Change in the Wind: New Creative Team…New Direction?

Could the Flash be running toward another relaunch? Fans have been speculating for months, ever since rumors surfaced that Silver Age Flash Barry Allen might be returning in Final Crisis.

There are certainly signs that point to change.

Sales on The Flash have continued to drop since last summer’s relaunch brought Wally West back from limbo and introduced the Flash Family.

Barry Allen has indeed returned, off-panel in April’s DC Universe #0 and (reportedly) on-panel in next week’s Final Crisis #2.

The miniseries Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge is clearly going to be high-profile — quite possibly higher-profile than the ongoing book.

The book has been relaunched twice* in as many years. Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, launched in the wake of Infinite Crisis with Bart Allen as lead, lasted only 13 issues from 2006–2007. The revived Wally West series, picking up at #231, will hit 13 issues by the end of the current storyline. If DC stays true to form, it’s pretty much due.

Then there’s the setup. Fan response to the Flash Family has been mixed at best. While some love Iris and Jai West, others would rather see them as normal children, and still others would happily throw them under the bus. (And yes, I’ve seen that sentiment expressed on message boards.) DC might (rightly or wrongly) conclude that the twins are a liability to the franchise.

Today’s Flash #241 features part 4 of Tom Peyer’s 6-part “Fast Money.” The storyline is scheduled to wrap up in #243, due in August. Signs initially pointed to Peyer writing the book long-term, but DC’s September solicits show a new creative team after the story concludes: writer Alan Burnett and artist Paco Diaz. With a title like “This Was Your Life, Wally West,” things don’t look too good for the current speedster.

There’s no official word yet on whether Burnett replaces Peyer as the regular writer or whether Peyer will be back after a couple of issues, though Peyer’s MySpace page says he’s “writing six issues of The Flash for DC Comics with artist Freddie E. Williams II” (emphasis added). Update: I contacted Tom Peyer through MySpace, and he confirmed that #243 is his last issue:

Flash #243 is my last issue. We went into it with no set time I’d be leaving, which is why we seemed so cagey about it, and we parted friends.

My next mainstream work is for Marvel Apes, which is kind of like Marvel Zombies but they’re apes; please check it out in the fall.

What’s still unclear is how long Burnett is scheduled to be on the book. The situation is eerily similar to early 2006: early in the stages of a cosmic “Crisis” crossover, a new team comes on board with a final-sounding storyline. The write-up even echoes the earlier story’s title, “Finish Line.”

Edit: And, on top of all that, editor Joan Hilty is leaving the book for Vertigo.

So what does all of this mean? No one (outside of DC’s offices) knows yet… though there’s plenty of speculation. Will we see another relaunch with Barry Allen taking over for his successor? Or a new direction for Wally, perhaps without the twins? Will Wally and Barry share the lead? Or will Rogues’ Revenge lead into a second Flash ongoing with Barry?

*In point of fact, since Geoff Johns left the book in 2005, no creative team has lasted longer than half a year. Joey Cavalieri penned Flash v.2 #227-230 marking time until its cancellation for the Bart relaunch. Danny Bilson & Paul DeMeo wrote the first 8 issues of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive before being replaced by Marc Guggenheim, who handled writing chores for the 5 issues leading up to its tragic end. Mark Waid wrote the transition, All-Flash #1, and Flash v.2 #231-236. Poor reception led to him leaving, with Tom Peyer coming on board in Flash v.2 #238. And then there’s Alan Burnett on #244.

12 thoughts on “Change in the Wind: New Creative Team…New Direction?

  1. Kelson Post author

    Not being familiar with Andrew NDB, I have no idea how reliable his info is…but any claim that’s just put out there like that, with no sources or reasoning to back it up, always strikes me as suspicious. Not “I know this because I cornered Geoff Johns at a convention,” or “I know this because I work at DC and am willing to risk the wrath of Didio to reveal spoilers” or even “I believe this because X, Y and Z all point to it.” Just “This is true.” Maybe it’d be different if I were a regular on the board.

    To be honest, I hope he’s wrong, at least about the West family. I like the twins, and I like the Wally/Linda relationship (when we get to see it, anyway), and it would be a shame to wipe them out, even if they do get put on the back burner for a while.

    Reply
  2. Esteban Pedreros

    Hi Kelson… well I don’t trust that board either.

    I’ve been speculating on this info myself (in spanish, sorry). And I hope they don’t kill anybody.
    I don’t want to see the twins dead, But i don’t think they were the brightest move ever… boldest maybe.

    A few weeks ago Mark Waid was interviewed by John Siuntres for the “Word Balloon” Podcast, and Waid did some interesting remarks about how he didn’t see that Wally and Barry could co-exist, and how he didn’t like the fact that DC Comics was planning on bringing Barry back.

    Well it’s all kind of idle speculation right now, but the fact that the storyline is written by somebody other than Tom Peyer, makes me very, very suspicious.

    Reply
  3. Kevin C. Redden

    I’ve been a Flash fan since the early 70s, and I like Wally’s run. The only thing I haven’t liked is the entire restart, the ‘Wild West’ storyline, the aquatic race, etc. The twins should have grown up slowly, and maybe with abilities but not put into the life that Wally is in, that’s for sure. Look at Franklin Richards; he was a mutant who sometimes had his abilities used. But never in the content that Wally’s twins did.
    I would like to see the twins powers stabilized or removed (at least at this age), and returned in the background and NO RESTART of the book. I personally hate restarts.
    As for Barry’s return, I’m mixed. Barry was my boyhood idol, but lets face it. In 23 years there has been a lot of changes. I can almost see Barry as he was portrayed just before Prof. Zoom went insane in issue 75 on. But would he be with Iris? What about the Tornado Twins? etc. It raises a big can of worms.

    Looking forward to more Flash work, lets just get past this awful restart.

    – Kc

    Reply
  4. Andrew Perron

    Ugh. I really hope they don’t go all the way back to making Barry the main character again. The Flash is one of the few examples of a legacy that keeps moving forward.

    I also hope the twins don’t die; Wally’s also one of the few superheroes who grew up and had kids.

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  5. Dario

    Frankly, I’d be disgusted to see the twins die a second time (because they were wiped out already once, rememeber?). I’m probably the only who liked the “Incredibles” approach to the book brought by Waid, but anyway, if you want to move the kids to the sidelines, for Pete’s sake, just make them powerless. No reason to kill them, I mean, can we please get over all the senseless deaths in comics of the last years? Especially on THE FLASH, that’s always been a lighthearted, funny series. And the kids contribute to that, to make it funny and optimistic, and I like this.

    Concerning Barry: Wally is my favourite character ever, so I’d be sorry to see him out aside. But I love Barry almost as much, so I say, if bringin’ him back means to have once again a solid creative team and good stories, so be it. If it’s successful, we can always hope for another ongoing title with Wally. There’s 4 Green Lanterns from Earth out there, why couldn’t there be three Flashes?

    Reply
  6. wayens

    DC can decide poor reception in just 6 issues?

    I’d say it’s more DC’s fault than Mark’s, I mean just on the surface with a new series come and gone that replaced the old series for an year, it would be a sudden jolt (no pun intended) for the franchise that would take fans a while to re-acclimate. I hope they didn’t decide too soon.

    But I agree why not more Flash books? You already have Jay, Barry, and Wally. Change it up, give them each unique twists on the Speed Force and you can perceivably have a long run of stories to milk er produce. ;p

    Reply
  7. Kelson Post author

    DC can decide poor reception in just 6 issues?

    Factoring in lead time, it seems they’re able to decide poor reception in only 3 issues. 😯

    It’s like canceling a TV show after just 2 episodes, instead of giving it time to find an audience. Maybe they should change their name from DC to Fox?

    Reply
  8. Ramon

    hye i was reading alittle while ago that the next few issues of the flash may be leading up to the cancellation of the series due to the title wally west this was your life. forgive me if you already covered this but, i jsut stumbled across an issue of the adventures of superman that has a subtitle of this was your life. it was an infinite crisis crossover. but perhaps dc plan to do something to reconstitute the entire franchise to help it run as long as other series. jsut an opinion. but heres to hoping. sorry i didn’t know where else i could have put this. [Edit: I’ve moved this comment to the appropriate post.]

    Reply
  9. Kelson Post author

    I think I may have read that one, if it’s the retrospective on the Golden Age and modern versions of Superman. That’s a good point: even if the story is a look back over Wally’s life/career, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re at the end of it. It could just be something like “Born to Run.”

    Reply

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