When it comes to comic book annuals, there's sometimes the question as to whether or not the issue is "worth" getting. Does it have anything to truly offer the reader? The answer here is a big yes.
Free from the constraints of the current storyline, we see Buccellato allowed to cut loose and tell a story clearly the way he wanted to tell it. From the banter/dialogue to the action, the story flowed so freely, you can't help but enjoy the issue and have a fun time while reading it.
The story begins with Barry and Hal out for a final night before Hal takes on his responsibilities leading the Green Lantern Corps. As they get pulled into a dire situation, we see it connects back to when they first met. In JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, we saw the two had some sort of history together. This is where it began.
The way Hal and Barry talk to each other feels completely natural. They take shots and insult each other the way that friends do. This is something we only see from time to time in comics. It's great being able to get a sense of what their friendship must be like.
I've long been a fan of Sami Basri. Seeing his art is great here and it fits the story nicely. Francis Manapul (and Buccellato) deliver a remarkable cover. The backup by Nicole Dubuc and Cully Hamner allow us to see how others approach the character. Having this story touch upon events from "two years ago" in Barry's life is pretty cool. At the same time, I am so incredibly grateful Buccellato wrote Barry and Hal's first meeting as taking place "a few years ago" rather than give a specific time frame.
There were a couple elements that felt a little too convenient in the main story. Hal also does something with his ring I don't believe we've seen before. It's interesting and I wonder if we'll see it touched upon later.
The backup story was just okay. It's a story that has a bit of a message to it. It does a good job in displaying Barry as a hero but didn't really feel as if it added anything to the Flash or was fully necessary.
There's still so much in the New 52 that we don't know. Seeing a flashback that touches upon the first meeting between Barry Allen and Hal Jordan was a welcomed treat. Brian Buccellato shows he fully gets the characters and does a superb job crafting the dialogue and banter between the two. This story makes me want to see a Buccellato written Flash/Green Lantern team-up book. The characters are so different yet work so well together. Sami Basri's art is great and seeing Cully Hamner's take on the Flash was enjoyable as well. THE FLASH ANNUAL is a comic everyone can enjoy. You can dive right in and get a good comic reading experience. This is exactly what a comic book annual should deliver.