Tag Archives: Numbering

Comics: Who Needs Numbering?

At Newsarama, Michael Doran speculates that the DC Comics Relaunch could mean a switch to “seasonal” numbering. Basically, instead of starting a comic book at #1 and continuing indefinitely until the market and editorial whim dictate cancellation or relaunch, each series would start over at #1 every year. He compares it to television seasons, which have individual episodes and, when written long-form, tend to have a season premiere and a season finale.

Now, there’s something to like about that, particularly if DC commits to publishing an entire “season” of every series they solicit. No more scrambling to tie up loose ends when a series is canceled mid-storyline. The writers know they’ve got 12 issues to work with, and if the series does well, they’ve got 12 more, but they at least know where the axe is going to fall if they get canceled.

But I don’t think it goes far enough. Continue reading

How Might THE FLASH Relaunch After FLASHPOINT?

DC keeps reminding us that this week’s The Flash #12 is the final issue of the series. But we all know that the series is coming back, one way or another. The Flash is one of DC’s foundational* series that only ever gets canceled to pave the way for a relaunch.

So we know The Flash will be back in some form after Flashpoint. But how?

Main Series

Most likely it’ll be called The Flash, and as long as Dan Didio and Geoff Johns are in charge it’s a safe bet that it’ll star Barry Allen. The question is, will it be…

  • Flash vol.4 #1 (a straight relaunch)
  • Flash vol.3 #13 (picking up where they left off)
  • Flash with some sort of combined numbering.

For that last option, I added the series up a while back and came up with ways they could launch at #625 or #630. There’s also the Flash #351 approach some people have suggested, which is odd, because it includes both the Golden and Silver Age numbers but skips over the last 25 years of Flash comics.

If Flashpoint is a big turning point for the Flash, they might go for a new title, maybe All-Flash vol.2 #1 (Gotta keep those titles in trademark!)

Who will write it? Geoff Johns could. He’s said he can do 3 monthly books, and with Brightest Day over, he’s committed to Green Lantern and Aquaman. But he’s also busy with his job as Chief Creative Officer. Could it be time for someone else?

How about art? After the way things went with this run, it probably won’t be Francis Manapul on the next ongoing. Scott Kolins seems to found a niche as the go-to-guy for “quick draw” Flash books, so he might return full-time. Or we might see someone entirely new.

When will it start? Most likely it’ll launch right after Flashpoint (or 3 months later to keep spoilers out of solicitations), but DC might run a miniseries first.


Secret Origin. Geoff Johns has said on several occasions that he wants to do Flash: Secret Origin, and at last year’s Baltimore Comic Con it was suggested that it would follow the second story arc on The Flash. (At the time, my guess was that Secret Origin would run through the main title while Flashpoint ran in its own miniseries, though that obviously isn’t happening.) I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he and Francis Manapul started working on this behind the scenes during Flashpoint, with Flash: Secret Origin launched as a miniseries after Flashpoint concludes. If that happens, I’d guess that DC will wait until Secret Origin is finished before relaunching The Flash again.

Kid Flash. At SDCC 2009, Geoff Johns announced plans for a Kid Flash series by Sterling Gates, launching in 2010 alongside the Flash relaunch. This was eventually scrapped, though Gates is writing the Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost miniseries. If it sells well, I would not at all be surprised to see a Kid Flash ongoing spin out of the event.

Speed Force. At SDCC 2010, Geoff Johns announced plans for a second Flash series, Speed Force, featuring Wally West and Bart Allen, launching in 2011. Most likely this would be a rotating cast like JSA Classified. It’s only occasionally been mentioned since then, and unlike Kid Flash, it doesn’t have as obvious a hook from Flashpoint…that we know of.

Chances are that we’ll see Speed Force or Kid Flash spin out of Flashpoint, but not both.

Flash: Secret Origin sounds like a good bet, though, whether before the new ongoing series launches or side by side with it.

*To use Grumpy Old Fan’s term for those books that are essentially cancellation-proof, since they’ve been in publication almost continuously since 1960 or longer.

What If…DC Renumbered the Flash?

So haw many Flash comics have there been, anyway?

With the news that DC is canceling the current Flash series in the lead-up to Flashpoint, speculation has turned to the inevitable relaunch that we’ll see afterward.

Now, DC could just pick up the numbering where they left off, as if the book had simply been on hiatus (like many of us expected)…but that sort of puts a lie to the statement that “Issue 12 will be the final issue of THE FLASH.”

DC could also restart at #1…again. But is that really what they want to do after Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 in 2006, All-Flash #1 in 2007, Flash: Rebirth #1 in 2009, and Flash #1 in 2010?

So the prospect of renumbering raises its head again. It’s a natural with The Flash. After all, Barry Allen’s 1959 launch started at #105, picking up the numbering from where Jay Garrick’s series left off in 1949, and Wally West’s 2007 launch picked up right where it left off the year before. And with books like Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and Thor adding up the totals from multiple relaunches, it seems a clear possibility.

So, if we added up all the Flash comics, what number would we be at?

350 issues of Flash Comics starring Jay Garrick and The Flash starring Barry Allen
247 issues of The Flash starring Wally West (not counting #0, #1,000,000, or #1/2, all of which would have been numbered out of sequence anyway).
13 issues of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive starring Bart Allen
12 issues of The Flash starring Barry Allen.

That’s 622 issues there, making the next one Flash #623. Though if you include Flash #0 and #1,000,000, which were part of the monthly series (but not #1/2, which was a promotional giveaway from Wizard Magazine), that would bring the total to 624, making the next one #625.

You could also make a case for including a few others:

1 issue of All-Flash, since it filled the monthly slot and bridged the gap between the end of Flash:TFMA and the 2007 relaunch.
6 issues of Flash: Rebirth, since it replaced the monthly series and served as the primary Flash book for 2009.

I wouldn’t include the annuals, or the 1970 Flash Spectacular, or the original Flashpoint miniseries, or the two Flash 80 Page Giants, or the four Flash Secret Files books. I also wouldn’t include Blackest Night: The Flash or Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge. These are all miniseries or specials that feel separate from the main Flash series, though I’d consider Blackest Night: The Flash a possible candidate.

That brings it to 629 issues.

Could we be looking at a post-Flashpoint launch of Flash #625 or Flash #630?

What Volume is the Flash Up To?

When I started Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning back in 1996, I’d just refer to the then-current series as “Flash.” As the site grew to encompass more historical information, I’d either leave it to context or mark the pre-Crisis books as “Flash volume 1.” This doesn’t usually matter, but if you need to clarify which Flash #10 or Flash #123 you’re talking about, a shorthand like “vol.1” is a lot cleaner than writing “Flash (1959 series) #X” every time.

Only one problem: There are several different ways to choose the breaks between volumes.

Here are the distinct chunks of series:

  • Flash Comics (1940-1949) #1-104: Jay Garrick
  • The Flash (1959-1986) #105-350: Barry Allen
  • (The) Flash (1987-2005) #1-230: Wally West
  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive (2006-2007) #1-13: Bart Allen
  • The Flash (2007-2008) #231-247: Wally West
  • The Flash (2010 onward), starting with #1: Barry Allen

Now, here are the ways we can break it up:

Divide at Every Relaunch:

  • Flash Comics = Volume 1
  • Flash w/ Barry = Volume 2
  • Flash w/ Wally = Volume 3
  • Flash w/ Bart = Volume 4
  • Flash w/ Wally again = Volume 5
  • Flash w/ Barry again = Volume 6

Divide at Renumbering with #1

  • Flash comics & Flash with Barry = Volume 1
  • Flash w/ Wally = Volume 2
  • Flash w/ Bart = Volume 3
  • Flash w/ Wally again = more Volume 2
  • Flash w/ Barry again = Volume 4

Track Titles Separately, Divide at Renumbering*

  • Flash Comics = Flash Comics
  • Flash w/ Barry = Volume 1
  • Flash w/ Wally = Volume 2
  • Flash w/ Bart = Flash: TFMA
  • Flash w/ Wally again = more Volume 2
  • Flash w/ Barry again = Volume 3

This last one is the way I’ve decided to identify the series. It’s simpler, since we don’t need to add volumes for Flash Comics or Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, and it groups the “bonus season” on Wally West’s series with the rest of that run.

So by that scheme, what we’re getting today is The Flash Volume 3 #1.

UPDATE June 2011:

It turns out that the 2010 relaunch only lasted 12 issues, and DC will be relaunching with a new The Flash #1 (along with the rest of their line) after Flashpoint. Sticking with this same numbering scheme makes the post-Flashpoint book The Flash vol.4.

*I’ve chosen to group the titles Flash and The Flash together for purposes of clarity and simplicity. If you really want to get technical, you could break things down that way, but it seems excessive.

DCU in 2010 – Reactions

So, DC is finished with their week of announcements for 2010. I figured I should jot down some of my thoughts.

Superman: Earth OneEarth One OGN Series: I like the concept, but I’m not particularly interested in the Superman or Batman books. I’m mildly curious about how JMS will approach Superman, but my real interest is in what happens when it expands beyond Superman and Batman. Give me a series of Flash graphic novels and I’m there. More thoughts on the concept and the name.

War of the SupermenWar of the Supermen: Sorry, I can’t get enthused about this one.

Wonder Woman 600Wonder Woman #600: While numbering is trivial compared to story and art, there are very few characters who have been in near-continuous publication for the last 70 years. It’s nice to acknowledge that.

Of course, then there’s the question of how The Flash should be numbered, considering that they’ve relaunched several times with new characters.

Bruce Wayne: Batman PirateBatman: The Return of Bruce Wayne: I was kind of hoping they’d take a little more time with Dick Grayson as Batman before bringing back Bruce, but they seem to be treating it like the Death of Superman, Knightfall, or Artemis as Wonder Woman. (And yet somehow, today’s readers detest the 1990s. I don’t get it.) Still, Batman lost in time sounds like fun. I’ll probably pick this one up, though I might wait for the trade.

Marc Guggenheim on Action Comics: I think he made the best of a bad situation on Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, given that he was brought on board to do one thing: kill Bart Allen.

Flash Secret FilesFrancis Manapul & Geoff Johns on Flash: No really new info here, but I’m definitely liking Manapul’s art. (Covered here.) Overall, I’m still in wait-and-see mode. I had hoped to have a better sense of what The Flash post-Rebirth was going to look like by now, or that Flash: Rebirth itself might have won me over.

Legacies: Crimson AvengerLegacies, History of the DCU, and Who’s Who: If they had only announced one of these three, I’d definitely be getting it. With three, I’m not sure…especially since Legacies is going to be 10 issues (the initial post only said 7) and Who’s Who will be 15 (the initial post only said 12). Though it’s not clear whether The History of the DC Universe will be a new book or simply a “new edition” (i.e. reprint). Legacies looks like it could be very interesting, as long as it doesn’t get too hung up on explaining things. If I could only choose one, I’d probably get Who’s Who and pick up the issues of Legacies that cover the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths era.

Fall of Green ArrowThe Rise of Arsenal and The Fall of Green Arrow: I’m sure there’s an audience for this out there, but it’s not me. It looks like everything I don’t like about today’s DC in one place. At least it’ll be easy to avoid.

So, there you have it: My take on the DCU in 2010. How about you? Which projects do you find appealing?

Flash: Celebrating #500

Flash v.2 #150

Or rather, what would have been Flash #500 if the series had never been renumbered. Flash Comics starring Jay Garrick ran 104 issues, and The Flash starring Barry Allen picked up that same numbering with #105 in 1959 and ran through #350. The relaunch in 1987 with Wally West started over with Flash #1. If DC had started Wally’s series with #351, instead of Flash vol.2 #150 this book would have been Flash #500.*

So why post this cover?

Because this is my 500th post on Speed Force!

To celebrate, and inspired by Major Spoilers’ Ten Superhero Party Drinks, my wonderful wife came up with a Flash drink — two versions, one alcoholic and one not.

Flash drink

Recipe: Flash Drink

  • 4 oz Izze Pomegranate soda (or other red soda that goes well with cranberry)
  • 2 oz cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2 oz vodka (for non-alcoholic version, replace this with more cranberry juice)
  • 1 Lemon
  1. Peel zest from entire lemon in one long spiral with vegetable peeler.
  2. Cut jagged bits into lemon peel to give it a zig-zag or lightning bolt look.
  3. Cut lemon peel strip in half crosswise (use one half for each of two drinks).
  4. Mix all liquid ingredients cold and pour into glass.
  5. Place lemon peel decoratively in glass.

Ideally, you should have something else you can use the rest of the lemon for.


*Yes, there was a Flash v.2 #0 in between issues #94 and #95, but all DC books that month were numbered #0, so it doesn’t figure into the sequence any more than annuals do.