So writers, Robert Venditti and Van Jensen have both obviously been very busy since the release of their controversial first issue of The Flash yesterday. Both Newsarama and Comicosity have interviews with the new Flash writing team as they discuss the New 52 introduction of Wally West, the mysterious blue and silver speedster dubbed Future Flash and even Iris and Patty Spivot. We have some tidbits after the jump that stood out to us.
On Wally’s controversial reintroduction as a biracial character:
Van Jensen: That came through DC rather than being part of the pitch that Rob and I put together for the book. And it’s really just a central part of DC’s commitment to representing our modern culture and a diverse society through the New 52 and the entire line of comic books.
And it was something that, when the idea was presented of reintroducing Wally, and a very different take on Wally, Rob and I really just looked at it as a new opportunity to expand what we were doing with the book.
And really, rather than in any way limiting what we were planning to do, it actually became this great, central piece of the story, and we both feel like the story has only a lot richer for having Wally there.
On what different storytelling elements Wally brings to the table:
Venditti: Yeah, I mean, if you’re writing a character like Barry, who’s a solo lead of the title — and he has, obviously, a strong supporting cast around him, but he is a solo lead — then you’re always looking at things from his point of view. Even if it’s not necessarily first person, it’s from his point of view.
When you have a character like Wally — and I would say this is true of Robin or anyone like that — they become almost, not necessarily a second lead character, but very, very close to that. They’re much more than just a supporting cast member. They become part of the series.
On reworking the Barry and Wally dynamic:
Venditti: But I also think it’s interesting to see Wally in the very beginning [of the storyline] and see Barry’s reaction to the circumstances in which we see Wally, and how distraught he is about it, even though we don’t know anything about Wally yet. And that’s five years into the future.
And now, starting with the Annual, we go back to the present, and we see the relationship that develops, even though they haven’t even met each other yet, hinting at how close they’re going to become five years later.
And now we’re going to see how that plays out.
So it’s sort of an interesting way, I think, and a challenge, in terms of writing that kind of relationship. You find out that they’re really, really good friends first, and then you go back to find out how they came to be that way, instead of watching the friendship grow and wondering where it’s going to end up.
On Super Speed and Time Travel:
Venditti: We never felt like we “had” to because of Five Years Later, at all. But I think that examining time travel as part of Barry’s power set was always something we wanted to do, for the very reasons that you mentioned — the idea that it is risky, and it’s something that’s been done before.
We just want to look at it in a different way.
It’s part of the mythology that’s sort of been baked into the character, and I think we’ve come up with a way of going beyond that and putting a new spin on it.
Jensen: It’s also, as a writer, it’s kind of a cool challenge to take on a time travel story that’s been done both in The Flash and just in popular media. There are tons of time travel stories, so to create a little bit of a new wrinkle in that was a pretty fun challenge.
You can see the full interview over at Newsarama where they go into a lot more detail about Wally, Future Flash, and more.
Meanwhile over at Comicosity:
On the decision to finally re-introduce Wally West:
RV: Well, it was DC’s idea to reintroduce the character. Personally, when I’m taking over a new series, I tend to focus more on what’s already been going on with the book and picking up from that point. I would never presume to be able to reintroduce new characters of the stature of someone like Wally West. But, when they floated the idea of doing so, I was of course very excited about it.
I think what we’ve learned as we’ve been writing this series is that bringing him in has added so much to it in terms of not just adding Wally West as a character in the story, but also expanding Barry’s character. We have the opportunity to look at him from another viewpoint. It’s really taken the series in some directions that I didn’t anticipate when we started the job. Our stories are far better because of it.
On what makes Barry different as a hero:
VJ: Barry is really pure, very good — I don’t want to call him “boy scout” because that’s Clark — just a very stand-up guy. If he has any flaw, it’s that he wants to do too much. He wants to help more than he is able to. We see that in him in the present, as well as the strain that comes from trying to do everything, be everywhere, and help everyone.
Then, when we meet him twenty years in the future, we see a very different Barry Allen who, in a lot of ways, is broken, distraught, and disillusioned with life. It begs the question of what happened, and what is it that was able to change Barry in such an extreme way. That’s really the mystery that we’ll be exploring in the coming months.
On the differences between Iris West and Patty Spivot:
VJ: That’s a great question! Patty really is very similar in temperament and mindset to Barry. She’s encouraging and supportive and really energizes Barry. She helps him in his life as a super-hero and working in the crime lab.
His and Iris’ relationship is very different. They are really very different types of people. She’s a little more fiery, as an up-and-coming crime reporter — which is a job I used to have, so I identify a lot with her. She’s really striving to make career for herself. What we’ll come to see is Iris coming up against the challenge of making it big as a crime reporter, which sometimes means covering things and diving into things that are really pretty horrible and nasty. There’s even some ethical challenges to that.
So, there’s a lot to come for both of those characters, and they’ve been a lot of fun to write.
RV: I think that Patty, in addition to being Barry’s girlfriend, is his best friend and his confidante. She knows about his life as the Flash and she is a really big part of that. Above all else, she’s the one person Barry absolutely knows he can count on, no matter what.
With Iris, I don’t think we’ve seen the extent of her and Barry’s relationship yet. There’s going to be a lot of growth there, and we’ll be seeing how, as this relationship progresses, that really affects Barry and Patty in ways that are maybe unintentional. There’s a lot of stuff we’re doing with all the characters, but Iris is going to be a key focus of the series going forward.
VJ: As I mentioned before, now that we’ve introduced Wally, the events in The Flash Annual #3 will end up making her role even larger.
You can check out the rest of the interview over at Comicosity.
So do Mr. Venditti and Mr. Jensen inspire confidence in the direction of the series? Anyone actually excited to see Wally’s new direction? Please let us know in the comments below.
I loved the old Wally and there is nothing but old back issues to keep me fully satisfied at this point. …
But with every new story telling comes an opportunity f adventure I haven’t imagined. I will give this a shot.
They shouldn’t have named the new guy Wally. This is a totally different character.
They better make Donna a blind Albino.
Much more so than Barry Allen, Wally West is Joseph Campbell’s “Hero with a Thousand Faces.” He’s the Luke Skywalker of the Flash family; He’s the Harry Potter, the Theseus. Becoming the Flash wasn’t an overnight thing for him; he took the full Hero’s Journey to arrive at that point. Wally West is part of a storytelling tradition that’s older than the Bible and has featured the entire range and spectrum of races. His character will survive having a new face, because it’s already survived for thousands of years across multiple cultures, and it still holds just as much power today.
His race is not an issue for me. The most important thing about the character is the journey, and I hope that the endgame of introducing him is to put him right back on that path. It’s where he belongs, and its where his fans want him. As a hero.
It seems a little early to decide that this is an entirely different character when literally all we know about him is what he looks like. We haven’t seen anything about his personality, what he wants out of life, how he acts, etc. You know, the things that make up character.
Personally, I think that making their announcement DC should have said that the old Wally West wouldn’t be coming back. People wouldn’t have got their hopes up and they would have had time to get used to the idea of a new Wally West. Right now I can only sympathize with the authors: they barely started and they already have to explain themselves.
On the matter of the new Wally West: 1) I don’t like the new look – too plain, he looks too much like a generic character; 2) too young – he’s a kid five years in the future, in the present he’ll be probably 12 or 13; 3) apparently he’s not a speedster yet. Honestly, I was hoping for someone older and already with some experience. I don’t think I have patience to watch him grow and develop his powers, I already want him to use them. And since it’s not the Wally West I expect this Wally West to be much different, but with a similar mindset. Otherwise there’s no point in reinventing him only to make him a copy of his predecessor.
Venditti and Jensen have been busy. They also talked to IGN about Wally West today.
I’m willing to be open-minded about this new Wally, what his background and personality is and how he will relate to Barry.
But I can’t help but think that DC did this simply to quash any fan outcries for Wally’s return as the Flash if they completely overhauled his character, including his race and not because of some altruistic desire to show ‘diversity and modern culture’.
The Wally we all knew and loved may truly well be gone for good now.
If the rumors are true that “Batman vs. Superman” will synergize with the DCCU, this new Wally West could very well be in preparation to put The Flash in the movie, even tho it can’t be Barry Allen. And it would be further evidence that it’s truly a “Justice League” film.