The Flash! Captain Boomerang! Suicide Squad! Deathstroke?!
Something went down... and only Digger Harkness knows the truth! But can he be trusted?
Stories with unreliable narrators can be fun. It’s an old trope, going back at least most famously to Catcher in the Rye, and has been used countless times since all across types of pop culture and media. When executed properly, it forces the reader to second-guess the very words they’re reading on a page, and suss out for themselves what’s really going on by reading between the lines. But when done improperly, it just kind of comes off as a gimmick. And that, unfortunately, is the net result of Flash Annual #3, in which Captain Boomerang spills a tall tale concerning the Suicide Squad, Deathstroke, and of course, the Flash.
Throughout his yarn, it’s not entirely apparent at first that this actually is functioning as an unreliable narrator story. It becomes gradually more obvious throughout, as the level of nonsense in Digger’s story starts at the level of Flash slovenly belching while eating a hamburger, to his eventual fate at the hands of Deathstroke. Most of the time, the effects are just for a cheap laugh, and nothing more.
It’s even more odd that Flash is a guest-star in his own story. Captain Boomerang is the lead, the newest incarnation of the Suicide Squad is his supporting cast (free advertisement for that title, I guess?), and Flash is basically just comic relief. Given that this story is positioned as having far more relevance to the former title, it can’t help but beg the question as to why this wasn’t just a Suicide Squad annual instead of a Flash one.
Further hampering the story is the fact that the art chores are split three ways, between Brandon Peterson, Carlo Pagulayan, and regular rotating series artist Steven Segovia. All of these artists are fine talents in their own right, but have very different styles, creating a clashing issue that never fully gels from page to page. Hi-Fi’s coloring throughout brings some cohesion, but not enough to fully corral these diverse art styles. At the very least, David Marquez’s cover is pretty to look at – too bad it was attached to such an inconsequential and forgettable comic.
In the end, despite its half-hearted attempt at unreliable narration, Flash Annual #3 just comes off as a cheap attempt to force some laughs that aren't really there to begin with. Add to that three artists with clashing styles, and you have a highly skippable $4.99 comic.
Flash Annual #3: Oh Boomerang, Where Art Thou?
Writing - 5/105/10
Storyline - 4/104/10
Art - 5/105/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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