Flash Forward #5 (March, 2020)
“Chapter Five: Reunion”
Script – Scott Lobdell
Pencils – Brett Booth
Inks – Norm Rapmund
Colors – Luis Guerrero
Letters – ALW’s Troy Peteri
Associate Edits – Ben Meares
Edits – Paul Kaminski
Group Edits – Ben Abernathy
Cover Price: $3.99
It’s penultimate issue time… and, woof. What started out as a cathartic experience for me has devolved into nothing but pain and regret. Oh boy, just one day left!
Oh! No Snickers ad this time out… but we do have plenty of dollar-store looking DC young adult graphic novels!
Did you know that Wally West received his powers in a very similar fashion as Barry Allen? Well, if you didn’t before… the opening splash page here will give you the goods! Yes, the entire first page is wasted on an image of Wally getting smothered in electrified chemicals. Then, we jump to a two-page spread of Tempus Fuginaut walking us through all of Wally’s histories… a page that normally would get me pretty excited… but, today? Ehh. The camera pans out, and we see that Tempus is sitting in proximity to… the Mobius Chair!
Back at the Cusp of the Multiverse, or whatever, Wally and the Kids see that they’re about to be overtaken by a wave of the Dark Multiversal Matter. Jai and Iris insist that their daddy leave them there, but Wally ain’t havin’ it. Before we know it, the tots are dressed in their superhero togs… and they’re makin’ like the wind. Worth noting, Irie’s outfit is basically Impulse’s… that’s because, before DC decided to flush their continuity in 2011… and also, before they wanted an “All-New, All-Different” Wally West to play Kid Flash, and finally before Bendis actually read a DC book (after they were paying him to) and found Bart Allen “bwah-ha-ha, funny”… li’l Iris was going to go by the moniker.
While they run, Wally is flashed back to the “beginning”… he and Linda are spooning in bed… and the babies are having trouble getting to sleep. Wally heads over to the crib to pick up Irie, and promises that he’ll always be there for her. This would be touching if I felt, for even a second, that this was worth investing any emotion into.
Then… same as it ever was, Wally is spat out of his fantasy. He finds himself at the foot of Fuginaut. The giant Tempus informs him that he must destroy the planet on which his children currently reside. Frustrated by this entire endeavor (glad I’m not the only one), our man attacks the stupid golden geek.
Dark Multiversal Matter surrounds the entire planetoid… and so, Wally zig-zags all over the orb with his Tempus Rod trying to beat back the darkness.
He runs himself silly… but, it’s of no use. Wally is stopped hard by a strange force… and when he regains his bearings, realizes he is stood before… the Mobius Chair.
Wanting some answers, Wally approaches the seat… in another two-page spread. I’m tellin’ ya, if comic fans are cool with this, I don’t wanna hear anybody complaining about the “Image Guys” pin-up page-wasters anymore.
Then… Wally knows everything he needs to know. He doesn’t share anything with us yet… but, he has reached a level of self-awareness… in another, nearly full-page splash.
We wrap up with Tempus telling Wally that he didn’t learn anything he didn’t already know… he was just choosing not to accept it. We learn that Wally was responsible for the creation of the planet where Jai and Irie have been… and that’s why he’s the only one who can destroy it. Wally refuses… and, mercifully, the chapter ends.
You win, DC Comics! Through your inability to tell a story and seeming determination to tear down everything that made your brand special… you’ve made me stop caring! I mean, look at that opening bit… with all the Wally histories… normally, that would’ve (in wrestling-fandom parlance) “popped” me huge! I’d have been so psyched to see something like that. Now, though? I feel like all of my caring has been beaten out of me. Why should I be invested in any amount of history, when DC Comics (and its “architects”) are so insistent on hand-waving as much of it away as possible?
The story presented in this issue ought to be one of great trauma and urgency… it’s a father desperately trying to save his children. He’s willing to do anything and everything to ensure their safety and survival… annnnnd, in my opinion, it misses the mark horribly. There are no stakes here… because… check this out, DC… you’ve spent the past five years showing us that Wally’s “reality” was nebulous at best. Why should we now mourn something that we’ve been told, in not so many words, not to count on ever coming to pass? The people who care about Wally… we mourned the loss of his reality nearly a decade ago. Then… again when you crammed that other Wally West down our throats. Then… a third time when you brought an incomplete version of the real-deal back in Rebirth. Then… a fourth time during That B*tch Heroes in Crisis. There’s only so many times I’m going to touch the hot stove before I realize that a) it hurts, and b) I probably ought to stop. I might be denser than most, but… eventually even we addicts come to the realization that there must be a better way.
In closing, I think Wally himself put it best when he said…