This issue of THE FLASH brings us the big battle between Future Barry and the Barry Allen we know in the New 52. As you can guess from the last time they met (5 years in the future in FUTURES END: THE FLASH), this is going to be BIG…for a lot of reasons. But, if you think you knew how this one would end…well…you may have another thing coming!
LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY
Future Barry appears in our time, realizing that this is finally his chance to heal the wound in the Speed Force, the one that has been causing him to “lose time” all these years and that could end reality as we know it. Problem is, to seal that wound someone has to die…his present-day self! He captures present Barry and takes him to the “scene of the crime”, where Elias’ monorail crashed out of the Speed Force. That incident ripped a hole in the Speed Force itself, a hole that Daniel West went through to become the Reverse Flash. Future Barry’s plan is to kill his present day version, releasing enough energy into the Speed Force to heal that rupture…but present day Barry isn’t ready to give up just yet, and the battle is on!
This is a classic battle, drawn expertly by Brett Booth, inked by Norm Rapmund and colored by Andrew Dalhouse. The characters are fantastic and the action is over-the-top amazing.
Now, I haven’t mentioned who steps in next…there is a third participant in this battle! If you can’t guess this one you haven’t been reading FLASH much lately (and why is that? You’re really missing a great story here!). The battle ends tragically for one of the people here…and no one really gets what they want. In fact, if you thought this would be one of those wrap-it-up-and-go-to-the-next-arc stories you’d be very wrong. The real story is just beginning here!
If you read this issue and have concern about what happens to everyone, just keep in mind this line from our third fighter during the battle…”Good thing the future isn’t a foregone conclusion!” That gives me some hope for future issues – in the meantime this was a very powerful, action-packed story from Robert Venditti and Van Jensen, who are obviously having a lot of fun keeping us guessing. I didn’t expect this issue to end this way, and if this were truly the end of the arc I’d have to start shouting a few choice words here…but isn’t that the point? This isn’t the end…in fact the real fun may just be starting here, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
I can’t say i felt strong things for this issue. The final moment was devoid of any impact because the writers did such a poor job of fleshing out the character beyond his function as plot device. i had optimism for precisely one page before it went unrewarded, though, so there’s that. They made me optimistic for one page.
“I’m only a hero because I learned it from you.”
This line kind of encapsulates why Vendetti doesn’t understand who Wally is or what he’s supposed to represent. Wally always wanted to be a hero, even before he met Barry and was taught by him. Even before he got his powers, he helped save Barry during an encounter with some villains because he, at his core, wanted to help.
What Venditti gave us was a pure tagalong to Barry. A character who is, without Barry’s involvement, a piece of crap person who treats his aunt poorly and commits crimes for terrible reasons (No positive male role model? Iris isn’t a good enough role model for him?). And now we get this, Wally dying so that Barry can live, because Wally learned from Barry how to be a hero.
I’ve had a lot of problems with this arc. I, personally, greatly dislike Booth’s art. I was really annoyed at Venditti reusing the very same cheap drama plot hooks he used in his GL run (having the new villain go around and deal with all the old villains) But, worst of all, they drug up Wally West’s name and completely butchered anything that resembled the character we used to love. I had finally gotten over DC destroying the entirety of the Flash family and was really enjoying the Flash books before this happened. It’s just a painful reminder of how little they care about the character and how Venditti’s really out of his depth trying to cram all this unimpactful crap together while trying to accurately represent a truly great character he knows nothing about.
That’s a lot of words, but tl;dr: This version of “Wally West” is absolutely terrible and this Flash run so far has been a colossal disappointment (and I didn’t even start with high hopes in the first place). It’s nothing personal against Venditti (I like his X-O Manowar, for instance), this just was very, very bad from start to finish.
There’s going to be some who don’t like it, but frankly I’ve lost the need to be bending-over-backwards polite since last April.
*high fives David*
They seriously need to reveal that this kid is really an adopted runt who chose the name Wally, but whose real name is….(whatever.) I’d be fine with him if he had a name change. Most of all this week because this character is messing up my google searches for Wally West. Of late that means the Elseworld’s Wally in Multiversity–which for all -his- failings is at least closer to pre-DC52 Wally West and is acceptable to me because he is a temporary Elseworld’s version who will go away as soon as the story is finished.
If anyone has read Multiverse: Earth Me I’d appreciate your input on it.
I absolutely loved the latest issue of Multiversity. Yeah, Wally didn’t do anything in it, but at least he was there. As were Impulse and Max Mercury. It was like Grant Morrison telling us he hasn’t forgotten about these characters even though mainstream DC has moved on past them.
I stopped reading The Flash after Manapul and Buccellato left. I keep checking in on the stories to see if I’m missing anything, and so far, it looks like I haven’t.
I don’t think the character of Nu Wally is beyond repair, and him existing in any form gives me hope that a writer who better understands him will some day turn him around. however, it has to be said…what makes this character offensive to me isn’t the criminal background, it’s barry flat-out telling wally the shoplifting incident wasn’t wally’s fault because barry wasn’t there to stop him. the suggestion that wally lacked the ability to be a good person without barry really supports a lot of the more negative racial implications that i’m sure the writing team did not intend. and my god, the “i never would have been a hero without learning it from you” really doubled down on that sentiment. I guess “if” wasn’t the only work of rudyard kipling that Barry enjoyed. Putting terrible stereotypes aside, as readers we need to believe that Wally has something INNATELY heroic about himself in order to care about him.
What’s this about a shoplifting incident? Last I knew was the graffiti act and Iris acting like a jerk to Barry. Now there was a shoplifting incident?
(I do not know this kid. He is no Wally West to me.)
Not helped by Tom’s reveal that this Wally dies twice just so Barry can live. This Wally is just there so that Barry can look good? I’m getting a bad taste in my mouth akin to that ‘intervention’ thing in Road To Flashpoint.
Plus, Barry actually told nu-Wally he wasn’t at fault for committing a crime? Yeesh. Glad I bailed out when I did.
I’m thankful for this story because it cleared up the New 52’s thinking on Wally finally. We have a 6-7 issue story in which Wally has died twice (his fourth “death” since Infinite Crisis). His second death being a heroic sacrifice to ensure there are not one but two different versions of Barry running around as the Flash. Message received loud and clear. I will no longer wonder if and when Wally will be appearing in the future. Consequently, I’m also not buying another DC comic as long as the New 52 is the status quo but, hey, at least I know where DC stands on the matter.
I happen to enjoy the work of the art team (Booth/Rapmund/Dalhouse), and that was the only thing that really enjoyed about this issue. The confrontation was okay, but it seemed to rehash stories that were better executed in previous runs – namely the Dark Flash Saga that concluded Waid’s run. I wrote more about it in my review, but at the end of the day this was, at best, a 5/10.
I won’t say anything about the current issue but I did write up several of Wally’s brushes with the Final reward in the latest entry of Wally West Appreciation Day
Loved this issue and I am hopeful for the next story arc(superior flash?!)
And franklybi don’t care if they changed wally as long it is a good story
I wasn’t terribly happy with it either, from both a story and writing point. This is gonna be my last issue for a bit as I switch back to trades from the library to find out what goes on with New 52 Flash. Till then, it’s back to my Wally back issues.
I agree with you guys on the characterization standpoint. I also think it is a mistake to have too many stories about the Speed Force / time travel – get back to the basics. However much I love pre 52 Wally West, this new version seems promising. One problem I had with New 52 is that the writers should have made more radical changes to certain characters – and this version of Wally is a good change – assuming that “old Wally” exists still on another Earth – why not play with this one? Brett Booth’s costume design was really cool and a really good twist on Carmine Infantino’s design. Booth also did a good job on Future Flash’s costume. Let’s see where it goes.
I really enjoyed the first few issues of Vendetti’s run, but it seems to be stalling a bit of late. Vendetti isn’t exactly setting the world alight with his Green Lantern run either, so being a big fan of both GL and Flash I am a bit concerned what we are going to get next with the Flash comic. What a shame Manapul and Buccellato’s run had to end, there were some brilliant issues during their run, when I thought the Flash comic was the most under-rated of the DC books.