For me, one of the real bright spots of the DC New 52 has been Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelato's take on The Flash. From a visual standpoint, Flash has never looked better, and the way Manapul approaches panels in the book really lends to the feel of the character.
For the annual, Manapul is mostly providing breakdowns, as the issue features different chapters and different art teams, while Manapul and Buccellato use each chapter to catch up with some of the supporting cast in Flash's world, mainly Captain Cold and the Rogues. This is a pivotal issue for the Rogues, as they evolve from goofballs with gimmicks to actual superpowered villains. And the man behind the Rogues' new powers is shaping up to be quite an adversary for Barry, although his motives aren't completely clear yet.
I liked the idea that the annual continued the story that's been building in the pages of The Flash for the past year. Annuals are sometimes throwaway issues, and I think it's too early in the life of this relaunched title for that. Manapul's breakdowns lend a consistency to the book despite the handful of contributing artists, and there are enough punch-ups in the back half of this one to balance out the character development. There's also a nice twist at the end that will roll right into the next issue.
All in all, The Flash Annual #1 continues the roll this book has been on, and promises to keep on rolling into year two.
4 out of 5 New Nemeses