Speed Force
From DC’s blog: Flash Season Zero #1 (print edition) variant cover by Francis Manapul. In stores October 1.
This post also appears on Speed Force.

From DC’s blog: Flash Season Zero #1 (print edition) variant cover by Francis Manapul. In stores October 1.

This post also appears on Speed Force.

You Can Now Subscribe or Pre-Order Flash: Season Zero

Flash Season Zero VariantComiXology now has the digital-first comic Flash: Season Zero in its catalog. The first issue, scheduled for September 8, is available for pre-order, and the series is available for subscription.

And hey…that art style looks familiar, doesn’t it? We know previous Flash artist/writer Francis Manapul is doing a variant cover for #1, so chances are this is part of that cover.

(Hat tip to FlashFans.org)

Kelson.

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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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Happy Halloween

Blackest Night: The Flash #2

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Confirmed: Manapul and Buccellato take over Detective Comics

Batman by Francis Manapul

DC Comics announced through USA Today that Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, who are leaving The Flash after November’s Flash #25, will be taking over Detective Comics next spring.

They spoke to USA Today about focusing on the “detective” side of Batman, introducing additional supporting cast to “focus on the importance of family to Bruce Wayne,” and Batman’s obsession with protecting Gotham City. “Unlike other heroes who protect their home because they want to, Batman has to. He’s going to be such a fun character to sink our teeth into.”

Brian Buccellato stresses that they have a “gritty and dark side” more suited to Batman than their lighter take on the Flash and Central City. Readers concerned that the book will be too bright for Batman may want to look outside DC Comics to Buccellato’s solo writing on Foster at Dog Year Comics and and The Black Bat at Dynamite.

The article doesn’t say exactly when Manapul and Buccellato will be taking over the book, and but it’s after Detective Comics #27, which will be a special anniversary issue.

No word yet on the new Flash creative team.

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Manapul & Buccellato Leaving The Flash

Move Forward.

Well, it’s official: One of the longest runs of the New 52 is coming to an end with Flash #25. From Buccellato’s blog:

If you’ve seen the solicits for FLASH #26, you may notice that Francis and I are not listed as the creators… That’s because (as strange as it sounds to even us) we’ve reached the end of our Flash run. #25 is the final chapter in what’s been an incredible journey with the fastest man alive. Fun times!

We were REALLY honored to have the opportunity to usher Barry, Iris, Patty, Lenny, Forrest and the entire Flash universe into the New 52. We’ve lived and breathed Barry and are sorely gonna miss him, but after 3 years and over 30 issues (annuals, zero, Villains Month), we felt it was time to Move Forward and take on a new creative challenge.

Before anyone points out that it’s only been two years since the New 52, remember that they were the art team on the post-Brightest Day Flash series written by Geoff Johns before Flashpoint. They’ve been on the character since early 2010. At today’s DC Comics, that’s an astonishingly long run!

Unlike other high-profile creative changes that have made news recently, this appears to be an amicable split. Brian Buccellato remains as writer on Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion, and then there’s this:

Francis and I will be moving on to a NEW regular DC series that will hit stores in MARCH 2014. We can’t tell you what the series is (yet), but we are super excited about this new sandbox we get to play in!

March 2013 should be about the time Forever Evil wraps up. No doubt DC will be launching several new series at that time.

As for who’s next on The Flash, a new creative team hasn’t been announced. Christos Gage and Neil Googe are doing a one-shot for Flash #26.

I’ll miss this team on The Flash, but I feel a lot more content about this news than I did when Geoff Johns left — ironically, because I was more satisfied with the New 52 Flash than the Brightest Day version. The post-Rebirth Flash was a study in frustration and missed opportunities, with long waits and a lackluster ending.

Here? By the time “Reverse” wraps up next month, Manapul and Buccellato will have delivered on everything they set out to do.

They re-established Barry Allen and his supporting cast.
They revamped the Rogues, Grodd and Reverse Flash.
They re-established the Speed Force as something that you might be able to explain without a PowerPoint presentation.

Sure, I would have liked to see more new villains (we got Mob Rule and Dr. Elias, and that was really about it), and I really wish we’d gotten to see that cold case story that editorial canned in order to get the Captain Cold story out sooner. But it feels like, once the last few issues are out, the Manapul/Buccellato run will be a complete run on the book.

In addition to their upcoming series together, Brian Buccellato is continuing to write Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion at DC, The Black Bat at Dynamite, and Executive Assistant: Iris at Aspen.

One last THANKS to all the Flash fans out there that gave Francis and I an honest chance and stuck around for the ride. You know who you are. You guys make this job worth all the crazy deadlines and sleepless nights! Thanks again… we can’t wait to tell you what’s next! :)

We’re looking forward to it!

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Flash #24 and Teen Titans #24 Covers and Solicitations

Flash #24

DC’s October 2013 solicitations are up, including The Flash #24!

THE FLASH #24
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
1:25 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
On sale OCTOBER 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Barry’s battle against the Reverse-Flash ends with major revelations and The Flash facing an impossible challenge!

On a related note, does anyone recognize the green-costumed figure fighting with Kid Flash on this Teen Titans #24 cover? I wonder if we’re looking at the arrival of Inertia in the New 52…

Teen Titans #24

TEEN TITANS #24
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Art by ANGEL UNZUETA and ART THIBERT
Cover by EDDY BARROWS and EBER FERREIRA
1:25 B&W Variant cover by EDDY BARROWS and EBER FERREIRA
On sale OCTOBER 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

As Forever Evil spreads across the world, where have the Teen Titans gone? Find out when they are and why the Titans definitely aren’t together!

Previously announced: Justice League 3000 #1 and Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion.

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Iris Suits Up in Flash #22

Iris in the Speed Suit

The latest What’s New in the New 52 feature at DC’s website features two preview pages from Flash #22, coming at the end of the month. I saw the thumbnail and briefly wondered if we were getting a surprise return of Jesse Quick, then saw the headline and wondered whether Iris might have been keeping a secret from her time in the speed force. Bob Harris writes:

If you’ve been reading THE FLASH, you know that the current story arc features a mysterious “Speed Force killer.” Well, in order to keep his good friend safe from this elusive murderer, Barry must find a way to make Iris undetectable to whoever is committing these crimes. Using a method similar to how he constructed his own suit, Barry makes a special protective suit for Iris that will prevent the killer from sensing the Speed Force energy in her. And while Iris doesn’t have speed powers, this suit allows her to comfortably travel at super speed.

Click through to the article to see the second page of the preview, and Iris’ reaction to super-speed. Amazing art by Francis Manapul, but by now, who’s surprised by that?

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Barry and Bart…Anything More You Need Here? (Review of Flash #21)

Flash 21 coverThis 21st issue of The Flash is easily the fastest paced story of Barry in the New 52 – in more ways than one!  This is one of the top meetings we’ve been looking forward to in the New 52, and the payoff is exceptional here.  Barry meets Bart…and there’s a lot more to THIS story, so let’s get straight to the review of this excellent installment of The Flash.

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD – BE SURE TO READ THE ISSUE BEFORE MOVING FORWARD!

Barry has been tracking down the Speed Force Killer, still without a clue as to who the killer is except for two things: all the killings have a connection to the Speed Force, and the killer is using a form of Barry’s insignia!  He is tracking down Kid Flash…not as a suspect, but as his only lead for the trail of this ruthless murderer.  The story makes liberal use of splash pages as we see the REAL race-of-the-century with Flash vs Kid Flash across the globe!  When they do meet we get some additional glimpses into Kid Flash’s (future) history and the nature of his powers. And, we see some great side stories between Iris and Daniel West, between Patty and Barry…and we get one more glimpse of the true Speed Force Killer…the Reverse Flash!

Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato deliver another excellent chapter in the New 52 history of the Flash.  Their use of splash pages makes perfect sense here, adding to the impact of super speed times two.  The additional glimpses into Kid Flash are tantalizing, giving us important new information without spilling too much too early.  And, I really loved the nod-with-a-twist given to the old “Barry’s late again” trope, in doing so highlighting the difference between the New 52 Patty and the Silver Age Iris in how they each deal with this situation.  I truly enjoyed this issue of The Flash – whether you are a Barry or Bart fan (or both) this is a great issue to grab!

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Francis Manapul & Marcus To Nominated for 2013 Shuster Awards

The 2013 Joe Shuster Award nominations for Canadian comics creators are out, and two Flash artists are on the list!

Francis Manapul has been nominated for the Cartoonist / Auteur category, for creators who write and illustrate their own work. This is his fourth year in a row being nominated for the awards, having been nominated for Artist once and Cover Artist twice. In 2011, he won the Outstanding Cover Artist category. Moving into the author category puts him in competition against such heavy hitters as Darwyn Cooke and Jeff Lemire.

Marcus To (Flash #10, 15) has been nominated for the Artist / Dessinateur category, for creators who illustrate others’ stories. This is his first time being nominated.

Congratulations to both on their nominations!

Flash #10 - Weather Wizard

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