April 27, 2011

Francis Manapul Out, Scott Kolins In for Flash #11 & 12 (UPDATED!)

Category: Creators, Flash News — By

Those of you who pick up your comics on Wednesdays have no doubt already noticed: Although Francis Manapul was scheduled to draw both Flash #11 and Flash #12, his art only appeared on the cover of this week’s issue. Instead, Scott Kolins provides the interior artwork this time around.

The one-time regular Flash artist explains on Twitter:

Sorry guys I didn’t do flash 11 and only came back to help on 12. Editorial decided to get me started on the next project

Clearly Editorial wanted to get those last two issues of The Flash out before Flashpoint, and the clock was ticking. Manapul doesn’t say what the “next project” is, but I’m guessing it’s either not tied to DC’s event schedule or has a lot of lead time.

My guess: Someone else will pick up the inevitable post-Flashpoint Flash relaunch, but we may see Francis Manapul back for the equally-inevitable Flash: Secret Origin.

Personally I’m sad to see him go. His art was a big part of what I enjoyed about this run, and I do think that “The Road to Flashpoint” will ultimately suffer a bit for being split between two artists with different styles. It really makes me wish DC and/or Geoff Johns hadn’t tied the series to another event with its own deadlines.

One last note: It’s not clear whether Scott Kolins is doing the art for next month’s series finale (except for the 5 pages that Francis Manapul mentions elsewhere on Twitter), but after the two Rogue Profiles and #11, it seems like a safe bet.

UPDATE: Francis Manapul writes more about the move on his blog, saying: Read the rest of this entry »

Contest: Where Was Wally West? — Week Three

Category: Fun — By

It is convention season, and Flash fans across the country have been asking the same question: “Where is Wally West?”

While we do not know where Wally is now, where he will be, or how long it will be until he is anywhere, we certainly know where he was! With that knowledge, we introduce our new ongoing contest feature, “Where Was Wally West?”

On Wednesdays, we will post a panel or sequence from a classic comic featuring Wally West visiting an alternate reality, the past or a “possible future”. Every fan who can tell us the issue, writer, artist(s) and a reasonable description of the locale/era, by Friday, will be entered into a raffle for a cool Flash prize! Just send your responses to whereswally – at – speedforce.org, and we’ll announce the winner next week!

So check out the image to the right and ask yourself, WWWW?

This week’s prize is the Flash Final Crisis poster by JG Jones. Winners must live in the continental US or Canada.

This Week: Flash #11, Flash: Rebirth TPB, and Velocity #4

Category: Out This Week — By

Several long-awaited speedster books arrive in stores this week.

The Flash #11

Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art and Cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL ; 1:10 Variant Cover by SCOTT KOLINS

The road to FLASHPOINT is paved with good intentions, but the Flash is about to learn the truth behind those good intentions — and the secret of Hot Pursuit!

DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US

I’m guessing this isn’t Hot Pursuit’s secret. Also: Scott Kolins’ variant cover is pretty cool.

Flash: Rebirth (Softcover)

Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art and cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, the writer/artist team behind the blockbuster GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH and THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR, create an explosive, jaw-dropping epic that reintroduces Barry Allen as The Flash in this new collection of the fast-paced 6-issue miniseries. But how will this greatest of all Flashes find his place in the 21st century?

DC Universe 168pg. Color Softcover $14.99 US

» Order from Amazon (available next week).

Has it really taken this long for the softcover collection to come out? It’s almost exactly a year since the hardcover release. (I guess they really are following a book publishing style schedule.)

Velocity #4

story: Ron Marz
art & cover: Kenneth Rocafort

The clock counts down to zero as the taut, pulse pounding series races to its conclusion. Carin Taylor, the hero known as Velocity, has been infected with a deadly techno-virus. Thus far she has been successful in saving most of her teammates from the same virus, but now the exertion is taking its toil and the fastest girl in the world may not be able to win this race. The issue concludes the creative collaboration of writer Ron Marz (Witchblade, Angelus) and artist Kenneth Rocafort (Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer).

Full Color 32 pages $3.99 limited series

» Velocity preview at Newsarama.

Review: Flash #9 and 10

Category: Reviews — By

Yeah, I’m way behind on reviewing The Flash. I thought about jumping straight in with #11 this week, but I decided I’d try to catch up if possible. Even if it is close to midnight.

So, the first two chapters of “The Road to Flashpoint,” by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul…

Flash #9

This was a fun issue, with some nice shout outs for long-term readers, but didn’t feel like it had much substance. It was the first issue to feature DC’s new, shorter page count (20 pages instead of 22), which may have something to do with it. On the other hand, I remember reading the latest issue of The Unwritten the same night, which had so much going on that I didn’t even notice it was shorter than usual. I actually counted pages to verify.

I still love Francis Manapul’s art, and the large panels and splash pages help it shine, but I’m really starting to feel like pacing is becoming a problem. (More about that with #10.)

It was great to see Wally, Jay and the rest, even if only for a couple of pages. I’d like to see them actually do something by the end of this storyline, though.

The rift between Barry and the “real cops,” as Detective Jerkwad calls them, was infuriating…but sadly all too realistic. No one likes to get caught abusing their position, and it takes effort to move past “I’ve been caught” to “I need to change what I’m doing”…and the type of person who would frame innocents just to look like he’s doing his job probably wouldn’t be interested in making that leap.

Hot Pursuit’s real identity was unexpected, and kind of cool at first, but started to grate a little during the following issue.

Flash #10

To be honest, I was really underwhelmed by this one. Fully half the issue was exposition. Not just exposition, but a bunch of guys standing around talking. In a book that’s supposed to be “all about speed.” And the exposition isn’t even really for this storyline, it’s for another story that’s coming up.

Sure, I know the story is called “The Road to Flashpoint,” but it’s starting to feel like these four issues of The Flash are only a prologue, and not a story in its own right. Okay, long prologues worked for Robert Jordan (as he got further into The Wheel of Time, the prologues to each novel approached a hundred pages and were released ahead of time as stand-alone eBooks), but I feel like the book is in a holding pattern.

Fortunately, the second half of the issue was a lot more engaging…which is odd, because it dropped all elements of super-heroics and super-speed to become a purely character-driven police procedural….and again featured a lot of standing around talking. Other reviews I’ve seen have made similar comments, and I think they’re right that it’s a matter of matching the storytelling style with the genre.

I like that Geoff Johns has updated Patty Spivot* into a full-fledged police scientist in her own right, rather than leaving her as a lowly lab assistant, and the interaction between the two former colleagues was a great mix of awkwardness, joy, slipping into old roles, and establishing new boundaries. I especially liked the understated moment where Patty says to Barry, “I didn’t know…you were back,” rather than coming out and saying, “I didn’t know you were alive” — it’s got to be strange to get a phone call from an old friend you thought had died** years ago.

The last scene between Barry and Bart, though, where Bart asks Barry if he’s avoiding him (and Barry dodges the question), comes close.

Hot Pursuit talking about another story? Not so much. OK, he’s got a cool super-speed bike that transforms into a night stick that projects holograms. But the concept of a super-speed time cop is, so far, more interesting than the execution.

I do see some interesting parallels with “Chain Lightning” and the Dark Flash saga. “Chain Lightning” featured someone who looked exactly like Barry Allen. The Dark Flash saga featured an alternate reality version of the starring Flash. Both featured Angela Margolin, a Central City police scientist who bore a striking resemblance to one Patty Spivot…

The Flash #10 also made me realize something about this relaunch: I find the modern Barry Allen, Police Scientist a lot more interesting as a character than the modern Barry Allen, the Flash. I’m still not sure why that is, but it’s something I’ll have to think about.

*Coincidentally, Patty’s earliest appearances after the “Ms. Flash” imaginary story were the very issues that Greg Elias has been writing about in his Flash Annotations series, starting with Flash v.1 #270-275.

**Barry Allen went missing during the Flash’s trial, and would have eventually been presumed dead. His identity as the Flash became public knowledge after he died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, but was erased from everyone’s memory and all records by Hal Jordan when he was bound to the Spectre at the end of “Blitz.”

April 25, 2011

WWWW: Contest Winner, Week Two!

Category: Fun — By

Thanks to everyone who participated in the second week of our “Where Was Wally West?” contest here at Speed Force!

We posted a panel from a classic Flash comic, featuring Wally West in an alternate reality, the past or a “possible future”.  Correct answers were put into a raffle, and a winner was drawn at random.  To refresh your memory, here is the latest subject:

Wally in time -- where is he?

From the Speed Force itself comes the enigmatic Box of Speed!  Its contents: unknown!  Its answers: both mystical and binding!

 

…and the winner is…

Congrats to Steve!  This week’s answer was Flash, vol.2, #68: “Beat the Clock,” panel by Greg LaRocque (Flash legend, upcoming Flash: RetroActive artist, friend of the site) & Jose Marzan, Jr., story by Mark Waid.  In that story, Wally took on the Central Clockworks that governed society in Abra Kadabra’s home era.  Steve wins a copy of The Return of Barry Allen trade paperback!

Check back here on Wednesday for the next installment in WWWW!

Greg LaRocque & William Messner-Loebs on DC RetroActive: The Flash 1980s

Category: Flash News — By

DC has announced that Greg LaRocque will be joining writer William Messner-Loebs for DC Retroactive: The Flash 1980s in August. This is the second of three *ahem* flashback one-shots bringing back classic creative teams to tell “lost tales” set during their original 1970s, 1980s and 1990s runs. Each issue features a new 26-page lead story and a reprint from the writer’s original run.

DC RETROACTIVE: THE FLASH – THE ’80s #1

The ’80s were a decade that forever changed the Scarlet Speedster. Now telling a new story from that era will be the creative team of artist Greg LaRouque and writer William Messner-Loebs.

ONE-SHOT • On sale AUGUST 3 • 56 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

Yes! I was hoping they’d get Greg LaRocque back for this! Starting in 1988, LaRocque drew the Flash for Messner-Loebs’ entire 4-year run on the Wally West series, and several years of Mark Waid’s, finishing with the classic, The Return of Barry Allen.

The July 1970s Flash special by Cary Bates was announced earlier this month, and we can expect more details on Brian Augustyn’s 1990s special in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, check out The Source to read about the other 1980s specials focusing on Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.