I mentioned during my review for the second issue of the Zatanna Knight Terrors mini-series that some of these stories have turned out better than other. Zatanna’s was a bit of fun, but some others were decidedly less so.
Case in point: Knight Terrors: The Flash.
Issue: Knight Terrors: The Flash #2, August 2023
Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artists: Tom Derenick and Daniel Bayliss
The Plot: The Flash needs more speed to save Wally West.
Commentary: OK, here’s the deal: in order for a story like this to work, I need to be surprised at the outcome. Issue #1 opened with Barry Allen’s learning that Kid Flash Wally West was nearly killed in a battle with Gorilla Grodd when Barry wasn’t there. Barry’s timeline is a bit messed up as he remembers Wally as an adult “Flash” and not the kid he sees dying in a hospital bed. Essentially, there’s some interesting mixing and matching of time periods, complete with a decaying Hal Jordan on the Justice League satelite trying to make up for being Parallax or something. Wally claimed some sort of monster in the Speed Force stole his speed just enough in order to slow him down enough for Grodd to hit him with (if I remember right because it really isn’t important) the Spear of Destiny.
Now, in order for this story to really work, I have to be surprised about what the monster in the Speed Force is, but I made a guess after issue #1, and the longer issue #2 went on, the less surprising it was, to the point where I’ll just say it here: the monster is Barry.
I normally avoid spoilers in these reviews, but as Barry went around claiming more and more speed to try and stop Wally’s stabbing retroactively, he was getting larger and more deformed, to the point where he was committing acts that would normally horrify him to get the speed he needed. The more speed he took, the less human-shaped he was. Of course Barry was the monster.
Now, there’s a bit more to the story than that, and maybe I’m just too wise to genre tropes for a story like this and someone newer to this sort of story would have been more surprised, but not the way the thing was going. So, maybe Barry was the one who was supposed to be surprised? Regardless, I sure wasn’t, and the overall story just felt kinda mediocre.