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)