The Flash Annual #3
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Stephen Segovia, Brandon Peterson, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz and Hi-Fi
Lettering by Steve Wands
Published by DC
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Captain Boomerang weaves a grand tale of heroes and anti-heroes in The Flash Annual #3. Spinning out of the pages of Tom Taylor’s Suicide Squad and Joshua Williamson’s own Flash work, The Flash Annual #3 brings the Scarlet Speedster and the Suicide Squad together for a fun, breezy, and action-packed semi-crossover.
Fresh off their escape from the clutches of Task Force X — and the seedy mastermind behind the scenes, Ted Kord — the Suicide Squad finds themselves in the path of the Fastest Man Alive. But instead of being just a run-of-the-mill team-up, Williamson takes a more stylish direction with the chronology of this annual. Told largely from Captain Boomerang’s point of view as he’s interrogated by police, Williamson plays a neat shell game with his script, obfuscating the reality of the story with Digger’s cheeky and self-aggrandizing voice. Couple that with the splashy, quick paced artwork of the meshing styles of Stephen Segovia, Brandon Peterson, and Carlo Pagulayan and The Flash Annual #3 stands on steady legs.
For those not keeping up with either The Flash or the current Suicide Squad, worry not, because Joshua Williamson has you covered. Opening on Captain Boomerang already in Central City Police custody, Williamson carefully walks readers through a bit of a “previously on” in the opening pages. After laying out some of the current plights of the Flash and Squad, he starts to get into the real fun of the issue — namely, Captain Boomerang’s “version” of the events.
Unreliable narrators are a dime a dozen in comics, and probably double that when it comes to the Flash Rogues, but Williamson deploys the narrative device with a fun panache in this annual. Colored by Boomerang’s high opinion of himself and his abilities, Williamson brings us deeper into the Squad’s run to escape, which is stymied further by Deathstroke showing up for the bounty on all their heads. Again, this could have been just another three-fronted superhero clash, but the way Willamson feints and repeats the scenes (from the Flash’s real-time POV) gives the main action a bit more flair beyond just seeing everyone scrap.(opens in new tab)
Speaking of flair, the interlocking styles of Stephen Segovia, Brandon Peterson, Carlo Pagulayan provide this annual plenty of it, visually. Tackling this annual with an equal amount of pages a piece, each artist brings a real expressiveness and broad theatricality to the annual, carefully honed by the inks of Jason Paz and the rich colors of Hi-Fi. Though all three artists really swing hard here, the pages of Brandon Peterson, last seen in the 31st century on Legion of Super-Heroes, bring a keen comedy to the annual, highlighting the pure fantasy of how Boomerang says he brings down Deathstroke with a single punch. His CG-inspired, slightly too-smooth style brings the unreality of Digger’s story into a stark focus and provides the middle of the annual a neat glossiness that I think the script called for. I will say that the sudden smoothness clashes slightly with the more rough-hewn pencils of Segovia and Pagulayan, but not enough to completely upend the tonality of the piece overall.
The Flash Annual #3 might be a bit more scattered than you would expect a regular one-shot to be, but I think that just adds to its charm. By using elements from two separate ongoings and taking a more unconventional approach to this kind of momentary crossover, Joshua Williamson and the stocked roster of artists give us the best of both titles, while also taking an unexpected approach to how he lays the story out for an extra bit of narrative oomph. Bringing the good out of the bad guys, The Flash Annual #3 is a solid choice this week.