Review – The Flash Annual 2021 #1: Return of the Speed

Comic Books DC This Week
The Flash Annual 2021 #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Flash Annual 2021 #1 – Jeremy Adams, Writer; Fernando Pasarin, Brandon Peterson, Artists; Michael Atiyeh, Hi-Fi, Colorists

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: You know how you know you’ve made it as a character? You get a whole elaborate retcon storyline set up exclusively to eliminate any pesky continuity details that might keep people from embracing you. Hal Jordan’s Parallax retcon is probably the most famous, and now Wally West becomes the first former sidekick/second generation hero to get the same treatment. When it was announced he would be becoming the Flash again, there were a lot of happy people. But there was one big stumbling block—Heroes in Crisis, the controversial event that saw a traumatized Wally become a mass murderer and accidentally kill dozens of heroes including his good friend Roy Harper. And at the end of last issue, Wally’s time trip sent him right back to the scene of the crime.

Race to salvation. Via DC Comics.

This issue wastes no time reminding us of all the trauma Wally experienced, with the victims of Sanctuary frozen in time at the moment the speed force surge happened. But there’s just one problem—this isn’t how Wally remembers it, and he quickly realizes that the surge isn’t actually coming from him in this time and place. As he tries to figure out what happened, he meets with the still-alive (for a few seconds) Roy Harper, and the two former Titans go on one last adventure against the true culprit behind everything—Savitar, the mad god of speedsters who was one of many evil Flash archetypes that Barry and Wally faced over the decades. And like that, Sanctuary is off Wally West’s ledger.

In a lot of ways, this oversized issue does work very well. It sets up how strong Wally is as a potential Flash and how intense his connection to the Speed Force is. It also gives us some great moments with his family, and lets Roy and Ollie have a final moment together (although the impact there is blunted by the fact that Roy is casually running around in another book this week). But at the same time, it feels very much like a story designed to fill a specific purpose—make it so Wally West will be accepted as the Flash again. It works at that, but you can sort of see the puppet strings even as the show entertains.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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