The Flash Annual #1 is the prelude to Flash War, which starts in May. This issue has got to be my absolute favourite issue that Joshua Williamson has ever written. It brings in so much continuity from Mark Waid all the way to Geoff Johns’ runs, with Easter eggs coming out of your ears. On top of that, the art team of Christian Duce and Howard Porter are just so visually stunning that the issue is an absolute pleasure to read.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“FLASH WAR” prelude! The biggest Flash story of 2018 starts here, with a special story starring the classic Wally West, who’s conflicted over whether to let Iris West know he is alive–and he’ll need the help of the Flash to figure out what to do! But when Magenta, Wally’s old love, needs his help, the Flash returns home to Keystone City where he is confronted with violent memories of an unknown world…A major turning point for the Flash family that sets the path for earth shattering stories in 2018!
Tell me about it!
I’m going to quickly talk about the art. Howard Porter does a tremendous job on the parts set in the Future within the Flash museum which builds off his art in “Running Scared,” while Christian Duce draws an absolutely handsome Wally West as the focus of the issue. Flawless art from both!
So I’m going to focus primarily on Easter eggs with this review. It has a whole heap of them, ranging from the Tornado Twins to Earth-3 Johnny Quick. From the first page alone there are references to Bart Allen as Impulse, Savitar (and not the crappy CW version,) the race between Superman and The Flash, John Fox and Abra Kadabra’s Flash marionette. The second page continues with figures of the Tornado Twins, Johnny Quick, Max Mercury, Bart Allen and John Fox as well as Grodd, Earth-3 Johnny Quick and the Rogues. Further on you see the Titans, Doctor Alchemy, Mister Miracle and Abra Kadabra. Those were all mannequins in the museum of course.
Next up with have the return of THE TOP aka Roscoe Dillon while Wally does some great inner thoughts with the best caption boxes that Williamson has ever done! We also have massive tacos, a callback to “Running Scared” and Wally being told to pick his life back up.
Then we have Magneta and the New Teen Titans flashback, which strangely shows Wally in his Flash costume at the same time as Dick Grayson was Robin. In this sequence Wally is referenced to be a terrible dancer as well as him and Magneta having lived in the mansion that Wally owned at the beginning of Waid’s run when Wally won the lottery. Wally then moves back to Keystone in an apartment bought by Dick. You think I’ve been having fun so far? Just wait.
Take the return of the Time Judge from “Dastardly Death of the Rogues.” Now pay attention to some of the emphasised words in his speech. He goes on to reveal that the cops investigating the attack on the Flash Museum are the Renegades, future time cops versions of the Rogues who appeared in “Dastardly Death” and work for the Reverse Flash Task Force.
The judge then enters a room about the Reverse Flashes and oh my god this is where I lost my composure while reading this issue. The judge is revealed to be… well, you’ll have to read the issue yourself to find out! However know that this return makes me feel so undyingly happy and raises so many questions.
Joshua Williamson, you have captured my undying trust in you now. Please don’t make me regret it.