The worst annuals are completely disposable. However, the best enhance the main narrative in some way or another. And The Flash Annual #3 does exactly that, for not one, but two series.
After the heavy stories of the last two years of The Flash a lighter, fun story was definitely what the series needed. It also puts the focus on one of the best, yet underutilized, members of the Rogues. Joshua Williamson, Stephen Segovia, Brandon Peterson, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Hi-Fi, and Steve Wands bring the Suicide Squad to Central City as Captain Boomerang takes the spotlight.
Task Force X is on the run, trying to get ahead of the government as well as the corporate overlords who are after them. Thanks to Captain Boomerang, they end up in Central City. However, given how quickly the Flash finds them, is actual trouble far behind?
Williamson has written The Flash for nearly a hundred issues at this point, and the only Rogue he really hasn’t worked with is Captain Boomerang. This issue really makes me mad that he hasn’t. He instantly gets Digger Harkness, using his ego as the perfect cover for a story that appears to be a case of an unreliable narrator. However, as the story goes on, not only do you see through the unreliable narrator, but you also see how smart Digger is.
This is a character that frankly has become a bit of a joke. He was killed in the pre-Flashpoint DCU because he had developed into a hopeless schlub. However, in the New 52, he had all sorts of potential. Frankly though, we really never saw it develop. Here though, Williamson shows the reader that Digger Harkness might be an ass, but he’s a great character. It’s all done through a twisty and turny adventure plot that actually keeps you guessing.
With three pencillers and an inker on an issue, it often could appear rushed or piecemeal. However, Peterson, Segovia and Pagulayan compliment each other extremely well, and help add to the feel that the unreliable narrator gives. Add well done action and some excellent splash pages and it’s a much stronger issue artistically than many would expect.
This is the sort of story that the Flash has been missing for a while. It’s fun, with a great plot. It has strong characterization, and a fantastic use of the DCU. If the last two arcs of Williamson’s run are this strong, we’re in for a great ride.
The Flash Annual #3 is available now from DC Comics.