The Deconstruction of Wally West – Review of FUTURE STATE: THE FLASH #1

The “Future State” of DC, in all it’s issues so far, appears dark enough to make the New 52 seem like sunshine and happiness. Where would that leave the Flash Family? In certain disarray…and that doesn’t even begin to describe the trouble they are in. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Future State takes us from the conclusion of “Death Metal” to “a glimpse into the unwritten worlds of tomorrow”. Things are especially bad for the Flash family. Something has happened to Wally…again. Wally has taken the Speed Force away from every other speedster, even killing young Wallace aka Kid Flash. The question is why…the answer comes late in this issue. 

In their search for answers, the remaining Flash family – Barry, Jay, Max, Bart, and Avery – have been stealing the weapons of their former enemies, the Rogues. Their final goal was the Thinker’s cap, now held by the Calculator. To get there, they first grabbed the weapons of Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, the Top, and Rainbow Raider (yes really). 

They get the cap…and lose Bart’s life in the process. This tears the team apart, divided about whether and how to act. Is Wally too far gone? Finally, Barry realizes that there may be hope, because…

Wally could have killed them at any time. Why the delay? There must be something that has taken Wally over, and he’s stalling to give them a chance to save him. So, Barry whips up several copies of the Thinker’s cap (adding the wings from Jay’s helmet). They use Max’s meditation techniques and those helmets to reach out to Wally. 

They find him as he kills the Global Guardians. They reach out to him psychically…

…and he reaches right back, killing Jay!

We do learn what’s been happening. One of the Riders of the Apocalypse, Famine, has taken over Wally’s body. While Wally tries to gain control, Famine fights back and wins (at least for now). With Jay dead, and Max and Avery broken by the fight, Barry must find a way to save themselves and Wally. That’s where we leave it for now.

NOTES:

  • After FUTURE STATE, we are promised the “redemption of Wally West”. I look forward to that…but…Why do we keep making Wally into a mass murderer? Was “Heroes in Crisis” not dark enough? The story here is strong…but the thought of making Wally into a killer yet again is distressing (even if it is the result of a possession).
  • Just a quick history of the treatment of Wally West in the last 10 years or so:
    • Wally took a back seat after Barry’s “Rebirth” series (well before REBIRTH for the DC line). We were hoping at the time for a “Flash Family” book that could feature Wally along with Jay, Bart, Max, Avery…then…
    • The New 52 hit and Wally was written out of continuity, along with a number of other characters. 
    • Wally came back to start REBIRTH, and we were led to believe Wally West would be the key to the future. Unfortunately…
    • “Heroes in Crisis” turned Wally into a murderer, killing untold numbers of characters including close friends…followed by a cover-up he engineered to frame two others (Booster Gold and Harley Quinn).
    • “Flash Forward” gave us a redemption tale…at the time. It left Wally in the Mobius chair, with the power of Doctor Manhattan. And, as we moved into “Death Metal”, DC gave us the impression that Wally would be the key to saving the DCU.
    • That didn’t happen – he became a failed attempt that powered up the Batman Who Laughs even more. Now in FUTURE STATE he is a killer yet again, and again on a massive scale.
  • Now, just a note: writer Brandon Vietti DID write a very strong script. And, I seriously doubt that it was Vietti’s decision to make Wally the villain. That likely rests with people in Editorial for DC. If you get past that decision, this was a story that brings the Flash Family down to their basics. It’s a chance to see their true character – what they would do when the advantage of speed is no longer there. And, the artwork was excellent, thanks to Dale Eaglesham, Mike Atiyeh, and Steve Wands. Taken just on it’s own, without the history noted above, this was an excellent story.

SUMMARY:

This was a strong story, though this reviewer has great difficulty getting past the though of Wally becoming a killer yet again. Hopefully the future (and at least the second) “redemption” of Wally that comes up beginning in March will stick. Only the use of Wally as a murderer (again) brings my rating down to a 7. Of course, that’s just my opinion – what to YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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3 thoughts on “The Deconstruction of Wally West – Review of FUTURE STATE: THE FLASH #1

  1. Jesse Richards

    I love Wally, but didn’t mind this issue … the deaths of Jay and Bart and Wallace clearly indicate that this is a fake Elseworlds story that doesn’t “count” any more than that crazy Wally with a gun from Death Metal.

    You forgot to mention in your Wally list above, the explanation of the framing as Reverse-Flash whispers, which I thought was smart of Williamson.

    Any thoughts on Death Metal having a whole extended epilogue starring Wally? Why him? They never said.

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