Speed Force
Media Blitz! Flash Team Talks Rogue Makeovers, Wally West and the Law of Congestion (via CBR)

In an interview posted on Friday, Flash co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato talked to comic book resources about the arc of their speedster saga.  Going into this week’s first New 52 Grodd story, and upcoming reintroductions of Weather Wizard, Heat Wave and (Golden) Glider, the Flash team delved into the existing relationship between the Rogues and the road to September’s Flash Annual.


Manapul kicks things off by explaining the crescendo of the series thus far:

Francis Manapul: I think there’s a theme that the book is really about overwhelming the Flash. In the first arc, we created this villain who could really be in multiple places at once, so in that sense, the Flash is overwhelmed physically and also overwhelmed emotionally because of the fact that he’s [fighting] an old friend, a guy that he grew up with. It’s kind of an overwhelming time for Barry Allen, having discovered that the weight of the world is on his shoulders. On top of that, the Rogues are slowly starting to get back together; we’re slowly showing what kind of a threat they would be to Barry Allen.

For highlights, including choices made during the redesign of the Rogues and the team’s answer to the Wally West question, follow the jump!

On the change of pace from the “Mob Rule” story:

Manapul: The first arc we really felt it was really rich in subtext, whereas with the current Rogues [story], we’re taking more of a direct approach. I’ll admit it — we read how people react to the issues, and we noticed there was a lot of stuff in the first arc that kind of flew over a lot of people’s heads. So with the Rogues, we’re taking a direct approach on how we’re handling them emotionally and how they reflect Barry Allen. And also, having done a five-issue arc, we thought it was necessary for us to create tighter, shorter stories, to help move things along! [Laughs]

On the much-discussed Rogue redesigns:

Manapul: Captain Cold was really the one that took the most back and forth in terms of where we wanted him to be. The rest of the Rogues were really quite easy. A lot of it stemmed from trying to keep things from the past but also making the way that they look part of the story. They look like they do for certain reasons. Of course, with characters like Heat Wave, he looks drastically different. A lot of those changes to their physical attributes stem from the story, so as we get further along, that they look is going to make a lot more sense.

I don’t feel like we’re reinventing them, except for Turbine and Gorilla Grodd. A lot of readers say they want change, but really, they don’t. They want the characters to stay the same, so the way the Rogues have been written in the past is always writing them exactly the same. Emotionally, they didn’t progress, but they changed everything around them so they would have this illusion of change. The opportunity Brian and I have with the New 52 is, “Where did the last story of the Rogues leave off? Lets take that story and move forward emotionally in a way we wouldn’t have been able to pre-52.”

On the relationship between Captain Cold and Heat Wave, as it stands now:

Manapul: I think issue #11 has one of my favorite scenes of interactions between the Flash and Captain Cold — spoilers! — and Heat Wave. It’s a lot of fun! The issue is going to feel a little like a modern Western. The joke is Barry Allen walks into a bar — and Captain Cold and Heat Wave also walk into a bar. There’s going to be some great interaction between Barry Allen and Leonard Snart, and it’ll be really interesting to see Heat Wave interact with Captain Cold. With regard to the singular event that Lisa Snart mentioned, no one has been more negatively affected by it than Heat Wave. That’s where his emotion lies and why he very much would like to get rid of Captain Cold.

On the theme of the Law of Congestion, a driving force from the first issue of the series:

Buccellato: It’s something that’s really reflective — if you go back to issue #1, we talk about it, and it wasn’t just some passing conversation. There’s a reason why we chose to have Dr. Elias talk about that specific thing. So if people would go back and look upon that issue and then reflect on the issues that have come out afterwards, they can, hopefully, see that there’s more at play than what’s on the page.

Manapul: I think the stories we’ve been putting out have been a continuous study of that theory. In a way, what we did in issue #2 by visually overwhelming — we weren’t just overwhelming Barry Allen, we were overwhelming the readers. If you’re following the concept of the Law of Congestion, right now, a lot of highways are being built. The Law of Congestion says, in order to fix it, destroy all of them.

On Wally West:

Manapul: The thing is, it’s coming from a pure fan perspective. I grew up with Wally West, but it’s one those things that, within the context of the story and the world we’re building, he doesn’t really fit. Really, just focusing on Barry Allen has allowed us to do a more streamlined story and give a very good character study on Barry. Especially since, when you think about it, a lot of people of this generation don’t know Barry Allen that well. I sort of feel it really ties everything together. Here are Brian and I on this journey, writing our first ongoing comic book, and we’re reintroducing Barry Allen and his journey in terms of self-discovery — and it’s the same things the readers are going through. They’re on a journey of discovering who Barry Allen is. Introducing Wally West might murky up the water. It’s not our decision, but I think it’s better that we just focus on Barry Allen. At the end of the day, our mission statement is to make Barry Allen as cool as possible. So we’re putting all our effort into doing that.

For much more, head over to CBR for the full interview!

This Week: Flash #5 & Digital Wally West

The Flash #5

Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO; Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL; Variant cover by GARY FRANK; 1:200 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

Central City in chaos! Iris West captive in Iron Heights prison! And as Flash tries to deal with all of it, he must also try to save the life of his old friend Manuel Lago from Mob Rule, DC Comics’ hottest new Super Villain!

DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US

Preview at IGN.

DC is beginning to roll out digital copies of the Mike Baron run on Wally West’s Flash series through ComiXology. Issue #1 was released during the Flash 101 sale, and issues #2-6 will be available today. Issues #1-6 feature three stories, each a two parter, with Wally West facing off against Vandal Savage, the Kilg%re, and Speed Demon, and introducing Dr. Tina McGee to the supporting cast.

»Flash comics at ComiXology.

More thoughts on this in the next post

Also this week: Teen Titans #5, featuring Kid Flash vs. Superboy on the cover.

Edit: And Justice League #5, with the Flash featured heavily in the preview.


IGN has a preview of next week’s Flash #5.
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO; Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL; Variant cover by GARY FRANK; 1:200 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Central City in chaos! Iris West captive in Iron Heights prison! And as Flash tries to deal with all of it, he must also try to save the life of his old friend Manuel Lago from Mob Rule, DC Comics’ hottest new Super Villain!
DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US
On Sale January 25, 2012
Original Article

IGN has a preview of next week’s Flash #5.

Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO; Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL; Variant cover by GARY FRANK; 1:200 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

Central City in chaos! Iris West captive in Iron Heights prison! And as Flash tries to deal with all of it, he must also try to save the life of his old friend Manuel Lago from Mob Rule, DC Comics’ hottest new Super Villain!

DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US

On Sale January 25, 2012

2011: The Year in Francis Manapul Flash Artwork!

It’s hard to believe that Francis Manapul’s first issue of Flash appeared in April, 2010.  Over less than two years, and 13 total issues, Manapul has already left an indelible mark on the character’s artistic history, pushing to join the ranks of inimitable long-term Flash artists alongside names like Carmine Infantino, Irv Novick, Greg LaRocque, Mike Wieringo and Scott Kolins.

Using innovative layouts and inventive portrayals of sound and perception, Manapul has brought readers deeper into the world of the Flash.  To celebrate a year that saw Manapul take over writing the Flash title with Brian Buccellato - a then-unexpected extension of his Flash run - we present the finest in Francis Manapul Flash artwork from 2011!  Drawing from The Road to Flashpoint and the first four issues of the New 52 story Mob Rule, there’s far more than we could fit into one post.  Check out the highlights after the jump…

FLASH #10, JANUARY 2011:

Geoff Johns second Flash run, from Rebirth to Flashpoint, cast Barry Allen as a man apart.  Emotionally removed from his friends and family, the character was a far moodier version of the one current featured in the New 52 Flash.  Manapul captured the balance, matched by Buccellato’s colors.  We interviewed Manapul right after this issue came out and discussed his portrayal of Flash in Geoff Johns’ The Dastardly Death of the Rogues,  leading into The Road to Flashpoint:

I also created a “speed color chart” for Brian to run with. Basically similar to action photography, when the subject is in focus the background will be out of focus, and vice versa.  There was no reason why we couldn’t use color or lack thereof to also put that extra emphasize on the speed effect.  I feel like I can go on and on about this, and we hope to show even more new stuff in future issues.  We want to continue to innovate.

 

FLASH #12, APRIL 2011:

Manapul only illustrated a couple of pages in Flash #12, but they were important ones.  Barry’s relationship with Patty Spivot was nudged in its current direction, and Barry talks broadly about making things “better.”  These pages represent some of the initial rumblings of Flashpoint and the New 52.


FLASH #1, September 2011:

It makes perfect sense that, once he took over writing duties, Manapul’s artwork on Flash evolved.  From the title spread to the cliffhanger ending, this issue was a re-introduction to the character, as well as the artist.  Manapul addressed the dual roles in an interview with Newsarama back in October:

Francis Manapul: Yeah, it’s a much more integrated process. And I do think we’re in a fortunate position to be co-writing, drawing and coloring the book. We’re able to really utilize every aspect of the art to tell the story.

Seeds were also sewn for the use of layered paneling in the portrayal of Augmented Cognition (as seen in issues 2 - 4, so far), on pages including the ones described by Kelson in his review of the issue:

I particularly liked the fall from the helicopter and the page showing Barry in his apartment. And when was the last time you saw a splash page of the Flash standing still (and not posing dramatically) look so good?

FLASH #2, October 2011:

Featuring the new concept of applying Speed Force energy to brain function, Flash #2 was a showcase for the portrayal of Flash’s new-found powers of perception via Augmented Cognition.  One wonders how another artist will portray this new development, as Manapul’s work is currently the origin and definition.

Putting a brand-new power with an unprecedented portrayal front-and-center in the second issue was a bold move, and it paid off.  This momentum would carry over into the third issue and the revelation of the side-effects of Flash’s new abilities.

FLASH #3, November 2011:


The only essential analysis, from the team themselves, via Newsarama’s Spoiler Sport:

Manapul: Right, he vibrated the entire airplane and all of its contents through the bridge. And he vibrated it long enough for the momentum of the plane to slow down.

Buccellato: You’ll notice that in some of the later panels, the edges of the plane break off. As he’s losing his grip on his ability to vibrate, the outer parts of the plane are no longer vibrating, which is why they broke off.

Manapul: Yeah, if you read the art, after the plane vibrates through the bridge, in the first panel, the entire plane is vibrating. And in the second, you’ll see that only the main cabin is still being vibrated, and the wings have snapped off. And it’s what’s keeping the plane on the surface of the water and preventing it from going all the way through. The Flash is able to hold on long enough until he gets on solid ground.

In the first issue, we established that he had a problem vibrating through the floor and doing so at the right frequency. But now, with his mind moving at a much faster speed, he’s able to calculate the right frequencies and the right things to do.

Buccellato: We could have spent a lot of time with words explaining this. We could have spent a whole issue explaining the plane, but obviously, we’re moving forward. So there is information in the art that people are going to have to read.

In addition to the blockbuster intro, issue #3 also featured more of Flash using Augmented Cognition, with hallmarks like the overlapping panels first used sparingly back in issue #1.  Manapul and Buccellato had already made use of cliffhangers as well, and issue #3 followed suit.


This week saw the release of Flash #4, focused on new antagonist Mob Rule.  Even without a direct spotlight on the Fastest Man Alive, Manapul fills multiple two-page spreads with his now-signature layouts, and continues the creative paneling and use of sound-effects seen in the previous three issues.


Manapul and Buccellato have stressed the importance of “moving forward” to the core of Flash.  We close with a couple of previews from upcoming issues of Flash, courtesy of Newsarama and MTV Geek!



Happy New Year!

Results: Favorite Flash Stories of 2011

The results are in! Here are readers’ favorite Flash stories from 2011, as voted on at twtpoll:

Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s current New 52 storyline, “Mob Rule,” is the clear winner, with Flashpoint taking a solid second-place spot and the DC Retroactive: The Flash 1980s special a respectable third. the 1990s Retroactive book and Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost round out the top 5, with the rest of the stories — including the second half of the Geoff Johns’ run on the regular series — barely represented at all.

Full results after the jump.

Read More

Flash #4 Preview is Up!

The LA Times blog Hero Complex has a four-page preview of The Flash #4, arriving in stores next week. The preview sheds more light on Manuel Lago, and begins the origin of Mob Rule.

Tip: I found that the slideshow viewer makes the pages too small to read. Fortunately, they provided direct links to the images at the end of the article.

Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO; Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL; Variant cover by ERIC BASALDUA; 1:200 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

As Central City remains dark from the recent EMP blast, The Fastest Man Alive remains in hot pursuit of the one who set it off: Mob Rule! What does Mob Rule really want? Learn the rest of his origin right here!

Media Blitz!: “The World of the Flash” at IGN (UPDATED w/ Newsarama Exclusive)

Flash co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are featured in a new interview at IGN, where they discuss the recent developments in Flash’s powers, new antagonist Mob Rule and the role the twin cities of Keystone and Central will play in their series.

Posted on Wednesday, the same day as the release of new issue #3, the interview is spoiler-free and delves deeply into the collaboration between Manapul and Buccellato.

UPDATE: The two also spoke with Newsarama about the ending to issue #3.  After it was originally posted, an exclusive image from Flash#5 was added to the article.  Check it out after the jump…

Though it doesn’t contain specific spoilers (the focus of the Newsarama piece), the IGN interview does address the events of issue #3, the revelations of issue #2 and the advent of Flash’s super-speed cognition:

Buccellato: Issue #3 has a reveal of what the downside to that power is. We’re not really taking it to a place where it’s going to affect him personally in his relationships. It’s not going to be like his speed brain disconnects him from Patty or Iris or anything like that. We’re taking a different road with it so you’re just going to have to read issue #3 and it will make more sense what the downside is.

Manapul: Yeah read issue #3. And that said, these things are still evolving; nothing is set in stone. It’s still evolving and issue #3 reveals a lot of it’s down side and beyond that, well I don’t know what’s deadlier than what happens in issue #3.

The two also discuss their approach to building Flash’s home, and the environment in which he functions:

Manapul: As we were writing the story it just became necessary for us to build this world around Barry. It just helps us dictate the backstory and the richness of the culture that they have in Central and Keystone. We’re really playing up the fact that the city itself actually reflects the journey that the Flash had. Many readers are familiar with how Barry became the Flash, but not many are familiar with how Central and Keystone City came to be. It gives us an opportunity to expand the world around him and really build it up and make it more meaningful.

Buccellato: It’s literally world building for the Flash. And we also have plans for where the city is going to go. So in order to show where it’s going we need to show where it came from. Plus we have a cool story to tell.

For more on the plotting of Flash and insight into the collaboration, as well as the unique dynamic between the two creators, make sure to head over to IGN.  Once you’re done, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll need to run out and pick up Flash #3, in stores now!

Media Blitz!: Manapul and Buccellato Talk Flash at CBR

On the same day as the posting of part two of Newsarama’s interview with the Flash creative team, Comic Book Resources has posted their own conversation with the dynamic duo of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.

While it covers some of the same ground as the Newsarama articles, the CBR interview does delve further into a few items including the art process, something that has gathered a lot of interest amongst fans drawn to Manapul and Buccellato’s unique style.  Manapul even mentions the color chart, something he first talked about in our interview with him earlier this year.


The article also includes an exclusive look at a page from Flash #3.  Follow the jump for more…

The two go on to speak about what it means to them to be working on Flash, personally:

Manapul: I think I said that the past eleven years of my career has been building up to this book. It was really, really important to me. I told Brian, listen, if there’s bad reviews — I know I can’t separate myself from my work because I feel I am my work, so I said, read the reviews first and tell me what they say.

Buccelllato: I read them all and started off saying, “Read this one, read this one.” But they were all pretty much readable.

Manapul: I read them and I was struck down because it was a dream come true to know that, based on those reviews, we were going to be able to keep telling our story. I think that’s what I was most happy about, because if it was not greeted with a good response, we probably would not be able to tell the story that we want to tell. I’m really setting this up; I really want to leave my mark on the book. I want to be a part of the big Flash legacy.

Buccelllato: We want to have a run of “The Flash” that is memorable and stands the test of time.

They also touch on their favorite Flash runs:

Manapul: For me, when I came into the Flash, I came in during the Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo era. That was my favorite. It was around the time they introduced Bart Allen and there’s a lot of really exciting stuff happening. When we found out we were writing the book, I started reading all the “Showcase” stuff to get in touch with who Barry Allen was. Those books really influenced me in terms of how we’re handling the stories.

Buccelllato: I basically followed his lead. He said read this, read that, so I read this and that!

…their favorite Rogues:

Manapul: I love Captain Cold. To me, he is a real badass! And I think you’re going to see that, once we start our second arc. I also like characters like the Pied Piper, but our take on him is going to be different, he’s — well, I don’t want to reveal anything! But it’s going to be fun, because what you are going to see is, rather than a reintroduction of the Rogues, you’re going to see an evolution of them.

Buccelllato: For me, I think Captain Cold, of course, but I also love Gorilla Grodd a lot. I think it has to do with my love of “Planet Of The Apes!” [Laughs]

…and the status of one Wallace West (CBR notes that they followed up on the below with DC Comics, who said they had no plans for West at this time):

Finally, Brian, when I spoke with you at the DC Comics red carpet party, you mentioned that I should bring up Wally West. So…Wally West?

Manapul: [Laughs] The pitch is on Dan [Didio’s] desk. Let’s see if he finds it! That’s really all there is to say!

Be sure to head over to Comic Book Resources to catch the rest of the interview, and pick up Flash #2, out today!

This Week: Flash #2 Preview & Flashpoint HC

DC has released a preview of this week’s The Flash #2 at, of all places, Maxim. (DC has been plugging its new comics all over the mainstream press these last two months, rather than simply sending the previews to the comics press. Issue #1 was previewed at USA Today, for instance. Co-writer Brian Buccellato jokes that it’s “all about the exposure.”) Teen Titans #2 also ships this week, featuring Kid Flash. Finally, the hardcover collection of Flashpoint arrives in comic stores this week, and bookstores next week.

The Flash #2

Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO; Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL; Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO; 1:200 B&W variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

The Fastest Man Alive learns he can make his brain function even faster than before – but as much as it helps him, it also comes with a steep price. Plus: The mystery behind Barry Allen’s friend Manuel Lago deepens as Barry investigates his kidnapping at the hands of Mob Rule!

DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US

Newsarama has posted the first part of a two-part interview with Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, and we have the Greg Capullo variant cover.

Flashpoint (HC)

Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art by ANDY KUBERT and SANDRA HOPE; Cover by ANDY KUBERT

The red-hot, sold-out five-issue miniseries from Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert is back in a new hardcover!

This is Flash Fact: When Barry Allen wakes at his desk, he discovers the world has changed. Family is alive, loved ones are strangers, and close friends are different, gone or worse. It’s a world on the brink of a cataclysmic war – but where are Earth’s Greatest Heroes to stop it?

It’s a place where America’s last hope is Cyborg, who hopes to gather the forces of The Outsider, The Secret 7, S!H!A!Z!A!M!, Citizen Cold and other new and familiar-yet-altered faces! It’s a world that could be running out of time, if The Flash can’t find the villain who altered the time line!

DC Universe 176pg. Color Hardcover $22.99 US

Update (Wednesday): DC’s blog says it’s out next week, but their main website still lists Oct. 26. Actually, it refers to the “wide release” - so maybe they mean to the bookstore release. It’s still morning here, so it’ll be hours before I make it to the comic store today to see for myself whether they have it or not.

» Pre-order at Amazon

Teen Titans #2

Written by SCOTT LOBDELL; Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND

A strange creature haunts the streets of Los Angeles… and because of this creature’s age, both Red Robin and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. are racing to find her – but neither side is prepared for the horror known as Bugg!

Meanwhile, Superboy is on a collision course with the team, and Kid Flash plots his escape from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. with the most unexpected of allies!

DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US

NYCC 2011: Flash News Roundup!

The New York Comic Con has come to a close, and we’ve got all your Flash-related announcements!  Here we go…

This young fan’s favorite Flash?  The Flash!  Follow the jump for more…

Flash creative team Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato were both guests at the All Access: Justice League panel.  They talked a little about the design aspect of the book, including the follow from Newsarama’s coverage:

Manapul said he and Buccellato were trying to create a more dynamic visual presentation of the Flash. “I think one of the reasons our pages have so much energy about them is that there are only two of us working on them, from idea to final product,” Buccellato said. “It’s all part of a single unit that helps bring about the book. Being able to see it through from beginning to end has allowed us to do a lot of innovative things.”

The two also talked more about Mob Rule, the title’s first new villain [edit: spoiler warning; highlight to read]:

Manapul said it will be revealed that the villain, Manuel, is a government agent. Buccellato said that in the images shown, Flash is running around the world looking for answers about the villain, from Afghanistan to China to Somalia.

Flash appears in this exclusive Rolling Stone preview for Justice League #2, and in comments made at the same Justice League panel by that title’s Geoff Johns and Jim Lee:

Johns said Green Lantern is fighting Superman in Justice League #2, and Hal calls Barry Allen to say, “Dude, get me out of this!” The crowd cheered when Jim Lee’s drawing of The Flash was shown.

"I just like the fact that Green Lantern calls The Flash on his cell phone," Lee said.

Captain Atom scribe J.T. Krul, at the same panel, said he consulted with the Flash creative team when working on his upcoming portrayal of Barry Allen in his title’s issue #3.  Buccellato also posted an image on Twitter from a DC party, featuring DC-themed craft beer.

In animation news, we knew Michael Rosenbaum would voice Flash in the upcoming animated feature Justice League: Doom, and recent reports have confirmed that it will be the Barry Allen Flash.  According to Bruce Timm, veteran animation legend, Rosenbaum faced some challenges with the change in identity (via CBR):

"The only person who had any trouble at all was Michael," said Timm, "but only because he was used to playing the Wally West version of the Flash, this is actually the Barry Allen version of the Flash. He would do a line and say, ‘Oh, no, that sounds too much like Wally. I’m going to make him sound more like a grown-up.’"

…and in Wally West news, a question about the missing speedster went unanswered at the Justice League panel, while Teen Titans editor Bobbi Chase responded to a question regarding West with a one-word answer: “Who?”

Update: And don’t miss our Flash action figure report.