In one of the latest “20 Questions” videos at Newsarama, DC Editor-In-Chief Dan Didio drops a bombshell for Flash fans, or to be more precise Wally West and Bart Allen. At the three minute mark, a reader asks about an artist for Kid Flash (which I assume would have been a new series for the former “Impulse”) and Johns’ plans for Wally. While I realize he has to go fast to get all the questions in, his response comes out rather casual.
First he brings up the current event, Blackest Night, and how there are going to be plenty of stories and new series coming out of the event. (Considering their track record with “new series”, this may not work out well.) Then he lets us know that because of this, the Wally West co-feature in the new version of The Flash has been dropped (then again, they plan to abandon a number of co-features from what I hear, including dropping Blue Beetle from Booster Gold, much to the dismay of Jamie’s fans, I would bet) and that Kid Flash would not be coming out. While he intended it that way or not, however, it’s the last line that comes off rather cold for Wally/Bart fans.
Your Flash fix will be Barry Allen, pure and simple, for 2010.
Then again, some fans saw this coming, and I was one of them. As a Iron Man fan who can’t bring himself to read the current comic, and stopped reading it even before Civil War did such a hatchet job on Tony Stark (or any tales with Darkhawk, seeing how Marvel shoved Chris Powell into the backsliding timeline and ignored the last half of the run), I can relate to Speed Force.org‘s knee-jerk response after seeing the video.
Congratulations, Dan. You’ve just lost yourself a reader.
I’ve been hanging on through Flash: Rebirth hoping I would see something in it that would convince me that I might actually want to read stories with Barry Allen, but I just haven’t seen it. The announcement of backup features starring Wally West gave me something to look forward to. The Kid Flash book starring Bart Allen was something I wanted to read. The lead stories with Barry? I was hoping they’d grow on me.
But you know what? I just don’t care anymore.
Honestly, at this moment, I don’t care about reading the conclusion of Flash: Rebirth. I don’t care about the new series. I don’t care about the Secret Files. It’s even killing my enthusiasm for Blackest Night: The Flash, which I actually liked.
To his credit, he later printed a follow-up article once he cooled down, and added a disclaimer to the original article.
To clarify what I did write, it’s not just that Barry’s getting the limelight that has me pissed off. I’ve had a year and a half to get used to that. What really has me steamed is that DC announced ongoing stories starring Bart and Wally, then changed their minds and yanked that away.
I picked up Flash: Rebirth hoping that it would convince me to like the idea of new Barry stories. It hasn’t. If it had, this news would have still been disappointing, but wouldn’t have gotten me so angry.
Speaking of “to his credit”, Geoff Johns, often treated by critics as a “Didio lackey” when it comes to certain stories in DC continuity, went to the Comic Bloc blog and posted his own take.
Obviously, there have been some changes (among many) in DC’s approach to co-features and, in particular, the Flash universe that have raised questions and frustrations. Yes, THE FLASH will no longer have the Wally West co-feature. It’ll remain one of DC’s $2.99 books rather than $3.99 (not a bad idea–SWT) and Barry Allen will be the lead character. Yes, the plans for creating a book title KID FLASH have altered. (The creative team lined up never started on the book.) And, yes, it was a mistake to announce our plans before they were set in stone. Everyone was just excited about the Flash. No one wants to disappoint anyone. That’s not only bad business, it’s bad karma. So all that above? That’s the bad news.
But there is good news too. You will see the stories Scott Kolins and I have been working on. You will see Wally and Bart and everyone (Jesse will surprise a lot of people!). You will see the Flash universe grow organically. No one wants the Flash universe to achieve the same heights Green Lantern has more than me and the creative and editorial team working on it (and maybe the bean counters at DC! ). I’m also working hard on the movie. Despite what it looks like, the plans have grown for the Flash universe, although the rollout for things has changed. Imagine something more like how Green Lantern grew. The Flash universe is set for something VERY big in 2011 as well. It’ll take a bit more time to build (not too much), but in the long run I do believe the foundation will be stronger for it. I can’t get into specifics too much and I don’t want to until we literally have covers to show – which I’m sure will frustrate some people – but I don’t want to see anyone disappointed.
Then your working for the wrong guy. Ever since Identity Crisis, if not sooner, DC has been a major disappointment, and I’m not just talking about Washington. I agree with something Ari Green of the Four Color Media Monitor wrote in response to all this. The issue isn’t the return of Barry Allen (although it seems rather pointless and treating him like the Speedster Messiah in the Rebirth mini was way overdoing it) so much as the treatment of Wally, who has been the Flash ever since Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Bart, both of whom have a strong fan following. And while Johns is certainly nicer about this situation than, say, the Spider-Writers when you bring up “One More Day” or Mary Jane (so far the only pro-sider at Marvel who has treated both the pro-marriage fans and Mary Jane with any dignity as far as I know is Kurt Busiek, who wasn’t and isn’t a regular Spider-Man contributor–too bad because his stuff is fantastic–but he’s still wrong), he’s still responsible in part for how the Legacy Heroes have been treated, especially when it comes to Wally and Kyle Rayner. (Seriously, when I heard that Kyle was actually brought back to life I was shocked–and not because the method sounded like something out of a “magical girl” anime.)
If I were running DC (I really should start writing that article series at some point), I would take all these characters and give them their own anthology, like the Showcase comics of the early 90’s. Then fans could at least get a fix now and then, and these characters–both the new Legacy characters being pushed aside to bring back and “fix” (if you can call it that–I don’t) the old ones, and some of the old characters that are starting to pop up now and then–could be given a chance to shine, rather than end up pushed aside or worse–used as “shock value” fodder by having someone to kill off in the latest event.
Of course, if I were running DC, it would fall apart within a year. Businessman I am not. 🙂
extra hat tip to Slay Monstrobot of the Deep, where I first was made aware of current Flash events and Four Color Media Monitor, where I heard about the updates prior to writing this article on Monday–I love auto-scheduling