Monthly Archives: September 2014

News Round-Up

Comicbook.com talked to Grant Gustin about whether he’s comfortable playing Barry yet, and what kinds of research he did to prepare for the role.

The DC blog has an interview with Candice Patton (Iris West), in which they discuss her favourite superhero, what she would do if she had superspeed, and more. Starting next week, she will apparently be photo-blogging about what it’s like to work on the Flash series, so that’s something to look forward to at the DC blog.

The Nerdist talked to Geoff Johns about Captain Cold’s role in the TV series (Johns co-wrote his debut episode), as well as a bit about the lighter tone of the Flash comic series:

Geoff Johns: One of the things I always thought when Francis Manapul and I started the Barry Allen run is that even though Barry had all this tragedy in his life he was still the Flash. He was still interacting with people, he was still cheerful, and it was still a bright book. It’s just who the Flash is. He’s not a dark character. He’s a blue-sky character. He runs around during the day. It’s just intentional. Obviously we want to celebrate superheroes and this is a way to celebrate them.

Hero Complex talked to Flash writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen about the role of Wally West in the ongoing comics series, as well as some of the controversy which has surrounded his current characterization. There are some spoilers for the Futures End: Flash issue, so be warned.

As reported at Comicbook.com — and many other sites — the Arrow half of the Arrow/Flash crossover episode will be titled “The Brave And The Bold”. This has obvious connotations for DC fans, even if one half of the duo will be Oliver Queen instead of Hal Jordan. (And as you may recall, the Flash episode of the crossover has the more prosaic title of “Flash Vs Arrow”.)

Finally, there’s a new preview clip from the pilot episode — which debuts a week from today, on October 7. You may have seen most of this footage already if you watched Barry’s appearance on Arrow, but there’s also another brief cameo which is unique to the Flash pilot and is relevant to another character.
Thanks to Flash TV News for the link and heads-up!

Touring the Flash’s S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Unit at Long Beach Comic Con

One of the attractions at this year’s Long Beach Comic Con [see my LBCC article at K2R] was the S.T.A.R. Laboratories Mobile Research Unit, a traveling exhibit promoting the upcoming Flash TV Show with vaguely scientific exhibits relating to super-speed.

STAR Labs truck

Overnight, they drove a truck onto the convention floor and took over most of the Laser Tag arena from the day before. Pods opened to the side like a vacation trailer. Two TVs ran the trailer for the show on repeat, between them a bulletin board…well, we’ll get to that.

Waiting for STAR Labs

The wait was about 30-45 minutes when I got there shortly after the floor opened, but it put us right next to a booth for a scooter company (there’s always one or two sponsors that I just can’t quite see the connection to comics). Their reps were going up and down the line trying to get people to sign up for their sweepstakes/mailing list. The one I talked to had no idea what everyone was waiting in line for, just that it was a good chance to sign people up.

They let in about 5-7 people at a time, giving each of us a card with the show logo on one side and a sticker with a unique bar code on the back. Each exhibit was triggered by scanning the bar code, results or video available at starlabsresearch.com.

On the Inside

STAR Labs falling waterThe first I saw on stepping in was a dripping faucet, lit by a strobe light and timed so that it looked like the water droplets were falling incredibly slowly. (You can do really fun things by hooking up a hose to a speaker and timing the sound with the camera’s shutter speed. Be sure to check out that video sometime.)

Next up was speed reading. One way of reading faster is to cut out all the eye movement: Instead of sweeping your view across a page, an app flashes words at you one at a time. You can read really fast, though if you get distracted, you’re completely lost (and some studies suggest it’s not great for comprehension). So they took a bunch of monitors, loaded up parts of the Flash’s backstory, and set each to run at 200 words per minute, 400, 600, all the way up to 1200 words per minute. I managed to at least catch the gist of Barry’s history with Iris at about 800 WPM, but faster than that I couldn’t follow at all.

Inside the STAR Labs Mobile Unit

I got the impression that they were still figuring out the exhibits a bit. One that didn’t quite come together was moving around in front of a camera, and waiting for it to process the video. I never saw the result, and they said it would be available online afterward, but I just see a blank space on the website.

One that just seemed out of place was a chance to watch your pupils contract in response to bright light. OK, it happens fast, and they had some writeup on how metahumans’ pupils react faster than normal, but I wonder if they were out of ideas and someone made a pun on “Iris.”

Test Your Reflexes

STAR Labs strike speedThe most fun parts involved testing your reflexes. One was sort of a radial Missile Command game: Lines would move out from the center indicating an “Attack” and you had to hit the button corresponding to that sector. [Edit: Mashable’s right: it was more like Tempest.] It was harder than a similar game I’d played at an arcade once, which was more like a vertical whack-a-mole, because you couldn’t just strike where you saw the light, you had to trace it outward and hit the right button.

The highlight was trying to dodge or catch a nerf bullet, fired by your friend if you had one with you or one of the attendants if not. Well, it was more like a nerf arrow. I’m sure they had their reasons. And no one managed to dodge or block it while I was in there.

There was supposed to be video on that too, but as with the slow-mo, only a blank square shows up on my results page.

STAR Labs hand tap resultsFinally, next to the exit, was a chance to see how fast you could vibrate your hand, repeatedly tapping a metal plate on the table. Supposedly I did better than 89% of people who had tried it so far. Not bad.

They didn’t rush us while we were inside, so we all got to try out everything before leaving. That was nice, and in keeping with the easy-going feel of the convention.

Bulletin

Oh, I mentioned a bulletin board outside. It was covered with newspaper clippings, photographs, police reports, letters, receipts, and string connecting them all. The case: The murder of Nora Allen, and the framing of her husband. Barry Allen has been working this case for a looong time. Click through to Flickr to download the full-resolution version, or check out my full set of LBCC photos.

Case Board: Nora Allen

The Flash TV series launches on CW on October 7 (but if you’re a regular reader, you already knew that). The S.T.A.R. Labs Mobile Research Unit will be traveling around Los Angeles until then.

Flash TV News

TV Line and ComicBookMovie.com have some news and goodies for fans interested in the Flash TV series. Firstly, there’s further confirmation that we will indeed see the Pied Piper, who’s described thusly by TV Line:

“In addition to the likes of Captains Cold and Boomerang, at midseason we will also meet Hartley, a onetime mentee of Dr. Wells’ who lost his hearing in an accident and now is out to wreak havoc with an invention of his own. (Of course, you may know Hartley — who happens to be gay — as the Pied Piper.)”

Apparently there’s been no actor cast yet, and the episode he’ll debut in is still unknown. But it should be interesting to see him on television, particularly because he’s scarcely appeared in any media adaptations until now (just cameos in Justice League Unlimited and The Flashpoint Paradox). Tying him to Harrison Wells is a good way to introduce him to the series and its cast.

As a bonus, here are a few set photos of Barry and Oliver Queen from the crossover FlashArrow episode.

So what do you think? Are you excited to see the first adaptation of Piper as a major character?

The Future Looks Like…Wally!? Review of FUTURES END FLASH #1

Flash Futures End 1This FUTURES END tie-in gives us a battle we’ve been waiting for months to see – Barry versus Future Barry! Oh, but don’t think that’s all here, not in this jam-packed issue of THE FLASH! There’s a reason for what you see on the cover…and if you think that’s the only big deal here, you are very, very wrong.

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

Continue reading

This Week: Flash Futures End, plus the Silver Age Flash Omnibus and Rogues Rebellion TP

It’s a big week for Flash comics and collections.

Flash Futures End 1Flash: Futures End ties into both the New 52 line-wide five-years-later theme and the current storyline. Future Flash continues his journey back in time, and reaches a critical turning point: the death of Wally West. Can he change the past, or is Wally doomed? Preview at Uproxx.

Rogues Rebellion TPForever Evil: Rogues Rebellion TP collects the miniseries, along with the Rogues Villains month issue. The Crime Syndicate issues the Rogues an unthinkable order, and the Rogues refuse. Of course, the all-powerful Syndicate can’t have that, now can they? Can the Rogues survive against the world’s villains? Written by Brian Buccellato with art by Andre Coelho, Scott Hepburn, and Patrick Zircher.

Flash-Omnibus-1-hc-thumbThe Flash Omnibus Vol.1 The latest format in DC’s reprint series covering the Silver Age. Written by Gardner Foxx, John Broome, and Robert Kanigher with art by Murphy Anderson, Joe Giella, Frank Giacoia, Joe Kubert, and Carmine Infantino.

This massive title collects the earliest Silver Age adventures of The Flash, including the origin of the Scarlet Speedster, the first appearances of his sidekick, Kid Flash, fellow detective The Elongated Man, plus his battles against the Trickster, the Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, Mr. Element, Reverse Flash, Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd. Collects SHOWCASE #4, 8, 13 and 14 and THE FLASH #105-132.