Newsarama has posted a second part to their recent “Going West” interview with Flash team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. This time around, the duo discuss their plans for Gorilla Warfare and beyond, including what is in store for the Rogues and the tragic nature of the new Grodd.
Follow the jump for more on each of the Rogues, what drives them and the story behind some of the changes to Flash’s gallery of super-villains.
On Grodd and his view of Barry/Flash:
Buccellato: Gorilla Grodd is a tragic king figure. He believes that he is destined for this greatness, and he feels it’s been taken away from him, specifically by the existence of The Flash. So he’s a figure who needs to come to grips with the reality of who he is and what his place in the world is.
But as you can see by the fact that he’s invading Central City to get The Flash, he hasn’t accepted what is the reality. For him, he’s holding onto something that doesn’t belong to him. And we’ll see how much damage he’s will to do, and who he’s willing to kill and hurt to get what he wants.
Francis Manapul: Grodd feels that Barry took away his home and his destiny. And so he wants to take away Central City from Barry. The one guarantee that we can give you for this storyline is that Gorilla Grodd will be the king. He literally will be the king. We’re not going to say “of what.” But he will be the king of something.
Some quick shots on each Rogue, starting with Heat Wave:
Manapul: They all have common ground in that they’re not too keen on Captain Cold right now, especially him. He’s been physically changed by it. They all have, really. I would say Glider and Heat Wave are the ones that have suffered the most, physically, from this event that happened in the Annual.
Buccellato: …as far as her place on the team, I think it’s still up for grabs. I don’t think Captain Cold is giving up his leadership so easily. So there’s still going to be a sibling rivalry that plays out through the story arc.
Manapul: Essentially, right now, he’s trapped in the Mirror World. And it’s a very interesting thing because in the Mirror World, he’s almost like God — he can create and do anything in there. But he knows that none of it is real.
Manapul: …if there was somebody in the Rogues that Barry Allen could relate to, it would be Weather Wizard…he’s one of those guys that’s not so much a victim of circumstance, but it’s more that he sees the role he has to play and he just deals with it. He hasn’t really made any serious moves to change himself, and that’s why he’s still a criminal.
Buccellato: He’s really the same guy that Captain Cold has always been. It’s just that a different set of circumstances led to a choice in the New 52 that changed the game.
Manapul: We carried over his emotional state from who he was previously, and then we allowed him to grow. The decisions that he made that led to the Annual were linked to things that existed in the past.
They say that one of the tricks in comic books is you give the illusion of change, but you never actually change the characters: You change everything else around them.
So I think that’s why these characters feel different, but there’s actually that essence of who they were before, because they’re who they were before, but an evolved version.
The two are then asked about the reader response to the changes to the Rogues:
Buccellato: I don’t want to speak for how other people have chosen to reinvent characters, but I know that in our case, we really tried to respect what came before. It’s the best situation, because there’s all this rich history to work from, and we really get to cherry pick the most impactful and interesting things to explore. That’s what we’re doing.
We’re just showing different sides of characters who have existed for 75 years or so. So for us, I don’t think we’re surprised that people are responding to it, if only because we feel like we’re writing the Barry Allen that we should be writing. We’re just giving it our sensibility, our own take, where we’re taking him into the 21st Century. I feel like we have a sophisticated type of storytelling that maybe not everyone gets, but most people seem to like it.
Manapul: Also, as much as we want to believe the positive reviews, that means we have to believe the negative ones as well. So we just try to have as much fun as we can and write stories we think are respectful of the characters yet evolve the characters. I’ve been a Flash fan for a long time. I think one of the key factors to the success we have on the book is that we’re trying to be very mindful of the past. I think the model we’re kind of following is the Star Trek movie. There were enough nods there to the past that it made the changes feel OK. And I think that’s one of the things that Brian and I tried really hard to do. We always came back to, “what would be the best story to tell?”
Buccellato: Change for the sake of change is a problem you see a lot of times when things are reimagined. If you’re changing it just to change it, it won’t ring true. It will seem hollow and people probably won’t respond to it.
Manapul: Any changes that Brian and I have made have been because of the story. There’s a reason for it.
For more, including additional comments on each Rogue as well as Captain Frye and hints toward a mysterious new villain, check out the full interview at Newsarama.