May 20, 2013
As most fans are aware by now, James Robinson has announced in a series of Tweets that he is leaving Earth 2 and DC Comics. This marks the beginning of some uncertain times for Jay, Alan, Kendra, Khalid, Al and company. This has been a consistently excellent series, one near the top of my pull list for some time. The fact that it has done so well is testament to Robinson’s talent as a creator, and he will be sorely missed. There is certainly time for DC to try to make this right, as they previously have done wih Gail Simone on Batgirl…but just in case this is a good time to say a few words about James Robinson’s excellent run on Earth 2.
Earth 2 has been both a critical and sales success, with Robinson taking on one of the most difficult and controversial changes in the New 52 – the complete redesign of the Justice Society. Robinson took the Golden Age Heroes who for years had literally been the elder statespersons of the DC Universe and made them young again, placing them on a parallel Earth for the first time since before the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths in the 1980s. In doing so, he revamped both the look and origin stories for characters long cherished by DC fans, with many fans (including myself) waiting for the results with skeptical eyes. What we got was something truly special, and something that has been one of the great success stories of DC’s lineup.
Jay Garrick in particular had caused some early concern. The initial drawings released to the public didn’t cast the new uniform in the best light, and while the first issue allayed that concern with a very interesting new look it also cast Jay as a bit of a slacker who couldn’t keep his life together. Yet, over the issues so far we have seen Jay grow as both a person and as a hero. Jay Garrick didn’t ask for his powers, but he didn’t shirk the responsibility that came with them. And, he is still growing and becoming both a true hero and a leader. Jay as the everyman hero has become a great character in this series.
Even the change that generated the most news in the mainstream media, revamping Alan Scott as gay, was handled expertly by Robinson. We find an Alan Scott who is noble, brave, truly heroic, and a strong leader who happens to be gay. It is one part of who he is, not merely a stunt to generate controversy or sales. In remaking these characters, Robinson has taken the best of their Golden Age and Silver Age qualities and reshaped them to fit the sensibilities and realities of today.
I could go on and on about the characters created for this series, from the great Hawkgirl to the wonderful new Doctor Fate, to the new Al Pratt and the new Mr. Terrific (who doesn’t seem so interested in “fair play” at the moment, if you are following the storyline). This is a series that I didn’t want to like, didn’t want to believe in…yet James Robinson won me (and a lot of other fans) over with his excellent storylines and characterization. He has proven that writing matters, that good writing can make most any character compelling, and that a good story is always worth reading.
I’m still holding out hope that something can be resolved a la Gail Simone and her return to Batgirl. If not, DC will have the very difficult task of finding someone who can effectively continue James Robinson’s excellent vision for this team and this series. Jay Garrick and company have lost an excellent friend…and so has the DC Universe. Wherever you go, Mr. Robinson, we will anxiously await your next work. Thanks for a great ride with Earth 2!
April 9, 2013
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T READ SMALLVILLE SEASON ELEVEN
Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out just what is more dangerous in the DC Universe – to be a Robin or to wear a lightning bolt on your shirt? There seem to be a lot of beloved characters falling by the wayside lately, and it bears some examination. After all, Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown, and now Damian Wayne have all died while wearing the symbol of Robin. It hasn’t been the safest role to take on in the DCU…although I would make an argument that running fast seems to attract even more trouble.
In the latest print issue of Smallville Season Eleven we find the conclusion of the story arc that features Bart Allen, the Impulse of the Smallville-verse. In this story, Clark and his good friend Bart are reunited in a globe-hopping battle against the Black Racer, the enemy of Flashes past and present. In the end, Bart saves the day…but sacrifices himself to do so. All we are left with are Clark’s plans to build “a big statue” to Bart, and another Flash that has left some form or other of DC continuity.
This adds to the demise of the Wally West of Earth 16 in “Young Justice”, and the deaths and disappearances of Flashes over the years. Let’s take a partial toll here:
- Barry Allen died saving the Earth in Crisis on Infinite Earths, remaining basically “dead” until Flash Rebirth.
- Jay Garrick and the rest of the JSA died over and over again soon after CoIE while in a continual time loop, fighting the battle of Ragnarok. This is where they stayed for several years until they were brought back into DC continuity.
- Wally West has been in and out of the Speed Force, presumed dead more than once, killed in the Flashpoint series without ever having taken on the mantle of Flash, and now does not even exist in the New52. He was killed once again on Earth 16 in Young Justice as noted above.
- Bart Allen was pummeled to death by the Rogues while serving as the fourth Flash, being brought back to life some time later. And, as noted above, his Smallville-verse self just took a one-way ticket (presumably) into the Speed Force.
This doesn’t even start to list other dead or missing speedsters like Johnny and Jesse Quick, Max Mercury, or Wally’s kids. It really doesn’t seem safe to run fast these days.
The toughest part of all this for me is the way the actual deaths are being handled lately. Bart’s passing in Smallville felt forced…it wasn’t truly necessary. Yes, he got rid of the menace…but how did that help Clark and the rest of the Smallville gang? Believe it or not…exposure to Speed Force energy somehow cleansed Clark of the tracking radiation Luthor was using to follow Superman’s every move. This allowed Superman to resume acting as Clark Kent without being found out by Luthor.
In other words…Bart’s sacrifice was made so that he could act as a “spot-remover” to some radiation that was creating an inconvenience for Clark.
I have supported (and continue to support) the New52 volume of The Flash, as it represents some of the finest scripting and art in the DC lineup today. I’m not the guy that would ask “Where’s Wally?” for the thousandth time to Dan Didio at a con. I do like most of what I see from DC – I’m a DC guy and have been for over 40 years of collecting. I’m just sad to see the plot device of killing off speedsters used so much. It seems that being a Robin or a Flash means you are wearing a red shirt in the metaphorical sense as well as in the literal sense…and both roles are simply too valuable to the history of the DC Universe to continue to be treated in that way.
March 14, 2013
Today’s guest post is by Tony Laplume.
I first encountered Max Mercury in 1993’s The Flash #78. This was part of Mark Waid’s “The Return of Barry Allen” arc, which did not actually feature Barry Allen, but rather Wally West’s first encounter with the Reverse Flash. Barry was the Silver Age Flash and Wally’s mentor, but he’d been gone since his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. The arc was all about Wally finally moving past his feelings of inadequacy and embracing his own legacy. It was a seminal moment in Waid’s long run on the series, setting the stage for many other stories, including the introduction of the Speed Force, from which every DC speedster draws their ability.
Max Mercury was just another speedster in the arc. Along with Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, and Johnny Quick, Max was representative of an earlier generation. He was a character Waid cobbled together from another Golden Age speedster, Quicksilver, renamed to avoid confusion with his Marvel counterpart. Memorably, Max was referred to as the Zen Master of Speed. I guess this was his first true mark of distinction for me, the fact that he was identified as an expert on the topic that defined the series. He was all but the Yoda of Flash lore.
Of course, Max fares poorly against Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash, in the arc, although some solace can be found in the fact that he does little better than Jay Garrick or Johnny Quick. It’s Wally’s fight to win. Max is just there to inspire new confidence in him. By the end of the arc, Max disappears back to wherever he came from in the first place. Waid moves on as well, allowing Wally to enjoy being the Flash for a change, until the appearance of Bart Allen, whom Wally soon enough dubs Impulse, the new and future Kid Flash.
Bart quickly gains his own series, Impulse, also written by Waid, and resurfacing for the occasion is Max Mercury, who is given the unenviable task of helping the excitable youth discovery maturity. It’s Max in the role glimpsed during “The Return of Barry Allen,” the consummate mentor, who may be better instructing than actually doing. We discover Max’s true history, how he became a speedster in the nineteenth century and made several leaps through time, eventually depositing him in the present, an experienced and wise old man, allowed the white hair most superheroes never know. Bart’s own tenuous experience with time is something he can appreciate, if not Bart himself, who constantly exasperates Max, but this is fine, because he has a soft spot for family.
Max is a perfect personification of the kind of family Waid brought to the Flash franchise. At a time when comics were beginning to appreciate the working benefits of legacy, famously within the pages of James Robinson’s Starman, Waid started to understand the interconnectedness of a family of loners. Aside from the famous “Flash of Two Worlds” story in The Flash #123 in which Jay Garrick and Barry Allen meet (thereby initiating the era of the multiverse), the generations of scarlet speedsters had about as much to do with each other as Alan Scott and Hal Jordan’s Green Lanterns. True, Wally was the original Kid Flash and as such had an extensive history working alongside Barry, but Barry was gone by the time Wally took on the full cowl for himself, and it wasn’t until Waid that a writer finally addressed what kind of impact that had on his life.
In fact, as “Return of Barry Allen” proves, he didn’t stop there. Waid brought Jay back into the fold, and then Johnny Quick with his unique formula and daughter Jesse, who was also Quick. Max was something different, representative of the lineage but a character without a print background, and thus a part of Waid’s own emerging narrative. Waid didn’t always concentrate on this part of his own emerging legacy, at least not at first, not even following “Terminal Velocity,” which completed Wally’s journey toward awareness of the Speed Force. Subsequent arcs like “Dead Heat,” “Race Against Time,” and “Chain Lightning” continued the tradition and united the speedsters as never before or since.
It wasn’t until Impulse that Max could truly shine, guiding Bart along and deepening the sense of family. In the course of this series, Max reunited with a daughter he never had a chance to know because of his time hops. Every speedster needs grounding, seemed to be Waid’s message. Wally found his in exploring the depths of the Speed Force, while Bart and Max found each other as unlikely equals, even if both were reluctant to admit it. Max could sometimes come off as gruff, but it was a front, much as Wally’s life prior to “Return of Barry Allen” hid his longing to move past his mentor’s shadow. The man who began as a mystery and pegged as the expert not only became exposed as one of the biggest victims of the previously unknown Speed Force but one of its biggest beneficiaries as well.
Max Mercury will always fascinate me. He’s the manifestation of everything that made Mark Waid’s Flash great, even if he remains a fairly obscure element of it. While everyone else clamors to see Wally West again, I wish Max could make a comeback. If there’s anyone in that strange family who still has a story to tell, it’s him.
Tony Laplume regularly writes about superheroes at Comics Reader. Cover via Comics.org
February 18, 2013
Today’s guest post is by Nick of The Culture Cast.
September 2009. I had just returned to school for graduate studies after teaching for a few years, and in an amazing example of poor decision making and bad timing, I started collecting comics again after a six year break. Just one though: Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl. An unusual choice perhaps, but I guess it was the right comic at the right time for me.
One night, I was wandering through Wal-Mart when I came across the DC Universe Classics “The Flash” action figure. I was somewhat in awe of it. Of course, I was fully aware of the Flash. What DC Comics fan couldn’t be? But I was never really into the character. His powers were cool, but I always thought his enemies – the Rogues – were kind of lame. Still, there was something about this toy. Nicely sculpted with a great paint job (that classic red sure popped). It was an all-around solid figure.
Part of me wanted to pick it up, but being a grad student (ie: poor), and being not really all that interested in amassing action figures, I passed on it. Over the next month, anytime I went to the store, I looked at that Flash figure. Then one day, it was gone. Just as well, I thought. No longer there to tempt me!
March 2010. Batgirl #8 had an extremely thin crossover with Red Robin #10 which I didn’t realize until after I was suckered into buying the latter. At the end of that Red Robin issue (incidentally enough, drawn by Marcus To), there was a preview for The Flash #1 written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Francis Manapul. I was immediately struck by Manapul’s artwork. The lines, the coloring, the cartoony look without it being too cartoony – it all worked for me. Most striking was Manapul’s ability to make a static image seem like it is going 100 miles per hour. I hadn’t seen anything quite like this before. It all seemed to work and felt completely right for a character I hardly knew anything about.
I kept going back to that preview. I loved the look, but I wasn’t sure about collecting a second monthly title (first-world problems, I know). In grad school, you need to spend your “fun money” wisely. That’s when I came across the Flash: Rebirth collection. I decided to check that out and, if I liked it, I’d go ahead and jump into the new series. Though I wasn’t crazy about the art, I loved Rebirth. You can imagine my surprise at the somewhat negative reaction I later discovered the story had online. Since I never followed this character, I had no preconceived notions on who Barry Allen was, is, or should be.
May 2010. I picked up the first two issues of The Flash. I was enthralled. I love superheroes generally considered “boy scouts”. Superman was my first love. Captain America was my guy in high school. Cyclops was always my favorite X-Men from the 90s cartoon. And, now Barry Allen Flash could be added to that list. There is something about a character doing good for the sake of doing good that just appeals to me.
Summer 2010. I learned all I could about the character. I completely revised my opinion about the Rogues. Oh, I still thought they were lame, but being lame is exactly what made them cool and, ultimately, unique for a group of villains. I learned Bart Allen wasn’t nearly as obnoxious as I was previously led to believe. I read some heated online Wally West debates (if only those fans knew what was right around the corner). I learned more about Jay Garrick, who I felt was incredibly awesome (to the point that I was him for Halloween that year). I even sat down and watched through the 1990 The Flash TV series. Needless to say, I had a lot of spare time that summer.
I also came across some Flash blog during this time. Can’t quite remember what it was. Speed Flash? Flash Force? Something like that I think. It’s not important.
Spring 2011. Sadly, my excitement for The Flash died down considerably as new issues were continuously delayed. I dropped it after issue 6, deciding just to wait for the trades. I followed the solicits, but tried to stay spoiler free. Then, news hit about Flashpoint and the New 52. Shocked and surprised like any comics fan, I didn’t know what to think. It was then revealed that Manapul was staying on the book as artist and co-writer. My excitement returned in full force.
This was the perfect new jumping on point for me. I enjoyed the then-current title, but I still felt like an outsider with so much continuity baggage. Now everything is brand new again, and I could get in on the bottom floor. What more could I possibly ask for?
September 2011. I found that new Flash comic was terrific. It was exactly what I look for in a comic book. It had great storytelling, great art, and was just plain fun. Barry was never truly rebooted before, so it provides bold new territory for all fans.
Today. The focus on Barry has been a cause of contention for some fans (particularly those of Wally). I suppose I understand why, but it doesn’t bother me. I never followed Wally. I came in after him, and I’m loving every minute. Now, I think back to that action figure I saw at Wal-Mart over three years ago. If I knew I was to become the Flash fan I am today, I would have bought him. Not only was he a Barry-Flash, but I can’t find him anywhere now!
You can find Nick over at The Culture Cast with Zack and Nick, where he posts monthly reviews of The Flash.
February 14, 2013
Today’s guest post is by by Joe Grunenwald.
The Flash was gone. Wally West was dead, having entered the Speed Force after saving Barry Allen’s life from Cobalt Blue. Then, out of the night sky, a bolt of lightning, a crack of thunder, and a new speedster appeared – older, scarred, but familiar, and known to the precious few to whom he unmasked.
Walter West was only around for a handful of comics (ten issues of The Flash, one issue of JLA, and six issues of Titans, plus a couple of annuals), but he left an indelible mark on me. “Chain Lightning” and the ensuing story that came to be known as “The Dark Flash Saga” hit at the very height of my Flash fandom, and the mystery of who the new Flash was had me baffled. I was convinced, up until the moment of the reveal, that it was Barry Allen, so to see a blue-eyed Wally West under the mask was quite the shock, and the rest of the story, detailing how he came to be in the ‘main’ hypertimeline, along with Wally and Linda’s eventual return and Walter’s tragic departure, are still some of my favorite Flash comics of all time. I waited for years for Walter to show up again, to no avail.
One of Walter’s less memorable adventures.
But man, how great that reappearance could have been!
Walter’s status quo as it was at the end of The Flash #159 leant itself perfectly to more stories. A speedster, hopping through hypertime, trying to find his way home – who wouldn’t read that? It’s Sliders meets Quantum Leap meets the fastest man alive. He can’t stay in any timeline for too long or he risks destroying it, so there’d be a built-in sense of urgency behind every one of his adventures. There’d also have to be a change of scenery/universe for each different story, which would be a fun opportunity to see alternate versions of the DCU. He could get sucked into problems in each new timeline he visits – perhaps problems that he causes himself when he arrives unexpectedly – and he could make enemies or even a big bad who somehow tracked him during his world-jumping.
And then there was Angela Margolin, Walter’s ladylove from whom he was separated at the end of the original story. A scientist herself, it’s easy enough to envision her trying to find a way to cross hypertime to find Walter. Throw in Rip Hunter as a recurring foil, or even the Challengers of the Unknown (who were left exploring hypertime themselves at the end of the “Hypertension” storyline in Superboy). This series – or miniseries, or series of backup stories in the Speed Force title that never materialized – could have had it all.
Alas, it clearly was never meant to be. Hypertime was underutilized and ultimately disavowed by DC editorial. Where Mark Waid told sweeping stories that spanned time and space, Geoff Johns took The Flash in a different direction, telling grounded stories that built up Keystone City and Wally’s rogues gallery. Now, over ten years later and with a rebooted universe in which Wally was never The Flash, the odds of an alternate universe Wally showing up are likely slim to none.
But it’s fun to consider what could have been, isn’t it? After all, this is comics we’re talking about – anything is possible.
Joe Grunenwald writes about comics at NerdSpan.
February 4, 2013
Today’s guest post is by liquidcross of The Indigo Tribe.
Professor Zoom tormented Barry Allen constantly, but when he took things a bit too far, the Flash snapped his neck. Many years later, Barry’s successor Wally West had faced his share of speedster villains, but he never really had a Reverse Flash of his own.
During Geoff Johns’ stellar run on Flash, along comes FBI profiler Hunter Zolomon. After being severely injured by Gorilla Grodd, he decides to use the cosmic treadmill (conveniently located in the nearby Flash Museum) to go back in time and fix things. Naturally, it doesn’t quite work, and the resulting damage not only drives Zolomon over the edge, but turns him into Zoom, a new Reverse Flash. He thinks Wally doesn’t take his role as the Flash seriously enough due to not having faced any personal tragedy, so Zoom decides to mold him into a better hero…through a series of villainous acts, of course. These stories were expertly crafted, delivering all the twists and turns that really kept the readers on their toes. From Zoom accidentally killing Wally and Linda’s unborn children, to revisiting that incident to not only fix what happened but ending up in a time loop, the saga of Zolomon was a thrilling one to read.
After those first big appearances, though, Zoom faded into the background. He showed up in a few crossovers and such, but he never regained a primary antagonist role. During Final Crisis, Inertia stole his powers, calling himself “Kid Zoom.” Zolomon was once again a disabled powerless human, and left to rot in a prison cell. He soon had company, though: the original Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne. While that could’ve led to some great stories, Zolomon was never seen again, and the events of Flashpoint seemed to have erased both Zooms from existence.
Zoom was a fascinating character, and his time in the limelight was far too short. Aside from his unique powers and history with Wally, he always thought he was doing the right thing; and at one point, he came around and realized how badly he was screwing up. You actually felt bad for the guy, and that’s rare with supervillains.
What I really liked about Zoom is that even though he was a Reverse Flash, he was not a speedster. He moved through time, and that caused all manner of problems for the Flash. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re running; if a guy is instantaneously jumping to a future point in time, he’s going to beat you there. Wally had to rely on his wits much more than his speed to defeat Zoom in most cases, which made for some excellent storytelling.
More importantly, Zoom may have been a new Reverse Flash…but he didn’t supplant the old one. His beef was with a completely different Flash, and as I said before, his powers were vastly different. In this, he’s a more interesting successor to the role, rather than a generic replacement.
Zoom’s shelving and eventual erasure was a complete waste. Now that I think of it, he should’ve been the real threat behind Flashpoint; he’s already got time travel powers, and the whole thrust of his plan could’ve been to destroy Barry to force Wally to once again become a better hero by surpassing his predecessor. Zoom manipulating Thawne would’ve been icing on the cake.
A new Reverse Flash is on the horizon, but it’s going to be a new character. I doubt we’ll ever see Zolomon again, and that’s a damned shame.
Liquidcross writes about Green Lantern and related comics at The Indigo Tribe.
February 1, 2013
Today’s guest post is by Scott Timms.
Every fan of the Flash has a favorite character who has taken up the mantle. There is no shame in loving Wally, being partial to Barry or the other way around. I personally lean toward Barry, but growing up in the 90s I understand the loyalty to Wally. On one hand, Barry is the current Flash and on the other hand Wally had the Flash mantle for just as long as pre-crisis Barry did. No one who has the characters’ best interest in mind would want Barry to be killed off to make room for Wally, and just having Wally appear as another Flash would be ill-conceived at best. How can Wally’s half a century of Kid Flash and Flash duty be honored, tied in, and introduced in a post Flashpoint New 52 world?
First, let us explore the answer that won’t sit well with any Flash fan: ignoring he exists with no explanation. For the Wally fans, consider how disappointing that option is. How relieving was it to find out why Captain Cold doesn’t use a cold gun anymore? Changes are fine, I just want some explanation or some bridge to the version of the story I hold dear. I present to you an interesting solution: Wally being introduced as the new Reverse Flash. It would give the character teeth and keep interest in his run as the Flash. It makes Flash #1-247 relevant in a way keeping him out of the New 52 universe simply doesn’t. The argument is always Barry or Wally. If you introduce Reverse Flash as an equal to Barry then you allow that question to come to life. Wally and Barry on the same page battling it out is an invigorating idea. Introducing a beloved hero such as Wally as a villain while at the same balancing the homage Wally is due will challenge the creative team and the preconceptions of the fans.
Here is an idea Wally fans will eat up. Wally doesn’t have to stay a “villain” or the Reverse Flash. How compelling are super hero team ups of two characters once at odds? How tantalizing would a story line be which introduces and establishes Wally as Reverse Flash, but then brings the two together? During their time at odds fans can see the “Barry vs. Wally” scenario play out before their eyes and brought together fans can have a fully reintroduced, explained, and character developed Barry/Wally team back to their comic books. Wally as Reverse Flash doesn’t forever doom Wally as an evil villain. It is an avenue by which he can be reintroduced. A mutual threat could bring Barry Flash and Wally Reverse Flash on the same side, and see Wally come back into the super hero fold. All this is speculation, but the directions the writers could take it are endless.
Wally as Reverse Flash is an intriguing idea. It challenges the status quo and gives Wally the provocative return he deserves. Do any Wally fans out there want the writers to simply have him appear and say “Poof! Here he is!”, or give Wally some lackluster, poorly executed return? Wally needs a place and his past stories have relevance. Being introduced as Reverse Flash could give him the reintroduction he deserves. Wally’s personality and place in the hearts of fans could take Flash/Reverse Flash to new heights.
For thoughts on other candidates for the new villain, check out our previous article, Who is the New Reverse-Flash?
December 4, 2012
In his article on Karen Berger’s legacy at Vertigo, Sequart’s Julian Darius cites the imprint’s role as a “proving ground” for talent (via The Beat). Many well-known comics writers made their mark with a magnum opus at Vertigo — Grant Morrison with The Invisibles for instance, or Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets — and have gone on to mainstream success at DC and Marvel.
But isn’t that backwards?
I mean, that’s like J.K. Rowling following up Harry Potter with a long career writing Forgotten Realms novels. Or Steven Spielberg following up Jaws and E.T. by directing episodes of shows like Cheers, M*A*S*H and L.A. Law for the next two decades.
If that’s what someone wants to do, that’s great. R.A. Salvatore has carved out such a niche in Forgotten Realms that his name is a bigger draw than the universe’s brand. I’d bet Geoff Johns feels like he has the best job in the world.
But it seems…broken somehow that even when an author makes a splash telling their own stories, the main measure of success is a career working on pre-existing character concepts controlled by Warner Bros. and Disney.
June 8, 2012
So, along with the #0 origin issues in September, DC is also launching four new ongoing series. Here are my first thoughts:
Talon – Spinning out of “Court of Owls.” Sorry, but I tuned out right there. I’ve never been a big fan of the Bat-verse (heresy, I know), so a Batman spin-off doesn’t really do much for me.
Sword of Sorcery – A genre book similar to All-Star Western and G.I. Combat. At least to start with, it’ll be headlined by a revival of Amethyst, with backup stories about a post-apocalyptic Beowulf. This is the one I’m most interested in, not for Amethyst or Beowulf in particular, but to see what DC does with the fantasy genre. Demon Knights has been a fun read, and is currently the DCU book I’m most eager to read when a new issue comes out.
Team Seven – Set shortly after the Justice League’s debut, about a special-ops team put together to counteract superhuman threats. The team features characters from all over DC and Wildstorm, including younger Deathstroke, Grifter, Amanda Waller, and others. This seems like something I would have been fascinated by 10-15 years ago when I was more heavily into the DC Universe itself, rather than seeing the DCU as just the setting for some comics I read.
Phantom Stranger – His origin and connection to Pandora. Um…no. In my opinion, the Phantom Stranger should be left mysterious. He’s the Phantom Stranger, not the Phantom Guy that the Audience Gets to Know Well. The fact that they decided to re-introduce him by giving him a definitive origin suggests they’ll be taking the character in…I don’t want to say the wrong direction, but certainly a direction I’m less interested in reading.
IGN contacted DC and confirmed that they won’t be canceling four books right away, though in a Newsarama interview, Dan Didio reiterates the plan to stick with 52 ongoing series in general, so we’ll probably see a brief bump in September followed by a few books getting canceled in the next couple of months.
I’ve noticed lately that the less connection a book has to the mainstream DC Universe, the more appealing I find it. That’s kind of sad, but I think it’s partly the fact that DC is actively courting an audience I’m not part of, and partly a consequence of my slow drift away from the super-hero genre and toward sci-fi/fantasy.
So how about you? Which of these books do you find most interesting?
April 27, 2012
Monday’s post about how Wally West’s dynamic character makes him harder to reboot than Barry Allen got me thinking about something Geoff Johns said to Hero Complex when he took over the book back in 2009:
But you look at what the theme of Flash’s book has been for the last 200-something issues with Wally West and it’s been about a man trying to fill someone else’s boots. It doesn’t really have anything to do with speed. I mean, it has something to do with speed, but it was not totally what the book was about. The new Flash that I’m doing is all about speed.
At the time, I found it disingenuous because Geoff Johns wrote six years of that run himself, and he could have focused more heavily on speed with Wally West if he’d wanted to. And I found it worrying because he felt Wally’s defining characteristic was wanting to be like Barry Allen. Not the journey of becoming a hero, not learning to be an adult, but specifically trying to be someone he’s not.
But now I find the quote even more annoying, and here’s why:
Geoff Johns’ Flash, from Rebirth through Flashpoint, is not all about speed. It’s not even about hope, as suggested in Blackest Night.
It’s about a man so driven by grief that he nearly destroyed the world. Not even through speed, but through time travel.
The great over-arching Flash story from 2009-2011 might have been more appropriate for Booster Gold or Rip Hunter. (Or maybe Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, considering that it sounds a little like Emerald Twilight and Zero Hour when you break it down that far.)
Oh, well. Time to chalk it up as one more missed opportunity from that run, and Move Forward.