Warning: this review contains spoilers
The new creative team of Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, and Brett Booth had a solid debut in The Flash #30. After getting their feet wet with that issue, The Flash Annual #3 kicks their story into high gear, following Barry Allen both in the present and in a dystopian future setting. There is also the formal introduction of a certain Wallace R. West which is certain to ruffle the feathers of fans. Regardless of the varying viewpoints on changes to Mr. West’s character, the writers are building a solid foundation for a lengthy run with the character.
With regards to the elephant in the room, changing Wally to a biracial character with a disdain for the Flash and penchant for vandalism – therefore unrecognizable from the character fans have loved for fifty-plus years – was probably not DC’s wisest course of action. The publisher does have a number of characters of color which they can play with, or they could have created a new character all together. Regardless, what is done is done. Those upset at the changes to Wally West should remember that characters rarely remain the same from when first introduced; Damian Wayne is a prime example. Wally’s new background does open the door to new storytelling possibilities for the character. If the intention is for him to eventually be at the Flash’s side, the journey from where he is to that endgame has a lot of potential. Likewise, the development of his relationship with Barry is something to keep an eye on as the story unfolds.
Though most readers will spend much time debating over the changes made to Wally, the issue’s real highlight is the interaction between Future Flash and Gorilla Grodd. Though Venditti and Jensen throw out a few Easter eggs that will pique the interest of fans, this sequence is Brett Booth’s moment to shine. The ensuing battle, though predictable in its outcome, is enjoyable nonetheless. Booth’s work with Future Flash is dynamic and mesmerizing. Andrew Dalhouse’s vibrant colors only add to the experience.
The issue is split between present and future timelines, the former penciled by Ron Frenz while Brett Booth tackles the latter. Though multiple artists on a book can spell trouble, there is nothing particularly jarring as the issue transitions between the two. It’s noticeable, but not enough to cause readers to throw the book down in frustration. Credit is due to Dalhouse’s eye-popping colors as they help maintain consistency through the art transitions.
Though bleak on the page, the future of The Flash is promising for fans of the Scarlett (and Electric Blue) Speedster. This oversized annual is equal parts world building and superhero action. Fans of both should definitely check this out.
Note: this review was originally published at DC Infinite.