Review by Ian Keogh
DC’s version of the TV Flash first appeared as a digital comic, and is an interesting variation on the show as there’s an editorial decision from TV writer Andrew Kreisberg to feature more obviously costumed criminals. These are characters that at the time hadn’t been featured on TV.
In continuity terms, Season Zero occurs roughly halfway through Flash’s first TV season. He’s already pretty confident when it comes to using his powers, and he’s met Felicity Smoak. Kreisberg provides the plot and general direction while leaving the dialogue to first Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak, then Kai Wu and Lauren Certo, while there’s also input from Marc Guggenheim, who has previous experience with comics. The writers effortlessly capture the light feel of the TV show over several separate stories, united by a derivative nature. A Circus of Crime may be a new idea to those drawn toward this graphic novel by the TV show, but it’s hopelessly old hat for comic readers. The powers may have been slightly altered, but the concept dates back to the earliest Hulk comics from 1962 and hasn’t exactly been underused since. Likewise, the idea of a human shark hybrid is hardly original.
Primary artist Phil Hester doesn’t bother with exact cast likeness (or they’re contractually off limits to him), but he knows how to lay out a superhero story for maximum impact. His chunky cartooning makes for great action sequences, and when Marcus To substitutes for a couple of episodes he maintains the high standard. A pair of episodes by Ibrahim Moustafa conclude the book, and he does focus more on cast likenesses, with a more realistic style, or as realistic as you can be with a story about giant mutant spiders in the sewers.
The quality finally picks up around the halfway point, when some guest stars make pivotal appearances and the foes become a little more original. Arrow and the TV version of the Suicide Squad show up, Hester provides a clever and moving script himself, and Ben Sokolowski’s story of the Flash trying to hit every danger zone he can also hits the spot. That’s followed by a look at the early days of the Captain Cold and Heatwave partnership, although via a method later altered in TV show continuity, before Sterling Gates introduces the giant spiders. His is among the best material, with a solid story about Caitlin’s student mentor.
There’s not a great deal of unpredictability about Season Zero, and regular comic readers might find some content too familiar. On the other hand, it provides an unchallenging few extra episodes for people who love the Flash TV show.