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REVIEW: Flash Forward #1 Asks if There is Redemption for Wally West

Story by
Art by
Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colors by
Luis Guerrero
Letters by
ALW's Troy Peteri
Cover by
Publisher
DC Comics

Wally West has often been seen as something of a golden boy in the eyes of loving comic fans around the world. He's charming, hopeful, and has managed to be the fastest person to don the moniker of the Flash. Calling him "the best Flash" is arguably less of an admission of bias and more of a statement of fact within the context of the fictional DC universe.

However, things haven't been going well for Wally recently, especially after Heroes in Crisis controversially turned the hero into a killer. Now, Flash Forward #1 is trying to set things right.

For many readers, the notion of Wally West being a killer (by accident or otherwise) felt like something of a betrayal to the core of the character. While the events of Heroes in Crisis, which saw the death of over a dozen fellow heroes, could be rationalized from a narrative standpoint, the emotional resonance of Wally's actions was dire for both fans and the fictional characters in the comics.

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But Wally is paying for his crimes in one of the toughest prisons in the DC Universe, Blackgate. While inside, West pines over his transgressions, but never truly throws himself a pity party. He knows his actions deserve some sort of punishment, and if getting depowered and locked in a cell with some former rivals is that punishment, then so be it.

Prolific writer Scott Lobdell does a solid job of giving readers a glimpse into the inner politics that can lead to some strange bedfellows in a prison for superfolk, but it doesn't linger there for very long, which is a bit of a disappointment. Superhero prison stories are often fascinating, as Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark's Daredevil can attest to. When an all powerful character is reduced to their basic abilities, there's plenty of room for character growth and exploration.

Lobdell and Brett Booth dabble in this set-up a bit, but they waste no time getting to the cosmic meat of this issue's bones. So much so, Tempus Fuginaut, a cosmic being who keeps a watchful eye on Multiverse tomfoolery, is as much a cog in the story as Wally. After all, all roads in DC Comics eventually lead back to the Multiverse, and Flash Forward #1 sprints down the road with total abandon.

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Brett Booth is doing solid work here, but a few panels sprinkled throughout Flash Forward #1 featuring some less-than-stellar facial expressions. There are a couple images where someone looks to be screaming in pain, but their expression is closer to elation or excitement. This isn't unique to Booth, and the same could be said of his '90s stylistic contemporaries like  Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld or even the late Michael Turner. However, Booth is an artist who excels at rendering any sort of action scene, and this issue shows that talent in spades. All the Tempus pages are especially awesome, some of which are massive double-page spreads filled with crackling lightning and over-the-top character poses. It's good stuff.

Flash Forward #1 isn't going to quell any ill will Wally West fans may feel towards DC for what happened in Heroes in Crisis, but this issue is a step in the right direction in doing so. If you were a-okay with Wally's portrayal and actions, this comic is quite enjoyable, even if it doesn't fully explore the former hero's penance as much as it could have. Ultimately, Flash Forward #1 presents a way to mend a hero's legacy, and it has all the proper pieces in place to do just that. Redemption is by no means around the corner, but this issue posits that the notion of it possibility is.

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