Friday, July 31, 2015

The Flash Annual #4

Yay! Aside from the cover, no Brett Booth art in this issue!

This annual must be about how Professor Zoom recruited these super villains to his crew so that they can appear seamlessly in the pages of the regular series.

The issue begins in 1520 in the Aztec Empire which was being properly transformed into a civilized and religious world by my great Spanish ancestors! An Aztec woman ages a bird with magic and some"Liberators" (Conquistador sounds so harsh!) spy her horrible witchcraft! They say, "Usted ve con sus propios ojos. Ella es una bruja! Ella debe morir!!" I don't know Spanish very well but since I'm half-Spanish and was often called "mal niƱo" by my Grandmother, I think I'm pretty good at translating the language. Translated, the Spanish hero is saying, "Y'all saw that with your proprietary eyes, right?! She's an illusionist! She has to die!!" And she's all, "Ooh! How do you dye your clothing black?! I'll teach you how to dye clothing purple if you show me the trick to getting it black?!" And they're all, "Oh! Fancy!" But then Professor Zoom kidnaps her and the good Spanish lads are left disappointed.

But before Professor Zoom kidnaps her (which I assume he's going to do because he travels through time and why else would the story begin in 1520?!), the Spaniards have more Spanish wisdom for me to translate!

"She is either dangerous or a gross dog! Prepare your weapons!" "Hope!" "What do you want, old fart?" "Pardon me. I only wish to speak with her, playful squidman." "Very well. Dog ten cities."

This woman, Magali, makes Eobard Thawne young in exchange for his protection which he provides by killing the heroic Spanish Liberators. Magali offers her services to Eobard in his hunt to save the world from The Flash. But first they must collect more people throughout time who have been touched by the Speed Force. This should be boring or exciting!

Eobard's next stop is in Southern Africa in 1883. I am not part African or Dutch or whatever nation the heroic and not racist at all according to most text books Liberators were, so my translations skills will not be useful for this section of the comic book. Sorry!

Wow, these liberators are kind of dicks! But they speak English, so they must be the good guys. How dare that worker, probably compensated well for his time and hard work, try to steal from the company!

The thief is the Folded Man and he's stealing the diamonds to stick into his own mine. I guess he'll dig them up later and show them to the white guys and say, "Hey! Look what I found in the mine on my land which you didn't kick me off of and won't kick me off of now because it's just business, right guys?!" And they'll all clap him on the back and say, "How lucky you are! Here! Have a great fat cigar on us! Welcome to the rich man's club!" But before that plan can come together, Eobard and Magali show up to recruit him for their time travelling circus.

The white European people (who are being made out to be the bad guys for some reason!) seem to be responsible for burning the Folded Man's village and killing everybody within it. The Folded Man offers to join Eobard in exchange for getting revenge against the Europeans who just made a simple mistake, probably. I'm sure there's a rational explanation fro why the village burned. But Eobard the white guy convinces him that they can get revenge against all white people across all time if he joins the team. So he joins and they all time travel to find the next indigenous person that has a beef with the Europeans.

1957. Australia. A Maori woman is working in a circus sideshow and not being exploited at all. She is an immovable object unless you call her a Maori witch and then she'll move all over your stupid face. I suppose that means she somehow manipulates time so that she can lock her body into a moment. If there's no time, there's no movement! I think. That sounds about right.

Speaking of Maoris, I saw Jemaine Clement's What We Do In The Shadows last night. All I have to say is "Superb." Not only are all the actors who play vampires geniuses in their roles, Rhys Darby makes a serious attempt at stealing the entire movie as the Alpha Werewolf of a group of "werewolves not swearwolves" encountered by the vampires. I'm fairly certain I can say this is not only the best vampire movie ever made but the best vampire movie that will ever be made. I love Jemaine Clement's under-delivered performances. They really make the scene where the young vampire eats a chip. The delivery of his warning not to eat the chip is genius compared to the consequences of eating the chip. Fucking magical.

Once The Human Block is rescued from the circus, Eobard explains everybody's powers even though most readers probably have them all figured out by now.

I was close enough about The Human Block's powers.

According to the cover, Eobard still has two more people to rescue! The next one he takes from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in 1982. So is Eobard actively only recruiting indigenous people who have been granted Speed Force power so he can point at white Barry Allen and say, "There he is! Another white man trying to take what's yours!" He's treating these recruits like trained dogs! Who's the real racist here?

Don't say I am! Jerks!

The scene in Oklahoma plays out like something from X-men or the Inhumans. A kid with super powers has been shuttled off from one boy's home to another. But Professor Xavier Thawne is there to help! "You aren't a freak. You're special. You have unique powers. You have a family. Blah blah blah." Hugs all around. Another member recruited. Next!

Maybe don't spin then?

The fifth person on the cover is Hairy Potter, aka Selkirk. So I guess the band is complete. Time to rock The Flash's world!

But the police hate him! And everybody warns to get out of his way when he's around! He's unloved and unappreciated! I'm pretty sure now is the perfect time to kill him!

Does the Speed Force allow people to learn new languages quickly too?

Eobard Thawne reveals his face to the others when Magali questions how Professor Zoom knows so much about The Flash. But since Brett Booth isn't drawing the face that is revealed, I have no idea if I'm supposed to gasp at the revelation. Is it Bong Dazo's version of Henry Allen? Maybe! Or it could be Captain Frye! It's also possible it's Bruce Wayne! Shouldn't there be an editorial box telling me who it is I'm supposed to recognize?!

The last few pages show how Thawne manipulated events in each of his crew member's lives so they would wind up at a place where they would feel obligated to help him. It's a real shocker to find out Eobard Thawne isn't the caring guy he was making himself out to be!

The Flash Annual #4 Rating: I don't rate annuals. But The Flash probably wishes that I did because this was much, much better than the ongoing title. I'm absolutely not a fan of the Eobard Thawne using time travel to set up events to bring down The Flash because it's not going to work even though it should work because time travel! Keep doing it until you get it right or you break reality! But don't just lose! Losing is for people who can't time travel! I wonder how much more I liked this issue simply because I didn't have to look at Brett Booth's goofy art and screwy panel layouts?

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