Wednesday, May 30, 2007


DC just released this teaser in connection with its Countdown event:

Now, aside from the underlying message, I like the image a lot. It's extremely well-drawn, and it's reminiscent of this image from the cover of The Flash 174, by Carmine Infantino. I could have sworn he or other Flash artists went back to this well a few other times, but I can't find anything else; nor can I find an image from Will Eisner's Spirit that I've heard it's based on, although I think it's more likely that it's simply Eisneresque in the way it brings the logo into the action.

And it certainly keeps with the tradition that "in every Crisis, a little Flash must fall." How this got to be a tradition, I don't know. Barry Allen died in one Crisis, and when the next one rolls around, suddenly Wally's a target? And now, Countdown may kick into high gear with Barry's grandson's Bart's death.

At least, he's the only Flash currently running around in that uniform right now. Wally's MIA (not dead, at least) and, well, Barry's still dead. And the original, Jay Garrick, never wore that uniform. So it looks like the folks at DC want us to believe that Bart is taking the golden treadmill to the pearly gates. Heck, the Rogues (always sticklers for detail) even shot up the "alive" part of the logo, just to drive the point home. (I bet that was Mirror Master. Always has to get in a little extra "dig.")

Then again, I've also heard a rumor that Bart actually is Barry Allen, somehow de-aged (and then re-aged? it makes my head hurt) and sent through time. I don't beleive that for a second. As a friend at work said of the idea: "It reeks of Spider-Clone." And no one wants to make their cologne Spider-Clone.

But DC pretty clearly wants to do something to shake Flash up. At least they recognize there's a problem. When the comic was relaunched last year with Bart at the helm, it and Wonder Woman were its highest-profile debuts that month. But the first issue was disappointing, and by the second issue it became abundantly clear that the writers, Bilson and DeMeo, were doing a lousy job... which was just as well, because artist Ken Lashley couldn't draw his way out of a paper bag. (Incidentally, I haven't seen much of his art for around a year, now. I suspect he's in a paper bag.)

And sales plummeted.

DC acted as swiftly as they could, replacing Bilson and DeMeo with Marc Guggenheim, who's been turning in entertaining scripts for the past few months, and replacing Lashley with Tony Daniel (an aritst I'm not crazy about, but he's mastered the lunchbag escape at least). So the title seems to be getting its mojo back. But DC needs to get the attention of all the readers that fled the book in the first place. (I was nearly one of them, by the way--and I've bought every issue of Flash I could get my hands on since 1977. So that's saying something.)

I hope, whoever they kill (if they kill anyone), it's a good story, worthy of the character. While I haven't been happy with his stint as Flash, I've always liked Bart Allen as Impulse and, later, Kid Flash. To die after only a few months as Flash would be an ignominious end. He deserves something better than a shot in the back.

We, also, deserve better. We've been given watered-down Flash stories for the past year or so. But that's not Bart's fault, and killing him won't make the stories any better. Unless the storytelling continues to improve, we'll be doing this all over again in 2009.



Ami Angelwings said...

I was one of the readers who read the Flash OYL stories and was completely turned off. :\

Bart is just not very interesting as the Flash :(

I hope they improve him tho! :D

I hope he doesn't die too :\ It's getting a little cliched :(

Supergirl died in the first Crisis too, does that mean a Supergirl has to die in every crisis also? :\

Rob S. said...

It was really easy to be turned off by those stories. They were really flat and by-the-numbers... more like a humorless parody of a superhero book than the real thing.

I'll be happy to see Barry or Wally again. Barry has always been my favorite superhero, and I always get a little worried when someone wants to bring him back from the dead. If he's dead, they can't screw him up.

Wally, on the other hand, is the Flash I grew into adulthood with (pretty much side-by-side with him). I didn't quite realize how important that was to me until I reread his entire series in the three months between his last issue and Bart's first. 20 years of comics in 3 months!

What's interesting to me is that Bart's series parallels Wally's -- Wally started out as a bit of a jerk, too, and while the series certainly had personality under Mike Baron, it didn't really find its feet until William Messner-Loebs took over. Back then, they had the patience to try a new writer. Nowadays, they're more likely to scrap the character and start over. (But then, fans are more likely to never come back after they leave unless something drastic is done, so it's not all the publishers' faults.)

Greg! said...

Given the wildly inconsistent quality of the way they've been handling the current "Supergirl," I would be perfectly happy if this crisis required her to die.

Just have one of those Monitors off her. I bet the only people who'd take more than a week to get over it would be Clark and Cassie.

Maybe just Cassie.

Greg! said...

Here's a thought:

Why not give Jay his own book until DC can figure out what they want to do with the Flash(es) in the DCU ?

Travis said...

To me we didn't have enough Bart as Kid Flash, it was just 2-3 years right? I actually liked him better as Impulse, and they made him Kid Flash because they felt they had to. If they were going to make him Flash it should have been Impulse to Flash with no Kid Flash in between.

Rob S. said...

I would've liked him to grow more into the Kid Flash role before becoming Flash, too. And yes, I didn't really see it as a necessary change from Impulse -- it seemed more like something done to protect a trademark.