Speed Force
Final Fight! Review of ROGUES REBELLION #6 (of 6)

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #6 The last issue of FOREVER EVIL: ROGUES REBELLION gives you the very best of the Rogues, in an outstanding story that will definitely leave you wanting more!  Though I’m sad to see this excellent mini-series end, at least this tale ends on a spectacular high note with issue #6.  Let’s get to the review:

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

The Crime Syndicate may not be on the scene, but they have called in a high-powered group of bad guys from across the DCU, including Parasite and Grodd!  This battle is not just for the lives of the Rogues, but for the Gem Cities as well!  This calls in all players who are still around the city…including Pied Piper, as we learn more of his story in the New 52.  And, there are more surprises…but let’s not spoil them here.  Let’s just say that the battle is terrific, and the outcome and it’s aftermath give you a sense of the true core of the Rogues.

One of the most pleasant surprises in the FOREVER EVIL storyline has been the appearance of the Rogues as players in the greater DC Universe.  This series, which is sadly ending with issue #6, has given us the Rogues at their best.  Squabbling, dysfunctional, petty, sure…but also a group that lives by their own code, a collection of folks who pull together when the chips are down, and in the end a pretty heroic group of people.  They are presented with almost impossible odds, against a highly powered group of villains from across the DCU, and yet they don’t back down.  This is a group that may want to steal everything in the Gem Cities, but they won’t let anyone else come in and destroy the cities that they still call home.  I rarely get emotional reading a comic…but this was an exception.  There is a nobility in spite of the dysfunction that Brian Buccellato brings out in the script, something special that makes these Rogues unique among all the Rogues Galleries in comics.  As I’ve said many times before, my only complaint is that this isn’t an ongoing series.

Complimenting Buccellato’s great script was some outstanding artwork by Scott Hepburn with colors by Nick Filardi.  There are plenty of amazing scenes in this issue – and great opportunities for the various Rogues to shine.  Don’t miss this one…and I’ll still hold out hope to see something like this starring the Rogues again!e

Ed Garrett.

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Secrets Revealed! Review of THE FLASH #29

Flash #29We finally come down to one last secret to be revealed as Brian Buccellato bids a fond farewell to The Flash and heads off into the Gotham sunset.  Barry is tracking down the Keystone Killer, but there are other powerful secrets that will be unearthed along the way in this exceptional issue of THE FLASH.

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

When we last left The Flash, there was a room full of dead people and the weapon in the hands of Director Singh!  The good news is that Singh didn’t do it…but the bad news is that Darryl Frye has left the scene to take on the spirit of the Keystone Killer personally!  This issue is as much about Barry Allen and his training as a crime scene investigator as it is about The Flash.  As he tracks down both Darryl and the Keystone Killer, DNA plays a very important part of the story – with some very interesting revelations.  To get the rest of this tale, you’ll need to grab FLASH #29.

Buccellato’s script takes us back to the core of Barry himself – the inquisitive kid who grew up to be a police scientist, the basic good guy who represents hope in spite of the tragedy in his life.   Agustin Padilla’s pencils/inks and Matt Hollingsworth’s color were excellent for this issue.  The running sequences seemed to be a mix of Manapul and Infantino…and it worked really well.  And, the Keystone Killer was rendered amazingly well.  This is the last issue for Brian Buccellato as he and Francis Manapul move on to DETECTIVE COMICS (due out next week).  Anyone who has read my prior reviews knows that I’m a big fan of M&B – and this was an excellent issue to end the run.

Ed Garrett.

The post Secrets Revealed! Review of THE FLASH #29 appeared first on Speed Force.

History’s BIG Mystery – Review of The Flash #27

Flash #27 CoverThis issue of The Flash begins a three-parter in which Brian Buccellato gets to wrap up some story threads before moving over to Detective with Francis Manapul.  Looks like these are very important threads, as we start to delve into the biggest mystery of all for Barry Allen…

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

This story happens prior to the events in “Forever Evil”, which is why we can still find Chroma (a re-imagining of Rainbow Raider), Tar Pit…and later on Girder in this story.  While foiling a robbery by Chroma and Tar Pit, Flash discovers a boneyard…one left behind by a mysterious serial killer.  At first, they blame it on the “Broome Hill Butcher” (10 points for those who get the connection of that name, and kudos to Buccellato for including that here).  But, these murders happened after the “Butcher” was jailed.  Why does Darryl Frye not want Barry to look into this?  Why does Barry’s father clam up when this is mentioned?  There’s a LOT more to this tale, with some interesting revelations in this issue and even more yet to come as this story moves forward.

Brian Buccellato continues to write exceptional stories for The Flash – if he and Manapul continue at this level in Detective, then we have some amazing Bat-stories in store for us.  Patrick Zircher’s artwork (pencils and inks, with colors by Matt Hollingsworth) is great, with excellent expression throughout, and a great sense of drama reflected in the illustrations.

This story arc looks as though we will see some critical elements of Barry’s personal history re-established for the New 52.  There are some revelations teased here that likely will be revisited before we’re through, not to mention the possibility of finally solving the one cold case that has eluded Barry all this time.  If you have followed Barry at all in the New 52, this is a story arc that you need to grab.

 

Ed Garrett.

The post History’s BIG Mystery – Review of The Flash #27 appeared first on Speed Force.

Can’t Catch a Break! – Review of Rogues Rebellion #4

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #4The Rogues are without their leaders, with Lisa out of action and Captain Cold nowhere to be found.  Mirror Master, Heat Wave and and Weather Wizard are left alone to stand against some of the worst villains Gotham City has to offer.   Even worse, Mirror Master’s powers are not working right and Weather Wizard is out cold…can anything else go wrong?  That’s where we pick up with Rogues Rebellion #4!

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

The best our Rogues can do at this point is hold off Freeze and Clayface while trying to revive Marco.  Thankfully, there is some help on the way, in the form of Trickster, but even he has to get past other members of the Gotham underworld to get there. In fact, more and more bad guys are coming to this fight…all hoping to capture the Rogues and deliver them to the Crime Syndicate!  What happens next is something you’ll have to grab the issue to see.

Brian Buccellato continues to write an excellent storyline here, capturing the very qualities that make the Flash’s Rogues Gallery so great.  I loved the interaction between Sam and Mick, and just wait till you see Axel’s time to show what he is made of!  The artwork is split, with the main fight drawn by Nick Filardi and additional scenes set by Andre Coelho.  Any differences in style are okay here, as the division between scenes works.  Nick Filardi handles the colors for the full issue.

This is a great issue for anyone who ever argued with Bat-fans about which Rogues Gallery was the best.  These blue-collar crooks with a code are amazing, and this series shows exactly why.  I’ve said this with every review of “Rogues Rebellion”…my only complaint is that this is only a mini-series and not a full ongoing.

Ed Garrett.

The post Can’t Catch a Break! – Review of Rogues Rebellion #4 appeared first on Speed Force.

Barry’s “Zero Year” Story – Ending With a Beginning (Review)

Flash #25 CoverThe “Zero Year” arc edition of The Flash finds a younger, pre-Flash Barry Allen on the streets of Gotham…and he isn’t the only citizen of the Gem Cities hanging around these mean streets.  Manapul and Buccellato give us one last great story before their own move to Gotham City, complete with one “beginning” we see in this issue for the first time anywhere!

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

The call for help has gone out from Gotham to law enforcement agencies across the country, and new Central City Police Academy graduate Barry Allen is one of those who has answered the call!  Barry has been assigned to Harvey Bullock and his partner Spencer.  Together, they are tracking down a very dangerous street drug called Icarus, one that eventually causes it’s users to explode into flames!  If you want a quick lesson on the differences between Gotham and Central City, just watch the ways Barry and Bullock approach the situation here.  While investigating, they meet up with another Gem Cities native who is working as an intern with the Gotham Gazette…Iris West!  Yes, in this issue we get the New 52 first meeting between Barry and Iris…and it is every bit as awesome as any Barry/Iris fan could ever wish.

This last issue for the team of M&B was a bit of an interesting choice in that Barry hasn’t had his lab accident “yet” and therefore can’t put on the familiar red and yellow uniform.  Still, The Flash #25 provided a great back story for Barry himself, one well worth checking out even if it weren’t the last time Manapul and Buccellato are paired together on The Flash (Buccellato will script some additional issues before M&B take on Gotham in the pages of Detective Comics).  And, just a note for fans looking for that familiar hidden “DC Comics Proudly Presents The Flash” on the title page…you won’t find it there (it features the main “Zero Year” format)…but you won’t be disappointed either, just keep looking.

I have been a fan of Francis Manapul’s and Brian Buccellato’s work from the beginning, and while I wish them both the very best for their run on Detective, I will miss what they have brought for the last 2+ years to my favorite superhero here in the pages of The Flash.   The next team will have some rather large yellow boots to fill.

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The post Barry’s “Zero Year” Story – Ending With a Beginning (Review) appeared first on Speed Force.

SpeedForce & TMStash Interview Manapul & Buccellato On Their Move From Flash to Detective!

Flash to Detective LogosWe recently had the honor of interviewing Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, the acclaimed creative team behind “The Flash”, as they prepare to move from “Flash” to “Detective Comics”.   We get their thoughts on the move, along with the themes they will be taking with their run on the World’s Greatest Detective.

As for why this is on TWO sites?  I regularly contribute reviews of “Flash” related titles to SpeedForce, the premiere Flash fan site on the internet.  And, I regularly review other DC and Indie titles at TMStash, the place for Comics, Movies, TV, Gaming, Tech News and more.  This transition from “Flash” to “Detective Comics” cuts across both sites…and that means it only makes sense to publish the full review on both sites!  Now, let’s get to the Q&A!

Q: In other interviews, you’ve noted how much you both have wanted to work on Batman stories for some time.  Looking back to when you were kids reading comics, what Batman creators and stories had the most influence on you?

F: Batman’s had an amazing array of creators, it’s quite intimidating. As a kid I loved the Batman animated series, it was perfect. Simple enough for a child to understand but had a subtle complexity that showed such mastery of their craft from it’s creators. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini really tapped into something special. I particularly loved the episode focusing on Mr. Freeze. Now I’m not gonna surprise anyone by saying that Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight, Year One with David Mazzucchelli, and Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke were real eye openers.

B: It’s almost cliche to say it, but there are TOO MANY amazing Batman stories out there. if I had to go with one comic story, it would be YEAR ONE. I was also a big fan of Batman and the Outsiders.

Q: While working on The Flash, you re-established Barry as a New 52 hero, revitalizing everything from the costume to the Speed Force itself, setting up a new status quo for his private life, and re-imagining the Rogues.  What are the parts of your work on the Flash that make you the most proud?  Anything you would like to have done differently?

F: I’m quite proud of what Brian and I have done, and the overall mantra of the book “Move Forward” was something that we were both personally dealing with. In a way the book became a personal reminder to ourselves of what we needed to do in our lives. This book became more than just a job, it became our life. It was also a great learning experience for both of us, so while it would be easier to pick it apart and tell you what we could have done differently I’d rather not. We poured too much of our heart and soul into it, and that would be counter intuitive to the point of the stories.

B.You can always go back and say that you wish we had more TIME to explore subplots and character moments, but at the end of the day we are involved in monthly publishing and have to make the best choices we can within the constraints of the deadlines and editorial input. Besides, this is a creative medium and there’s a poignant saying that goes something like this… Art is never finished, it’s only abandoned. :)

Q: Is there an overall theme planned for your work on Detective, similar to the “moving forward” theme that carried through your work on The Flash?

F: Family. That was a word that kept coming up as we were plotting out our story. Batman was born after he lost his parents, so family plays a crucial role in the very make up of his story.

B: Isolation is another word that came up a lot. I think those two elements are absolutely tied together and will be at the core of our stories.

Q: At the end of Flashpoint, really the beginning of the New 52, Barry delivers Thomas Wayne’s letter from the Flashpoint universe to the New 52 Bruce.  Now, just as you are ready to take on Detective we see an early visit from Barry to Gotham.  Will there be any additional meetings between Batman and Barry or with other DC heroes in Detective?

F: Beyond Flash 25, not in the near future. We want to focus on Bruce for a while, but that’s not to say Barry won’t ever come for a visit.

B: Absolutely, If there is an organic opportunity within the stories we are telling, we certainly wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to have Barry meet with Bruce.

Q: The two cities for Barry and Bruce are dramatically different (though maybe not as much after the events of Forever Evil).  The Gem Cities were for a time powered off the Speed Force itself and seems to be a more positive and hopeful place, while Gotham City seems to be fueled by corruption and evil around every corner.  How does that impact the type of stories you plan to tell?

F: The impact it has is quite dramatic. You have to treat Gotham like a living, breathing, entity. The very nature of Gotham affects you, and the trajectory of many peoples lives are changed because of it’s dark nature. You could almost say the great villain in Gotham, is Gotham itself.

B: I think the cities reflect the heroes. Flash is as earnest, hopeful, and optimistic as the home he protects… whereas Gotham is a living reflection of the violent nightmare scenario that spawned Batman. In many ways, Central City continues to move forward with Flash, while Gotham is anchored to it’s past in the same way that Batman is haunted by the death of his parents.

Q: You’ve noted plans to bring in some new characters to the Bat-mythos – are there any hints you can give us on any of the upcoming new visitors to Gotham?

F: We’re expanding his supporting cast by introducing the widow and daughter of one of Falcone’s old rivals. We get a look at the aftermath, resulting from bad decisions made. The widow and Bruce will have a lot in common, and we’re gonna use that to further explore the importance of family unity.

The intent with any new characters we create is to reflect areas of Bruce/Batman’s lives that are important to the overall themes we are exploring.

Q: What classic villains are you most looking forward to working into a Detective Comics story?

F: I’d rather keep this a surprise. But it sure would be nice to get a hold of the Joker and Clayface.

B. I’d add CATWOMAN to that wish list.

Q: Do you have any special plans for the iconic visual aspects of Batman’s world, like the look of Gotham, the Batcave or any of his “toys”?

F: I’m really looking forward to telling a hard boiled detective story, which will allow us to explore a darker side to my art. The Flash had to be portrayed in a lighter manner in order to show his fluidity, and to coincide with the generally optimistic feel of the book. Batman’s world lives in the shadows cast by the skyscrapers that tower Gotham. I’ll be taking my cues from that.

B: We will certainly be using less reds, yellows and probably not much in the way of speed lines and glowing lightning. :)

Q: How much of Bruce’s personal life should we expect in Detective?

F: We’ll be keeping it balanced. Our first story will be something that drags both sides of the character into action.

B: We hope to be able to bridge the gap a little bit, in order to create conflict in both worlds. Living a dual life has a downside… especially when the the lines between the two are blurred.

Q: What is the most important thing you want your fans to know about your upcoming work on Detective?

F: I think it’s easy for readers to pigeonhole creators towards one particular type of book. I’d just like the readers to have an open mind. There were other projects that were offered to me that would have been perceived as “better suited” for us, but I wanted something that would stretch me creatively and show the versatility we have as storytellers.

B: We wouldn’t be undertaking this creative endeavor if we didn’t think we had the goods to make it something we will be proud of. I think that we’ve proven during our Flash run, that we take our jobs seriously and are thoughtful in our choices and respectful of the legacies of these iconic characters. That won’t change with Detective. We know it’s an honor to be the caretakers for these heroes and we are thankful for the opportunity to carve out our own corner of the Bat Universe.

Wrapping Up: Thanks to Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato for taking the time to answer our questions, and to DC Comics for their help in making this happen.  If you are a fan of The Flash, please be sure to keep checking SpeedForce for the latest news and reviews.  And, if you are a fan of Manapul & Buccellato (like me), please be sure to keep checking TMStash for the latest on other DC, Marvel and Indie comics news and reviews as well.  Thanks to the Admins at both SpeedForce and TMStash for sharing this interview!

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The post SpeedForce & TMStash Interview Manapul & Buccellato On Their Move From Flash to Detective! appeared first on Speed Force.

Interview with Christos Gage – NC Comicon

During NC Comicon, we had the honor of sitting down with Christos Gage, who is writing an upcoming issue of The Flash and regularly writes Danica Williams’ character as the newest Flash in Justice League Beyond.  This is a shared interview…I also write about Valiant and other comics for another site called TMStash, and the interviews are linked to each other.  The only place you’ll find the Flash-related questions is here, though…including a hint to future stories!  If you want info about Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps (and excellent Valiant book), just follow this link.  There will be a few questions at the end that show on both sites. For now, let’s go the Q&A!

SPEEDFORCE: I understand that you grew up with Barry Allen like I did, so it’s got to be a treat to do even the one issue.

GAGE: Oh yeah.  My schedule is really full, but when I was approached to write an issue of The Flash I couldn’t say no because I was such a big fan of Barry Allen growing up.  For the longest time he was gone, so how am I going to pass up a chance to do it? So, that was a lot of fun, and I tried to take an approach that was very much inspired, hopefully in a contemporary way by the classic Flash stories where they’d have like a cover with an impossible situation and it’s like “How’s he gonna get out of this?” And so my idea was, we’ll put Flash in the sky.  What’s he gonna do, there’s nothing to run on, so that was the premise.  So I hope people enjoy it.

SPEEDFORCE: That’s very cool.  At the same time, you’ve taken on a different Flash, Danica Williams in Justice League Beyond.  And she’s in the one part of DC publishing where Wally West once existed.

GAGE: Yeah, it’s the continuity of the animated books.

SPEEDFORCE: Danica seems a lot more connected to the Speed Force than past Flashes. She’s talking to the prior Flashes since childhood.

GAGE: She communicates with the voices of Jay Garrick, Wally West and Bart Allen, as there was no Barry Allen in the animated universe.  So presumably they are in the Speed Force, but they are retaining their consciousness, and they are talking to and mentoring the current Flash.  That’s really fun because it’s a new Flash, but there’s ties to the past, and I really enjoy it.  The Beyond universe is really a lot about heroic legacies, so I’ve really enjoyed being able to explore that aspect of it.

SPEEDFORCE: In some ways, Danica is the fastest Flash because she can run on air molecules, much as the other Flashes ran on water.

GAGE:  That’s right – that’s true.

SPEEDFORCE: What are the plans for her and the rest of the Justice League moving forward?

GAGE: Well, we’re wrapping up the Phantom Zone arc, and I think its already been revealed that the big bad is Brainiac, who’s returning. He’s returning to an Earth that’s much more covered by and dependent on technology, so that just plays into his hands.

SPEEDFORCE: You’ve noted Barry Allen was a favorite character of yours. Who were the other characters you read growing up?

GAGE: Let’s see…I liked Captain America, I liked the Thing. When I was a kid I lived in an area where there wasn’t much distribution for DC so I did get hold of some Flash comics but other than that I wasn’t into the DC characters so much. I liked, obviously Spider-Man, you know, most of the classic Marvel characters I followed as a kid. I also loved the Godzilla comics in the 70’s, and Shogun Warrior, and Rom: Spaceknight. It was interesting because back before there were comic shops, it was very hit or miss. Sometimes you’d buy an issue of a “to be continued” story and the next issue just never showed up.

SPEEDFORCE: What other projects do you have in line right now?

GAGE: Well, Rebecca Isaacson and I, the team from Angel & Faith are taking over the Buffy book in Season 10, so that’s exciting. I’m excited to be working with Iban Coello on Justice League Beyond. Josh Dysart and I are co-writing Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps, Emanuela Lupacchino is doing our first arc and it’s great. After that Bart Sears is coming on board, which is awesome because I was a fan of the original Valiant and he was part of that. And, my wife Ruth and I are working on an original graphic novel with Jackie Lewis drawing, she’s from the Atlanta area. It’s a historical epic and it’s being put out by Oni Press but that probably won’t be out for a year or so. I’m also co-writing Superior Spider-Man from time to time, and I wrote the Annual and I do some stuff for the Spidey office. I’m also writing the Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game that comes out at around the same time the movie comes out.

SPEEDFORCE: Anything else you’d like to say for our readers?

GAGE: Thanks for checking out the books, I hope you enjoy them!

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Awesome Flash vs. Flash cosplay photoshoot from NYCC!

Flash #23 is out today, and the Reverse-Flash’s identity is revealed at last. Check out our review of the issue!

Flash #23 is out today, and the Reverse-Flash’s identity is revealed at last. Check out our review of the issue!

Attack! (Review of Earth 2 #15)

earth 2 15 coverEarth 2′s new Wonders are taking the fight to Steppenwolf…but things aren’t looking so great for our heroes.  Just how powerful are the forces from Apokolips?  The answer appears to be all too clear in the latest issue of Earth 2!

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD

This issue starts with Jay Garrick trying to remember just what hit him…and the rest of his team.  Brutaal, the Beguiler and Bedlam have proven to be more than a match for the Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom and Doctor Fate.   The fact that everyone is still alive is amazing…and a bit puzzling.  Meanwhile, we get updates on Hawkgirl’s investigation into Sam’s death and Mr. Miracle and Barda’s fight against Fury…and things are simply not going our heroes’ way today.  In the end, one more Wonder makes an appearance…but who is this new Wonder fighting for?

We still have James Robinson (for now) on this title – with another excellent story.  Nicola and Trevor Scott on pencils/inks and Pete Pantazis on colors give us excellent artwork throughout – the battle scenes are outstanding in this action-packed issue.  I can anticipate some concerns as to how easily our heroes are beaten down…but this story is far from over, and I’m looking forward to how this is resolved as the arc moves ahead.  Earth 2 remains one of my favorites titles in the New 52 – and this story is no exception.

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