Future State: The Flash #2 – Brandon Vietti, Writer; Brandon Peterson, Will Conrad, Artist; Michael Atiyeh, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: Easily the bleakest of the Future State worlds, this take on the Flash has already seen most of the Flash family die at the hands of a possessed Wally West. We saw Bart and Jay die last month, with Wallace already being dead off-screen and Max apparently dying between the issues. Now it’s just Barry, going increasingly mad as he attempts to devise a plan to take out his former rival. Much of the first half of this issue is Barry alone in his lab, talking to himself as he upgrades his suit to fight Wally sans Speed Force. The art is strong, reminiscent of Dale Eaglesham but not quite as detailed, but there’s a relentlessly grim tone that only escalates in the second half of the issue as Barry—the last heroic Flash left, with Avery MIA—gets ready for one final battle where he’s more than willing to sacrifice himself. But the tone, frankly, is unrelenting and it makes this issue challenging to read.
Things pick up a bit when “Wally” finally appears. There’s no question this villain is actually pretty menacing, with the supernatural force inside Wally’s body coming off as genuinely inhuman. The battle is intense, with Barry’s many bag of tricks holding up surprisingly well against Wally and even at one point seeming to neutralize him for good. But naturally, it’s not that easy, and things escalate until a devastating twist and a shocking reveal. Barry’s ultimate solution for stopping Wally is so extreme it feels out of character, and the story seems mostly designed to punish Bary for… I’m not exactly sure, honestly. For having too much faith in his own genius? The resolution and the taunting the villain gives Barry is bad enough, and then comes the last-second twist that deals Barry another devastating blow and seemingly dovetails into another series that probably won’t have time to resolve it next week. This one sadly didn’t work for me at all.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.