What? We’re reviewing The Flash at Batman News? Why? Well, it’s because the Suicide Squad is guest-starring in this issue, and… No, never mind. Just that. It’s because of the squad. Blame them, specifically Captain Boomerang.
There were many thoughts running through my head after reading The Flash Annual #3, and none of them were that positive except for, “Well, at least the ending saved things… a little.” So, I’m sure you can assume the general tone of this review.
For those of you that haven’t been tuning in to Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Suicide Squad, then you’re definitely missing out. The book is only five issues in, but it has been an incredible read that’s full of action, suspense, twists, and more heart than a Suicide Squad book has any right to have. The general summary for the book so far is that Waller no longer controls the squad, and is under the leadership of a man known as Lok. For their first mission, the Squad captured a group of “terrorists” called The Revolutionaries, who are now serving as operatives for Task Force X as well. There’s a twist though… The Revolutionaries wanted to be captured so they could dismantle the squad… Which they effectively do, killing Lok, only to discover that Ted Kord is really in charge (WHAT!?!?), before breaking out of Belle Reve to seek revenge on him… Yes, it’s been a crazy five issues!
This story is the first narrative we’re getting of the Squad on the run, and, for whatever reason, they decide to trust Captain Boomerang to get them to a safe place… Which is my first issue with this story. It’s quite clear that Deadshot is kind of seen as the leader of the original Squad, and Osita is clearly established as the leader of the Revolutionaries. There is no way either of them would trust Digger. Deadshot knows he’s an idiot, and not only was Osita’s friend and ally, Jog, killed by Digger, but her life partner was killed by him as well. In fact, Boomerang killing Osita’s partner is the reason Osita created the Revolutionaries with the intention of taking down Task Force X. So, you can understand why it’s a huge stretch for either of them – or anyone really – to follow Boomerang blindly. There’s also no reasoning or explanation given, so you just have to go with it… And as we all know, I’m not a fan of the “just go with it” mentality. Why? Because it’s a clear sign that the author couldn’t bring themselves to actually work their story.
The one plus to this though is that because Digger is leading this little operation, so that means that this story is told from his perspective. As I stated previously, he’s an idiot so that should make for an entertaining read… And it does, in some respects.
Digger has been captured by local authorities, so he’s recanting the events from fleeing Belle Reve till now. As expected, there are wild embellishments… But I wish this would have been handled by a different writer. Some of the cheeky nature of Boomerang’s story is delivered perfectly, while other aspects feel generic, miss the mark, or just feel like it’s Williamson’s sense of humor as opposed to Boomerang’s. Overall, the general execution is decent though, and creates the more enjoyable aspect of this issue.
Now, clearly, with this being a Flash book, the Flash is involved… And I’m not a fan. Let me be clear, I’m always open to the Flash joining the fray, but his involvement here left me scratching my head. The story introduces Flash’s involvement by confirming he’d heard rumblings about Captain Boomerang’s return, investigating the slaughter at Belle Reve, then tracks down the Squad to help them because he’s gained a different perspective after learning what Waller forced the Squad to do in the past. Mmm… Ok, I’ll go ahead and admit that I don’t read The Flash (I’ve openly admitted that I’m not the biggest fan of Williamson’s writing style), so I have no idea what this previous conversation looked or sounded like. However, in no way can you make me believe that Flash is going to analyze evidence that proves the Squad murdered soldiers, and responds with, “But I’m sure you had your reasons, so it’s ok. How can I help?”
Are you freaking kidding me!?!? No! Nope! You lost me there. Sorry. That is not what a hero does.
Regardless, that’s what we get. So, without any details or explanations (yet again… hence my insistence that Williamson isn’t a great writer), Flash helps the Suicide Squad escape to some knock-off invisible jet. I mean, it is what it is…
The Squad does have a hit placed on them, and it is big enough that it attracts the attention of Deathstroke, so we got some great action about halfway through the book as Flash, Boomerang, and the Suicide Squad goes toe-to-toe with the world’s greatest assassin. While there are multiple instances that are enjoyable throughout this brawl, I especially liked Deathstroke fighting Chaos Kitten and Thylacine. I love big, bombastic action, but nothing makes me happier than to see martial artists square off, and we get a solid page or so of just that.
Now, I should remind you that this story is still being told by Captain Boomerang, so you have to take everything with a grain of salt. We get his events of how everything unfolds, and then, by the end of the issue, learn how the encounter with Deathstroke really ends when Flash fills in the holes… accurately. The actual ending to the conflict – especially juxtaposed to Boomerang’s version – is actually quite fun to read… But how the issue itself ends, is, again, something that has me scratching my head. I don’t know what Williamson is doing with Flash at the moment, but I spent the entire issue questioning Flash’s competence as a hero, and that’s never a good thing.
This annual brought a slew of artists together, and they all do a solid job. Stephen Segovia, Brandon Peterson, and Carlo Pagulayan are all credited for providing pencils for this issue, but it doesn’t list the pages they contributed. That makes me want to go on a tirade about not giving proper credit where it’s due, but I’ll save that for another day. Anyway, I can’t really speak to any artists work individually because I don’t know their work or style well enough to know what they actually contributed.
Generally speaking though, the work is quite good. There are moments or panels where the work looks funny, but I have to wonder if it was a symptom of this project being rushed. There’s been no news to signify that, but bringing on three different pencilers – as well as the fact that this is an annual story that’s tied more to another title than The Flash – I suspect that’s the case.
You can also tell where artists change if you pay attention, but their styles aren’t too drastically different, so it didn’t pull me out of the story. Brandon Peterson and Jason Paz on inks definitely help streamline the styles a little bit, and Hi-Fi’s colors help with consistency more than anything else. So, if this was a rushed project, I applaud all involved and apologize on DC’s behalf for the pencils and inks not being credited by page as they should have been.
- You’re loving Tom Taylor’s Suicide Squad.
- You’re a Flash fan, but you’ve been curious about Suicide Squad.
- Captain Boomerang makes you happy.
The Flash Annual #3 is a solid issue, if not a weird one. There are quite a few questionable decisions that are made, and considering this is a Flash book that’s written by the regular writer of The Flash, that happens to feature the Suicide Squad, that if any character(s) suffered, it would be the guest characters. But that’s not the case here. More than anything, the Flash feels out of place and mishandled. Overall, despite its missteps, it is a fun story if you choose to look past some substantial flaws.