The Flash Annual #1 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Howard Porter, Christian Duce, Artists; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: 3 Flashes Together
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Joshua Williamson’s run on The Flash is quickly turning into one of those runs that embraces all eras of a character and pulls from deep cuts from other runs, and The Flash Annual #1, the lead-in to summer’s “Flash War” storyline, features some characters I never expected to see again – some minor, and one major villain that will have fans of Geoff Johns’ run extremely happy. Essentially two stories in one, The Flash Annual #1 starts with a framing sequence set in the future, as a group of 25th-century cops investigates the death of Eobard Thawne in the Flash Museum. They quickly identify the DNA of Iris West at the scene. In the present, all three Flashes – Barry, Wally, and Wally – are going up against the Top. Williamson has taken this generally B-list Flash foe and upgraded him, showing exactly how dangerous someone with the power to essentially create tornadoes would be to both the heroes and the surrounding civilians.
After defeating the villain, though, it’s clear that while the heroes found victory, things aren’t all sunny in the team. Wally (the elder) has been struggling ever since he came back, with his wife from the old timeline wanting nothing to do with him here and his team being recently shut down by the Justice League. Barry tries to get him to move on with his life, but when young Wally lets the events involving Iris and Thawne slip, Barry and time-displaced Wally wind up getting into a huge fight, setting up their future conflict. This sends Wally looking for some, any connection, which leads him to seek out and accidentally awaken Magneta. The former rogue – and former lover of Wally’s – is none too happy to have her memories back, but the confrontation winds up sending both of them on a better path. The real money scene of the issue is the last page, though, as the mysterious judge in the future is revealed – Hunter Zolomon, Wally West’s arch-nemesis from the Johns run. This issue is an effective setup for what looks like it could be one of Williamson’s defining Flash stories.
Corrina: It’s been far too long since there has been any movement in showing how the original Wally West is adjusting to being pulled from the timestream/speedforce into a world where no one remembers him except Barry and the Titans. And the Titans haven’t exactly been helpful either, currently a sorry mess of a soap opera. (Due to subpar writing.)
Which is to stay I was surprised but thrilled to see this Wally’s new life explored in the Flash Annual. The opening fight between the three Flashes and the Top is a sequence that should make long-time Flash fans thrilled, especially those for whom Wally West is the definitive Flash. (And that’s quite a few, remember, Wally was the Flash in the Justice League animated series.)
I remember Frances Kane from her appearances in the classic Marv Wolfman/George Perez Teen Titans but she was, again, not a character I expected to see again anytime soon. For a little bit, I worried she’d become a villain again but, instead, the tale of the friendship between Wally and Frances is more than a bit sweet, once Frances regains control of herself.
In essence, Williamson seems to be pulling the emotional threads of the past Flashes and working them into his current arc. I am not a fan of the whole “time travel police” concept that Johns used at the beginning of these new adventures of Barry Allen but time travel is, well, inevitable when dealing with a Flash story. I only hope Iris isn’t used as the damsel in distress.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.