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!
May 14, 2013
Hey Speed Readers,
DC Collectibles released their solicits for November 2013 and there is only one real item of interest for New 52 Flash fans:
DC COMICS—THE NEW 52 SUPER HEROES VS. SUPER-VILLAINS ACTION FIGURE 7-PACK
The battle between good and evil rages on with this special 7-pack action figure set that includes Aquaman, The Flash, Batman, Catwoman, The Joker, Captain Cold, and Black Manta!
All-New Aquaman Head Sculpt and Sceptre
The Flash Metallic Redeco
Batman Metallic Redeco
All-New Catwoman Action Figure
The Joker and Captain Cold Redeco
*Action Figures* $99.95 US • On Sale November 2013
*Allocations May Occur
Nothing too exciting if you plan on just purchasing the Captain Cold figure separately in September, but since I’ve been trying to build and expand my own DC Universe in action figure form, Catwoman, The Joker, and Black Manta will come in quite handy. I have to decide which Batman and Aquaman I prefer to have in my display but I have a feeling they will both be joining that new Flash figure in my Justice League team. Batman looks especially boss with that darker color scheme.
The Flash collector in me will be thrilled to have a Flash with the lightning seams painted in and that excellent metallic sheen reminiscent of the Kotobukiya Flash statue. I’m not sure what exactly is different about the Captain Cold redeco (maybe that icey arm?) but I won’t mind having two; one to put with my Secret Society of Super Villains display and one to put with my Rogues display.
These figures usually retail for about $24.99 a piece so even at the regular price of $99.95 this set is a steal. Of course I’m going to keep an eye out for a deal similar to what I found on the We Can Be Heroes 7 pack set but they only come out to about 14 bucks at regular price which isn’t bad.
While I’m not too upset about the exclusive figures being packed in with figures I already have I can understand the frustrations of others. Catwoman, Katana, and Vibe are figures that can only acquired by purchasing figures that many of us have already procured. They feature some new additions like head sculpts and paint jobs but they are still the exact same character. I understand the logic that it could possibly help to move little known characters like Vibe and Katana by packing them in with more popular heroes and playing on their in-story connections (Vibe’s abilities can disrupt the Speed Force and Katana has been chosen to join the JLofA to counteract Wonder Woman) but the target audience is pretty much going to be buying the very first (and probably only figures) of Vibe and Katana anyway. It seems more like them trying to artificially inflate the price by giving us something we already have. Yeah, Flash features a new head sculpt (or more accurately his original head sculpt) but is it enough to justify the $39.95 price point?
I’ve praised DC Collectibles in the past for their 7 pack releases and I will continue to do so with this one. Yeah there are 3 figures that most of us probably don’t need, but for the patient this is a chance to get 4 figures in one fell swoop and for a fraction of the cost. As long as you aren’t a super completist and need things like weapons and accessories you should be good.
So what do you all think of DC Collectibles’ latest offering? Who plans on picking up this 7 pack in addition to the single of Captain Cold? Let us know in the comments below.
April 18, 2013
This week has already seen
two three new interviews with the Flash creative team. In pieces with Comic Book Resources, Newsarama, and now Comic Vine, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato pull back a small corner of the curtain on their new iteration of the Reverse-Flash!
The duo eliminates at least one suspect, while providing some insight into the motivations and look of Flash’s new opposite-number. The Newsarama (and Comic Vine) interviews also feature a first look at preliminary pages from Flash #20! Check out all of the chilling, UPDATED details after the jump!
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April 9, 2013
Hey Speed Readers,
So DC Collectibles put out their solicits for September/October 2013 and one item of interest stands out to New 52 Flash fans:
DC COMICS – SUPER–VILLAINS CAPTAIN COLD ACTION FIGURE
The DC COMICS – THE NEW 52 look of The Flash’s Rogues Gallery member Captain Cold is perfectly captured with this action figure based on his all-new design.
On Sale September 2013 • Action Figure • $24.95 US
*Allocations May Occur
Yeah, yeah I know *New 52 grumble*. Still great looking figure and one that I can’t wait to add to my display. I’m loving the ice accessories that match up with his current powers (makes the $24.95 price point a bit easier to swallow) and what looks to be a swanky removable hood so we can see New 52 Len in all of his glory. We haven’t had a new Captain Cold six-inch version since Mattel’s ( mostly disappointing, imo) DC Universe Classics Captain Cold which while detailed (with removable gun and holster) they flubbed his height when compared to the other Rogues in the line. He looks super short standing next to Mirror Master and Captain Boomerang.
The good Captain has had two previous DC Collectibles (DC Direct) figures that both pretty much knocked it out of the part. The first was from DC Direct’s 2001 Rogues series featuring Captain Cold (in a beautiful sculpt reminiscent of Scott Kolins’ work on Captain Cold in the Flash) and came with his freeze gun and removable glasses. The figure still holds up well compared to the more recent releases from DC Collectibles but this figure came out 12 years ago so we desperately need some updated Rogues in the line up. The second came about through DC Direct’s Alex Ross Justice line based on the 12 issue maxi-series. This one definitely has the most detail of all of the Cold releases (removable gun from holster and you can kind of pull down the hood to get a glimpse at Len pre-New 52). Unfortunately the “good” captain is horribly out of scale with just about all of your average DC Direct/DC Collectibles releases not to mention the stylistic differences (being based on the photo-realistic art of Alex Ross) makes it stand out big time among a display of basic DC Direct/DC Collectibles figures.
So who else is looking forward to adding a New 52 styled Captain Cold to your display? Any other Flash Rogues you hope to see from the New 52? Let us know in the comments below!
April 7, 2013
Bleeding Cool has the cover for Flash #22, a day ahead of the release of DC’s July 2013 solicitations:
Flash #22 is set to be part three of the debut arc for the new Reverse-Flash. The cover for issue #21 features Flash battling Kid Flash.
Check this space tomorrow for the full solicitation! Update: Here is the full solicitation!
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
1:25 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
On sale JULY 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
History is made when The Flash comes face to face with Reverse Flash for the first time!
Follow the jump for additional Flash-related releases set for July 2013!
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February 27, 2013
In addition to the climactic showdown between Flash and Grodd for Central City and the Speed Force, today’s Flash #17 gave readers the first look at the new Reverse-Flash!
Speculation on the villain’s new identity has been rampant since the announcement that there would be an all-new Reverse-Flash for the New 52. Kelson presented an analysis of the possibilities and guest writer Scott Timms made the case for erstwhile Flash Wally West as the new opposite number for Barry Allen’s heroic identity. While the identity remains a mystery, today’s issue provided the first look and at least answered a couple of the up-front questions. Follow the jump for the reveal!
Beware, SPOILERS for FLASH #17′s reveal of the new REVERSE-FLASH are after the jump. You’ve been warned!
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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 11, 2013
Hey Speed Readers,
Toy Fair, the biggest toy convention of the year, wrapped up it’s first day yesterday and already we’ve got some awesome Flash reveals!
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February 7, 2013
Salutations Speed Readers,
So now that DC Comic’s own in-house collectibles company, DC Collectibles and the owners of the master DC Comics toy license, Mattel have both released their own version of the New 52′s Scarlet Speedster we finally get a chance to look at both and compare and contrast:
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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?