics and the TV series, the color villains that return to harass the Scarlet Speedster are part of what makes the character great. The collection features classic stories from the sixties featuring Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Gorilla Grodd, the Weather Wizard, Captain Boomerang and Heat Wave.
This is a fun read and gives background into some of The Flash’s most popular opponents. Plus it seemed like there needed to be some Infantino art on this list.
This is the first trade from the New 52 Flash series and is probably the closest the comics have to what we see on Tuesday nights. Also, Manapul’s art is gorgeous. The storyline pits Barry against a new villain named Mob Rule. And as fast as Barry is, the story is about him getting faster in a new way, his thoughts.
The other thing the new series does it puts the fun back in. After Rebirth, Barry was a little more introspective and dour. Where some of the New 52 titles flopped, The Flash brought back the fun and excitement that had been missing. Barry Allen is the heart of the DC Universe and we get to see that again here.