Monthly Archives: July 2011

Review: DC Retroactive, The Flash – The 70s

It has been over 25 years since Cary Bates’ last Flash story was published in Flash #350, but his DC Retroactive: 1970s issue shows he hasn’t forgotten how to have fun with the Scarlet Speedster.

Opening with a page that would have been right at home in any Julius Schwartz-edited Flash magazine, Bates crafts a story that recalls his many years as writer on the book, while also addressing a lingering question regarding Barry Allen’s relationship with his wife Iris.  The pitch-perfect plot and dialog give this book a place in the story of the Allens’ marriage.  It could easily be slotted at any point during the early-to-mid 70s and would not feel out of place in terms of narrative.

The artwork by Benito Gallego and the legendary Sal Buscema is great, and more than appropriate for this story.  Based on the cover pencils, Buscema’s inks are a comfortable compliment to Gallego’s style.  It took me a few minutes, but Gallego’s Flash and Barry Allen portrayals are occasionally reminiscent of Joe Kubert’s late-60s Flash covers.  It is also easy to picture this story illustrated by the late, great Irv Novick, especially considering the pacing and structure of Bates’ plot.

For further analysis, including spoilers, see you after the jump…

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Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 Review

Well, Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 was certainly something. If you like prison break stories, you’ll probably enjoy it, because it doesn’t disappoint in that respect. However if you dislike blood and violence in your comics, you won’t be thrilled with this one at all. More after the cut.

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Scott Lobdell Talks Kid Flash

Newsarama interviews Scott Lobdell about his new Teen Titans series:

Nrama: We’ve got Kid Flash, who has been confirmed as Bart Allen. Based on the very little that’s been revealed thus far, it sounds like the character might be returning a bit more to his Impulse days — or is that way off base?

Lobdell: Maybe we are both off base! [Laughs.] I love the idea that Bart is the only Flash (Kid or otherwise) to maintain the ability to remember everything he’s ever read — and I also love the notion that knowledge and experience are two separate tools that aren’t always used together.

But I also think that what makes Bart different from every other Flash (Kid or otherwise) is that his mind races almost as fast as his feet! I love that Bart is more inclined to speak before he actually thinks about what it is he’s saying. I love that he’s not a Barry who understands instinctually that the quickest way between two points is usually a straight line. I like that Bart’s mind is always racing and I don’t want to ever lose that: is that a trait from his Impulse days? Not exclusively, no.

DC’s New 52: Escape Hatches Don’t Matter

DC editorial insisted repeatedly over the weekend that there’s no escape hatch, no trap door, no possible way for the old DC Universe to return after the New 52 establishes itself post-Flashpoint.

This is, to put it mildly, an exaggeration.

If the last decade at DC comics has shown us anything, it’s that a determined writer with a supportive editor (or a determined editor with a willing writer) can undo any change he wants, no matter how set in stone it was before.

There was no back door put in place during Crisis on Infinite Earths to bring back Kara Zor-El as Supergirl, or Krypto, or any of the Silver-Age elements of the Superman mythos that were removed by the “Man of Steel” reboot, but they came back anyway. Emerald Twilight was deliberately written to make it impossible to bring back Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, but we not only got Hal back, we got the Guardians and the entire Corps. Neither the reboot nor threeboot Legion of Super-Heroes set up a way to go back to the previous version, and yet the pre-Zero Hour Legion is back in action.

Marv Wolfman actually did write a trap door into Barry Allen’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. The idea was that, since he was running through time at the time he died, he could be plucked out of that run at any point for more adventures, but would live always knowing that he would eventually have to go back and sacrifice himself. It sat there, unused, for over 20 years, and when DC eventually brought Barry back to life, they did it another way, without using the trap door.

Trap doors don’t matter.

What matters is editorial direction.

When Dan Didio, or Eddie Berganza, or Jim Lee stands up there on stage at Comic-Con and says, “There’s no escape hatch,” they don’t mean they’ve set up the premise so that no one can go back. If they really want to, they’ll find a way.

It’s just an “in-story” way of saying that they’re committed to the new direction and determined to see it through.

Index of Comic-Con 2011 Coverage

The frenzy of Comic-Con International is over, and San Diego returns to normal…until next year. I was only there one day this year, but Devin and I both followed the event online to collect all the Flash news we could find.

Here’s a quick round-up of Speed Force’s convention coverage.

Flashpoint Reverse-Flash FigureFlash Comics News

A special thanks to @SpeedsterSite, @BitterWallyWest and @TheFlashReborn for asking questions in DC’s panels and around the floor, and posting about their experiences on Twitter. It was also great to meet all three of you finally.

Flash Collectibles News


Around the Con

Analysis and Commentary

I should have my convention write-up finished tonight or tomorrow soon. [Update: It’s up!] In a week or so, after everyone has had a chance to post their convention photos, I’ll publish a full round-up of costume sightings.

Didio’s Digital Designs: Connecting the Reboot Dots from Infinite Crisis to Flashpoint

At Comic-Con’s Sunday “The New 52” panel, Dan Didio stated that he’d wanted to reboot the DC Universe for five years, since Infinite Crisis*, but that the time didn’t seem right. Why not? And why is it happening now?

It makes more sense to tie it to Infinite Crisis: follow up a classic universe-changing event with a new universe-changing event 20 years later and usher in a new “age” of DC comics.

It seems clear that his plans morphed into One Year Later. Like the New 52, it was an attempt to establish a new status quo and provide a new jumping-on point for the entire line.

Something else Didio wanted to do with Infinite Crisis was bring back Barry Allen. He was coy about it for several years, but in the DC Nation column that ran the week of the last issue of Wally West’s Flash series, he explained that he’d wanted to bring Barry back with Infinite Crisis, but things didn’t work out, so they set up Bart instead. Then he’d wanted to bring Barry back in The Lightning Saga, but again, things didn’t work out, so they brought Wally back instead.

So what does it mean that things didn’t work out? Continue reading