Future State: The Flash #2

Possessed by the evil embodiment of Famine, Flash Wally West has been rampaging around the DC Universe, killing his fellow speedsters. Impulse. Kid Flash, Max Mercury, The Flash of China, original Flash Jay Garrick – slaughtered. Only Jay’s successor Flash, Barry Allen, survives – but Wally has stolen his speed. Still, Barry is a scientist, he can cannibalise the weapons of his Rogues Gallery to take Wally on, all while looking super cool.

Art by (I think, please correct me as necessary) Brandon Peterson and Mike Atiyeh

Or not.

This is the worst superhero ensemble since that time Alan Scott became a green coal scuttle. Which isn’t to say the art on this second Future State slice of Flash miserablism isn’t rather excellent. The pages are shared between Brandon Peterson and Will Conrad, with colouring by Mike Atiyeh, and they’re sharp, sleek and, when the script calls for it, scary.

Art (probably) by Brandon Peterson and Mike Atiyeh

Brandon Vietti’s story calls for creepiness rather a lot, but the power of the art is diluted by the sheer amount of copy atop it. Letterer Steve Wands truly should get a bonus, as even Chris Claremont would find this narrative wordy and over the top – Smalltown USA guy Barry sounds like a refugee from a Gothic romance.

Art (probably… is it my fault DC editors can’t be arsed to add proper credits?) by Will Conrad and Mike Atiyeh

Which isn’t to say Vietti can’t write well; it’s what he’s chosen to write that’s the problem. I noted last issue that there was a tad too much melodrama occasionally, but Vietti doubles down here.

Art (I think!) by Will Conrad and Mike Atiyeh

It’s certainly deliberate, Vietti immediately has the Wally creature take the Mickey out of his ‘beautifully tragic poetry’. But why have Barry ramble like a Shakespearean ham in the first place?

One thing we don’t get among all the chat is an explanation for the Santa Claus look – last issue, set just two months prior to this one, Barry was blond and ungrizzled, the Paul Newman of the superhero set.

Vietti is obviously a Flash fan, knowing the ins and outs of the Rogues’ kit – there’s a splendid moment for Rainbow Raider fans (that may be just me and Vietti). And he references such obscure, daft additions to the Flash Legend as the Still Force.

Given this, I hope Vietti gets another crack at the Flash, but turns down the melodrama several notches. And if he gets to work with any of these artists again, so much the better, because the craft of these issues is superb, from Peterson’s cover to Conrad’s final page.

7 thoughts on “Future State: The Flash #2

  1. The art’s pretty great, in this, one of the worst Flash comics I’ve ever read.

    There are some fun ideas with the Rogues’ arsenal, in this, one of the worst Flash comics I’ve ever read.

    And yet the story as a whole — a murderous Wally, a creature that “feeds on hope”, a gigantic body count, no redemption for anybody, and to top it all off, not even a proper conclusion?

    If I want to read the rest of the story, I have to read Teen Titans? As if I’d want to continue any part of this miserable experience.

    The stink on this thing nearly ruined every DC comic I bought this week. It made me think, What the hell have I done with 40 years, reading these things? I felt like a sucker. A mark. I haven’t felt this strongly about a comic being this wrongheaded and bad since COUNTDOWN, another book that poisoned my weekly purchases until I caught on and dropped it. This was so bad that, even though it’s not the same writer handling Flash next month, the book is already on thin ice with me. The idea that an editor looked at this hopeless — LITERALLY hopeless! — dreck and decided it was acceptable for publication? I’m baffled. I lost a lot of faith in DC with this issue, to be honest.

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    1. Brrrrr, Countdown. A book that made hated more than that was the first issue of Amazons Attack, when Wonder Woman’s people beheaded a random tourist in front of his son. Vile, as the Future State Flash comic kept saying.

      I really do wonder why DC think their audience is.

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      1. DC’s heroes are designed to be gods or titans and Marvel the company with the fallible heroes. Marvel may have pulled ahead in sales but that combo kept DC a close second. I wonder if anyone’s ever analyzed how much DC continuing to lose market share has correlated with Didio and Johns adding much more blood and gore to their line. BTW, they never convinced me ever that Johns was a DC fan boy. Sure, he knows the continuity and small time players of yore but he doesn’t understand what made DC great when he was a reader if he thought a bloody Teen Titans massacre or having the once genius psychic The Shark become a slavering mindless beast whose horrific kills are shown on panel!

        Okay, end rant.

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  2. This is the single worst Flash comic I have ever read. Wally kills everyone he loves except wife and kids. Barry, the most hopeful DC hero, has his hope punished literally. The awesome art just makes it worse. I will never read anything else by Vietti. He’s already made me suffer this much so why give him another chance?

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  3. On the positive side, Wally is finally going to be taken off the torture rack and replace Barry as the main Flash in Justice League, so it seems.
    Here’s hoping that a character treated worse than both Donna Troy and Dick Grayson the last few years finally gets some return to post Crisis glory.

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