Tag Archives: Tara Butters

No Halcyon Days for this Speedster

It took me a while to really get on board Halcyon, the Image Comics–published miniseries about a world in which all crime stops, leaving the super-heroes with nothing to do. Issue #3 has one of those “wham!” moments where it feels like the story sneaks up behind you and hits you with a two-by-four, though, so I’m following this one through to the end.

But there’s something that really bothers me about the premise.

All crime and aggression has stopped, worldwide. Criminals stop attacking people, nations stop fighting wars, terrorists dismantle their own networks, and the world’s most dangerous supervillain not only turns himself in, but devotes his intellect to medical science.

The world’s super-heroes find themselves obsolete, except for one: their speedster, who is the only one fast enough to respond to natural disasters. So while they’re all longing for the bad old days, he’s running himself ragged helping out in the way that only he can.


It doesn’t take a speedster to respond to an earthquake if you’re near the earthquake. It doesn’t take a speedster to help evacuate the coastline ahead of a hurricane or (given proper warning) tsunami, or to divert a flooding river away from populated areas. It certainly doesn’t take a speedster to help out in relief efforts after a disaster hits.

A hero with super-strength or X-ray vision can hop on a plane and arrive within hours to help search for survivors in the rubble left behind by a major earthquake, or industrial explosion, or meteor strike. They can respond even faster to something that hits near their base of operations. If something happens in your city, you don’t necessarily need super-speed to deal with it.

There’s nothing stopping the rest of the world’s heroes from finding something to contribute…unless all they want to do is find someone to punch. This is probably true of Sabre, the Batman equivalent, but the rest of them seem to think he’s a psychopath.

I could overlook it as a form of genre blindness, except that Transom is right there, in each issue, pushing himself to the brink as the world’s only remaining active hero.

Running a Speedster Ragged in Halcyon

Starting in November, Image Comics will publish Halcyon, a five-issue miniseries by Marc Guggenheim (Flash, JSA) and his wife, screenwriter Tara Butters (Dollhouse, Reaper), about what happens to super-heroes when they win the never-ending battle against crime. In an interview with Newsarama, Guggenheim describes several of the major characters, including…

There’s another character named Transom, who’s a speedster. And what’s cool about him is the fact that, once you remove war and crime and any sort of man-made aggression, the only thing left for superheroes to deal with are natural disasters, like plane crashes and earthquakes. The problem is that Transom is the only superhero on the planet who is fast enough to get to these disasters as they’re happening. So he’s the one superhero who’s being run completely ragged, because he’s the only one who’s able to still be a hero.

The “what now?” question has been raised before, even in the DC Universe. Countdown to Final Crisis featured Earth-51, a world in which the heroes managed to eliminate super-crime and retired to pursue civilian careers. Of course, since this was Countdown, the world was created as cannon fodder, so it wasn’t explored much.

Between this book, Justice Society of America, No Ordinary Family, and (if Warner Bros. approves the treatment) the Flash screenplay, Guggenheim is going to be busy with speedsters this fall.