FUTURE STATE: THE FLASH #2
Written by: Brandon Vietti
Art by: Brandon Peterson & Will Conrad
Colors by: Mike Atiyah
Letters: Steve Wands
The first issue of Future State: Flash was heavy on exposition and carried the narrative pace of a 1950’s science fiction adventure. Overall, writer Brandon Vietti’s dark plot ran counter to Flash expectations and did not review well. Vietti’s second and final issue in this Future State run leans into the darker tone is a more successful story than the first issue. While not an essential read, Vietti and the art team create an exciting and worthwhile ending that is much improved from the first issue.
The meaningful events of the first issue are all recapped in this second issue, meaning readers can easily skip the prior issue. Vietti gives readers a Barry Allen who is taking his lifetime of experience in science and super heroics to prepare for a battle against Wally West and one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The integration of weapons and tactics from the traditional Flash rogue gallery create a twisting confrontation that displays how effective some villains could have been if writers had the freedom to decide if iconic characters live or die. The villain reveals that he feeds off of Barry’s unrelenting hope. Hope is a central part of Barry’s character. From his belief that he can save others to his belief in the good in others, Barry never gives up hope. His one time role as a Blue Lantern demonstrates how central hope is to Barry. Facing an opponent that only grows stronger as his hope never wavers, creates an unwinnable battle for Barry.
The artwork by Brandon Peterson and Will Conrad is also a departure from the adventure comic feel Dale Eaglesham brought to the first issue. Peterson and Conrad’s style is more appropriate for this issue as it essentially a protracted battle scene. The movement and visuals of the battle are enjoyable for Flash fans as Barry Allen applies one villain’s tactics on top of another modifying them based on his knowledge of the speed force. Barry Allen becomes the most effective opponent a speedster has faced and the artwork displays each of these tactics to great visual effect.
The freedom the Future State provides is the greatest asset to the issue. Readers can not assume the heroes always win or that everyone can be saved. This creative freedom creates a worthy issue that is allowed to wrestle with the issue of evil triumphing over good. The ending may not be satisfying to fans, but it provides DC the ability to play around with concepts usually off the table in traditional super hero franchises.