WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for The Flash Annual #1
Zoom has returned to DC Comics, and he's about to start a Flash War for the ages. The coming competition between Barry Allen and Wally West has been advertised for some time, promising to decide once and for all who is DC's best Flash. But with a new twist in the future of DC's Earth - and the legacy of the entire Flash Family - the driving force behind The Flash War has been revealed. After years missing from the main DC Universe, Hunter Zolomon is back with a new name, in a new time - but the same old mission.
The Flash comic series may have slid into the background of some DC fans' attention as events like Doomsday Clock or METAL claimed the spotlight, but the time has come for Flash fans to catch up. The full Flash War series won't start until the Spring - promised to begin DC's new age of heroes - but the prelude to the showdown is a must-read.
And for all its twists and teases, The Flash Annual #1 will be best remembered for the return of ZOOM, the second Reverse-Flash.
The Flash War Begins With Reverse-Flash's Death?
Before fans excited to see the return of the villain rush out to buy their issues, a little explanation will be needed. The Annual picks up where a prior Flash arc left off... four centuries in the future, when a massive battle between Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne leaves the Flash Museum in ruins. But the 25th Century detectives introduced in this Annual aren't interested in property damage... they're investigating a homicide. As readers saw for themselves, the battle only ended when Iris West was forced to kill Thawne so she and Barry could return home.
Fans needn't get too bogged down in that bit of time travel, since fights between Allen and Thawne have leapt centuries before. This time, the fact that the murder was committed in the jurisdiction of time-jumping cops adds a twist. Unsure of just how badly Iris has messed with the time stream, these time cops are sent to bring her in for questioning.
An open and shut case, presumably, were it not for the cloaked, concealed commander of these fine officers.
A robed figure who seems to know a thing or two about Iris West and the personal history of Barry Allen, Wally West, and the other speeders of the 20th and 21st Century.
The real twist comes when that figure removes his disguise, and reveals his true identity. At the same time, revealing what may be a plan years, decades, even centuries in the making. A plan hatched between this mystery man and Eobard Thawne, before he disappeared from DC's New 52 and Rebirth continuity to plot his master stroke.
A plan that returns another iconic Flash Villain to the timeline, and sets in motion the events that will lead to The Flash War.