Flash Forward #3 (2020)

Flash Forward #3 (January, 2020)
“Chapter Three: Freefall”
Script – Scott Lobdell
Pencils – Brett Booth
Inks – Norm Rapmund
Colors – Luis Guerrero
Letters – ALW’s Troy Peteri
Associate Edits – Harvey Richards
Edits – Paul Kaminski
Group Edits – Jamie S. Rich
Cover Price: $3.99

Before we get into it, if you’re here to see a Snickers ad… I’m happy to report that we’ve got one!  Also, a cute Svengoolie strip to boot!

So… who’s ready for some more cranky and curmudgeonly Chris?

Nobody?  Well, please read on anyway…

We open on Earth-43 in… the place that used to be Gotham City (what is this, Convergence?).  We’ve got a bunch of civilians being dropped from a cruise ship that hovers around a mile over the city… and Wally does his darnedest to give them all a safe landing.  One of the women he saves says she’s glad he’s not “one of them”.  What “them”, you ask?  Well, looks like we’re going to be dealing with… Vampires.  Oh Puke.

Wally fights off Vampire Superman (who is far less cool than President Superman, but just as cringy to actually call by name)… when suddenly, he’s attacked by Vampire Barry Allen!  We can spy that someone is watching these fights go down from a distance through some crosshairs.

The Flashes fight… and run… and fight… and run, for a bit until Wally notices that Barry’s head looks a lot like his good (dead) friends, Gnarrk, then Roy Harper!  Seeing this immediately takes our man off his game, and opens up an opportunity for Barry to take the upper hand.

When it looks as though Barry’s just about to land the killing blow… er, bite… he’s struck down by like a dozen red arrows!  Before going “fwoosh” into a puff of smoke, Barry thanks Wally for putting him out of his misery.

Who he ought to have thanked, however, was the fella who shot all dem arrows… any guesses who that might’ve been?  I mean, you’ve seen the cover, right?

Of course, it’s Roy Harper.  He and Wally share some uncomfortable introductions before deciding that, if they’re going to take down the Justice League of Vampires, it’d be best for them to work together.  They hop into the Speedy-Mobile, and head off in the direction of the Batcave to take on the big-bad.  Along the way, Wally shares some of his Roy’s history, but doesn’t actually come clean about having killed him in that horrible piece of crap story a year prior.

After vibrating through a rock wall, they finally manage to gain access the Batcave… and whattayaknow, it’s just loaded with that nebulous Dark Multiversal Matter!

Wally in’t shaken… he knows that his handy-dandy Tempus Rod will take care of bidness here.  Unfortunately, no sooner does he unsheath the thing (from wherever it might’ve been sheathed), than it’s whacked with a ‘rang!  Vampire Batman ain’t keen on these interlopers… well, interloping.

As Wally goes off to chase his rod… Batman swoops down and delivers a fatal slash to Roy’s gut!

By the time the Bat turns his attention to Wally, he’s already re-procured the rod.  He delivers a blast to the Bat… and, ya know, saves the day.

Wally then attends to Roy… who is fading fast.  He can’t help but to feel responsible, because… lest we forget, people dying is Wally West’s only defining character trait these days!  I’m glad there are so many “genius-level” writers out there these days to inform our opinion on these legendary characters… while giving back nothing.

Full disclosure… these (so far) three issues of Flash Forward are the only “current year-ish” DC Comics I’ve read in… probably six months.  With every single panel I read it’d become more and more clear to me that, maybe this just isn’t for me anymore.

I mean, has there ever been such an agenda-laden character-assassination of a beloved character than this in comics?  I used to look at Marvel as being ridiculously adversarial toward its readership/customer base… but, the way Didio’s DC has handled Wally West?  It’s almost like a “screw you” to the readers on every single page.  Am I being a bit too precious here?  Maybe.  Am I projecting?  Likely.  But, I can’t apologize for the way this series (and the garbage fire that led to it) makes me feel.

Let’s go back just four years ago… DC Universe: Rebirth.  It was, for fans of DC Comics, a dream come true.  A sign that it was “safe” to come home again… without telling the fans of The New-52! that they were “no longer wanted” (like the way Flashpoint told all of us to “screw off”).  It was a “best of all worlds” situation… and the embodiment of all of that was, the return of Wally West.  Well… talk about a Monkey’s Paw wish, right?  What we didn’t notice back in ye old 2016 was, that paw was giving us a big ol’ middle finger!  When looking back at how he’s been treated over the past half-decade, I’m can say with 100% certainty that Wally West was better off in limbo.

Over the course of these three issues, Wally has told people not to refer to him as “a symbol of hope”, pretty much flushing the entire mandate of his return in the first place.  He can’t go more than a few panels without stopping to think about how he killed a bunch of his friends.  This isn’t Wally West.  This isn’t fun to read.  This is a situation where you go hunting (not that I’ve ever hunted)… and instead of “cleanly” shooting a deer in the head, you get it in the throat… and have to watch it slowly and painfully writhe and gurgle itself to death.  Heroes in Crisis was the bullet… Flash Forward is the “writhing death gurgle”.

Nothing against Scott Lobdell, who is still one of my very favorite writers… and is largely responsible for my several decades of superhero fandom in the first place (which makes us both sound ancient)… but, he’s playing the cards he was dealt.  Sucks for him that for this hand of Poker, he was dealt UNO cards.

That all having been said… this wasn’t great.  This felt like a Convergence tie-in, which is to say, it felt 100% pointless, drawn out, and a complete waste of time.  It only served to have Wally come face-to-face with “a” Roy so he could act all guilty and nebulously remorseful around him.  It’s almost appropriate that this was Roy, since… there was a story a fifty years ago that led to dictating the way he’d been characterized ever since.  Didja know Roy did heroin?  They might’ve mentioned that once or twice over the past half-century.  Also, didja know Wally killed a bunch of his friends?  They might’ve mentioned that once or twice per panel in this issue!

All I’m left with right now is… wondering why I’m still preordering so many DC Comics month after month?  What a waste.

Interesting Ads:

5 thoughts on “Flash Forward #3 (2020)

  • Grant Kitchen

    I've actually read this entire series and there is one good thing about the ending but don't want to spoil it. I liked the Snickers ad too. It seems each month is doing a different decade. Ironic because this was a bronze age era Batman centric ad something you mentioned not knowing much about the other day. Yeah Barbara Gordon was a congresswoman during the 70s and her dad knew her identity. I think she and Robin find out each others' identities during the Batman Family series (then after that series is cancelled the BF format moves over to Detective Comics starting with issue 481) but she loses all her memories but somehow had them backed up on cassette tape including Batman and Robin's identities but Robin asks her not to listen to that tape. At some point she finds out again as revealed in Detective Comics #526.

    • Hey Grant, I've been saving up comments until I wrapped up this series on the blog… sorry for taking a few days to reply. I just uploaded the review of #6 and… woof, can't think of a single thing I liked about it. If I had any confidence that DC hadn't "closed the door" on Wally, Linda, and the kids I might feel differently… but, this felt like a real ham-fisted "goodbye" moreso than a happy ending to me

  • Grant Kitchen

    Oh and it's a good thing Batman Family was cancelled because Detective Comics was about to get cancelled but moving the BF format over to that series saved it. But it kind of sucked for Hawkman who was given his own backup feature in 'Tec starting with issue 479 but because of the format change it only lasted 2 issues.

    As for the Svengoolie ad I must admit I've never heard of this guy so I was kinda lost but why did Batman tell Metamorpho to knock it off? What was he doing? I didn't even see Metamorpho til the last panel. 🤔

  • Hey, Chris. Great job posting about this wonderful Batman series. I really enjoyed seeing Robin and Batgirl get a chance to shine and the appearance of Clayface was a nice twist. I did not see that coming! Once again, Snickers did not have an active role in the villain's defeat but with 4 stars (Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Snickers) making for a crowded cast, it's still an effective and entertaining issue.

    The art was a delight as always. I caught hints of Jim Aparo and Irv Novick. Good stuff!

    The Svengoolie back up was a slight but enjoyable treat. Superman in a Svengoolie t-shirt is cool.

    My only criticism is that "Flash Forward" bonus insert. I'm not sure, Chris, why you're spending so much time on that instead of the main Batman/Snickers adventure.

    • Heyyy Dave, haha… the Snickers Ad was definitely the highlight of this one… heck, they've been better (and more thought out) than the entire six-issue slogfest I put us all through this week!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *