Flash Forward TPB
Collects Flash Forward #1-6
by Scott Lobdell (Author), Brett Booth (Illustrator)
A slight divergence in the great Flash Rebirth re-read.
DC has a complicated relationship with Wally West; a schizophrenic one in which there is clearly a portion of the editorial staff that appreciates his journey and wants him to stick around and another that feel he ages the DC universe at large to the point where it is unrelatable, the latter of which have put him through quite an ordeal, from having him disappear completely, to the deletion of his family, to being replaced, to character assassination in a relatively short amount of time. It was rather a “well-made” character assassination, mind you, as stated back when I reviewed Heroes in Crisis and I stick to my guns there, but the overall relationship with the company and the character is evident.
Enter Flash Forward, a mini-series which seeks to reinstate Wally’s place in the world without removing Barry as the de facto Flash and redeem him.
While Brett Booth’s artwork, still sticking to his 90’s hyper angular, questionably contorted and crosshatched style, makes it hard to read at a stretch for me, it is not a book without merits. Granted that the new character of Tempus Fuginaut is most probably the most throwaway of all characters here, it seems that his presence in the narrative serves as symbolic of something, as he sets Wally on a journey of purgation of the many narratives of the DC Multiverse of their darkness which he places firmly on the shoulders of West. I must say that this seems to be DC, in the form of the self-same Fuginaut, seeking to purge its misdirection of its rebirth with the aid of the reader armed with a very real “editorial staff”, in the form of Wally with the Fuginaut’s scepter, democratizing its continuity to its reader who sits on the throne of all-knowing, the Mobius Chair, while both embracing continuity in his children and let it go take a life of its own.
While this is an interesting direction for the character of Wally West, the execution is weird. And I am not just talking about the artwork here. The pacing is a slog to get through, especially with the countless repetitions of “My name is Wally West and I am the fastest man alive”, which although serves as a desperate reminder to himself to affirm who he is, its constant repetition gets tiring after a while as well as the overindulgence in internal monologue. The artwork is already crowded here, therefore cluttering it with further caption boxes does not help. It does have emotional beats that bear appreciating, but it does not elevate the story to the levels writer Scott Lobdell is clearly aiming for. Not with the cluttered manner in which it is presented.