FUTURE STATE gives us a possible future for the heroes of the DC Omniverse and those who follow in their footsteps. This Future State centers on Barry and Wally, giving us a very grim outlook for what may lie ahead years from now. It makes the New 52 look like an upbeat kids’ story by comparison. To paraphrase something very well known in other media – Who lives, who dies, and who tells their story? If you wanna know more, follow us after the jump!
For those who didn’t catch the first issue, Wally West has been possessed by Famine. He has drained all other speedsters of their Speed Force connections, and has killed most of them. We know that Wallace West, Jay Garrick, Bart Allen, and now Max Mercury are all gone. Iris is missing. We just have Barry and Wally, and things are looking bleak.
Also in the first issue, Barry and the then-alive former speedsters managed to round up all the weapons of the Rogues Gallery. They had repurposed them to help stop Wally, and now Barry has made additional modifications in a last-ditch effort to save Wally…or end the threat once and for all.
In that final battle, Barry throws everything he has at Wally. It almost works. Almost is unfortunately the operative word here. Famine has been playing Barry all along. What Famine feeds on is the “famine of hope”. In other words, every time Barry has disappointed a fellow speedster in this fight, he has created the very thing Famine feeds on – a loss of hope. All of Barry’s best efforts only created more food for Famine, and now the fight is truly lost.
Famine regains control of Wally, and moves Barry just a moment outside of time. It causes Barry to be nothing more than an immaterial, immortal ghost. Famine intends to continue using Wally to kill and feed off despair. And, Famine is counting on Barry to continue raising hope in some fashion, replenishing the pool from which it will draw.
At the end, all is lost. The only “hope” is that Barry’s ring is found by the FUTURE STATE character Cybeast – and that ring contains all of Barry’s data from the fight. As for our favorite speedsters…Barry is a ghost, Wally is possessed and killing people all over the globe, and all the other speedsters are dead. Their place will be taken elsewhere in FUTURE STATE by a new Flash, and when we get to see that new speedster we may finally have a better resolution to this tale.
- FUTURE STATE in several books paints a very grim picture of the years ahead. Superman Jon Kent bottles the city of Metropolis. Supergirl leaves Earth entirely to work with a colony on the moon. And here, being a speedster seems to be a sure way to die. The New 52 was grim, but this “possible future” of the DCU takes grimdark up a few levels.
- There is a ton of exposition early on in this book. You really won’t need to read issue 1 to catch up. If you aren’t a fan of considerable exposition (or if you’ve read the first issue) you can skip past the first three or four pages.
- There are some bits of dialogue that could have fit well in the Silver Age, particularly by Barry after Famine reveals itself. Think long speeches with lots of drama.
- The artwork was exceptional throughout. The modifications for Barry’s costume were outstanding, and the bleak outlook of this future world is clearly conveyed.
- And yes, I can’t go all the way through this review without saying once again, “WHY does DC keep doing this to Wally?” Yes he’s possessed, but to anyone watching, he is the ultimate serial killer now. There’s no greater villain in the world of speedsters than Wally West. Yes, I know this is just a “possible” future. And yes, I know that there is a “redemption” story coming up for Wally. But, those “redemption” stories wouldn’t be necessary if they didn’t keep making him a villain.
I’m having an even more difficult time rating this story than the first issue of FUTURE STATE: FLASH. The exposition was more than what would be necessary, even for those who missed issue 1. The storyline of Wally being the killer (once again) is problematic for me. Still, the artwork was exceptional. And, given that this is only a “possible” future, we can hopefully be able to put aside the “Wally is a killer” storyline and move forward into better stories for him. I’ll give this one a 7/10. Of course, that’s my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!