Yo, yo, yo, holla if you hear me my brothers and sisters! Your one and only Guy Padre has returned to the Fistful of Comics Lair to deliver unto you some righteous and right unholy thoughts on four of this week’s hottest books to hit the racks in your local Geek Palace Supreme. Just to make sure I stay in line, our very own Monsignor Moody drops in to complete the fist with a review straight from the South and full of bastards galore. Enough setup. Nothing to it but to do it. To the Fist we go!
FLASH ANNUAL #3
Let’s move the elephant in the room out-of-the-way right at the start.
What’s most important about this story is not the race of the New 52 Wally West. If that’s your main focus and point of contention, then the Padre feels sad for you. The draw of this issue and all that really matters in the end is the art and writing. Is the story itself good? I say, definitely yes.
This issue, by scribes Robert Venditti (XO-Manowar, Green Lantern) and Van Jensen (Green Lantern Corps) and artists Brett Booth (Backlash, Teen Titans) and longtime vet Ron Frenz (Spider-Girl), spends its time setting up future stories for the regular Flash ongoing. This issue bounces back and forth between the present and the future, where we are introduced to future Barry Allen and future Gorilla Grodd. Hints and revelations abound in both time periods. We meet the New 52 Wally West in the present day, learn his backstory and get glimpses into his personality. For those who remember the young Wally from the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans or Messner-Loebs Flash runs back in the day, there are flashes of that old Wally in the little bit of time we spend with Nu-52 Wally. Time will tell how much of the old DCU former Kid Flash/Flash will be present in the new version, who might just prove interesting in his own right without having to carry the weight of past continuity on his shoulders.
Speaking of time, it is a big theme in this issue. From Barry’s head-scratching loss of time early on, to the time-travel that closes out the annual, time is front and center as an important element in this story.
Venditti and Jansen script that appropriately fast-paced story with pretty plainly motivations of each character. Even more so than last week’s issue — which marked the debut of their run — the pacing and level of exposition made it feel like a first issue introduction to the new Flash status quo. The art is split with Booth handling the jaw-dropping scenes of Future Flash and Frenz dutifully detailing the actions in the here and now. No real weak spots art-wise and the frequent transitions between the now and twenty years from now are nearly seamless.
Overall, this was a fun issue with a couple of cool fight sequences, slight revelations, two mysteries in need of solving and enough introductions to whet the appetite for more to come.
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