Flash Forward #6 (April, 2020)
“Chapter Six: Nothing Ever Ends”
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
We’ve finally made it. Welcome to the end of, what has surprisingly been probably the most soul-sapping week ever at Chris is on Infinite Earths. Gotta say, I really wasn’t expecting this series to affect me quite like this. Hell, I didn’t think I’d ever even look at issues #2-6!
I don’t think there’s ever been a series of comics that caused me to reflect so hard on my comics fandom/habit… I’m actually to the point where I’m not sure I have anything left to say about DC Comics!
Anyhoo, before I rattle off into a 45-minute pre-ramble, let’s get past the dashes and into the book. Again, no Snickers ad… but, if you enjoyed DC’s dollar-store Young Adult books yesterday, we’ve got a couple more for ya today!
Oh, my descent into madness will be documented on the Collected Editions Page if you’re interested in seeing it all unfold “in real time”!
Also, it’s Easter Sunday… so, Happy Hoppy, Gang!
We open on that doomed planet of Wally West’s creation. He and his kids are sharing a “meal” of S’mores… which, might be touching… if only we haven’t had it beaten into our heads for the past decade that this relationship doesn’t matter. They have the sorts of chats kids have with their dads… before the tickle-monster shows up once again. The Last Supper is interrupted by the arrival of… the Mobius Chair.
Elsewhere, Tempus Fuginaut… pontificates. I mean, who thought this character was a good idea? His design sucks, he’s boring… and doesn’t DC already have enough of this sort of character? I’m not even going to waste my time snapping a picture of this guy here. Instead, we’ll rejoin the Wests as they’re setting up camp for the night. After the kids fall asleep, Wally exits the tent and looks at the Mobius Chair.
Tempus arrives to, once again, instill in Wally the importance of “letting go” of this planet… as in, ya know… destroying the thing. Also, taking his rightful seat in the Mobius Chair… for, reasons? Ya see, once Wally sits down, he’ll be made like hyper-conscious… his head will be full of so much information, he’ll forget all about Linda and the children… there simply won’t be any room left in his brain for them! So… a Wally sorta-kinda Lobotomy… that’s what we’ve all been begging for, right?! All us Wally fans just wanna see him as an empty-husk!
Wally agrees to do the thing… but first, insists that Tempus return Jai and Iris back to Linda. Tempus agrees. We then learn that the “Tempus Rod” Wally’s been carrying around with him to beat back the darkness was… powerless, ya see… the power was always inside of him! Aw. Good thing we’re just about to ruin the character forever, innit?
And then… just as Wally’s about to accept his fate… the kids wake up! They go to run toward their dad… but, Tempus’ giant mitt grabs them before they can get close enough.
Then… Wally sits in the chair, and his costume turns blue.
We get several (too many) pages of swirly cosmos stuff while Tempus and the tots look on. Then, *poof*… we’re on Earth-0… which is to say, the real DC Earth. Ya know, the post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint one. There, Linda Park (not Linda West?) is on the phone with her producer, when suddenly… memories come flooding back to her. She remembers Wally and the kids… and, looking out her window, she sees those kids come home. They embrace… which, again… would be touching, if I had any confidence that we’d ever see these characters again.
We rejoin Wally… and his baby-blue narration, as he says… “We are Wally West”, before quickly correcting himself with, “We were Wally West”…………… annnnnnd, screw this.
Oh, and we wrap up with the revelation that not-Wally now has the… Doctor Manhattan symbol on his forehead! Oooh, Watchmen stuff… c’mon gang, let’s all forget the fact that DC already crapped the bed on all’at and squeeeeeeee! Screw this book.
There we have it. One man’s descent into comic book madness… where I came out the other end so disgusted and disinterested, I don’t even think I need to bother with the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. DC Comics did it… they made me stop caring. With one fell swoop, I feel like I now have no more reason to continue supporting them.
Really… is it any wonder comic shops are hurting so bad these days? If this is the kind of bullcrap the big two are going to peddle? Who is this story for? Is it just for the people who constantly give Tom King “10 out of 10” reviews (while further rendering words like “genius” and “brilliant” absolutely meaningless) so he retweets them on Twitter? Is it just for Dan Didio himself? I can’t imagine any actual Flash fans reading this, and coming away from it full of hope for the future of these characters.
Ya see, we’ve all been there for “big changes” to our favorite characters. We’ve seen Superman go electric-blue, Wolverine had his Adamantium skeleton forcibly sucked out, Batman’s been broken, Hal Jordan lost his damned mind… but, with characters like that… ya know, the “money” ones… it’s never in doubt that the “status quo” will eventually return. With Wally West though? DC have already shown us that they find this character to be nothing more than a “problem” needing to be solved.
There’s a pattern of behavior here… and, I’m not confident we’ll ever see a return to old Wally. There are a number of reasons for that. First, DC just isn’t interested… and would rather further legitimize That B*tch Heroes in Crisis than actually protect the integrity their characters. Second, I’m honestly not sure this industry (print comics, that is) has quite enough time left in it to correct course. Right now, DC is far more interested in the little lightning bolt logo on the Flash’s costume, than whoever might be under the mask.
Oh! I should probably talk about the issue, right? It wasn’t great. In fact, this entire miniseries could have been told (if indeed it had to be), in one over-sized special, rather than eating up six-full issues (and a half-year of readers’ time). Nothing that happened in the first-half of this series mattered. A waste in every way possible. Can’t (and won’t) lay the blame on Lobdell or Booth though… they did their best with what they were given.
Anyhoo… with all that doom and gloom spouted… I apologize if this week of coverage has been a bit “heavier” than my usual fare here. Thanks for reading… I’ll see ya ’round!