Wally West Key Figure in Prelude to Flash War

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Flash Annual 2018

With much of the focus of DC's REBIRTH has been the role that WATCHMEN quantum-god Doctor Manhattan has played, it's easy to forget the major role played by the return of Wally West, aka Kid Flash, aka The Flash (just not the Barry Allen one). Wally was ripped from history and imprisoned in the Speed Force, only to return to discover that almost ten years were stolen from just about everybody -- enough to make them all forget about him, about the Teen Titans, and who knows what other events and teams.

That theme continues in this year's THE FLASH annual. While Wally can help people remember him with a touch, he has yet to bring himself, after over a year, to let his beloved aunt, Iris West, remember who he is. And when he learns that Iris has just been forced to kill the Reverse-Flash (again, we know) with a Black Hole gun, it pushes him away from Flash and Kid Flash (also named Wally West) and toward anyone else who might remember him.

That path takes him to Frances Kane, a childhood friend who developed super powers of magnetism that led her to take on the name Magenta. (Yes, we know, the color purple has nothing to do with magnetism other than the first three letters and a little dyslexia. We've accepted it. Move on.) True to form, Frances does not remember Wally at first. But when prodded, she recalls their childhood. She recalls the Titans. She recalls being the hero Magenta.

And she recalls becoming a villanous rogue--a personality to which she immediately reverts. Now Wally has to defend himself against his friend as they do battle in the streets.

All of this happens inside the framework of a story happening in the 25th century, where a timequake has thrashed the Flash Museum. The chronal energy readings are felt throughout the museum, and changes to history are happening before their eyes in the exhibits. The quake appears to have been caused by the murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash -- a murder that doesn't appear in the catalog of all the times he was historically killed. And because it is being considered a murder, the 25th century Renegades -- the sorta-good-guy version of the classic Rogues Gallery -- are dispatched in time to bring in Thawne's killer for questioning. But that's just another domino being toppled by the villain who's behind all of these events -- someone with a vested interest in kicking off a FLASH WAR.

Joshua Williamson has a good handle on what makes Wally West relatable to the readers -- his connectedness to people and how the lack of that would impact him deeply. The artwork from Howard Porter and Christian Duce is crisp and neat, with a lot of background detail to flesh out the story without getting in its way. All indications are that this is a pretty good jumping on point for the big FLASH story arc to come.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0