The Flash Annual #3 is confusing on a number of levels as the new creative team cement their storyline of a future version of Barry Allen deciding to return to the past and set things right. Introducing us to Wallace “Wally” R. West for the first time its obvious the character has gone through the same New 52 filter that continues to adversely effect several of DC’s once-great heroes.
While I’m fine with DC deciding to change Wally’s ethnicity from Caucasian to African-American, it does create problems for Iris West as even in this issue’s artists Brett Booth and Ron Frenz have trouble deciding just how to draw and shade her color her character consistently. I honestly couldn’t tell you at this point whether Iris is white, black, or green.
Far more troubling is that Wally has gone through the same dickish redesign the makes the New 52 Billy Batson an insufferable prick. This version of the character’s defining attribute seems to be that he’s a street punk in need of a white big brother to set him straight. Jeez.
Another subplot to the Annual is Barry returning to work investigating a murder involving a freeze ray which was once owned by a D-list Captain Cold wannabe. While investigating the crime the Flash also comes across an entire crew using similar high-tech weaponry. Despite the fact that the office piece of the story is truly groan worthy, the action in the museum of the Scarlet Speedster taking down the crew is the highlight of the Annual.
I can’t say the same for the future scenes as the older version of Barry hunts down and kills Gorilla Grodd to enable the Flash to have full control of the Speed Force and return to the past. Now Barry of course has killed in the old DC, but not intentionally and only to save his then fiance of suffer the same fate of Iris at the hands of the Reverse-Flash. This is something different altogether, and feels far too much like Ron Marz‘s craptastic Emearld Twilight run which took a decade to properly rectify in the old DCU.
I’m also going to continue complaining loudly about that awful, awful, awful yellow piping on the Flash’s costume which is highlighted in every single panel of this issue whether the character is in motion or standing still. With a storyline that quickly goes off the rails and art that highlights the stupefying unnecessary shitty redesign of the character’s costume (which previous artists have done their best to hide and/or ignore) there’s almost nothing other than the few panels of the museum fight worth reading. Pass.