Monthly Archives: September 2018

Heat Wave and…another Force? Review of THE FLASH #55

There are plenty of guests early on in this issue of THE FLASH, but the main action comes with a very familiar Rogue.  Barry has yet to go on his Force Quest, but he may be reconsidering that thought soon – as he ends up face to face with Mick Rory in a way he never imagined! Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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Flash #55 Preview

DC has posted the official preview pages for Flash #55, and you can read them at CBR. In it, Barry fights Solomon Grundy alongside the Justice League Dark, and Iris meets some of Barry’s police co-workers for a night out. The issue takes place about a week after Flash #54, so Barry still has the mysterious Forces on his mind. Check out the pages at the link!

 

THE FLASH #55
written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
art by SCOTT KOLINS
cover by DAN MORA
variant cover by HOWARD PORTER
Barry Allen’s CSI team gets called to the scene of an arson at Iron Heights, and the victim happens to be a well-known Flash Rogue. Barry’s new partner thinks it’s an inside job, the warden sending a message to the inmates about who’s in charge. But the real culprit turns out to be the latest “Force” threat. Can the Flash and Commander Cold snuff this flaming mystery before it becomes an inferno?
ON SALE 09.26.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

Retro Review: Final Crisis (Graphic Audio)

After listening to Stop Motion, I picked up the Graphic Audio adaptation of Final Crisis.

It actually flows better than the comic book, especially toward the end, when the comic starts fragmenting the narrative. (That part is great as metatext, but there’s a lot of “wait, what just happened?” as you read it.) Scenes are fleshed out, and narrative fills in which details you need to glean from the artwork. There are a number of things that I thought had been added to the adaptation, but when I went back to read the original, they were there if you looked closely.

And of course having it all together avoids the problem of delays between chapters that plagued the original release, though that’s true of the collected edition too.

A lot of that is probably the novelization it was based on. It credits the story only to Greg Cox, with no mention of Grant Morrison or any of the artists, which is disappointing. But I don’t think it would work well as a book. The voice acting, music and sound make up for a lot of the lost visual punch and visual structure of the story, and it needs more than just the words.

The acting is compelling, and I found myself more interested in several of the characters as a result: particularly Renee Montoya as the Question, who moves in and out of the story in a number of places, but we actually get to see (or hear) what she’s doing rather than have to piece it together from a panel here and a panel there.

Alterations

One of the weird things is that it incorporates some of the tie-ins, but excludes the one that actually sets up Mandrakk. The Black Lightning/Tattooed Man story from “Submit” is included, along with the framing sequence from the Batman crossover. Those are good choices. “Submit” is a breakneck story that shows what’s going on at the street level when Darkseid takes over, and “Last Rites” clarifies what’s happening to Batman in the Evil Factory

But Superman getting recruited for a multiversal quest to stop Mandrakk, setting up the villain who appears in the final chapter? Completely missing. As a result, Mandrakk appears almost out of nowhere. Superman’s absence during the invasion is explained by having Brainiac 5 recruit him directly from Lois’ hospital room, sending him off to Legion of Three Worlds, and Ultraman’s appearances at the end are replaced with Mandrakk’s co-conspirator Monitor. It streamlines the story, but I think it streamlines it a little too much.

Anti-Life

The Anti-Life Equation is so terrifying because it’s not just mind control, it compels the surrender of free will. Those who have submitted spout slogans about how it justifies anything, how it’s so much easier than the struggles of life and love. It’s insidious, because psychological research has shown that decisions do take effort, and it is easier to offload tough decisions to a schedule, a policy, a leader, etc. The brain likes taking shortcuts around cognitive load.

There’s an appeal to never having to worry about making the wrong choice.

But we want to be able to make choices.

Darkseid Is

Another interesting thing about Final Crisis is how much damage Darkseid does just by existing. He doesn’t do any traditional super villain things in the entire story. No battles, no plotting. He just sits on his throne, taking advantage of a battle he already won, imposing his will on an entire planet and pulling it into a singularity. He spends most of the story sitting on an underground bunker, but his presence presses down on the world.

And he’s damn hard to kill. It takes Batman with a magic bullet, two Flashes leading a manifestation of death, Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, and Superman producing the exact counter-frequency to cancel out what remains of Darkseid’s soul’s quantum waveform as it lingers for months, continuing to drag Earth into oblivion.

Metal

But wow, I’m really seeing the parallels with Dark Knights: Metal even more strongly than when I was just comparing to memory.

Barbatos, like Darkseid, takes over the world between issues, and we jump to a handful of heroes mounting a desperate resistance. The keystone of the multiverse – conveniently the main DC Earth – is in danger of being pulled “downward” into an unending hell. And everyone’s fighting twisted versions of the heroes.

They’re a lot more alike than any of the Crisis events are to each other or to Metal.

Revisiting the Tie-Ins

After listening to the audio version, I re-read Final Crisis and read most of the tie-ins, some of them for the first time.

First, the tie-ins included in the Final Crisis collected edition:

  • Superman Beyond: I still think it’s essential, and I’m torn between thinking it should have been incorporated into the main story to begin with, and acknowledging that it sort of stands on its own and gave them the chance to do the 3-D gimmick for the first printing.
  • Batman/Last Rites: The framing sequence does help, but the stuff going on inside Batman’s head mostly isn’t relevant to this story.
  • Submit (Black Lightning/Tattooed Man): While not required to understand the main story, it adds a lot by showing the personal impact of the invasion.

And the others:

  • Resist (Checkmate): It broadens the scope, but can be skipped. I do like using the captive villain AIs as a way to get around the ALE’s control of communication channels.
  • Rogues Revenge: I didn’t like it as much this time through as I did ten years ago. The story was in the works before it became part of Final Crisis, and it shows. It still works as Rogues: Rebirth, but now I think the Crisis connections hurt more than they help.
  • Revelations: It’s a much tighter story that weaves in and out of issues 2 and 3 (if not seamlessly). It picks up the mostly-dropped threads of the Crime Bible and Vandal Savage, shows the early stages of Darkseid’s takeover, and presents an interesting combination of street-level and supernatural perspectives on a cosmic event. I didn’t read it originally, but I’m glad I finally got around to it. And I find myself wanting to go back and look for more Montoya/Question stories.

I didn’t re-read Requiem. I still haven’t picked up Rage of the Red Lanterns. I also didn’t re-read Legion of Three Worlds, which from what I recall has nothing to do with Final Crisis except that Superman passes through it between Superman: Beyond and his return to the main series. I remember it being a lot more confusing and a lot less interesting than Final Crisis itself despite being a more straight-forward superhero story.

I do want to re-read Multiversity now, though!

Arrowverse Crossover Villain: Dr. John Deegan of Arkham Asylum

The December 2018 crossover between Arrow, Flash and Supergirl will focus on Gotham City (it’s not clear which universe, but I’d guess Supergirl’s), feature Superman and the Flash together, and introduce both Batwoman and Lois Lane.

Now we have a villain: Jeremy Davies will be playing Dr. John Deegan of Arkham Asylum, who “might just be crazier than the inmates he treats.”

He sounds like a new character.

But I wonder if he’s an adaptation of Doctor Destiny, aka John Dee?

Good casting in either case!

DC’s December 2018 Solicitations

DC has released the full complement of solicitations for December 2018, and here you can see all the ones relating to the Flash. The solicits are oddly sparse that month, with only one issue of The Flash solo series listed, and neither Barry nor Wallace are mentioned in their respective team books (the Justice League listings are included here anyway). But there are some interesting trade paperbacks that month to round things out.

You can see the solicitations in their entirety at CBR.

THE FLASH #60
written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
art by RAFA SANDOVAL and JORDI TARRAGONA
cover by RAFA SANDOVAL and JORDI TARRAGONA
variant cover by HOWARD PORTER
Barry puts his fleet feet in his mouth against the next Force wielder he meets! Introducing the new Strength Force user, Powerhouse: she’s a young rebel using her powers to fight the corrupt police state in Corto Maltese. When Barry learns that she wants to use her super-strength to overthrow the government, he tries to intervene—and ends up tripping into a melee with the new hero instead.
ON SALE 12.12.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

DAMAGE #12
art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT RYAN
written by ROBERT VENDITTI
cover by AARON LOPRESTI
Will Damage earn his spot as the world’s strongest hero—or will he be branded a villain forever? It’s Damage versus the Justice League, and it’ll take more than brute strength to win the day. Even with an unstoppable alter ego, Ethan’s gotta use both brains and brawn to have a hope against the League, because they’ve got a knock-’em-dead trick up their sleeve as a nuclear option. The first year of Damage’s story comes to an end—and a new chapter begins! And how does Deadman fit into the picture?
ON SALE 12.19.18
$2.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T

JUSTICE LEAGUE #13
written by JAMES TYNION IV
art by GUILLEM MARCH
cover by GUILLEM MARCH
variant cover by JAE LEE
It’s on—the Totality will totally total the Multiverse! What could possibly go wrong when the Legion of Doom gets their hands on it? Plus, what is the connection between JUSTICE LEAGUE and the new BATMAN WHO LAUGHS miniseries from Scott Snyder and Jock?
ON SALE 12.05.18
Each $3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #14
written by SCOTT SNYDER and JAMES TYNION IV
art by STEPHEN SEGOVIA, JIM CHEUNG and MARK MORALES
cover by JIM CHEUNG
variant cover by JAE LEE
Let’s take a trip to “Hawkworld” in part one of a new Totality-related storyline! Martian Manhunter, John Stewart and Hawkgirl avoided “Drowned Earth” with a detour to Thanagar-Prime: J’onn looks to tap into the ancient Martian mental database, GL struggles while practicing his new UV powers, and Kendra searches for answers about her connection to the Totality.
ON SALE 12.19.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

FLASH ROGUES: REVERSE-FLASH TP
written by JOHN BROOME, FRANCIS MANAPUL, BRIAN BUCCELLATO, TOM KING, JOSHUA WILLIAMSON and others
art by CARMINE INFANTINO, FRANCIS MANAPUL, JASON FABOK, CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO and others
cover by FRANCESO MATTINA
Jump on the Cosmic Treadmill and discover the untold origin of the Reverse-Flash! Who is he, and what is his relationship to Barry Allen? Collects The Flash #139, 197 and 283, The Flash #8 (2012), The Flash: Reverse Flash #23.2, Batman #21 and The Flash #25.
ON SALE 01.16.19
$16.99 US | 168 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8925-6

BATMAN IN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: THE BRONZE AGE VOL. 2 TP
written by BOB HANEY
art by JIM APARO, NICK CARDY, NEAL ADAMS and others
cover by KARL KERSCHL
Throughout the 1970s Batman fought evil side by side with DC’s greatest—and occasionally, strangest—superheroes, including these tales guest-starring such legendary heroes as the Teen Titans, the Flash, the Metal Men, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Black Canary and others. Collects THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #92-109
ON SALE 01.23.19
$34.99 US | 440 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8582-1

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: THE BRONZE AGE OMNIBUS VOL. 3 HC
written by GERRY CONWAY and others
art by DICK DILLIN and others
cover by KARL KERSCHL
In these tales from the 1970s, the Justice League started expanding its lineup to include even more characters, such as the Elongated Man and the Red Tornado! Throw in team-ups with the classic Justice Society of America and the returned Seven Soldiers of Victory, and it’s easy to see why these stories became fan-favorite epics. Collects Justice League of America #147-181.
ON SALE 05.22.19
$125.00 US | 880 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8948-5

THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOL. 4 HC
written by MARV WOLFMAN
art and cover by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ, STAN WOCH, EDUARDO BARRETO and others
cover by GEORGE PEREZ
In this fourth massive collection of the hit 1980s series, team member Lilith ascends to godhood and takes up residence on Olympus, home of the Greek gods of myth. And as the Crisis on Infinite Earths begins, Starfire is called home to the planet Tamaran to be wed to a member of the military. Collects NEW TEEN TITANS Series Two #10-31, NEW TEEN TITANS Series Two ANNUAL #1-2 and a story from OMEGA MEN #34.
ON SALE 05.01.19
$99.99 US | 800 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8930-0

GREEN LANTERN: KYLE RAYNER VOL. 3 TP
written by RON MARZ
art by PAUL PELLETIER, DARRYL BANKS and others
cover by PAUL PELLETIER and ROMEO TANGHAL
In these 1990s tales, Kyle Rayner teams up with the Flash, Wally West, to battle a new version of classic Green Lantern villain Sonar. Then John Stewart stops in for a visit, and Kyle sets out on a journey to learn from the legends of the DC Universe how to be a better hero. First stop…Gotham City. Collects Green Lantern #66-75 and Green Lantern Annual #4.
ON SALE 01.09.19
$24.99 US | 296 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8571-5

DARK NIGHTS: METAL TP
INCLUDES TWO ISSUES NOT IN THE DELUXE EDITION HARDCOVER!
written by SCOTT SNYDER, JAMES TYNION IV, JOSHUA WILLIAMSON and GRANT MORRISON
art by GREG CAPULLO, DOUG MAHNKE, YANICK PAQUETTE, JORGE JIMENEZ, HOWARD PORTER and others
cover by GREG CAPULLO
The Dark Knight has uncovered one of the lost mysteries of the universe…one that could destroy the very fabric of the DCU! The dark corners of reality that have never been seen till now! The Dark Multiverse is revealed in all its devastating danger—and the threats it contains are coming for the DC Universe! Collects the best-selling DARK NIGHTS: METAL #1-6, plus BATMAN: LOST #1 and DARK KNIGHTS RISING: THE WILD HUNT #1, which were not included in the Deluxe Edition hardcover!
ON SALE 01.23.19
$19.99 US | 280 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8858-7

The Force Is Strong With… Review of THE FLASH #54

Barry Allen may not be the Fastest Man Alive any more, but right now he IS one of the strongest! The Strength Force has claimed him, and as we left last issue both Barry and Axel were being targeted by Commander Cold with a potentially lethal shot! This book carries a lot of the best of the Silver Age, but with a modern take that makes this an outstanding issue. Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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