Brandon Vietti was a writer on the Young Justice cartoon and a bunch of animated movies, including DC’s own direct to video LEGO offerings, and that weird Scooby-Doo/WrestleMania you’ve probably seen in the discount bins at Dollar General. This is his first attempt at comic books and it’s not the best first impression.
The biggest problem is that he’s using Wally West as the main villain of the story. Once again, Wally has been overtaken by some sort of evil entity within the speed force and he’s killing off heroes around the globe. After Tom King’s disastrous “Heroes In Crisis,” DC has tried very hard to redeem Wally West and it feels so stale to go back to that well again.
Vietti also seems to over-rely on the Flash tropes. Hearing Barry say “Flash Facts,” mention his ring recorder, name-drop just about every member of his Rogue’s Gallery and their weapon, and list off all the speedsters of the DCU just felt like too much crammed into one issue. I applaud Vietti for doing his homework and taking notes, but this feels more like a student trying to hit the word count on a term paper by listing every fact and spelling out every reference to fill space.
The story itself is interesting, so I’ll give him credit for that. Wally’s attacks have removed the speed force from everyone except himself, leading the world to believe that The Flash and other speed-enabled heroes have been kidnapped and locked away by the oppressive government (much like in The Next Batman, how we got here isn’t really explained) and the Flash Family have turned to collecting the weapons of the Rogues to fight on and try to help Wally. After creating a device to help them contact Wally through the speed force, they discover that an evil entity claiming to be Famine of the Apocalypse has taken control of Wally’s body and Wally’s true essence is trapped inside his mind. After losing another member of the Flash Family in the battle, Barry wonders if he can save Wally, or if he should just end him.
The art by Dan Eaglesham is a little stiff and awkward at times. There are moments where I’m not sure who a character is when only their face is shown, until reading the word balloons reveals their identity. At times, the panel layouts get a little confusing and it can get tough to tell which panel comes next or in which order the narration boxes are meant to be read. The colors from Mike Atiyeh are often too concerned with highlights and ignore adding the shadows and contrasts needed to make figures and objects stand out and appear set apart. The final page, which shows Barry’s workshop full of weapons he’s confiscated and considering using against Wally, is so devoid of needed weight and shadow that the objects feel as if they were stickers peeled out of an activity book and placed on an empty table scene. I wish someone had given then book a quick glance over before sending it to print. It’s not terrible, but it could be so much better.
Luckily this series isn’t bogged down by DC’s need to add any back-up stories and inflate the cover price, so you’ll just pay the standard $3.99 for this. It’s not the worst thing you’ll see in Future State, but it’s not great either. If Vietti is expected to write more comics for DC in the future, he needs someone with a little more experience standing over his shoulder to iron out the kinks. Maybe DC shouldn’t have fired all of those editors after all.