Yes, we know that it’s been a surprisingly big week in the DC Universe with the release of DARK NIGHTS: METAL #5, the debut of THE SILENCER and the start of the Young Animal crossover “Milk Wars.” But we certainly hope none of that caused you to overlook this week’s THE FLASH ANNUAL #1 by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter and Christian Duce…because it got my heart racing faster than Kid Flash’s after a triple espresso from Jitters.
In short, if you’re a Flash fan—and particularly if you’re a Wally West fan—YOU NEED TO READ THIS COMIC. That’s really all there is to it.
The story focuses largely on Wally (and just so we’re clear, we’re talking about the original, older Wally here), who’s been having something of a hard time of late. The Titans have been asked to disband, Linda Park still doesn’t remember him and he’s been having a hard time just moving forward with his life after returning from his disappearance. When he learns that Iris West, Wally’s aunt, recently killed Eobard Thawne after the Reverse-Flash kidnapped her and took her to the future, he pretty much loses it. Barry and Wally have a heated conversation about how Wally has been approaching his life—or more accurately, about how he’s avoided having much of any life outside the mask. It doesn’t devolve into blows, thankfully, and the two forgive each other, but it certainly gets Wally thinking about things.
Realizing Barry is right and feeling very alone, Wally remembers one person he was once close to whom he hasn’t tried reacquainting with since he returned: Frances Kane. Yes, it’s true that Frances, AKA Magenta, eventually became a pretty nasty super-villain, but before that, she was pretty close to Wally. Romantically close.
Wally find Frances and approaches her, only it doesn’t go as he expected…
As memories come flooding back for Frances Kane, her villainous persona emerges, and Wally’s forced to rescue some of the nearby bystanders. Following Magenta, he winds up somewhere that he once knew very well—the home he once shared with her.
Magenta’s reaction all but confirms Wally’s fears about connecting with people he once knew. Unlike Barry, who returned to people who missed him, Wally wonders whether everyone he once knew would be better off without the memories and occasional baggage that he’d bring back into their lives.
However, with more than a year spent living with that fear, Wally’s ready to move forward and is now determined to bring Frances with him. He takes her to a familiar place, which allows Magenta to remember some of the much happier memories she once shared with Wally…
It works, and as she gets used to this previously locked chapter of her life, Frances comes to see everything in a much healthier way. Along with all of the bad memories that returned came plenty of good ones, and even though knowing about her superpowers and risk of walking a villainous path may be a burden, it’s one Frances is willing to shoulder. And she offers Wally a truly inspiring compliment to boot:
All good, right? Frances is back to her non-evil self and with an amazing new friendship. But that’s not where the story ends. We’re then taken to the future, where a group of temporal agents are investigating the destruction of the Flash Museum in the 25th Century. While we don’t know what happened, the circumstances are certainly mysterious. The temporal energy at the site has spread, infecting history and changing parts of the museum right before the agents’ eyes. And yet, their hooded leader seems more concerned about the murder of Eobard Thawne that took place there.
That’s right, the murder that Iris West committed.
And well, we’ll just let you see what happens…
That, my friends, is none other than Hunter Zolomon, the original Zoom! For those who don’t know, he was one of Wally West’s most destructive villains during Wally’s stint as the Flash. And he hasn’t been seen in…oh, years!!! This is pretty serious, and it can’t mean anything good for Wally, Barry, Iris or anyone in Central City! What happens next? Well, as the page says, this was just a prelude to “Flash War,” the major Flash event kicking off in May. Expect things to really get racing then. We’ll be there. Will you?