Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Writer: Jule Selbo
Director: Bruce Bilson
Editor: Lawrence J. Gleason
Synopsis: One night on the streets of Central City, Barry Allen encounters Stacy Ann Doubec, a troubled young woman on the run with her baby, Lillian. Though Stacy is reluctant to reveal the reasons for her distress, Barry soon learns that the imperiled mother is being relentlessly pursued by Philip Moses, the child’s father, a cruel multi-millionaire who will let nothing stop him from stealing back his only heir.
Commentary: Could there be a nicer hero than Barry Allen? During the course of the series our impeccably polite, kind-hearted, and mild-mannered police scientist hero has taken in homeless teenagers, crotchety senior citizens, and a wide variety of beautiful damsels in distress. It's all a bit much, really. Unfortunately, this episode takes that trend to a new level when he returns home one evening to find a bassinet on his doorstep. In “Be My Baby,” the fastest man alive gets to spend quality time with a bouncing baby girl. As a result, there are endless scenes featuring Barry as babysitter. It’s odd to see guest star Bryan Cranston--now familiar to viewers for his roles in a number of high-profile sitcoms--as the story’s dastardly villain of the week, Philip Moses. Despite exhibiting a number of personal quirks, Moses is an uninspired antagonist and his malignant motivations simply aren’t convincing. This is an episode that never takes off and, sadly, never attempts to offer us the sort of twists that we’re so eagerly anticipating. If the synopsis seems skimpy it’s because the plot is too. Worst of all, “Be My Baby” is never particularly fun or funny, despite the intent of its script. After a few tantalizing hints of superhero style and comic book action earlier in the season, The Flash has seemingly plunged back into the realm of mundane drama.
High-Speed Highlight: Highlights? Watch as the scarlet speedster aims to entertain a dozen cranky toddlers simultaneously! Marvel as the crimson comet constructs a child’s crib from simple laboratory equipment! Thrill to the sights of the fastest man alive using his astonishing superpowers to make a run for baby food! That’s right, baby food.
Quotable: “One of your adventures before you became the Flash, eh Barry? ‘Dearest Barry: Be back in the morning. Please take care of Lilly. Love,’--or, rather, annoying, cute little drawing of a heart--‘Stacy.’ Are you sure you’re not the father?” --Tina McGee teases Barry Allen upon finding a basket, a baby, and a note on his doorstep
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Written by Mark Waid and John Rogers; Art by Daniel Acuña and Doug Braithwaite; Cover by Manuel Garcia. The unstable powers of Wally West's growing children reach a terrifying new level! And in the backup feature, "The Fast Life," by Mark Waid, John Rogers, and Doug Braithwaite, the compelling tale of Wally's family's life on a Flash-friendly alien world continues. DC Universe. 32pg. Color. $2.99 US. On Sale November 21, 2007.
Update: It looks as if November is going to be a busy month for the world's fastest human. He's everywhere! I'm not sure how I could have missed this, but Wally West will also be teaming-up with the Doom Patrol in The Brave and the Bold #8, written by Mark Waid with art by George Pérez and Bob Wiacek. This sounds like an adventure that's not to be missed!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Written by Mark Waid; Art by Daniel Acuña; Covers by Doug Braithwaite and Acuña. Continuing the storyline so explosive we can't give anything away--and it's destined to be one of the most talked-about tales of 2007! DC Universe. 32pg. Color. $2.99 US. On Sale August 15, 2007.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
From getting ricocheted across time and space to arriving home too late to stop the brutal murder of his cousin, the past few years of Wally West’s life have been a far cry from his lighthearted ’90s heyday. Wizard tapped upcoming writer Mark Waid, who takes over with August’s Flash #231, to explain why the series will again be a runaway hit with fans... “I would rather chart new ground than to hit Speed Force stories again, or God forbid that we do any time travel,” promised the writer. “I don’t even want the book narrated by Wally.”
Monday, August 13, 2007
The comics industry lost a luminary this weekend--Mike Wieringo passed away Sunday of a sudden heart attack... Wieringo was born June 24, 1963 in Venice, Italy, and first caught the attention of comic book fans when he joined writer Mark Waid on DC's The Flash with issue #80 in 1993. Together, the two co-created the character Impulse, the future speedster brought back to the present. Wieringo (or, 'Ringo as he was better known by then) moved on to Robin at DC, and then moved to Marvel... He loved what he did.
Update: Mark Waid, Todd Dezago, and Karl Kesel have posted personal commentaries regarding the artist's passing in "Remembering Mike Wieringo" at Newsarama. Wieringo's family, writing at his official website, is asking that those wishing to honor his memory make their donations to the ASPCA or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Writer: David L. Newman
Story: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, and David L. Newman
Director: William A. Fraker
Editor: Lawrence J. Gleason
Synopsis: Barry Allen is being tormented by recurring nightmares, dark dreams in which anxieties regarding his uncertain relationship with Tina McGee manifest themselves. When Tina tries to help him using a Star Labs experiment in bio-feedback, the content of Barry’s nightmares is accidentally transferred to her mind. Tina awakens as a different woman, a sinister version of herself, bitter and hell-bent on destroying Barry Allen. The Flash is thus forced to face-off against his friend and confidant as she threatens the city in her new role as the wicked leader of the all-girl Black Rose Gang!
Commentary: It’s difficult to take an adventure like this seriously. Everything in the unimaginatively titled “Tina, Is That You?” is a tad too ridiculous, from the over-the-top dream sequence that opens the episode to the scientifically absurd premise to the loose, sloppy characterization. The plot seems little more than a joke spun from the fact that The Flash’s writers have been prolonging the forced romantic tension between their lead characters for more than a dozen episodes. The angst that is implied to exist between Tina and Barry isn’t any more believable here than it was at the start of the series, however. Appropriately enough, this installment was first broadcast on Valentine’s Day. (This may explain the last-minute shift in the show’s broadcast order. A distinct reference to the events of this episode can be heard in “The Trickster,” an episode that was filmed later but broadcast prior to “Tina, Is That You?”) Amanda Pays is granted the opportunity to play Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde--both a good and an evil Dr. Tina McGee--and she does a decent job with both roles in spite of the script. Unfortunately, the Black Rose Gang she comes to lead is a weak, underdeveloped cliché. Guest stars Courtney Gebhart and Denise Dillard, who serve as Tina’s embittered henchwomen, aren’t given much to work with. It would have been nice to see their roles expanded, to see the Black Rose Gang take on further dimension. As it stands, this story is no stunning testament to feminism. This is also one of those tales in which the Central City police are implied to be embarrassingly inept. “Tina, Is That You?” is one of the sillier installments of the series, and that’s saying something in the wake of “The Trickster.”
High-Speed Highlight: Using the blade from an exhaust fan and a rod of scrap metal, the Flash creates a high-speed saw in order to slice his way out of a makeshift gas chamber engineered by Tina and the Black Rose Gang.
Quotable: “You need me. Together we can tear this city apart… Work with me and you never need worry about [the Flash] again... I can do anything I want to him. I can speed him up, I can slow him down. I can let him live, or I can make him die!” --Tina McGee takes leadership of the Black Rose Gang
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
- iF Magazine's Tony Whitt notes that the timing of this planned event works to negate some of its intended impact. "I think I’d be a bit more thrilled about Wally’s return and all that if I’d had more time to miss him, just as I’d have been far more wrecked about Bart Allen’s death if I’d had more time to get to like him as much as the editors at DC appear to want me to have done." The issue is awarded a B- grade.
- Adam Chapman of ComiXtreme grants the issue three and a half exclamation points out of five, noting that there's intrigue in the fact that our hero finds himself in a unique position. "The big point of this issue is to put Wally West back inside the Flash costume and establish his new status quo. Wally is now unique in that both his predecessor and his successor have died, and he's once again taking up the legacy of the Flash."
- Rokk Krinn, writing at Comic Book Revolution, commends Waid's ability to capture the emotions of the characters. His comments also acknowledge the way in which Waid has brought further dimension to what has come before. "All Flash #1 is a rather emotional read. Waid does a fine job tapping into the pain and anger inside of Wally’s heart due to the brutal murder of Bart. Waid pays further tribute to Bart by really building up the heroic nature of Bart and how he had truly evolved and grown into an impressive man."
- Johannah Draper Carlson, one of the Savage Critics, wasn't impressed with the issue, despite Mark Waid's celebrated return. "I'm apparently part of the target audience--I remember Waid's first run fondly, I understand the appeal of the nostalgic hints--but there's nothing in this issue to bring me back for more." Then again, Carlson can appreciate the book's simple reason for being. "On the positive side, this doesn't seem necessary for those interested in trying the new Flash series. It gets the hero from where he was to where the writer wants him to be going forward. If you don't care how he got there, skip it and try the first issue of the relaunch."
- Brian Cronin of Comics Should Be Good writes that All Flash #1 "is just about as triumphant as one would expect from a comic that is designed to bridge the gap between the end of the previous Flash series and the re-starting of the Wally West Flash series--which is not much." He ends the review by filing the issue under "Not Recommended."
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
"The deal with BOOM! is not exclusive... Like I said before, I enjoy working with those characters, so they knew I'd want to continue doing that. But second, it is important to remind people that I can still fulfill my other commitments and still work with other characters because we don't want this announcement to be about me leaving somewhere else, but instead the announcement should be about me joining BOOM! Studios. That's what the focus of this announcement should be about. I have every intention of fulfilling my commitment at DC, and I've been talking to Marvel about what I can do there. And I don't anticipate that any of that will change... Look, this was part of the deal from the beginning--that I keep doing these comics. I want to keep doing Brave and the Bold. I want to keep doing Flash. As far as how long, we'll see what happens, but I'm committed to them right now."
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
- As reported by the Comics Continuum, Mark Waid has been named Editor-in-Chief for BOOM! Studios. Waid, who is no longer restricted by an exclusive contract with DC Comics, will replace publisher and co-owner Ross Richie on August 1st. The announcement follows rumors that Waid will soon leave The Flash.
- Did the Pied Piper and the Trickster participate in the beating that lead to Bart Allen's death, despite their claims to the contrary in Countdown? Confused by the visual evidence presented in The Flash #13, a fan posed that question to Paul Dini during the DC Big Guns panel. According to Newsarama, Dini explained that "if that was indeed the case, it was a result of miscommunication between the writers." When asked how he felt about the fourth Flash's death, writer Geoff Johns answered with, "Next question."
- There may be a reason for Geoff Johns's reluctance to discuss the death of Bart Allen. Comic Book Resources reports that a fan at Friday night's DC Nation panel asked, "How finished is Bart's story?" Dan Didio passed that question to Johns, who responded by exclaiming, "Don't spoil it!"
- The Rogues Gallery appears prominently on early artwork released to promote Salvation Run, a seven-issue mini-series by Bill Willingham and Sean Chen that will launch in November. Willingham elaborates on the concept behind the mini-series in an interview with Newsarama. Based on the artwork, it seems a sure bet that we'll see the likes of Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, the Weather Wizard, and Abra Kadabra take a starring role alongside the other supervillains of the DC Universe.
- Thursday night at Comic-Con Warner Bros. Animation confirmed the cast for the upcoming Justice League: The New Frontier animated feature. As Newsarama notes, Neil Patrick Harris will indeed be providing the voice of the Flash.
- Stan Berkowitz, a writer for The Batman animated series, was on hand at Warner Bros. Animation's panel on Friday and spoke about the Flash's role on the series. According to Comic Book Resources, Berkowitz confirmed that, in keeping with their vision of a classic Justice League, the scarlet speedster appearing next season is intended to be Barry Allen. The writer added, "All you Wally West fans can pretend it's Wally." Additionally, The Batman episode featuring the Dark Knight's team-up with the the fastest man alive will also feature the Mirror Master, voiced by John Larroquette. "You wonder if Gotham's going to survive this guy," Alan Burnett said of the supervillain's guest appearance.
- Wizard has posted a report on Mattel's convention presentation, including sneak peeks at the Justice Leage Unlimited set--which features an action figure of Gorilla Grodd--and next year's DC Universe line.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Writers: Howard Chaykin & John Francis Moore
Director: Danny Bilson
Editor: Bill Zabala
Synopsis: When private detective Megan Lockhart is abducted by James Jesse, a crazed criminal with a penchant for the theatrical, the Flash races to her rescue. The madman’s run-in with the scarlet speedster serves only to prompt a dangerous obsession, however. Jesse decides that in order to bring about his superhero rival’s downfall and recapture the lovely Lockhart he requires a new identity. Soon, Central City is being threatened by the perilous pranks of the Trickster!
Commentary: At long last, The Flash embraces its comic book heritage by bringing one of the crimson comet’s infamous Rogues to the screen! “The Trickster” is the first of a series of episodes produced after the network finally decided it was only fitting to feature costumed supervillains on the series. Interestingly, Bilson and DeMeo initially had hoped to present James Jesse as a fantasist whose shenanigans as a supervillain were nothing more than elaborate, internalized delusions. A hint of this remains in the finished script but, unfortunately, that intricate conception of the character was abandoned--primarily as both the studio and network refused it, deeming such a delusional adversary unworthy of our hero--in favor of a more traditional superhero scenario. Guest star Mark Hamill is marvelous, creating a vivid persona that would live on for years in his performances as the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series and beyond. (In addition to featuring in The Flash’s series finale, Hamill even reprised the role of James Jesse in an episode of the animated Justice League Unlimited.) Unfortunately, it’s easy to see why the Trickster was chosen as the first of the Flash’s Rogues Gallery to put in an appearance on the live action series. The character presented here bears a greater resemblance to Batman’s famous arch-nemesis than to his own comic book counterpart. Fortunately, Hamill is endlessly entertaining in acting out the Trickster’s eccentricities and there are just enough moments of outright macabre humor to balance out the episode’s general wackiness. Additionally, Joyce Hyser puts in an encore performance as the sassy Megan Lockhart, invigorating Barry Allen’s love life and fueling jealousy from Tina McGee. It’s satisfying to see our brave but bashful hero finally get the girl. There’s also a very funny subplot in which Officer Bellows becomes convinced that his partner, Officer Murphy, is the man behind the Flash’s mask. Hilarity ensues. “The Trickster” doesn’t feature The Flash's most stunning plot but it seems to represent a step in the right direction. The episode is entertaining, it features an unforgettable villain, and it serves up a healthy dose of comic book nostalgia.
High-Speed Highlight: During an overzealous effort to apprehend the Trickster, the Flash is unable to keep his footing at high speed as he slips and falls again and again on thousands of marbles sprayed across a Central City roadway.
Quotable: “That red costume, with that lightning bolt insignia signifying his dark power… There’s only one man who can stop the Flash! There’s only one man who can rescue my faithful companion, Megan Lockhart, from the Flash’s evil clutches--and I am that man!” --James Jesse finds a new purpose in life
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4 ($2.99) Dark Horse - 102,366
11. Captain America #27 ($2.99) Marvel - 99,046
12. Avengers Initiative #3 ($2.99) Marvel - 92,282
13. X-Men: Endangered Species One-Shot ($3.99) Marvel - 87,919
14. World War Hulk: X-Men #1 ($2.99) Marvel - 85,020
15. World War Hulk: Front Line #1 ($2.99) Marvel - 84,334
16. Uncanny X-Men #487 ($2.99) Marvel - 81,430
17. Countdown #47 ($2.99) DC - 77,456
18. Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 ($2.99) DC - 76,813
19. Countdown #46 ($2.99) DC - 76,315
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Update: ComicsPRO, a trade organization for direct-market comic book retailers, has released its first official position paper--and it just so happens to concern the use of variant covers to influence sales! Newsarama has posted the press release, and it's worth a read.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Written by Mark Waid & John Rogers; Art by Daniel Acuña and Doug Braithwaite; Cover by Doug Braithwaite. The Justice League steps up to take away the Flash's loved ones in the name of the law! Also in this issue: "The Fast Life" begins! This backup feature by Waid, Rogers (Blue Beetle) and Doug Braithwaite (Justice) picks up from Infinite Crisis and reveals the secrets behind the West Family’s otherworldly exile! DC Universe. 32pg. Color. $2.99 US. On Sale October 24, 2007.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Writer: Jim Trombetta
Director: Mario Azzopardi
Editor: Greg Wong
Synopsis: Jazz musician Wayne Cotrell is playing his saxophone on death row, waiting as the clock counts down to his midnight execution. A last-minute phone call suggests to Barry Allen and Julio Mendez that the man is innocent, however, and that the tragic killing of his lover was staged! The two police scientists must move fast to unravel the mystery behind legendary jazz diva Linda Lake’s disappearance and save Cotrell from the electric chair.
Commentary: It is remarkable how diverse The Flash’s stories are. “Beat the Clock,” like many of its predecessors, is unique and distinctive in comparison to other episodes of the series. This was a television show that continually proved that it was capable of successfully combining superhero action with a variety of other dramatic genres. Interestingly, this installment nearly takes place in real-time; the episode opens less than an hour before jazz musician Wayne Cotrell’s appointment with the electric chair and counts down to the scheduled moment of his execution. In the realm of cinematography, the plot’s emphasis on time prompts a number of creative shots that draw our attention to a variety of clock faces; nearly every scene contains a clock, maintaining our focus on the passing of crucial moments. Despite this set-up, however, there are more than a few moments when the drama seems to be unfolding at an unnaturally slow pace. The episode’s guest stars--including Angela Bassett as jazz singer Linda Lake--offer up some fine performances. Ken Foree is particularly entertaining as Whisper, the villain’s menacing henchman. More importantly, however, the script grants both Alex Désert and Amanda Pays the opportunity to bring some dimension to Julio Mendez and Dr. Tina McGee. All too often these supporting characters are mere caricatures, supplementing John Wesley Shipp’s strong performance by offering shallow comic relief. For evidence, look no further than the disappointing “Shroud of Death.” Here, it’s a relief to watch the show’s co-stars acting as believable characters with something to contribute to an engrossing plot. Shirley Walker’s soundtrack is more important than ever in a story inspired and driven by jazz music. The score contributes a great deal to the tale’s unique tone. The episode carries its share of minor flaws but, with its emphasis on character and atmosphere, “Beat the Clock” is an entertaining and well-scripted drama.
High-Speed Highlight: As the prison executioner pulls on his lethal switch, the Flash arrives in the nick of time to speedily unravel a series of restraints, releasing an innocent man from the electric chair with barely an instant to spare!
Quotable: “You’ll never make it in time. I can do it. Listen! Listen! I can make it, because I’m…” --Barry Allen attempts to reveal his secret identity to his partner only to be interrupted
Special Thanks: Thanks, as always, go out to Kelson Vibber for the screen captures featured here.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
- All About Comics's Phil Mateer reacts to the issue's drama with droll sarcasm. "Gosh, my heart is overcome with the tragedy of Bart’s death--or would be, I guess, if this had any sense of poignancy or drama, and didn’t just seem like a soulless corporate reaction to the current lack of interest or sales to this version of the character."
- Rokk Krin of Comic Book Revolution feels that this was an exhilarating story from Marc Guggenheim. "Near the end of the issue, the reader is frantically turning the pages, hoping against hope that Bart would survive this story." This reviewer, however, also poses the question that will forever linger in our minds: "Was it really necessary to kill Bart Allen?"
- Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter feels that this was a downright unpleasant end to an unremarkable series. After summarizing the issue's macabre plot, Spurgeon asks, "Does any of that sound fun? It shouldn't. It wasn't! It was sort of like being dragged behind a boat for ten seconds after falling off your water skis. There's no permanent damage, but it's unpleasant as all hell while it's happening. The plot here practically defines dreary, as you're essentially watching someone get murdered, and the script work seems ten years behind Guggenheim's recent stint on Blade."
- The Flash #13 shares a blog spotlight--along with Justice League of America #10--as the Book of the Week at Jimmy Olsen's Blues. The tongue-in-cheek review is written from the perspective of the fallen scarlet speedster himself: "To DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio: You've finally painted yourself into a corner. You spent all this energy and soaked up a year's worth of negative response and kept my book around, only to Black Flash me anyway. Good luck finding the next Flash, smart guy..."
- Adam Chapman, writing at ComiXtreme, grants the story four out of five exclamation points, noting that the series has come to an unceremonious end just as it was evolving into something exceptional. "Ultimately, I still feel that it misses plenty of opportunities, and is an abrupt end to what Guggenheim was putting together on this book. Guggenheim deserves a massive amount of praise, because he took this book, which had become virtually unreadable and unenjoyable, and made it good again... It's a shame that the book is now ending."
- Kenneth Gallant of Broken Frontier is left with the opinion that The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive was nothing more than a failed experiment. "The argument that the Flash is a generational character is debatable at best, and it became painfully obvious that Bart Allen wasn’t up to the task of replacing a character like Wally West."
- Film Frontier Reviews's JediSheltie, like many other readers, "wouldn't have minded seeing Bart succeed as Flash." Unfortunately, the young speedster was never given a proper chance. "Bart always would have that headache inducing back story, but that hardly meant his character couldn't be compelling. Leaching him completely of the sense of humor and turning him into a such a stock character signaled bad things from the start. Bart has left us, the Flash is dead."
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"...I suppose the difference for me is that–-[in] my own personal point of view–-the contrast between Marvel and DC has been for years that Marvel’s books were always darker in tone–-more supposedly based in the ‘real world'... and that DC’s offerings were brighter... more colorful and came from more of a place of hope and light. The heroes of the DCU stood for optimism and the promise of a brighter future in the face of forces that would bring darkness and destruction to the world. In essence, the DCU was, to me, the place for a more stark contrast between the forces of light/good and the forces of darkness/evil... DC comics were always more colorful and fun for me. Now Bart Allen joins the ever growing list of characters who are dying in the DCU..."
Monday, July 09, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
"My job was to establish Bart as the Flash. It just so happened that my job was to establish him as the Flash and then kill him... My goal was that, if I was going to kill Bart, I was going to make sure that Bart died as a Flash. In fact, that’s the whole reason for page thirteen of issue #13, with Bart screaming “I am the Flash!” I really wanted to try to establish Bart as a legitimate Flash before we killed him. And I was very careful in all the interviews and all the message board postings I did to not lie--I repeatedly said that I was not bringing Wally back, and that’s true. I wasn’t going to do it. No one asked me if someone else was going to do it, though."
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
That's the man of steel on the right, see? His emblematic shield may appear as an awkard square but the costume is unmistakable. I'm not certain why the Flash appears here as a cyclops--we'll call it artistic license--but I think she's done a fine job of depicting the scarlet speedster. Once I finished admiring the work, I knew I had to post this to the blog. Might my niece have a future in illustrating for DC Comics? I'll just have to continue to supply her with a healthy dose of comic books for inspiration.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Scheduled to arrive in stores on July 18th, All-Flash #1 is written by Mark Waid with art by Karl Kerschl, Ian Churchill, Manuel Garcia, Joe Bennett and Daniel Acuña. This issue features covers by Joshua Middleton and Bill Sienkiewicz, which will arrive in stores in a split of approximately 50/50. This issue spotlights the aftermath of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Writer: John Vorhaus
Story: Gail Morgan Hickman & John Vorhaus
Director: Christopher Leitch
Editor: Bill Zabala
Synopsis: Star Labs is attacked by an invisible intruder who unleashes Project Pandora, a government-sponsored research project concerned with producing a lethal nerve toxin, and Tina McGee and her short-tempered supervisor are trapped in the ensuing quarantine lockdown! As a team of treacherous government operatives attempts to seize control of the situation, the Flash must locate and capture the unseen enemy behind this crisis before Pandora’s progeny can deliver death to Tina and the populace of Central City.
Commentary: This is a surprisingly suspenseful episode considering that it plays like The Flash’s first “bottle episode”--a restricted, self-contained story that takes place almost entirely on the show’s familiar standing sets. The scarlet speedster still has plenty to do, however, and the plot is multi-layered and moves along at a swift, entertaining pace. “Sight Unseen” also allows The Flash to revisit certain dominant themes as it considers the morality of the scientific research that produces chemical weapons. The episode’s invisible foe, Brian Gideon, isn’t some simple supervillain but a tortured and clearly conflicted soul who has decided upon desperate measures. One of the episode’s best scenes features the Flash attempting to talk him into saving the people of Central City rather than destroying them; as always, Barry Allen shines as an empathetic hero. (Watch for an immense reproduction of William Blake’s “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun,” one of the show’s many magnificent murals, on Gideon’s wall.) This tale’s true villain is Quinn, a sinister government agent played with unsubtle menace by George Dickerson. Unfortunately, and despite his novelty as a third-party antagonist, the character is less believable than the episode’s invisible man. Quinn is absurdly, implausibly immoral and the conflict generated by his presence is sometimes frustrating or tedious as a result. On the other hand, Amanda Pays delivers what might be her most impressive performance to date as Tina McGee struggles to survive inside the locked-down Star Labs facility. The episode is packed with drama and remains suspenseful until the final frames. At the very least, “Sight Unseen” resists certain formulaic constraints and helps the series continue to prove that it is capable of exploring a variety of genres and story formats.
High-Speed Highlight: After being injected with Project Pandora’s deadly nerve toxin the Flash begins to vibrate his body at high speed, accelerating his metabolism and thereby discovering that his own blood is the miracle cure that he has been seeking.
Quotable: “We spend our lives blaming others but we’re all responsible. I sold them my knowledge and tried to pretend that I wasn’t responsible. But the people of Costa Luca know the truth. They paid with their lives. Soon Central City will pay the price for harboring the death merchants of Star Labs. I will taint the waters, I will poison the well, and they will drink their own destruction.” --Brian Gideon struggles with his conscience, attempting to justify his drastic actions
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
50. Detective Comics #832 ($2.99) DC - 64.56
51. Supergirl #17 ($2.99) DC - 62.94
52. Ultimate Fantastic Four #41 ($2.99) Marvel - 62.30
53. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #20 ($2.99) Marvel - 62.29
54. Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1 ($3.99) Marvel - 60.50
55. Flash: Fastest Man Alive #12 ($2.99) DC - 59.67
56. Amazons Attack #2 of 6 ($2.99) DC - 59.35
57. Daredevil #97 ($2.99) Marvel - 58.91
58. Runaways #26 ($2.99) Marvel - 57.58
59. Nova #2 CWI ($2.99) Marvel - 55.58
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
"I’m saving most of the new stuff for the first issue of the regular book... All I can do is be true and faithful to how I perceive the characters. All I can really do is try to make something interesting out of [the Flash's] new status quo and try to give you stuff that you’ve never seen before in a Flash book."
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Written by Mark Waid; Art and Cover by Daniel Acuña. What alien menace lies beneath the Flash’s own home? And what’s his dark, dark family secret--the one that’s helping him keep the peace in Keystone? DC Universe. 32pg. Color. $2.99 US. On Sale September 19, 2007.
Written by Mark Waid; Art by Karl Kerschl, Ian Churchill, Manuel Garcia, Joe Bennett and Daniel Acuña; Covers by Joshua Middleton and Bill Sienkiewicz. This issue spotlights the aftermath of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13. DC Universe. Color. On Sale July 18, 2007.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Update: Newsarama reports that at Charlotte, North Carolina's Heroes Con, Dan DiDio reiterated the scarlet speedster's schedule for this summer. The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 ships next week, ending the series. All-Flash #1, a one-shot exploring the Flash's long legacy, will ship in July. The Flash (v.2) #231 will be released in August. The true cover artwork for The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13--an image featuring a defeated Bart Allen in the arms of the Black Flash--was also revealed. "There are no hidden messages," DiDio quipped. "Don't read anything into it."
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Writers: Howard Chaykin & John Francis Moore
Director: Bruce Bilson
Editor: Greg Wong
Synopsis: After twenty-five years in cryogenic sleep, the technological supervillain known as the Ghost has awakened to embrace a modernized world that he has long waited to dominate--a world dominated by the television! With this threat reborn, the man who once roamed Central City’s streets as the masked vigilante Nightshade emerges from retirement to challenge his arch-nemesis once again. Fortunately, the Central City of 1990 has its own masked protector: the Flash. Together, the two costumed crimefighters must locate the Ghost before he can use combined telecommunication systems to conquer the city.
Commentary: “Ghost in the Machine” is exciting and, at times, outright inspired. Indeed, it has been nearly twenty years since the episode first aired and still I find that this story is impossible to forget. It seems that every superhero series must tackle this standard plot--a story in which the central superhero teams-up with the hero of a previous generation to topple a common enemy. For The Flash, the resulting episode is so entertaining it prompts you to wonder why the series has squandered so much time toying with the stuff of clichéd police drama. “Ghost in the Machine” feels like The Flash’s first foray into true superhero adventure. It’s a playful romp that evokes countless comic book classics. Anthony Starke is brilliant as the Ghost. Based on sheer entertainment value, he is easily the show’s most successful villain to date. The Ghost acts as an anachronism, a human time capsule embodying all of the dreams, expectations, and limitations of his bygone era. His role as the story’s antagonist allows this episode to broach a variety of themes relating to history, technology, progress, and aging. It’s both entertaining and thought provoking to watch the Ghost interact with his friends and enemies, all aged more than two decades since he last saw them. That the obsessive Ghost carries out his crimes using the medium of television adds a layer of simulacra and simulation to the shenanigans that is both fascinating and funny. Jason Bernard also does a fine job as Dr. Desmond Powell, the retired superhero known to the Central City of the 1950’s as the Nightshade. “Ghost in the Machine” opens in black-and-white with a retro action sequence that captivates immediately. The action-lite climax is a bit of a letdown--this despite a clever scene in which the Ghost tortures the Flash in the virtual reality world of the airwaves--but it’s followed by a stirring moment shared between Nightshade and the Flash. Powell’s character successfully draws out previously unexplored characteristics in our hero. It’s easy to see why Nightshade was called back for another appearance later in the season. The episode also finishes with a tantalizing twist that slyly plays with audience expectations based on the show’s format and formula. “Ghost in the Machine” is a thoroughly entertaining installment that finally delivers all of the superhero style, adventure, and playfulness that we’ve long been expecting from this television series.
High-Speed Highlight: The Ghost squares off against his aged arch-nemesis, the Nightshade, sending his henchmen to seek out the scarlet speedster. Aiming to eliminate his mortal foe once and for all, the Ghost fires a gun at the trench-coated hero. In the next instant the disguise of the Nightshade’s costume collapses, however, and the high-tech rogue finds the Flash at his side!
Quotable: “Now we live in a future I predicted! The only reason we failed in the 50’s was the technology wasn’t up to my dreams. But failure now is impossible. I’m going to put a stranglehold on this city. The tools are here… At last technology has caught up with me!” --The Ghost revels in the technological advancements of the late twentieth century
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Update: Kelson Vibber has followed-up by posting panels from three separate versions of Jay Garrick's origin story. Flash Comics #1 (1940) gave us the rousing endorsement of cigarettes seen above. In Secret Origins #9 (1986), Jay considers that he should quit smoking as he lights up. By the time of Flash Secret Files #1 (1997), the cigarette had been completely removed from the tale.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
- Adam Chapman of ComiXtreme grants this issue four out of five exclamation points, explaining, "This title is on the up and up, getting better with each and every issue, in the hands of a writer who treats the core material and character with utmost respect, and also knows how to tell a rollickin' story at the same time." He adds that The Flash #12 is "Highly Recommended."
- At About Heroes, Brent is also singing the praises of Marc Guggenheim, the writer who may have saved this title. "All Hail Marc Guggenheim! Hail! Hail! Guggenheim is the new master of the Flash, and as I've said before, is bringing this book back from the grave... Everyone definitely needs to be checking out the Flash now."
- Rachelle Goguen, posting at Living Between Wednesdays, highlights some of the issue's more amusing moments with a series of page and panel scans. "I liked Mirror Master coming out of Flash's shiny earpiece... I liked the Rogues chatting about what they were going to do now that time had stopped... And the shocker ending? Yup, it looks bad for Bart. Almost as if he's going to be replaced... by someone who has been dead for quite some time..."
- Comic Overload's Nick couldn't be more pleased with the team of Guggenheim and Daniel. "Good gosh I am really starting to love this title... Time traveling, the Speed Force used in a non-annoying way, Rogues taking on Bart, and, of course, Bart for the most part beating the crap out of them. MAN! Very good issue. Daniels’ artwork just is the cherry on Guggenheims’ masterful writing."
- Rich of ComicByComic doesn't seem to be buying into DC's hype--or, for that matter, the idea of Bart Allen as the fastest man alive. "Big things are apparently afoot for the Flash starting with this issue. Unfortunately, I don’t think those things involve the return of Wally West."
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Update: Apparently, Tony Daniel has joined in on this action as well. Craig MacD points us to Daniel's blog, where the artist is posting panels and pages from The Flash #13, giving us a sneak peek at the upcoming issue's artwork as well as the process of pencilling a comic book.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
"Big stuff is coming up. Huge. However, it's been so huge we can't even solicit it outright without spoiling, so there's nothing I can tell you without doing the same. That having been said, some hints about The Flash #13: 1) Barry appears. Kinda. 2) The splash page is a homage to a classic Flash-related cover. 3) There are a lot of candles. 4) Bart says, "I. Am. The. Flash!!!!" 5) Inertia gets his comeuppance. 6) Everyone who thinks I've gotten Piper wrong should check this issue out. 7) Bart's relationship with Val takes a major step forward. 8) Bart puts a chokehold on his grandmother. No, really."
Monday, June 04, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Writer: Michael Reaves
Story: Howard Chaykin & John Francis Moore
Director: Mario Azzopardi
Editor: Lawrence J. Gleason
Synopsis: Moments before being executed, fanatical survivalist Jefferson Zacharias vowed that he would send an angel of death to assassinate all those who had a hand in his sentencing. Now, years later, that ominous declaration is being carried out. Law enforcement officials in Central City are being eliminated by a skilled and determined assassin. Barry Allen must discover the killer’s identity before his commanding officer, Lieutenant Garfield, can be crossed off the hit list.
Commentary: In “Shroud of Death,” guest star Mike Genovese--playing Barry Allen’s now-familiar superior, the short-tempered but honorable Lieutenant Warren Garfield--is finally granted the opportunity to step away from the sideline and into the spotlight. Here, he’s more engaging than many of those supporting characters who played pivotal roles in previous installments. The plot concerning survivalist Jefferson Zacharias’s Warriors of Freedom is intriguing albeit awkward. In this case, there may be too much back story--much of this standard revenge drama has taken place before the episode’s opening scene. There is, however, plenty of excitement supplemented with a few somewhat predictable plot twists, and the Flash is able to perform in several amusing action sequences. The art direction remains brilliant, composer Shirley Walker continues to shine, and there are a number of scenes featuring top-notch cinematography. Unfortunately, this episode also bears a pair of downright annoying subplots. When Tina McGee announces that she has been offered a job in California, the typically-sensitive Barry struggles to say that he doesn’t want her to leave. Meanwhile, after catching a glimpse of several high-speed stunts, Julio Mendez begins to suspect that his partner may be the mysterious scarlet speedster who protects Central City. Both of these subplots rehash simplistic character dynamics that have been present since the show’s pilot without contributing anything new. They also impair our suspension of disbelief. It’s difficult to believe that Barry would be incapable of communicating his feelings to Tina--almost as difficult as it is to believe that there is any sort of romantic tension between them. The writers also risk rendering the already comic Julio into an outright fool by allowing him to continually deny the secret identity scam that should be obvious to him. This sort of cheap comedy and dry drama is all too familiar. During such scenes it feels as if The Flash is running in circles, and these subplots drag the episode down. Ultimately, “Shroud of Death” is an entertaining but rather unremarkable adventure.
High-Speed Highlight: Summoning an astonishing burst of super speed, the Flash leaps from a pressure-sensitive plate rigged to explode by Zacharias’s angel of death, then proceeds to outrun the subsequent fireball and ensuing shockwave.
Quotable: “Could you feel my head? Could you feel my head, please? Is it warm? Because I could have sworn that I just saw you working so fast that I couldn’t see your hand.” --Julio Mendez begins to suspect that his lab partner is hiding something