The Flash Annual #1
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter and Christian Duce
Letterer: Carlos M. mangual and Travis Lanham
What’s this about (Spoilers)
In this issue, The Flash, Kid Flash, and Wally West fight a common opponent by working together as a team. Barry tips Iris to their whereabouts. When Iris shows up as a reporter, it triggers Wally to leave the scene because Iris doesn’t know ginger-haired Wally is alive. However, the three speedsters go to a restaurant afterwards, to satiate their post-speedster munchies, and the fireworks begin. Barry’s attempts to make Wally and Iris talk angers Wally. Kid Flash tries to play peace-keeper; however, Wally leaves Central angry at Barry and confused about how to make things right with Iris.
Wally decides to reach out to a previous girlfriend, Frankie, in Keystone City. Frankie doesn’t recognize him at first. However, once she recognizes Wally, she transforms into her superhero persona, Magenta. She becomes furious and confronts Wally for interrupting her life. Frankie explains later that after Flashpoint she has been able to have a normal life where she wasn’t hurting people or feeling guilty for what Magenta did. Wally ruined all of that without her consent. Later, Frankie tells Wally about the good things that his reappearance has brought for her, mainly her friendship with him. Wally decides to establish roots in Keystone City.
Interestingly, the issue begins with an investigation into the death of Eobard Thawne by authorities in the 25th century. At the end of the issue, the investigator reports his findings to a judge of the Temporal Courts. The investigator shows evidence incriminating Iris West for the murder of Thawne. The judge orders them to bring Iris in, from the 21st century, for questioning. The Renegades, Mirror Monarch, Commander Cold, Heatstroke, Weather Warlock, and Golden Guardian comprise the team of investigators charged with obtaining Iris. At the end of the issue there’s a big reveal of an old Flash nemesis.
The plot is straight-forward, it moves nicely from arc-to-arc, and the themes feel connected. Despite the story transitioning from an opening scene where all three speedsters are unified to the final scene where Wally is living in a separate city, it makes sense. Essentially, this story is about our hero’s adjustment to someone messing with time. What engages the reader in this story is Wally and Barry’s mishandling things in their close personal relationships. In addition, the story acknowledges the difficulties produced by Flashpoint, with multiple Wally West’s and the disconnection it created between characters, like Iris and Wally.
Artistically, this issue is beautiful. The flames flying off the heroes when they circle their opponent, “The Top”, as he spins a tornado through Central City was cool. In addition, the facial expressions and body posture of Wally and Barry as they angrily confront each other was spot on. The colors highlight both the speed of the speedsters, the magnet attraction of Magenta, and the emotions of the characters throughout.
I recommend picking up this book if you are a fan of The Flash. This book represents the first material attempts to confront several important issues since the start of Rebirth: The impact of Flashpoint and it’s development of two Wally Wests, the problem of Ginger-haired Wally returning from the Speed force and not interacting with Iris. In addition, the issue deals with the relationship between Barry and Wally. This relationship is what saved Wally in the original Rebirth story; it feels relevant and appropriate for that relationship to be further investigated.