I was excited for Flash Forward #1, and not just because Doc Shaner’s amazing cover had me spouting praises on the Comics Podcast. This story is focused on Wally West, a character we’ve seen in a negative light of late, and a character deserving of a fresh start. Here it is, folks, but frankly, it doesn’t quite cut the mustard.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
His name is Wally West-and he was the Fastest Man Alive. That is, until the Multiverse was rewritten without him or his family in it. Wally returned and tried to make it work, but the damage was done. Spinning out of the events of HEROES IN CRISIS, follow the man who called himself Flash on an adventure to find redemption in a cosmos that has fought so hard to destroy him.
Why does this matter?
This is the beginning of a brand new kind of journey that will likely reset Wally West for the better. This story also ties into the dark multiverse and the rise of evil. If you’ve been following Justice League, you may want to pay attention to this one.
What’s wrong with it?
This issue opens with Tempus Fuginaut (a newer character introduced in Sideways #1) who is attempting to prevent intrusions from the dark multiverse. Spoken via captions, we get a good idea of who he generally wants to save. The story immediately cuts to Wally in jail and a recap of how he got there. If you haven’t been following either character, this issue sets you up with Wally’s predicament.
The problem is that this issue spends a lot of time recapping who folks are or what is going on in the dark multiverse and not enough time hooking the reader. It’s not even clear by the last page where Wally is or what he’s supposed to do. So much time is spent on Wally’s guilt, but even he doesn’t seem to understand how someone like him can be saved. That makes it hard to relate with his situation and hard to see a path to fix what he did in Heroes in Crisis. Aside from Wally feeling bad about killing a bunch of heroes (he should), there isn’t much here beyond Tempus, whose mission is unclear. This issue feels like it covers what could easily fit in the first 10 pages rather than the full 20.
It can’t be all bad, can it?
Once things kick into gear it’s made clear Wally isn’t safe in prison with many villains he put there. It’s not clear what Tempus is up to, but the cliffhanger switches things up enough that I’m intrigued. Along the way there’s a bit of fighting and props must go to Luis Guierrero’s colors.
I’ve always been a fan of Brett Booth and his detailed style and curving layout designs look good here. Tempus Fuginaut in particular looks quite cool and almost Kirby-esque. His detailed thin line will appeal to those who like Jim Lee or other ’90s style art.
Is it good?
The cliffhanger is intriguing, but that’s about it. This issue takes too much time reminding us how bad Wally feels about accidentally murdering a bunch of heroes and not enough time hooking us into the new adventure. Instead, you’re left a bit sad and confused as to what is going to happen next.