REVIEW: ‘The Flash 2022 Annual,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Flash 2022 Annual #1

The Flash 2022 Annual #1 is a special issue published by DC Comics, written by Jeremy Adams, art by Serg Acuña, colours by Matt Herms, and letters by Justin Birch. Wally comes to terms with the fact that Linda has super speed. As she rushes off to work, he decides to stay behind and read Linda’s book that she has written, a romantic superhero fiction novel of her own.

The set-up of this annual is brilliantly meta, as it is a story within a story. Bookmarked by Wally and Linda in their own lives, the majority of the comic is set inside Linda’s book, which is an original story. It uses beats that classic hero tales often follow, with a team and giant monsters and a space station as a base, and it intentionally homages the events that Linda has faced herself as the wife of a hero. It is exciting to see this world be born and, as it is created solely for this one annual, it’s unpredictable. There are moments of it that are corny but that is also intentional, with Linda herself believing it to be too.

But there is also a remarkable amount of depth, with much of the build-up being powerful. The only real issue with it is that the story isn’t real even within the context of the comic, so there are no stakes. And it may be considered strange to have this total aside be used for The Flash 2022 Annual #1, but if the book becomes even moderately important to the plot going forward, knowing what is in it gives it more identity. There is also a really sweet ending to the real story, one that leaves a powerful, unexpected question. 

At its heart, the story in this issue is about two characters; Wally and Linda. Whilst there are new characters inside the book, the protagonist is close to autobiographical. Both of them are allegorical for the real couple, using key moments in their relationship to translate into a single issue. They have such a strong connection, which is tested from the opening. It isn’t extreme or intense, but strained. The dialogue, particularly towards the end, is gorgeous and affectionate. It becomes a love letter, one that feels genuine and warm. With the extended length of the annual, this conversation doesn’t have to be rushed, and Adams can deliver a really poignant piece.

The art is simply stunning. There are two worlds being explored here and Acuña masterfully brings both to life. An amazing attribute of the art style is the differences in character design that truly gives the characters a presence on the page. Added thickness to the lines around Linda’s eyes give them a different shape and portrays makeup, whereas Wally’s features are more angular and pointed. And with such a personal, emotive annual, the large but expressive faces are superb. Small details like both of them smiling at the same time help elaborate on their connection. The style remains similar inside the story, but changes are made. There are more shadows inside the novel as if to make the world darker and to make it seem fictional within the already fictional world. 

The hero is a pumped-up version of Flash, seeming more like Wally if he was in Dragonball. This is both humorous and cool to see him with more muscles and way more hair. It is also great to see Linda essentially placed into her own story; the heroine of the book is basically identical to her. The monster at the start is huge and awesome, with some other large-scale creatures making appearances. The other heroes involved in the story have goofy designs, but they are fun to see.

The colours are crucial to the storytelling of this annual. This is due to the change in the filter to denote the different worlds. For Wally and Linda, the colours are vibrant and clear. They are both in casual clothes, but there is a rich quality to their outfits. Then, inside the book, there is a spottiness to the colours, like the cover of an old comic. This scratchiness puts something between the reader and the characters, again clarifying that it isn’t real. The colours deepen in this world, too, and there is more variety in the tones. They can be very dark to fit with the shadows or intensely bright. The lettering doesn’t fall into the trap of using a custom fantasy font, instead staying consistent and easy to read.

The Flash 2022 Annual #1 is a love story full of warmth. A novel plot concept that uses another story as a way of bringing the best out of the main characters. Linda’s book may lack proper stakes, but it carries those same themes of love and fun that this run of the Flash thrives off. This is a comic that isn’t afraid to delve deep into romance as Adams really encapsulates the happiness of this pairing. In a dark world, that light is always welcome.

The Flash 2022 Annual #1 is available where comics are sold.


The Flash 2022 Annual #1
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TL;DR

The Flash 2022 Annual #1 is a love story full of warmth. A novel plot concept that uses another story as a way of bringing the best out of the main characters. Linda’s book may lack proper stakes, but it carries those same themes of love and fun that this run of the Flash thrives off. This is a comic that isn’t afraid to delve deep into romance as Adams really encapsulates the happiness of this pairing. In a dark world, that light is always welcome.

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