Tag Archives: JMS

SDCC: JMS to write Flash: Earth One

J. Michael Straczynski announced at Comic-Con that he’ll be writing The Flash: Earth One graphic novel. As CBR reports:

Straczynski told a packed room of around 300 fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego that “Flash: Earth One” will focus on the Barry Allen version of the speedster. The graphic novel, he said, should be on shelves in 2016, and will feature the fourth franchise to make the leap to the OGN line which JMS helped launch with “Superman: Earth One.”

“It’s a very different take on the character,” he promised. To convince the audience of his enthusiasm for the character, he described how when he was a kid he repeatedly used to practice catching a falling glass of water because he saw the Flash do it in a comic.

No artist has been announced yet.

The “Earth One” series is built around original graphic novel series instead of monthly comics. The current DC You books are mostly set on Earth-Zero (with a few obvious exceptions like Earth-2: Society, Prez and the recently-announced Superman: Lois and Clark series. Two volumes of Superman and one each of Batman and Teen Titans are available now, with Wonder Woman and now Flash on the way.

Update: Also announced at SDCC: Francis Manapul will be writing and drawing Earth One: Aquaman!

DC Nation (Friday) – LIVE!

It took me a while to get into this panel, but I’m here now!

Featuring: Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Grant Morisson, Geoff Johns and J. Michael Straczynski with fans dressed as Darkseid, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman.

4:32 Whew- made it in!

4:32 Grant Morrison is talking about the Joel Schumaker Batman movies & liking the “obscene rubber costumes.” Alfred: “I took the liberty, sir….”

4:33 Onstage: Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Geoff JOhns, Grant Morrison, JMS, with Darkseid, a female Green Lantern, and…Gypsy? [edit: it’s new-costume Wonder Woman]

4:34 Batman and the Kathy Kane Batwoman Costume…wait, Batman’s *wearing* the costume?

4:35 Grant’s talking about liking to create new characters for the Batman universe

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Thoughts on JMS’ New Wonder Woman Direction

Today, DC released some major Wonder Woman news: a new costume designed by Jim Lee and a new direction for the series as J. Michael Straczynski takes over.

To sum up: Persons unknown have altered Wonder Woman’s history so that Paradise Island was wiped out 20 years ago. Diana has no memory of the original timeline, doesn’t have her full powers yet, and needs to survive, help other refugee Amazons, find out who destroyed Paradise Island and find out whether the timeline can be restored.

All-New, All-Different!

I’m always apprehensive when a new writer picks up an established character and the first thing he does is to remove some key element of the character. Like the Flash’s speed (Geoff Johns’ first Flash story, “Wonderland”). Or Superman’s flight (JMS’ first Superman arc, “Grounded”). I understand it might help the writer get inside the character’s head: what is he or she like without the powers? But it always feels like shoehorning some other idea onto the character. Why did you want to write the Flash if you didn’t want to write about a guy who runs fast?

That said, for all that DC is pushing this as a “new direction,” to me this description reads more like a major story arc. I mean, there’s an end point right there in the description: find out who did it and see if it’s possible to change things back. Given the timing of the comics themselves and the time-travel elements to the story, I suspect this is going to be linked to Flashpoint. [Update: Comics Alliance asked JMS about this and he said it’s not related.]

Retcon Fever

It’s worth comparing to Flash: Rebirth, actually. In both cases, someone within the fictional universe has gone back in time and altered the main character’s history. With Diana, we know before the first issue is out. With Barry Allen, only long-term readers knew anything had been changed to begin with. It wasn’t clear that there was an in-story explanation for it until the miniseries was almost over. Even then, the prospect of undoing the changes was only floated long enough to be dismissed as impossible.

Most importantly: changing Diana’s history drastically alters who she is today. That’s a story. Once you get past the doom-and-gloom Barry of Flash: Rebirth #1-3, the changes to his history don’t seem to have made much difference in the present.

Flash at the Eisners

The 2010 Eisner Award nominees have been announced. One Flash story has been nominated, as have two of the Flash’s long-term writers.

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)

  • Brave & the Bold #28: “Blackhawk and the Flash: Firing Line,” by J. Michael Straczynski and Jesus Saiz (DC) (reviewed here)

Best Writer

  • Geoff Johns — Adventure Comics, Blackest Night, The Flash: Rebirth, Superman: Secret Origin (DC)
  • Mark Waid — Irredeemable, The Incredibles (BOOM!)

Waid’s Irredeemable is also up for Best Continuing Series and Best New Series, and cover artist John Cassaday is up for Best Cover Artist.

Thoughts on Earth One

This morning, DC announced the first two volumes in Earth One, a new series of original graphic novels set in a new continuity. The first two books will be Superman: Earth One by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis, and Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

It’s being discussed all over the place, so I’ll just state my initial thoughts.

The Positives

First, I love the idea of a series of OGNs. There’s a huge potential audience out there in bookstores, and while collected editions help meet that audience, there are drawbacks — particularly pacing (when read serially) and the fact that waiting for the trade means missing out on the fan conversation. It works for prose novels, it works for Scott Pilgrim, it works for manga (even if it was originally serialized in Japan, it may as well be OGNs as far as the American audience is concerned), and it’s good to see DC taking the concept seriously.

Second, an Ultimate-style reboot of the DC Universe is a good idea. 80 years of continuity, multiple “soft” reboots, heroes who have been replaced, then come back, major events based on short stories from 25 years ago…the modern DC Universe is a complicated place. A project that reaches out to a new audience is a good opportunity to streamline things without messing with the monthly continuity.

Third, I like the Batman redesign.

The Negatives

It makes sense to start with Superman and Batman, because these are two characters that everyone is familiar with, even those who don’t read comics. But they’re starting with the origin stories. Who doesn’t know Superman’s origin? Or Batman’s? With any other character, I’d say it would be worth starting with an origin, but with these two, it might be better to jump in at the deep end and fill in the backstory as they go along.

If they keep the series going, it won’t be a problem, but I can see it being a problem for the first volumes. It reminds me of the choice for the movie of The Golden Compass to rip out the ending and move it to the start of the second movie. It definitely hurt the first movie, and probably contributed to the fact that there won’t be a second movie.

It also makes me worry that, like so many rebooted series, they’ll eventually turn to retelling older stories instead of telling new ones.

The Earth One branding seems…a little obtuse. It means nothing to the new audience, and judging by comments I’ve seen, it’s already confusing the existing DC audience. [Edit: expanded a bit more in that link.]


I can’t reach the AICN interview, but CBR’s article quotes Geoff Johns as saying that the plan is for two novels a year. Two total? Or two per character? If these take off, two per character would be a much better approach, especially if they expand it to Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and beyond.

Review: Brave and the Bold #28 (Blackhawk and the Flash)

Brave and the Bold #28

Brave and the Bold #28, “Firing Line,” by J. Michael Straczynski and Jesus Saiz occupies an unusual niche for the Flash. While Barry Allen has been back for a year and a half, this marks his first real solo adventure in an ordinary comic book format since his return. Flash: Rebirth is very much a transition, more setup than story, and while Barry certainly has the spotlight in that book, he shares the stage with a host of other speedsters. Wednesday Comics came close, but was very much caught up in exploring the alternate format.

Calling a team-up story a solo adventure might be pushing it, but this does read much more as a Flash story than a Blackhawk story. It’s told from the Flash’s point of view, the key dilemma is a decision the Flash has to make, most of the Blackhawks are indistinguishable from each other, and a group known for air combat spends the entire issue grounded.


At its heart, the story uses the clash between two classic comic book genres to ask the question: “When is it acceptable to kill?” The Flash — perhaps the example of the Silver Age superhero: slightly goofy, with crazy science adventures and a code against killing — is dropped into the middle of a war, unable to leave until an injury heals. And not just any war: World War II.

On that level, it works. The Flash’s idealism and the Blackhawks’ determination contrast well, until he finds a way to align them. Jesus Saiz’ artwork feels a bit stiff and static during the Silver Age-style framing sequence, but is well-suited to the war story that takes up the bulk of the issue. The coloring also highlights the contrast between the Flash’s bright red costume, the Blackhawks’ dark blue, and everything else in muted grays and browns.

It also manages to avoid the stilted dialog that occasionally crops up in JMS’ writing. Every once in a while I’ll be reading something and a line will leap out as either very awkward, or a quote from Babylon 5. That didn’t happen even once here.

So what doesn’t work?

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