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.
May 24, 2012
Long-time Speed Force readers may remember an April Fools’ prank I did with the Irredeemable Shag of Once Upon a Geek and Firestorm Fan, “revealing” that Geoff Johns and Ethan van Sciver’s next project after revamping the Flash would be Vibe: Rebirth.
Three years later, Vibe did indeed turn up in the background of DC’s Free Comic Book Day offering, and he’s been making appearances on the animated DC Nation.
Today, in a CBR interview with Geoff Johns & Jim Lee, there’s this bit of news that should make Scipio of The Absorbascon happy:
As for what underused character he’d like to explore next, the answer was simple.
“Vibe!” Johns replied with a laugh. “They told me you can’t make Booster Gold work, and we made it work; you can’t make Aquaman work, and we made it work. I want to find the B character who everyone says is a complete waste of time, and Vibe is — he’s recent, he’s Detroit League and I have a soft spot because I’m from Detroit, so he’s my next challenge.”
Yes, that’s right: Geoff Johns wants to revamp Vibe.
Now if he can just get Ethan van Sciver on board…
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.
August 11, 2011
DC Comics has announced a “Flash 101″ sale on digital comics. All listed Flash titles will be only 99 cents for 48 hours starting August 13. They don’t say where, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s at ComiXology, because they’re DC’s exclusive online vendor at this point.
And they’ve added a lot more issues.
Up to this point, ComiXology has had everything from Flash: Rebirth onward. Over the last few days, readers have spotted early issues from Wally West’s series, the beginning of Impulse, and a few scattered issues from the Bronze Age. Check out the full list of titles on sale after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »
August 10, 2011
Today’s guest post is by José Luis, an aspiring comic book artist in Ecuador whose blog can be seen at Mastering Art.
Let me start stating that although this seems to be a non-crucial matter, bordering into the banal realm, for me is a very serious topic. For everybody who thinks otherwise, well, I guess they should be a little more respectful for what people consider important in their lives. Yeah, I feel very passionate for my comics, heck; I’m planning a career out of it. My favorite character since I was 12 (I’m 33 now) has been Wally West, the Flash, the fastest man alive. Let me assure you that this is not an anti-Barry thread. Au contraire, this is an open letter to the editors and writers of DC Comics that maybe could help clarify our feelings for this special character and why we want him back.
Granted, I didn’t get the chance to read Barry as the Flash until I was 18 and read all silver age Flash comics, and I loved it! But by then I was a teen from the 90s and grew up reading Wally! For me what I felt more passionate about was that he was just a normal guy, with his own problems in growing up. I think we all can identify with that. Barry on the other hand, had his own character flaws, like being late for instance, but he was practically the ideal superhero who just wanted to help out those in need. Remarkably yes, but I guess if we get superpowers we wouldn’t be doing that particularly. So, it is easier to identify with Wally. I remember when Wally became Kid Flash. He grew up under the tutelage of his idol, this perfect hero, and to tell a long story short, Barry Allen died, after 20 years of continuity, a hero’s death, saving the universe, the way a true hero could and would want to die. Ok, this was shocking and Wally was a great character by then, he even had his own costume as Kid Flash. It was HIS costume, not Bart’s (grandson of Barry who in the DCnU launch will be donning Kid Flash’s costume). Why do I emphasize on that? Well, I remember perfectly when he got his costume through a machine that can produce someone’s thoughts (I guess it was the 60s so bear with me). He by then had his own identity! He, as a character, has been around since Barry Allen, and I remember him growing up as a kid, as a sidekick, as a member of the Titans, and through his doubts and motivated by his love and respect for his uncle Barry who he loved as a father, he donned the costume of the Flash to HONOR him! It was the right thing to do and IT WORKED! Read the rest of this entry »
June 4, 2011
Just a quick *ahem* flashback to 2009, when readers were concerned about the fate of Wally West in the face of Flash: Rebirth.
I’m still waiting…
April 18, 2011
Flash: Rebirth featured a number of retcons, some of them explained away by time travel, others explained as new information, and others simply stated with no explanation at all. The most galling one to me was the revelation that the Speed Force is generated by Barry Allen with every step he runs, and that all other speedsters (including those who preceded him like Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, and Johnny Quick) depend on Barry’s existence for their own.
There are two things that bug me about this.
First: it doesn’t make sense. The speed force was introduced to do two things: provide a hand-wave explanation for the impossible physics of super-speed, and tie all speedsters’ origins together. Where do Flashes get their energy? The speed force. Simple, end of story. But now the speed force gets its energy from Barry Allen. So we’re right back where we started: Where does Barry get his energy?
Second: it elevates Barry Allen above all other Flashes permanently.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it were simply a matter of: Barry’s back, and here’s why he’s important now. That would be the same kind of thing Mark Waid did when he had Wally West become the first Flash to mainline the speed force and gain new powers, or that Bilson & DeMeo did when they had Bart Allen absorb the speed force. In those cases, it was still a progression, and you could imagine that whoever came next would follow in their footsteps and become the most important Flash now.
What bothers me is that they didn’t want to take that route. They instead wanted to take the route that Barry Allen was not only the most important Flash now, but that he has always been and always will be the most important Flash ever. It flat out tells us that we’ve been reading about a second-rate Flash for the last 25 years. I know there are people who hold that opinion, but it’s galling for it to be declared canon.
It’s like two kids trying to one-up each other in a bidding war, and one pulls out, “well, I bid infinity!” — and because it’s the author of the series, not to mention the Chief Creative Officer of the company, it sticks instead of getting laughed off.
Adapted from a comment made last year. I was reminded of it by this recent Reddit discussion: What’s your least favorite retcon?
January 4, 2011
Comic-book futures are constantly changing. We’ve seen four* major versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes, many different “true” versions of the near future, and a half-dozen variations on the eras that brought us villains like Abra Kadabra and the Reverse-Flash. Given the latter’s newfound obsession with changing history in Flash: Rebirth, it seems highly appropriate that his origin tale rewrites itself repeatedly over the course of the issue. It’s fascinating to watch the twists and turns as his life starts down one path, then stops, backs up, and takes another.
Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s guest post is by Perplexio.
Perhaps it’s because Geoff Johns has done such a brilliant job writing Green Lantern, or maybe it’s that he did such an excellent job writing Wally after Mark Waid had passed the torch and moved on that many fans are still reserving their judgment on how Geoff has been writing The Flash since Barry’s resurrection.
I’ll be honest I’ve found some of what Johns has done with the Flash title since Barry’s resurrection to be inspired. However, some of the things he’s written have left me scratching my head in bewilderment or nodding my head in chagrined disbelief. Read the rest of this entry »
December 31, 2010
The Professor Zoom spotlight in The Flash #8 (review coming soon) reminded me of something that’s been bugging me about the current version of the character. In Flash: Rebirth, it’s pointed out that while Eobard Thawne can change history to make Barry Allen’s life a living hell, he can’t prevent Barry from becoming the Flash. Without a Flash, there’s no Reverse-Flash, and without the positive speed force that Barry Allen generates, there’s no negative speed force for Thawne.
Somewhere along the line, it turned into the idea (stated in The Flash Secret Files 2010) that Thawne can’t kill Barry Allen because he needs Barry’s speed force to power his own.
They made a big point that the speed force, once generated, stretches out and touches all times, past and present. That’s why Jay Garrick, Johnny Quick and Max Mercury could have super-speed before Barry was even born. That’s why John Fox and Eobard Thawne could have super-speed centuries after Barry’s death. That’s why Wally West, Bart Allen, Jesse Quick, and the surviving older speedsters could all have super speed while Barry was gone.
Thawne can’t erase Barry Allen from history, but he can still kill Barry anytime he wants…after Barry becomes the Flash!