Saturday, December 30, 2006

Crisis On Earth-Blog: The DC Challenge

Oh, dear. While we each idolize the forensic skills of the great Barry Allen, it's clear that you don't possess the benefit of his training with the Central City Police Department. You've selected an incorrect answer! Fear not, hopeful sleuth. The great DC Challenge continues, and you can find a fresh start on this case by picking up clues posted at one of the super blogs below...

The Aquaman Shrine
The Atom: Tiny Titan
Being Carter Hall
Comics Make Me Happy
Crimson Lightning
Dispatches from the Arrow Cave
El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
Firestorm Fan
Girls Gone Geek
I Am The Phantom Stranger
The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Justice League Detroit
Once Upon a Geek
Pretty, Fizzy Paradise
random picture day
Reilly2040's Blog
Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
when is evil cool?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Smallville Scheduling

Here's a reminder that tonight at 8:00pm the CW will rerun "Run," the Smallville episode that introduced the impulsive Bart Allen to Clark Kent. This will be followed at 9:00pm with a rerun of "Cyborg," featuring Lee Thompson Young as Vic Stone. It's all part of the build-up to the premiere of the long-awaited "Justice" on January 18, 2007.

Appropriately, the young heroes will be choosing codenames when they form the Smallville Justice League. Rumor has it that Warner Bros. instructed the show's producers that they could not use "the Flash" as Bart's codename on the series. Thus, it's likely that in "Justice" he'll be adopting another familiar moniker: Impulse. I have no interest in fanning the flames of the internet rumor mill, but this decision could be telling. Typically, a refusal to allow the use of a given property in a television series like Smallville--such as Warner's refusal to allow the use of any and all Batman characters on the series, for instance--indicates they are protecting the property for use in other high-profile projects. Could it be that the studio has a vested interest in the Flash? Does this reveal that they are, at long last, planning on moving forward with the eagerly anticipated Flash film? Only time will tell.

After Jonathan's (John Schneider) wallet is stolen, Clark (Tom Welling) super-speeds after the thief (guest star Kyle Gallner) but is stunned when he cannot catch him. The thief, Bart, a.k.a. The Flash, later shows up at the farm and tries to talk Clark into leaving Smallville for a life on the road together, flexing their super powers. Meanwhile, Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) buys a priceless framed manuscript with Kryptonian symbols and Clark learns that it contains a mysterious hidden map. However, when Bart steals the manuscript from Lex, he inadvertently puts Clark's life in danger and must make the decision whether to save Clark or himself. Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, John Glover, Jensen Ackles, Annette O'Toole also star. David Barrett directed the episode written by Steven S. DeKnight.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mentor Issues

On Christmas Eve, Kevin Melrose of Newsarama Blog's "Comics, Covered" posted a wonderful look at the long-standing tradition of holiday-themed comics. Among those classic comics spotlighted was Teen Titans #13, featuring an trendy retelling of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. It's not the story's cliches that caught Melrose's attention, however, but the unexpected betrayal displayed in the behavior of Kid Flash. Who would have ever suspected the young Wally West of struggling with "mentor issues"? Let's simply say that the Titans Tower comic library was missing its issues of The Flash, and shame on those careless teenagers for not keeping up with their subscription!

“The TT’s Swingin’ Christmas Carol!” is, thankfully, reprinted in Showcase Presents: Teen Titans, Vol. 1, so I got to experience the weirdness myself. The core of the story is, obviously, a retelling of the Dickens classic (featuring Ebenezer Scrounge, owner of the Junkorama junk yard), but the opening sequence offers some interesting subtext: On Dec. 25, the Titans lounge around their headquarters, reading — because that’s what hip ’60s teen-agers do. Aqualad is reading an Aquaman comic, Wonder Girl is reading Wonder Woman, and Robin is reading A Christmas Carol before being shamed into abandoning that “ungroovy” story in favor of Batman. But what’s Kid Flash reading? No, not The Flash. Superman! I’m not saying who, but someone has some mentor issues.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Flash TV

Well, I'd have to say I'm one happy fanboy. On Christmas Day I received The Flash: The Complete Series on DVD! It was the perfect present, of course. This means that at long last I'll be able to relive every episode of the scarlet speedster's live action adventures. It's been well over a decade since I saw most of these episodes--I haven't watched the show since it first aired on CBS, really. Naturally, I'm very eager to revisit the series and to see what I make of it today.

Will I be posting an episode guide extension for Crimson Lightning? Probably not, although the thought has occurred to me. It's more likely I'll post various comments and musings regarding the show here in the Crimson Lightning blog. In fact, let's plan on making it a regular feature, like Friday's Classic Covers. That should be fun.

Here's hoping that you received all those comic book goodies that you were wishing for this holiday season.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Comfort and Joy

When the kids aren't able to get their hands on the most popular toy of the holiday season, there's only one swift, jolly man in a red suit to call: The Flash! This enjoyable little romp from the Justice League episode "Comfort and Joy" features the Flash and the Ultra-Humanite putting aside the fighting that comes with superheroics and the destruction that comes with supervillainy long enough to deliver Christmas cheer to some children in need. It turns out, the Flash is an ideal Santa stand-in.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Impulse Animated

Titans Tower has posted a number of original character illustrations from artist Todd Nauck depicting various Teen Titans members rendered in the style of the Cartoon Network animated series. Among the latest is Bart Allen himself in the guise of Impulse!

Ever wonder what some of the Titans would look like if they were animated in the Teen Titans Cartoon Network series? Todd Nauck, of Teen Titans Go! fame, has been answering that very question! We already saw animated versions of Lilith, Rose Wilson and Chibi Superboy... Since that time, the ever-obliging artist has gven us animated takes on several Titans! Check out his takes on his Young Justice characters!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Review: Rogue War

Collected Editions has posted an extremely insightful review of The Flash: Rogue War trade paperback. This one is a must read. The detailed review examines the intricacies and nuances of the various story arcs that Geoff Johns contributed to the title and exhibits a thorough understanding of the themes and elements that tied those various arcs into a single epic saga. This analysis helps to reveal just how rich a tapestry was woven for The Flash during the final years of the second volume--a tapestry that thematically unified Wally West, his family, friends, enemies, and Keystone City--and it reveals just why many readers have thus far refused to accept Bart Allen and the relaunched title. Geoff Johns's work on The Flash, during the "Rogue War" and beyond, was nothing short of masterful.

From the beginning, one of Johns' main tenets of The Flash is that Wally West is the hero who is "just a man." At the beginning of The Secret of Barry Allen trade, Johns writes that while Superman "soars above," Batman "hides," and Wonder Woman "preaches" to everyone, Wally "runs alongside" everyone, at one point changing the alternator in a woman's stalled car as he passes. Keystone is portrayed as a blue-collar, automotive city, much like Detroit where Johns was born. Johns' first scene of Wally in the Blood Will Run trade has him enjoying a regular hockey game, and the major villain in that story is Cicada, a cult leader who sees the Flash as a god; Cicada's defeat influences Wally to return to living in Keystone City proper, "with the other regular people of Keystone." Indeed, Wally defeats the Thinker in Crossfire also by being "a regular guy" with human emotions. The super-intelligent Gorilla Grodd makes three major appearances in Johns' story, and Johns uses Grodd to examine the animal nature of humans; Wally claims in Blitz that he's not an animal, but his animal desire for vengeance against Grodd and, later, Zoom, remains a struggle. In this way, Johns not only portrays Wally as a man, but continues to examine the meaning of manhood and humanity...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

'Tis the Season...

DC Comics has posted the artwork from their annual holiday card. The festive image, featuring the Flash and a number of other heroes engaged in a friendly snowball fight, is also available on the DC downloads page as desktop wallpaper.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Coming Soon?

How long will fans have to wait to see the fastest man alive take to the big screen? At least a bit longer. The Sci-Fi Wire and have picked up quotes from an interview with Ryan Reynolds--the actor that writer/director David Goyer would like to see portray Wally West in his motion picture adaptation of the comic series--regarding the status of The Flash. According to Reynolds, who is eager to be a part of the project, he hasn't been asked to don the red unitard just yet.

Ryan Reynolds, who is reportedly in line to star in David Goyer's proposed Flash movie, told that nothing's happening with the film yet. "It's a $108 billion movie if they do it," Reynolds told the site. "I don't know how that stuff works, and I don't really get involved with it." Goyer was writing, producing and would direct the film, based on the venerable DC Comics franchise, about a superhero who can run near the speed of light. Little has been said about the project since it was announced two years ago. "I think if they do it, they're going to see it through the eyes of Wally West and its inanimate world," Reynolds said, with tongue in cheek. "I can hear people falling asleep while I'm talking about this."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Interview: Dan Didio

Newsarama has posted a year-end interview with Dan Didio, "A 2006 Look Back." The DC Executive Editor talks about the many changes made to the DC Universe and its various titles during the previous year, directly addressing the competing opinions regarding Bart Allen becoming the Flash.

"If you don't change, fans generally start crying out for change. Then, if you change something, the fans--sometimes the same ones--will start crying out that they didn't want the change. You're never going to be able to please everybody--you've got to go out there and do it, and almost, damn the consequences. And it keeps going--we've got fans who are still arguing whether or not Flash should be Barry Allen or Wally West, but at the same time, we're getting a new set of voices who like the idea of Bart as Flash. And for those fans, Bart Allen is their Flash. He's the one that they want to see and want to keep. Likewise, I'm starting to see acceptance of Jason Rusch as Firestorm, even after the outcry about Ronnie Raymond. So there is an evolution, but the real trick for all of us is to stay true to the course of what we've done and stay true to the plan of the changes we've made so that these characters are able to take root--and not to go running backwards and changing things, just because it seems like it was a mistake."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Sale: Infinite Holiday

On sale today from DC Comics, just in time for the holidays, is the DCU Infinite Holiday Special. The trade paperback contains a variety of holiday-themed stories featuring our favorite superheroes, including the fastest man alive. Add this to the Flash fan's Christmas wish list.

Time to celebrate the holidays with the greatest heroes and rising stars of the DCU! Join Superman, Supergirl, Batwoman, Shazam, Green Lantern, Flash and Shadowpact as they spread the joy of the new season in their own special ways. This giant sized 80-page Special features stories by Greg Rucka, Judd Winick, Bill Willingham, Joe Kelly, Kelley Puckett, Keith Champagne and Ian Boothby and art by Joe Bennett, John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Ale Garza, Giuseppe Camuncoli and David Lopez. DC Universe, 80pg. Color. $4.99 US. On Sale December 13, 2006.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Upcoming: The Flash #10

DC Comics has unveiled their solicitations for March, and that means that we have a description and some artwork for The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #10. Marc Guggenheim's second issue--released alongside a trade paperback collecting Bilson and DeMeo's ill-received "Lightning in a Bottle" story arc--promises to bring with it some big changes. It seems Bart Allen will be undertaking a new career, and in the wake of Inertia's appearances our hero will be facing off against a true Reverse Flash.

Written by Marc Guggenheim; Art by Ron Adrian and Art Thibert; Cover by Ethan Van Sciver. Good cop, bad cop! Acing the L.A. Police Academy exam, Bart Allen carries on his grandfather's police legacy at super-speed. But the darker side of the law's just shown up in the City of Angels: Zoom! DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US. On Sale March 21, 2007.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Justice's League

The CW has begun to air advertisements for the long-awaited Smallville episode "Justice," airing in January. Comics Continuum has posted a number of screengrabs from the trailer, including a glimpse at Bart Allen's new look and the first images of Smallville's Justice League line-up.

The CW provided the first glimpse of the highly anticipated "Justice" episode of Smallville in a trailer at the end of Thursday night's episode. The trailer including several tidbits, including Lana expressing second thoughts about her relationships with Lex and Clark and Lois apparently finding out that Oliver Queen is Green Arrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Super Speed = Super Thought

Burton MacKenzie, connecting some dots laid out during the great Silver Age in an article entitled "Why Superman Must Be Super-Smart (and Can We Trust the Flash?)," poses an inevitable question. Are Superman and the Flash thinking at the same speed? Does this mean that the scarlet speedster can perform complex calculations in his head impossibly quick, just like the man of steel? We've seen each of the Flashes perform miraculous mental feats in the heat of high-speed battle throughout the years. It must be so! Perhaps instead of demanding to see the two fastest men alive race each other around the globe we should be calling for the first ever chess match between Superman and the Flash.

I remember as a kid reading Superman comics, in which some of them had him running super calculations on that super brain/intellect of his. I always found this the most dubious of his powers. It just struck me a few days ago that this is a necessary consequence of his ability to run with super speed... But wait! To my knowledge, it has never been implied that the Flash can super think. If the Flash can run just as fast as Superman, he should be able to do the same super thinking as Superman!... I think perhaps the Flash isn't telling us the whole story. What are you hiding, Flash!?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Christmas List

Christmas is just around the corner. If you're still wondering what to give your favorite comic reader, or if you'd like to give a gift that will introduce a new reader to the DC Universe, look no further. Here's a Christmas list of assorted Flash merchadise sure to please any fanboy or girl. It's always a joy to find comics in your stocking, or superheroes under the tree...
  • The Flash: The Complete Series - Bilson and DeMeo aren't earning any popularity for their recent comic book run, but The Flash television series they created will always be remembered fondly by fans.
  • The Flash Archives (Vol. 4) - DC's beautiful hardcover archives preserve classic Silver Age adventures in an ideal format, and the latest volume presents Barry Allen battling some of his most memorable foes.
  • The Golden Age Flash Archives (Vol. 2) - Jay Garrick's Golden Age adventures are presented in this handsome hardcover, an archive featuring an array of stories that would be otherwise unobtainable for most readers.
  • The Flash: Rogue War - Geoff Johns brought a new level of spectacle to the pages of The Flash with "Rogue War," one of his most exciting story arcs, collected in its entirety in this trade paperback.
  • Justice League Heroes - This hot new videogame for the Playstation 2 and Xbox offers players the opportunity to become the fastest man alive--as well as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and a bevy of other Justice Leaguers.
  • Justice League Unlimited: Season One - This DVD set is a must-have for any Flash fan as it contains "Divided We Fall," a stunning story in which the scarlet speedster singlehandedly saves the world.
  • Flying Flash Action Figure - Sure, we all know the Flash can't fly, but I'm betting that won't stop any small children from enjoying this particular toy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Reviews: The Flash #6

Reviews of the latest installment in the scarlet speedster's ongoing story are now appearing online. The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #6 represents the conclusion of the relaunched series' first major story arc. Brace yourself. These reviews aren't pretty. In fact, this is probably as bad as it can get. Truly, these are dark days for the fastest man alive. It seems that DC Comics has announced Marc Guggenheim's takeover of the title just in time. Things are starting to get ugly.

  • Tom Foss at the Fortress of Soliloquy has decided that he's no longer going to be buying the title. "This is easily the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel worst book I buy each month. And this latest issue was doubly terrible... I know it's getting a new creative team in a few months, but I haven't been shown anything--anything!--to suggest that having Bart as the Flash is a good idea... The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive is a bad comic."
  • Film Frontier's JediSheltie recognizes that writers Bilson and DeMeo have made an effort on The Flash, but can't help but agree with these other vocal reviewers. "Sadly, though I won't say I'm a slave to popular opinion, the mob can be right from time to time. I'll join in the general critical disdain for the relaunch helmed by Danny Bilson and Paul de Meo."
  • Graig Kent of Rack Raids feels that "until now, the book has been of the 'just good enough to keep reading, not bad enough to drop yet' quality, but issue six, wrapping up the Griffin storyline, is untidy and wholly predictable and comfortably falls into 'bad' territory... The Flash experience to this point has not been an enjoyable one, which is too bad, because Bart, along with the Flash legacy, should be really entertaining reading."
  • Michael Hartney, in his latest installment of Uncle Mikey's Funnybook Round-Up, serves up some heavy criticism of the current creative team. "Everyone associated with this book so far, with the exception of Karl Kerschl, should be ashamed of themselves. Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson should be ashamed of themselves for fumbling this high-profile reboot with a story filled with nary a shred of surprise, excitement, or charm. Ken Lashley should be ashamed of himself for turning in such uninspired, shoddy pencils... That they managed to make even Infinite Crisis seem boring is truly a remarkable feat."
  • Doug at Turning the Light Around admits that, although the book has been consistently poor since the relaunch, he loves the title character too much to drop the series. "It's a really terrible issue, but you can see them trying to haul this thing back onto the right track, so I'll be sticking around, giving these guys some slack, and looking forward to the Guggenheim run."

The intensity and bitterness in some of these reviews helps to reveal, I think, how highly people have always regarded The Flash as a comic book title. We're not just disappointed with the quality of the current series, we're angry. Why? Because we love this book, and we love this hero. For years, The Flash has consistently given us some of the greatest creative teams in comics, and we know that this title deserves the best. Truly, Guggenheim and Adrian have an imposing challenge on their hands.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Comics2Film and Kryptonsite are reporting that the CW will soon be re-airing Smallville's "Run"--the episode featuring Bart Allen--along with a number of other episodes featuring other notable DC heroes. It's all preparation for the premiere of "Justice," the long-awaited episode that will introduce the Justice League to Smallville's mythology. For those who don't watch the series regularly, this presents a wonderful opportunity to see Smallville's interpretations of DC's many heroes. A viewing schedule for these episodes is listed below.

Just in time for the Justice League extravaganza in the episode "Justice," airing in January, the CW has planned some very heroic repeats in the weeks leading up to it. On Thursday, December 28, The CW will be airing two back-to-back Smallville repeats from past seasons--"Run," which introduced us to that impulsive "flash" Bart Allen; and "Cyborg," which introduced Victor Stone. Then, on January 4, the CW again brings us two episodes--"Arrow," featuring Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow, and "Aqua," last season's high-rated episode featuring Arthur "A.C." Curry. Here is the schedule for the next few weeks of episodes. All episodes air Thursdays at 8PM unless otherwise noted...

11/30 "Sneeze"
12/7 "Subterranean" NEW!
12/14 "Wither"
12/21 "Reunion"
12/28 "Run" (8PM) & "Cyborg" (9PM)
1/4 "Arrow" (8PM) & "Aqua" (9PM)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Shirley Walker (1945-2006)

Shirley Walker, a film and television composer best known for her exceptional work on Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, has passed away. Walker provided distinctive and dynamic music for a number of DC Comics projects, including The Flash television series. has posted a brief obituary.

Composer Shirley Walker, best known for her television work on Batman: The Animated Series, has died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 61. Most recently, Walker has been known for her work on the Final Destination series of films, and had just completed Black Christmas for long-time collaborator director Glen Morgan. She was a wonderfully sweet, kind and generous woman, and will be missed.

The Fastest Beagle Alive

Laura Gjovaag at the Aquaman Homepage has posted an amusing link to an artist's gallery offering interpretations of what might happen if Charles Schultz's Peanuts characters were to find themselves in the Marvel and DC universes. Here, with the Justice League assembled, we see Snoopy himself as the scarlet speedster...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Interview: Mike Wieringo

Newsarama has posted an excerpt from Modern Masters Vol. 9, an interview with Mike Wieringo. The artist reflects on his beginnings in the comic book industry, including the work he contributed to his first monthly comic title--The Flash. The article also offers a look at a couple of Wieringo's pencilled pages from the title. Mike Wieringo illustrated the scarlet speedster's adventures for only a year, but his unique contributions to the title really are unforgettable.

"I think 'intimidated' would be an understatement. I was terrified... petrified [to be working on The Flash]. Y'know that old saying that goes, 'Be careful for what you wish for--you just might get it'? Well, I'd been dreaming about getting a gig drawing the monthly adventures of a major comic book icon since I was around eleven years old, and here I was having that dream come true. As it turned out, the dream was much more hectic, difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating than I ever thought it would be. The monthly deadline was entirely intimidating and from the get-go; it felt crushing to me. I feel like I've been living under the gun ever since. The stress associated with a monthly comic book deadline is very high."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rock & Roll

Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo's stint on the scarlet speedster's comic is near its end. Why? Dan Diaz of Comic Book Commentary, tongue firmly in cheek, hypothesizes that DC Executive Editor Dan Didio may have finally gotten around to watching his DVD box set of The Flash television series and caught a glimpse of this scene presenting an, er... atypical take on the title character. Rock on, Barry Allen!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Art of Brian Bolland

Wizard has a six-page preview of The Art of Brian Bolland, an extensive collection of the artist's remarkable work due for release on May 31, 2007. Bolland contributed dozens of captivating covers to The Flash throughout Geoff Johns' memorable run on the title, carrying on a proud scarlet speedster tradition.

Often referred to as the “artist’s artist,” Brian Bolland has spent the last quarter century producing some of the most memorable and inspiring illustrations the comic industry has ever seen. This handsome volume is a retrospective of this astonishing artist’s career and a look at the man himself.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Logos by Hughes

Graeme McMillan over at Newsarama Blog directs our attention to the official website for Rian Hughes, a graphic designer who has done work for DC Comics. Hughes has posted an extensive array of title logos that were designed for various DC titles and merchandise. Some made their way to comic covers, others went unused. Among them you'll find the logo designed for the Dark Flash story arc (The Flash #152-159), the logo for Tangent's Flash title, and a Justice League t-shirt emblem featuring the scarlet speedster. There's also some beautiful DC Comics related artwork in the design section of the site. I was always rather fond of the futuristic, speed-distorted logo that graced those Dark Flash issues. Hughes's gallery is definitely worth a look.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Brian Cronin of Comics Should Be Good has posted a fun twenty-question comic book trivia quiz--entitled "All Crossed Out"--that challenges readers to name the comic crossover represented by a given list of titles and issues. Can you name the four-part crossover written by Mark Waid and Gerry Jones that took place in Green Lantern #30 and 31 and The Flash #69 and 70?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

On the Road

Today, on what is traditionally the busiest day of travel of the entire year, we're all wishing that we possessed the powers of super-speed. I am, at the very least. It would be a joy to spend a few moments channeling the speed force rather than a number of hours behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, we can't all be as lucky as Barry Allen, granted astonishing abilities via freak electrocution. (Although, apparently there's some potentially dangerous Superman merchandise available this holiday season that might do just that for a few lucky youngsters! Zap.) Unfortunately, we'll have to join millions of ordinary men and women in taking to the skies and roadways in the traditional way. I'll be updating the blog during the next few days if I'm able to.

Travel safely, boys and girls.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Interview: Bilson & DeMeo

Wordballoon Podcasts has posted an audio interview with Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo. The writers discuss their upcoming comic projects as well as the situation with The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive. There's also a link to an archived interview in which the two discuss their work on the Flash television series.

Writers Danny Bilson and Paul Demeo are back to discuss Red Menace, the new Wildstorm mini-series about a 1950's superhero who unmasks for the anti communist US senate committee, led by Joe McCarthy. The book is co-authored by actor Adam Brody, who plays Seth Cohen on Fox TV's The OC, and art is provided by the great Jerry Ordway. Billson and Demeo also discuss their run on the DC comic The Flash, and the chorus of internet complaints about the shift from Wally West to Bart Allen as the scarlet speedster.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Barry and Iris

David "Hermanos" Brothers of 4thletter! has posted an overview of the role that the romantic relationship between Barry and Iris Allen plays in Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier and, by extension, the great Silver Age. Love, after all, has always been the driving force behind each of the fastest men alive. Brothers has also posted for download a number of pages from one of the book's memorable scenes, in which the Flash saves his one true love from the chilling clutches of Captain Cold.

Barry Allen, and by extension Iris West/Allen, is pretty awesome... I can’t put my finger on why. He’s a forensic scientist with an investigative reporter girlfriend. He doesn’t play up the Clark Kent stumblebum garbage. Instead, he’s just late to things. What better alibi does the fastest man alive need? “Barry can’t be the Flash, he’s been late to every one of our dates!”...

If Barry is cool, Iris is, too. She’s the glue that holds the latest Flashes together. Barry’s wife, Wally’s aunt, and Bart’s grandmother. She gave Barry a reason to continue fighting the good fight, she gave Wally confidence, love, and support back when he needed it most, and she saved Bart’s life. Each of them would willingly die for her, and Barry even went so far as to kill for her.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Interview: James Kakalios

Newsarama has posted an interesting interview with James Kakalios, the physics professor who has written The Physics of Superheroes. In the classroom and in his new book, Kakalios examines the scientific basis--or lack thereof--behind the superpowers of some of history's most noteworthy comic heroes. Considering this premise, it's not surprising the the fastest man alive is one of his favorites. Kakalios spends much of the interview discussing what we'd call Flash Facts, incorporating references to the Silver Age as well as Geoff Johns' recent run.

James Kakalios is a comic book nerd but he’s one with a secret identity. He is a physics professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota. That means when people are arguing in a comic book store about whether The Flash could outrace Superman, Kakalios might have a plausible scientific answer. Now Kakalios has taken his years worth of useful and useless knowledge and turned it into the very funny and informative book, The Physics of Superheroes...

"Nearly without exception, the superpowers themselves violate the laws of physics. You just cannot run at super speed. You cannot stretch your body like a rubber band. So rather than just go around like a grump and say, 'Well this is impossible and that could never happen, and what’s the deal with the Hulk’s purple pants anyway?' What we do is we say, 'Okay. Let’s give them a suspension of disbelief. Let’s say you get one miracle invention from the laws of nature that accounts for the superpowers and then are what they’re shown doing in the stories consistent with actual physics?' Frequently the answer is yes and especially in some cases the Silver Age is just great for this. John Broome and Gardner Fox were writing stories at DC Comics, edited by Julie Schwartz, and they were making a real effort to try to put science in there. They were always coming up with a new and innovative application of the superpower because the Flash is fighting Captain Cold yet again. That’s what we do in scientific research. "

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Upcoming: DC Direct

There are a couple of Flash items among DC Direct's planned releases for the new year, images and descriptions of which have been posted at Comics Continuum. First up is the fourth series of Elseworld figures, which includes a version of the Flash seen in JSA: The Liberty Files (6.75"). The figure will be in stores on January 18th.

Following that, the fourth wave of DC Minimates figures will arrive. Here, a miniature version of Jay Garrick has been teamed with a pint-sized Wildcat. The set will be in stores on April 25th.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Upcoming: The Flash #9

Along with the announcement that Marc Guggenheim will become the regular writer on the title, DC Comics has posted a description and artwork for February's The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #9. Guggenheim plans to start the title fresh, focusing on a story that will cause Bart to reflect on his new role as the fastest man alive and to choose between two prominent teams with strong ties to the scarlet speedster's legacy: the Teen Titans and the Justice League.

Written by Mark Guggenheim; Cover by Ethan Van Sciver; Art by Ron Adrian and Art Thibert. Breakout writer Marc Guggenheim (Superman/Batman, Wolverine) comes aboard for a new chapter in the heroic journey of Bart Allen! Bart has literally grown into the mantle of the Flash, but if he's going to be a team player, he must first choose a team. Does Bart belong with the JLA or the Teen Titans? DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US. On Sale February 21, 2007.

Interview: Marc Guggenheim

DC Comics has announced that Marc Guggenheim will be replacing Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo as the regular writer behind the Flash beginning with The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #9 in February of 2007. This follows the news that Ken Lashley will pass his artistic duties to Ron Adrian. Newsarama has an interview with Guggenheim in which he discusses his take on the scarlet speedster and the plans for his first story arc.

When you’re young, change seems like a constant -- for DC’s Flash, it is -- a change in men under the mask and, coming early next year, a change in writers. Originally, it seemed like a slam-dunk of putting the former writing team of the Flash television series, Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson on the latest incarnation of the character at DC -- and initially, the newly launched series was met with solid sales. However, as things continued, the writing team’s version of Flash found some tough going with fans of the series who were already reeling with the changes made to the character in Infinite Crisis. In February, Flash will get a new voice in the form of Marc Guggenheim, who joins the title as its new regular writer...

“My instinct is not to dwell too much on Bart's getting older. Rather, I want to focus on him being the Flash. He's the Flash now and we all have to get used to that -- including Bart. One of the things I think is cool about the successive mantle-passing of the various Flashes is that all four of them have distinct personalities. Jay is the older, mentoring type. Barry is the icon. Wally is the irresponsible upstart who evolved into a responsible adult. My inclination is not to dwell too much on Bart's complex backstory and recent ‘maturing,’ but those elements clearly define his personality and set him apart from the Flashes who came before him. So I'm going to use those elements to inform my writing of the character without necessarily referring to them directly or, at least, often.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

Puzzle Pieces

The Superman Homepage has posted information on a number of Superman and Justice League themed puzzles available for purchase online at

Of the designs on offer, my personal favorite has to be this striking image featuring all three of my favorite DC heroes--the Scarlet Speedster, the Man of Steel, and the King of Atlantis. What a trio!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Once again, Tom Bondurant has pursued a fascinating line of thought for his Grumpy Old Fan blog column. This time around, Bondurant considers the ramifications of redefining the DC Universe in a way that reboots all of the familiar heroes without the use of their existing legacies, much as Marvel's Ultimate line has done. Some intruiging questions emerge.

In the case of such a scenario, who should be the man behind the mask as the Ultimate Flash? Bondurant decides, quite logically, that the answer is Barry Allen.

Can Wally West be the Flash without Barry Allen’s influence? Animated Wally apparently was, and apparently (if “Teen Titans” is linked to “Justice League”) was also Kid Flash. However, no Barry means no struggle to live up to Barry’s example, and that was a big part of Wally’s development... Many successor characters have been set up through more complicated story arcs, including Matrix/Supergirl, Kon-El, the Hal Jordan Spectre, Bart Allen, and arguably the newest Firestorm, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman. These tend to make them dependent on existing characters, and therefore would probably exclude them from this freshman class... So, with all that said, who makes the cut for Earth-Smorgasbord’s freshman class?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On Sale: Absolute New Frontier

Today, DC Comics has released a hardcover Absolute edition of Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier. The epic crossover bridges the Golden and Silver Age of comics and, as a result, prominently features the likes of Barry Allen and the Martian Manhunter as symbols of the Silver Age, representative of the new era's breed of superheroes . The story is also soon to be adapted by Warner Bros. Animation for a direct-to-DVD film release.

Written by Darwyn Cooke; Art and Cover by Darwyn Cooke.

Writer/illustrator Darwyn Cooke's critically acclaimed masterpiece DC: The New Frontier is celebrated in this oversized Absolute edition featuring new story pages, detailed annotations, alternate sequences and an extensive gallery of sketches, pinups, action figure art and much more!

In the 1950s, Cold War paranoia outlawed the Mystery Men of the Golden Age. Stalwarts such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman continued to fight for truth and justice, but as the world hurtled toward an uncertain future, it would take a new breed of hero to define the American Way. DC: The New Frontier takes readers on an epic journey from the end of the Golden Age of heroes to the beginnings of the legendary Justice League of America.

Darwyn Cooke's most ambitious project yet features the stunning color art of Dave Stewart, an introduction by DC's President and Publisher Paul Levitz, and an afterword by Cooke.

DC Universe. 464pg. Color. Oversized Hardcover. $75.00 US.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Newsarama's Troy Brownfield has posted "High Society: The Re-Return of the Justice Society of America," a look at the history behind the first superhero team in comics. The article also looks forward to the upcoming DC relaunch of the team's title and asks, "Why do we still need the JSA?" Most amusing to me, however, is the writer's topical byline for the story...

Troy Brownfield writes a bunch of stuff for Newsarama. His son was the Wally West Flash for Halloween, so the old man had to be Jay Garrick. It’s legacy, you know?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Project Rooftop

Dean Trippe directs our attention to Project Rooftop's latest selection, a complete redesign of the Flash's costume by an artist named Bannister. In keeping with Project Rooftop's goals, the detailed design is rather radical in its approach to reimagining the character's tried-and-true traditional costume. Bannister has replaced the familiar trappings of the scarlet speedster's uniform with elements inspired by the gear worn by bicyclists and sprinters.

Bannister has managed to simplify the Scarlet Speedster’s colors and iconography from the Flashes of the past and gone in a bolder direction, though I think on the same path that Wally West established after taking over for Barry Allen. Wally retained Barry’s major elements, but his uniform’s material always looked more advanced, more aerodynamic and resistant to friction. Barry’s lightning belt design was also modified to look more dynamic. It has a futuristic feel, which works with Bart’s origin. I mean, if you were suddenly living several centuries ago, wouldn’t you try to find outfits that were more like the modern attire you were used to?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Titans Remix

The Teen Titans were recently redesigned over at the always engaging Project Rooftop. Artist Eric Canete's remixed version of the team includes a Kid Flash energy being that invokes the memory of the Wally West of Kingdom Come. Canete has also posted further sketches of the team members at his own website.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Upcoming: Lightning in a Bottle

Newsarama has posted a press release from DC Comics announcing their collected edition titles for March and April of 2007. Among them is a new The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive trade paperback, for those readers willing to subject themselves to the critically derided first story arc of the relaunched title.

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive--Lightning in a Bottle TP. Written by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo; Art by Ken Lashley, Karl Kerschl, Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert. $12.99 US/$15.99. 144 Pages. Collects The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1-6.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reviews: The Flash #5

It's been five months since DC relaunched The Flash. Reader reviews of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #5 have been popping up around the web and, though many fans are trying to patiently ride-out the current storyline, sentiments regarding the new creative team remain constant. Many vocal readers are poised to drop this book if Bart Allen's adventures as the scarlet speedster don't improve.

  • Adam Chapman of ComiXtreme seems optimistic in commenting, "This series has been a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of quality since it launched, with the first two issues being quite strong, and then the following two stumbling, both artistically and in the script. This issue, however, is a return to the form we were hoping would be the norm after issues one and two, with Bart finally taking hold of himself, and the plot introducing some new elements which offset the still bothersome Griffin subplot... It's still nowhere near the quality of Wally's "Flash", especially when Waid or Johns were writing, but it does show some definite signs of promise, and hopefully the creative team can turn the boat around and back in a quality direction."
  • Doug at Turning the Light Around, too, is waiting for the series to eventually improve. "This book is starting to annoy me less, which is not to say that it's gotten too much better than it was originally. At least they're trying new artists, and this one, Ron Adrian, is not as bad as some of the previous artists... I'm not dropping this, I'll never drop this: I love Flash too much, so I really want this to stop being such a frustrating experience each month. Come on, people."
  • Michael Hartney, in the latest Uncle Mikey's Funnybook Round-Up, is less optimistic in aknowledging where the current creative team has failed us. "More fairly interesting story, more fairly lame art. What is happening here? Does DC realize how badly the ball is being fumbled with this book? Do they realize that if I'm not blown away by next issue's conclusion to the first arc (which promises to flashback to Bart's fight with Superboy Prime in the Speed Force), I will drop the book? And I think I'm one of the few hangers-on left. I'll finish this storyline out, and take it from there. Dazzle me, Bilson and DeMeo. And for the love of Christ, don't let Ken Lashley, Ron Adrian, or Sal Velluto anywhere near this book."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Reviews: Justice #8

Reviews are coming in for Justice #8, Alex Ross' epic tale that pits the Legion of Doom against the classic Justice League. This issue prominenty featured the Flash facing off against one of his most memorable nemeses, Captain Cold.
  • Troy Brownfield at Newsarama says, "If Justice isn't the coolest live action Challenge of the Superfriends that we're never gonna get, I don't know what is. Issue #8 also functions a lot like the other book I covered in that the Justice League of America functions pretty much for the first time in this series as a unit when they get a fairly clear understanding of what they are up against and what they need to do to fix things... The Flash's confrontation with Captain Cold was pretty money too. Credit Barry Allen with addressing what I always thought was weird about the villains' shortsightedness in taking heroes out of commission ('And that means you tried to kill everyone I hope to save until the day I die. That's a lot of people.'). Yeah, Cap. These heroes are saving you too."
  • Charles Wisniowski of FanBoyWonder feels that "this was by far the best issue of the 12 issue maxi series so far—both in the story and especially in the art. On the art, Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross have definitely hit their stride. On the story, even with minimal action, it was the little things that made this issue—the Elongated Man/Plastic Man confrontation, Batman’s interrogation of Captain Cold and the tender moment between Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman as she contemplates the demise of her immortal life."

Saturday, October 28, 2006


David "Hermanos" Brothers of 4thletter!, participating in a fan-prompted "Publisher for a Day: DC Comics" exercise, proposes a new title that would call for The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive to be cancelled and relaunched as ZOOM. It's a unique and interesting idea.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Unlimited Powers

Newsarama has posted "Greatest Stories Never Told: Unlimited Powers" by David Gutierrez, an extensive and detailed article from Two Morrows' Back Issue #19 that tells the tale of an unproduced television pilot pitched to CBS by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo, the writing team behind The Flash television series and DC's The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive. The first episode of the series, Ulimited Powers, was entitled "The Return of the Flash," and the scarlet speedster is very much at the heart of their epic story.

An aged speedster. A bio-engineered man. A novice archer. A black mage. These four became a new Justice League in a world of dark politics and the absence of heroism, where "Batman hung up his cape," and "Superman departed for galaxies unknown" in the non-produced CBS pilot, Unlimited Powers. Unfortunately, their story would remain untold--until today...

"The Return of the Flash," the Unlimited Powers pilot, opens with a bang. Barry Allen, the Flash, escapes from a 15-year-long suspended-animation prison sentence and runs out into oppressive Central City. Now a virtual police state run by Civic Governor Kendrick, the Flash is declared a fugitive. For the first time in his career, he experiences fatigue when he uses his powers. His age is catching up with him now that his body has outrun his mind.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On Sale: Justice #8

Available today from DC Comics is Justice #8, the latest installment in the exciting twelve-part series from Jim Krueger, Doug Braithwaite, and Alex Ross. Ross' cover for the issue features the Flash chasing down Captain Cold, representing the traditional battle that plays out in the first pages of the issue. Newsarama has posted a five page preview of the issue which offers a glimpse at the action.

Written by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross; Art by Doug Braithwaite and Ross; Cover by Alex Ross. The worst fears of the Justice League are realized, as the villains strike through those closest to the heroes! DC Universe 40pg. Color $3.50 US.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On Sale: JLU DVD

On sale today from Warner Home Video is Justice League Unlimited: Season One. The DVD collection contains twenty-six half-hour episodes and includes "Task Force X," the episode featuring Captain Boomerang, and "Divided We Fall," the thrilling and unforgettable episode in which the Flash single-handedly saves the Justice League and the world from a combined Luthor/Brainiac in a spectacular climax inspired by Mark Waid's "Terminal Velocity." This set may be a must-have for Flash fans specifically because of the latter episode. It is not to be missed.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Interview: Geoff Johns

Newsarama has posted an interview with longtime Flash scribe Geoff Johns in which he reflects on his work with DC Comics and his own personal writing process.

Geoff Johns holds universes in the palm of his hand. At least that’s the way it seems when reading his books. The prolific writer has tackled the biggest guns of the DC Comics Universe including Superman, Green Lantern, the Flash and everyone else in his world destroying, continuity tearing summer event, Infinite Crisis, and currently he’s reforming the legendary Justice Society of American while helping team up to chronicle 52 weeks in the DC Universe alongside other event-level writers, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Keith Giffen. Geoff has a way of finding the humanity in the four color heroes that reach out and massage your heart, enabling the reader to form tight bonds of friendship, joy, sadness and triumph just before introducing another element that will change everything you thought you know and everything you held dear.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

DC Direct Wishlist

Troy Brownfield, the Rev. OJ Flow, and Jim Beard of Newsarama have posted a definitive DC Direct wishlist, citing the figures they'd most like to see. It's an interesting line-up and, naturally, the scarlet speedster is listed--more than once. I think they speak for all of us when they say, "We can always use another good Flash."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Teen Titans: Year One

Newsarama reports that DC Comics will be publishing no less than five Year One miniseries next year in order to spotlight, streamline, and redefine some of those characters who will prove significant to the DC Universe in the months to come. Among the five titles is Teen Titans: Year One from Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl and, as DC Executive Editor Dan Didio explains, the miniseries will involve the earliest incarnation of the team. This means the story will be offering some insight into the young Wally West's introductory interaction with his teammates.

"Basically, it all ties into the concept that we came out of Infinite Crisis with, where we’re looking at some characters that, over the years, given the twists and turns and reboots and shifting continuities, may have had their focus shifted a little. These allow us to refocus the direction for each one of these characters and reestablish their origins are, and also where they might be headed to in the future...

"We want to go back and show what the earliest team was, and rebuild that origin, too. I don’t think we’ve ever done a Year One with that team before, and by doing this, it will allow us to look at the relationship between Robin and Wonder Girl and Kid Flash, Speedy, Aqualad and the rest as the team is built, while showing some of the lesser-known Teen Titans characters along the way.And also, because we’re in the position of creating the Titans East, we thought it would be a good time to go back and establish the roots a little more of the original team."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

On Sale: Justice League Heroes

Justice League Heroes is being released today for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo DS. Also available now is the Gameboy Advance variant of the game spotlighting the scarlet speedster, Justice League Heroes: The Flash.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Upcoming: The Flash #8

DC Comics has released their soliciations for January, including a description and artwork for The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #8. The spectacular cover by Daniel Acuña shows us the Flash will be facing Inertia, as promised, in a battle in Las Vegas! Can it be long before we're refering to Inertia as the new Reverse-Flash?

Written by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo; Art by Ron Adrian and Art Thibert ; Cover by Daniel Acuña. Smackdown on the Strip! Bart Allen's dark twin Inertia lures the Fastest Man Alive to Vegas, determined to own the Speed Force at any cost. DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US. On Sale January 17, 2007.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Upcoming: Teen Titans #43

Newsarama has a preview of Teen Titans #43, coming in January. The issue, written by Geoff Johns, will be the first to feature the new Titans East, a line-up of villains that includes Inertia, Bart Allen's evil clone.

Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Tony Daniel & Jonathan Glapion; Cover by Daniel. Part 1 of the eagerly anticipated “Titans East” story! Led by Deathstroke, a Teen Titans team consisting of Batgirl, Risk, Match, Alter Boy, Enigma, Sun Girl and Inertia is out to chew gum and kick butt…and guess what? They’re all out of gum! On sale January 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

September Sales

Diamond Comic Distributors have released their monthly Direct Market sales charts and Market Share report for September, and Newsarama has posted a review of the data. The Flash has improved its standing slightly. The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #4 ranks twenty-fifth on the list of top selling comic titles, five places ahead of its placement in August. As usual, the scarlet speedster is just behind DC's Supergirl, though he's currently outrunning the Teen Titans and Superman.

20. Civil War Young Avengers & Runaways #3 ($2.99) Marvel - 82.64
21. Civil War Files ($3.99) Marvel - 81.75
22. X-Men Phoenix Warsong #1 ($2.99) Marvel - 78.51
23. Ultimate X-Men #74 ($2.99) Marvel - 75.39
24. Supergirl #10 ($2.99) DC - 73.73
25. Flash: Fastest Man Alive #4 ($2.99) DC - 72.97
26. Teen Titans #39 ($2.99) DC - 72.21
27. Ms. Marvel #7 CW ($2.99) Marvel - 71.12
28. Moon Knight #5 ($2.99) Marvel - 70.86
29. Superman #656 ($2.99) DC - 70.37

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Comic Caper

Mike Middleton has written in his blog about one of his most fondly remembered childhood comic book reads, The Flash #268. This was one of the first Flash comics I ever read as a child and, like Mike, I don't think I'll ever forget it.

One of my favorite comics as a kid was this beauty from December, 1978. It had an innovative plot that impressed me greatly. It was one of the few times a comic book was an integral part of a comic book story... The story still holds up today and is one of the funnest comics of the 1970's.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On Sale: JLA Classified #28

On sale today is JLA: Classified #28. The cover, by Kilian Plunkett and Tom Nguyen, boasts a fantastic portrait of the fastest man alive in action. The story inside is sure to feature some high-speed action, too.

Written by Howard Chaykin; Art and cover by Kilian Plunkett and Tom Nguyen. Still deep under cover— and violating a United Nations sanction — the JLA infiltrates enemy lines and comes face-to-face with their meta-humans! DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US.