September 30, 2011

Review: Flash #1 (The New 52)

Category: Reviews — By

I had no idea what to expect from The Flash #1. Actually, that’s not entirely true: I knew I could expect fantastic art by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, and it delivered. But I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story, the pacing, the characterization. And after five years of Flash relaunches, Wally’s disappearance, Bart’s death and rebirth, Barry’s return as Captain Angst, Wally being pushed so far off the sidelines that DC acted like they didn’t even recognize his name, and a general trend among the mainstream parts of DC moving away from the characters and stories that I wanted to read, I was beginning to wonder: Is it time to hang up the boots for a while?

Well, after reading the first issue, I can say: Today is not that day.

Some of the things I liked:

The art. This was my favorite part of last year’s Geoff Johns run, and it’s even better here. Not only does it look good, but Francis Manapul continues to experiment with layouts as well, going far beyond the standard grid-and-splash-page patterns. I particularly liked the fall from the helicopter and the page showing Barry in his apartment. And when was the last time you saw a splash page of the Flash standing still (and not posing dramatically) look so good?

With DC’s newfound emphasis on deadlines, I really hope these guys can keep on schedule!

The speed. While it’s not a headlong rush from beginning to end, it never drags. As much as I liked “Dastardly Death of the Rogues,” I still felt like it would have been better at 2/3 the length. This doesn’t feel padded.

Read the rest of this entry »

September 29, 2011

Help Me Raise Funds for Food Allergy Research

Category: Off-Topic — By

This doesn’t have anything to do with the Flash, or comics, but it’s important to me. I’ll be walking next month to raise money for research and education, and I hope you’ll sponsor me with a donation.

I don’t talk about it much online, but I have food allergies. Some are severe, some moderate, and some mild, but the worst of them can send me to the emergency room (or worse) if I eat food with the wrong ingredients. It can be tricky at times, but I like to think I do a decent job of striking a balance between not getting myself killed and not hiding away in my house like a shut-in.

That means I carry emergency medication whenever I eat. I don’t go out for Thai food or visit restaurants that leave a basket of peanuts on the table to munch on while you wait. I check ingredients in the grocery store, and I ask the waiter about them when I order food. If I can’t eat one item on the menu, I look for another dish that I can.

Even so, sometimes something slips through, and when it’s a bad one, my throat closes up, making it hard to breathe. If I’m lucky, I take my medication and spend the next few hours anxiously waiting until it subsides, hoping that what I’ve taken was enough. If not, I have to inject myself with epinephrine and get someone to take me to the emergency room. Thankfully, it’s been years since I’ve had a reaction bad enough to send me to the hospital.

I’ve also got a ten-month-old son. I’d like to spare him from having to deal with all that, if I can. If I can’t, and he develops serious allergies like I have, I’d like to help smooth the path for him as he learns how to live with them — or, better yet, help find a cure.

So I’m participating in the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy to raise money for research and education, and I hope you’ll sponsor me. Read the rest of this entry »

September 28, 2011

Flash #1 On Sale Today

Category: Out This Week — By

THE FLASH #1

Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by IVAN REIS and TIM TOWNSEND
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The Fastest Man Alive returns to his own monthly series from the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato! The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who really can! As if that’s not bad enough, this villain is a close friend!

CNN’s Geek Out has a preview in their Science of the Flash article. The writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have been running the interview circuit, speaking with CBR, IGN and Cosmic Treadmill about the new direction for Barry Allen, the roles of Iris West and the Rogues, and the new villain introduced in this 5-issue arc, Mob Rule.

September 27, 2011

Michael Rosenbaum Returns as the Flash in Justice League: Doom

Category: Flash News, Media — By

TV Guide reports on the voice cast of Justice League: Doom, an upcoming direct-to-home-video animated film inspired by Mark Waid’s JLA: Tower of Babel, in which Batman’s contingency plans to take down each of his colleagues if necessary are stolen and turned against them. Based on the cast list, it appears to have been adapted to better match the current “New 52″ lineup, with Hal Jordan replacing Kyle Rayner (as he replaced John Stewart in Crisis on Two Earths) and Cyborg replacing Aquaman (who is in the new comics lineup, confusing the issue a bit).

The feature will reunite Justice League/Justice League Unlimited cast members Kevin Conroy as Batman, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, Carl Lumbly as the Martian Manhunter…and Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash. Joining them will be Nathan Fillion, reprising his role as Green Lantern Hal Jordan from Emerald Knights, Tim Daly, voice of Superman from the 1990s animated series and the more recent Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Apocalypse features, and Bumper Robinson as Cyborg.

The Green Lantern Corps forum has more information including a list of villains (via TRKA): The Royal Flush Gang, Vandal Savage, Cheetah, Bane, Metallo, Star Sapphire, and Mirror Master (Alexis Denisof).

Flash #2 Variant Cover by Greg Capullo

Category: Covers — By

Robot 6 spotted the cover in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal’s article on DC Comics’ 52-issue sellout. The CBR blog notes that artist Greg Capullo (Batman) is also providing variant covers for Green Lantern #1, Justice League #3 and Action Comics #4.

The Flash #1 goes on sale tomorrow. The Flash #2 arrives on October 26.

Flash #1 Sets Sales Record

Category: Flash News — By

Cosmic Book News reports that The Flash #1, due in stores tomorrow, is the best-selling* Flash title in 40 years, according to a statement Dan Didio made on Facebook:

Happy to say that the New 52 FLASH comic is the best selling issue of Flash in over 40 years.

In fact, the first month of DC’s “New 52″ is settings records all around. In a market that rarely sees more than a couple of books a month exceed 100,000 copies, 11 DC books have passed 100K, 3 have passed 200K, and all 52 have sold out. Even unexpected series like Hawk & Dove, Batwing, Men of War and OMAC are getting second printings.

I’ve only seen sales figures going back to 1996, but the highest-selling issue of the last 15 years was Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 in 2006, selling an estimated 126,741 copies. The first issue of Bart Allen’s solo series was notable as the first major relaunch of the Flash in 20 years, while subsequent relaunches with Wally West’s surprise return (2007, ~79K), Barry Allen in Flash: Rebirth (2009, ~102K) and Barry Allen’s solo series (2010, ~100K) failed to match it.

Of course, the real question is: How much of the audience can they keep? First issues tend to sell a lot more than second, third and fourth issues, between speculators and people who just want to try out a new series. The real test is going to be how many people are still on board by the end of the first story arc.

*Sales figures in the comics industry are based on wholesale — how many copies are ordered by retailers — which is why they have numbers available now, before the books go on sale to readers.