THE FLASH ANNUAL #1 (2021)/ Script by JEREMY ADAMS/ Art by FERNANDO PASARIN & BRANDON PETERSON/ Colors by HI-FI & MICHAEL ATIYEH/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Cover by BRANDON PETERSON & MICHAEL ATIYEH/ Variant Cover by BRETT BOOTH, JONATHAN GLAPION & ALEX SINCLAIR/ Published by DC COMICS
Wallly West was the Fastest Man Alive and The Flash, but he thought that was all behind him. After losing control of his powers and killing a number of heroes in a moment of weakness, Wally didn’t feel like much of a hero and was content to retire to focus on the family he’d lost and won in a race across time, space and reality. But Fate has a way of running your life in directions you never intended to go and Wally found himself swept away on the eve of his retirement, forced into the bodies of other speedsters across the multiverse, all to track some impurity within the Speed Force.
Now, the journey has brought him back to his darkest hour and the place called Sanctuary; the clinic where heart-heavy heroes came to heal, until Wally West killed them all. For the impurity corrupting the Speed Force is there as well and it is one of his most powerful enemies, restored and rejuvenated. Thankfully, Wally will not have to face them alone, being joined by the last ally he ever expected.
I’m reluctant to say much about The Flash 2021 Annual, lest I spoil one of the best comics in recent memory. If this book has a flaw, it is that it is dependent on other stories, being the final chapter of the opening arc of Jeremy Adams’ run on the monthly The Flash comic. Thankfully, Adams is a skilled enough wordsmith that he manages to explain what little needs to be known with a minimum of exposition and an editorial blurb at the start takes care of the rest. This would be impressive, had Adams not also used this issue to restore one of the greatest Flash villains of all time, along with the reputations of two heroes who suffered mightily because of a truly awful mini-series. I won’t say who, but Wally West is one of them and classic Teen Titans fans will want to pick this issue up.
The artwork is as powerful as the story, with Fernando Pasarin and Brandon Peterson tag-teaming the art duties. Peterson has a bold, brassy style that has suitted The Flash well these past few months and Pasarin proves his equal. The colors by Hi-Fi and Michael Atiyeh pop on the page, leaving each panel seeming to glow or burn.
If you haven’t been reading The Flash lately, this annual is a fine place to start. Easily accessible and full of electrifying action, this is a must read for all fans of The Flash and lovers of good superhero stories. I will go so far as to say that this is the best thing DC Comics has published all year and one of the strongest single-issue stories of the decade.