Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Speed Reading! – The Flash Annual #3

"Slip"

“Slip”

I don’t think I’ve been this into a comic story since The Flash #12.  Obviously, the story presented here is very different than the one in The Flash #12, but every beat of this issue just struck the right chord with me all the way through.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that this is clearly the opening chapter of Robert Venditti and Van Jensen’s run on the title.  A lot of world-building/scene-setting is still going on – all of it effective.

We have two parallel stories going on.  In the present, Barry is investigating the claims that incarcerated criminal, Mogul, is being charged with killing a man.  Mogul admits he is a criminal, but maintains his innocence on killing someone.  During this, Barry meets Wally West, Iris’s young nephew who is going through a rough patch.

Then, we also have a future Barry who is wrecked with guilt over the death of Wally (as seen in The Flash #30).  He blames himself and plunges himself back in time to (seemingly) prevent Wally’s death by killing himself.

There is also a subplot of the city still being angry/disappointed with The Flash and Barry discovering that he is losing time when he uses his powers.  I am pretty sure all of these threads will merge, but for right now, V&J create the perfect sense of mystery to entice this reader into wanting to find out what is going to happen next.

I also have to give props to the writers for acknowledging the Reverse story line and how Barry argued that changing the past just causes more issues and that you need to move on.  Since future Barry was doing this exact thing, he’s called out on it.  But since his end-result is going to be different, he rationalizes his actions.

Ron Frenz and Brett Booth split art duties for this annual in a logical way (Frenz does the present-day while Booth has the future covered).  Their styles are different, but complement each other very well.  There isn’t any drastic change that takes me out of the story like it did with the Road to Flashpoint collection.  And, I like both of these artists.  They have that good 1990s sensibility that hits me in a nostalgic manner.

And we have the new Wally West.  Clearly he is going to be the crux of this whole arc (and I have my theories on how that is going to play out – I won’t get into them here).  This Wally is a new take on the character.  The biggest change (besides now being biracial – which doesn’t count, because who cares?) is that he doesn’t care much for the Flash.  In the Silver Age, he was the Flash’s biggest fan.  This is a great reversal as it gives readers something new.  Besides that, though, Wally still gives off that fun vibe and his interaction with Barry is lively and bubbly.  I hope for some good things here.

I enjoyed every page of this issue.  I think these writers are off to a great start, and I look forward to see where these plotlines go and how things will wind up for Barry in this new direction.

Next in Flash #31: Future Flash Versus Mirror Master!

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