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The Flash – Going Rogue (Review)

So, I’m considering reviewing this season of The Flash, because the pilot looks interesting and I’ve always had a soft spot for the Scarlet Speedster. I’m also considering taking a storyline-by-storyline trek through the 1987-2009 Flash on-going series as a companion piece. If you are interested in reading either of these, please let me know in the comments.

One of the more endearing aspects of The Flash is the way that it embraces the stock superhero clichés. It is a television show that seems completely unashamed of its genre trappings, occasionally basking in its cheesiness. The dialogue is occasionally corny, the set-ups occasionally forced, the plot beats a little melodramatic – but that is a large part of the appeal. The Flash feels like something of a live action comic book.

Going Rogue is an episode that basks in its pulpy four-colour roots. Not only does the episode find a bright design for Leonard Snart that hues close to the character’s roots, not only does the show bask in various “cold” puns, not only does it lean heavily on the “save the innocent or catch the guilty” moral dilemma, it even throws in a nice crossover love triangle to keep things interesting. Going Rogue is silly and goofy, but in all the right ways. Endearing and charming, it is a demonstration of how well the show can work.

Chill out.

Chill out.

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Brightest Day (Hardcover Vol. 1-3) (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” This one’s not so much an “event” as a bi-weekly miniseries, but let’s count it anyway…

Balancing the internal storylines is a tough task for any anthology, especially one running over the course of an entire year. In this respect, 52 feels like the exception rather than the rule. It’s a fairly fundamental problem with Brightest Day that not all of the plotlines are interesting (and certainly not all of the time). It’s a rather strange phenomenon: the early issues try to balance the characters somewhat evenly across the issues, and feels somewhat awkward in trying to devote an equal amount of space to stories that aren’t equally compelling; on the other hand, the second and final thirds seems more comfortable devoting large stretches of single issues to certain characters (and to have other members of the ensemble go unheard from for issues at a time), which has the bizarre effect of meaning that a cliffhanger or two isn’t picked up for two or three chapters. It’s a tough balance to get right, and I’m sad to say that Brightest Day doesn’t acquit itself particularly admirably. It’s a shame, because there are some interesting ideas here.

Everything burns...

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Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge (Review/Retrospective)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, but – in the spirit of the character – we’re going to have a marathon run through Flash stories before we get there. Check back daily this week for more Flash-ified goodness…

Rumours on the street are that Jesse James bought it. I thought you might be dead, too. Tar pit said Zoom buried you under the Flash Museum. Computron swore you were banished to some kinda war planet. And Double Down bet me a grand the Titans had you locked up in their tower.

But you’re here. You escaped!

– The Trickster just about sums up everything that happened since Geoff Johns left

It was a touch period for the Flash after Geoff Johns finished his rather tremendous run on the character. Although Mark Waid’s first run with Wally West was a celebrated comic book run, his brief tenure on the title following Johns’ departure was not nearly as well received. Wally West was shipped off to an alternate dimension, and then brought back. The teenage Bart Allen was turned into the Flash, and then unceremoniously killed. The Rogues were sent to another planet, and the supporting cast suffered the indignity of Countdown to Final Crisis. All of this happened in a few years, and transformed DC’s Flash comic books from some of the best on the market to something of a joke.

However, Geoff Johns’ Final Crisis tie-in miniseries seems intended to assure the faithful that everything is going to be okay. Even Captain Cold dismisses everything that’s happened as “one %%@#$@-up year.”Let’s just put it behind us.

Cold warriors...

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Geoff Johns’ Run on The Flash – Ignition, The Secret of Barry Allen, Rogue War

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, but – in the spirit of the character – we’re going to have a marathon run through Flash stories before we get there. Check back daily this week for more Flash-ified goodness…

Superman soars above everyone. Batman hides from everyone. Wonder Woman preaches to everyone.

Me? I run right alongside everyone. My name’s Wally West. You probably know the rest.

– The Flash reintroduces himself, The Secret of Barry Allen

Geoff Johns’ run on The Flash can really be split into two distinct sub-runs. The first saw him working with artist Scott Kolins, defining Keystone and building up a supporting cast. The second, following the climax of Blitz, is something of a revised origin for the character – an attempt by Johns to tell his own particular version of an origin story for the character. Of course, it isn’t a literal origin like his own Green Lantern: Secret Origin or Superman: Secret Origin, rather a rediscovery. Although I do have a slight preference for the earlier half the run, there’s no denying that Johns has put together quite a wonderful story during his tenure on The Flash.

What a run...

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Geoff Johns’ Run on The Flash – Rogues, Crossfire & Blitz

What with Geoff Johns returning to write The Flash, I figured I’d dig out some of the old collections of his first run on the title – arguably the run which brought the writer to the attention of comic book readers everywhere. In a run spanning five years, Johns managed to not only offer a suitably impressive successor to Mark Waid’s run on the title, but also tell his own boldly unique story. In a way, the writer’s time on the title can be broken down into two distinct halves – in fact, the final issue collected here is consciously a transition, with the universe being massively re-written and the status quo irrevocably altered. This collection represents the end of that first half, in which Johns was paired with artist Scott Kolins. I think it’s fair to say that the pair made magic on the title.

The Rogues take the opportunity to chill out...

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Justice League Unlimited – Flash and Substance (Review)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. To tie into the review of Green Lantern: First Flight today, we thought we’d take a look at an episode centred on that other iconic Silver Age DC hero, the Flash.

Justice League and its spin-off Justice League Unlimited were two very strange shows, at least from a structural perspective. They both featured expansive casts (the latter more than the former, admittedly) – most of which were crammed full of characters new to the DC animated universe. Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series had done a great job establishing the two biggest names, but the bulk of the characters were pretty much blank slates heading into the crossover series. So characters like the Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern relied on episodes centring on them to grow and develop character – although the focus was very much on the ensemble cast. However, my own favourite episode of the show is a more intimate character profile of a character frequently overlooked: the Flash.

Frenemies…

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Geoff Johns’ Run on The Flash – Wonderland, Blood Will Run & Iron Heights

Geoff Johns is pretty much on top of the world. He’s a renowned comic book writer, who has got to work on all his favourite childhood properties – in many cases making them as popular as they’ve been in decades. He’s in charge of DC’s multimedia approach – he’s the guy in charge of the movies and television shows based around the iconic properties. Without his work on the character, next year’s Green Lantern movie wouldn’t be happening. And yet he had to begin somewhere. Although it doesn’t represent his earliest work in comics by a long stretch, in 2000 he took over as writer on The Flash. Despite a string of solid work behind him – and a really successful run for Mark Waid on the title – it was this creative pairing which would arguably propel both writer and character into the spotlight like never before. A decade later, Johns has returned to the book which made him famous, so I think it’s time to begin a trip down memory lane.

Wally's going to have to think fast...

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