REVIEW: ‘Future State: The Flash,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Future State: The Flash #2

Future State: The Flash #2 is a comic published by DC Comics. It is written by Brandon Vietti with art by Brandon Peterson and Will Conrad, and colors by Mike Atiyeh, and letters by Steve Wands. Wally West has been possessed by the creature Famine. He stole the speed from every speedster on the planet and killed most of them. The Flash and his allies were losing battles and friends, with Impulse dying very quickly within the first issue. In a last-ditch effort to bring Wally back, Barry and the surviving Flash Family enter his mind. This backfires horribly as Wally murders Jay Garrick, the first Flash, and nearly does the same to the others. 

Within this issue, only two months have passed. And yet the world seems to be at its knees. Barry has lost more friends and family, practically on his own. He is still working on ways to defeat his former protegeé, deciding to face him alone. Without the Speed Force, The Flash arms himself with an arsenal of his enemies’ weapons and battles Wally.

The plot has a nice structure for the most part. The setup reveals Flash’s desperation as the loss of his allies is explained briefly, alerting the reader to the fact that he is totally on his own against a deadly enemy. The battle itself is epic and intense, the stakes increased heavily as neither character has much left to lose. However, dialogue and events start to repeat and the pace of the comic can feel disjointed at points. The ending is a huge surprise and starts to explain to the reader why the world is in this state, with a possibility of something very different happening next issue. The entire world is dying, Wally and Famine wiping out most of humanity.

The biggest problem with Future State: The Flash #2 is that it is just as bleak and devoid of hope as the last issue. The deaths of characters are barely even dwelled on, not given any time for it to sink into the reader. Huge, important characters are killed off but are given just a panel to explain what happened to them, with no dialogue or flashbacks to really hit home. When Barry and Wally fight, as awesome as the fight is. The lack of light or energy within the comic reduces its impact.

Vietti writes both characters well, which is very needed in a comic with a small cast. This issue only features Barry and Wally. Barry looks older in this issue, the loss of everything darkening his soul. He is still obsessed with hunting down his best friend, which is a partial explanation of why those around him have perished. Even now, after all of this, there is still a flicker of hope within him. This and his determination are the few strands of positivity remaining within this comic.

Wally is the figure that crushes that positivity. Famine is a terrifying villain, full of remorseless evil that seeks to consume everything around him. What makes his actions worse is that it is a beloved hero doing it. For many comic book readers, Wally was THEIR Flash, and seeing him commit these acts is a big shock to them. Flash has a history of speedster villains, from Reverse-Flash to Godspeed, but the bad guy in Future State: The Flash #2 seems the vilest of the lot.

For the majority of the comic, Vietti’s dialogue is great. Wally’s gloating and boasting is a performance that exists to destroy Flash’s soul. But it could be argued that there is too much dialogue. There are big, bulky word balloons and speeches, alongside huge caption boxes, that may overwhelm the reader.

Peterson and Conrad’s art is fantastic, placing Flash and Famine in the wasteland that was once Central city. Barry looks very different than he did in the first issue, a result of being cooped up inside working on ways to kill Famine. A long beard protrudes underneath his mask. The design of him suited up at the start of the comic is brilliant, wielding weapons and armour from so many of his Rogue’s Gallery.

The fight itself is fantastic in how it is laid out. Barry utilities his devices in clever ways the battle, all beautifully presented by the artists. Shoutouts include criminals such as Rainbow Rider, Weather Wizard, and Captain Boomerang, just three of the powers Flash has at his disposal.

The creator who deserves huge praise for the fight scene is Atiyeh. While the layout of the moves is designed by Peterson and Conrad, it is the colors that create a dynamic and vibrant action scene. Each weapon has a different color or shade, making it easier to see which character they came from. Atiyeh is fantastic through the issue, particularly on the red and yellow costumes of the characters.

The lettering is a contributing factor towards dialogue being too much in places. The word balloons are enormous and take up a lot of space within the panel, often spread out across the page. If there isn’t speech, there are captions that are just as big. This isn’t entirely Wands fault, as the dialogue from the script has to go somewhere. But the landscape (piles of rubbles and powers and energy) can make the panels look crowded.

Future State: The Flash #2 has improved but is still disappointing. Darkness and misery absolutely have a place within superhero comics and have often been dealt with well by writers. But this comic is far too bleak. The pacing, characters, and dialogue aren’t doing enough to keep you invested in the plot. The art is brilliant and the fight is enthralling but the reader may find themselves tuning out from it. Fan-favorite characters have been killed off in this series but it’s hard to care about that fact when it’s almost a side note within the issue. However, the end of the comic provides some context to this world, so hopefully what comes next is worth the torment.


'Future State: The Flash,' Issue #2
2.5

TL;DR

Future State: The Flash #2 has improved but is still disappointing. Darkness and misery absolutely have a place within superhero comics and have often been dealt with well by writers. But this comic is far too bleak. The pacing, characters, and dialogue aren’t doing enough to keep you invested in the plot. The art is brilliant and the fight is enthralling but the reader may find themselves tuning out from it. Fan-favorite characters have been killed off in this series but it’s hard to care about that fact when it’s almost a side note within the issue. However, the end of the comic provides some context to this world, so hopefully what comes next is worth the torment.