For the most part I’ve enjoyed the Future State comic books. There have only been two exceptions to that thus far. And those two titles are Future State: Teen Titans and The Flash. Both titles have gone in very questionable directions for their characters with disappointing first swings in the Future State presentation of these characters. The time jump did them no favors as everything about what we saw in Future State: The Flash #1 came across as rush, pun not intended. The story of Wally West once again having a villainous turn did not hit in the way Brandon Vietti and DC Comics likely hoped. But there is still one more issue of Future State: The Flash for Vietti to turn things around for this story. Will that happen? Let’s find out with Future State: The Flash #2.
Writer: Brandon Vietti
Artists: Brandon Peterson and Will Conrad
Colorist: Mike Atiyeh
Story Rating: 1 Night Girl out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girl out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After months of preparing and analyzing Barry Allen has figured out that Wally West has some form of dual personality going on causing him to cause untold destruction around the world while calling himself a Horsemen of Apocalypse. Before setting out to face Wally alone Barry uploads all the information he has gathered into his ring in case he falls and someone else can pick up where he may leave off.
Barry then puts on his special Flash costume that is equipped with Captain Cold’s Cold Gun, Heat Wave’s Heat Gun, an Inhibitor Collar, Boomerang Mirror-Tech Duplicator, Pied Piper’s Flute Prisma Goggles, a Reverse Generator, Thinking Cap, Trickster’s Anti-Gravity Boots, and the Weather Wand.
As soon as Barry steps outside Wally speeds in and takes off Barry’s Thinking Cap. While Wally taunts him Barry stays focus on using all the weapons he has put together to keep up with Wally’s Speed Force powers.
After a prolonged battle Barry is able to get the Thinking Cap back on in order to talk to the Wally he knows. Wally reveals that Barry is weakening him and he is losing the strength to fight against the thing controlling him. Barry knows this is a trick and uses modified fuel in Captain Cold’s Ice Gun to destroy Wally from the inside.
With Wally’s body on deaths door Barry demands whatever is controlling Wally to show itself. As soon as Wally passes away the being known as Famine reveals itself to be what forced Wally to kill countless people and cause all the destruction that’s occurred.
Famine reveals that Wally West was the ultimate food source for him because all the hope people had in him was an endless resource to eat. Barry realizes that every time they fought the Famine controlled Wally that Famine used each battle to feed on the hope others were losing in Barry because of all the losses.
Barry then comes to realize that he is the representation of War, Pestilence, Famine, and Death he thought he was fighting. Barry promises to not give up and fight back in order to not feed into these representations of demise.
This new sense of motivation turns out to be too late as Famine has resurrected Wally. Famine-Wally then uses the Speed Force to turn Barry into an immortal ghost cursed to be nothing more than an incorporeal witness for whatever happens moving forward.
Sometime later, after Famine-Wally and the Ghost Barry leave the area Cybeast (the fusion of Cyborg and Beast Boy) appears and finds Barry’s Flash Ring that had all the data collected about Famine-Wally. Cybeast contacts Starfire to let her know what he found so they can have a better chance fighting back against the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. End of story.
The Good: It has been a while since I let out a big “sigh” after completing a comic book story. Future State: The Flash #2 got that exact reaction from me when I got to the final panel. And one I closed this comic book I was just left with the feeling of not wanting to read another Flash comic book moving forward.
At least we have the positive of some very good artwork from the team of Brandon Peterson and Will Conrad to prop up Future State: The Flash #2. The artwork throughout this issue was well done. They used the opportunity of Barry Allen using all of The Rogues weapons to draw some creative action sequences. The way each weapon was used had a sense of importance in how Barry fought back because of how it all looked.
The Bad: At this point I really wonder who at the DC Comics office that Wally West crossed the line with. Because there is absolutely no good reason that could be given to excuse the terrible treatment of Wally West since he returned in DC Rebirth. Its come to the point where I would rather DC Comics go in on just making Wally West a pure villain rather than seeing him be presented as the terrible, uninteresting character we continue to see.
While it pains me to say this about one of my favorite DC Comics characters is that we continue to just see the same recycled character arc for Wally. Once again DC finds a way to position Wally West so he can say it’s not his fault. First it was with the Speed Force inside him going out of control in Heroes In Crisis then there was his corruption through the use of Dr. Manhattan’s powers and the Mobius Chair in the entire Dark Nights: Death Metal Saga. Now we once again see that some greater force has corrupted Wally in the form of Famine to kill all the Speedsters, a number of Teen Titans, and cause a massive amount of destruction.
Because of all that the story in Future State: The Flash #2 just comes across as the same recycled story we’ve been getting about Wally West’s character since his return. Even when Brandon Vietti tries to explain why this is happening again to Wally it does nothing to make the results any better. It just further spotlights how uncreative the way Wally was used in Future State: The Flash. You immediately sense the desperation of the hope the excuse was good enough to get fans to buy in. Unfortunately that is all the explanation we get is: an excuse.
The poor treatment of Wally West makes the threat of Famine and the other Four Horsemen of Apocalypse completely uninteresting. The way this story is presented it feels like we are in the middle of a big event that we never will get the actual beginning or end to. Its just something we were thrown into the middle of without explanation. This is were the big range in terms of when things in Future State really hurt the overall direction. To many things are taking place many years apart that it is tough to keep track of everything. Which impacts how this story around the Four Horsemen is being presented in The Flash, Teen Titans, and Shazam titles under the Future State umbrella.
This brings up how DC Comics has been very bad about communicating how Future State: The Flash was never meant to be a complete story from the start. This is just one small part in a bigger storyline that is being told across several Future State titles. The lack of completion to this story just further hurts the presentation of the story that Vietti was trying to tell. You feel unsatisfied that we aren’t able to jump into Future State: The Flash and leave with the feeling of you only got 10% of the story when all was said and done.
The unsatisfied feeling that Future State: The Flash #2 ends with extends to the heroes journey that Vietti attempts to put Barry Allen on. Sure he is able to put together information on Wally but that is pretty much it. Seeing how much Barry aged between the first and second issue of Future State: The Flash was jarring because you are left wondering why he spent so much time in a bunker doing nothing but sitting in front of a computer. Even if that is not exactly what he did that is what Vietti presented Barry as doing even though Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, Bart Allen, and others who could take on Wally were gone by this point. You are left questioning why Barry wouldn’t do more like seek out his Justice League friends to help if Wally was this unstoppable of threat.
When all was said and done Barry Allen just comes across looking like a giant fool for dropping his guard the way he did in the end. Without his Speed Force powers Barry literally just stands still while moping about his role in this even though Famine was clearly in front of him waiting for this exact opening. This makes so the moment that Barry does get re-motivated that he does get what he deserves for allowing Famine to revive Wally and turn Barry into a Speed Force ghost. That is not all how a reader should be left feeling about the supposed protagonist of a story.
Overall: I cannot remember the last time I was this disappointed in a comic book. With how much fun the Future State direction has been thus far it is shocking to get such an unsatisfying reading experience like the one we got in the Future State: The Flash series. The fact that this series ended without even telling a complete story furthers how disappointing this entire experience was. At this point the best thing that can happen for the Flash Family is to forget that they took part in Future State.
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