DC Comics released their July solicitations today, along with some of the books due in August. They managed to say absolutely nothing informative (or, to be honest, particularly interesting) about Flash #14—just that it’s going to be big. C’mon, show, don’t tell!
On the plus side, we now have a cover and a confirmed date for Flash: The Greatest Stories Ever Told: August 15. The table of contents hasn’t changed from the initial announcement, so it sounds like it’s final. At least for promotion, they’re using Alex Ross’ portrait of the Flash.
Oddly enough, the one thing on the list that actually got me excited was the first collection of Tangent Comics, due August 29. (Edit: I’ve updated the image at the left to the final cover. Originally, DC posted the cover from Tangent Comics: The Atom)
Tangent Comics was a fifth-week* event back in 1997 that built an entirely new fictional universe using only the names from DC’s stable of characters. The Atom became a nuclear-powered Superman type. Green Lantern became a mysterious figure whose lantern could bring souls back from the dead to complete unfinished business. The Flash was a human made of light. The event consisted of nine books, each designed as if it were the first issue of an ongoing series, and was successful enough that they followed it up with a second round in 1998.
I reread the series last summer. I’d say about 60% of the first round was very good, my favorites being Green Lantern, Joker, and Flash. Round two wasn’t quite so good, but it still had had some gems. It also suffered a bit technically: the first round of stories were 38 pages, and round two dropped to a standard 22 pages, plus some (Tales of the Green Lantern in particular) looked like the art had been scanned into a computer at too low a DPI before printing. On the plus side, it was more ambitious, as they tried to tell a more coherent story and take things in a much darker direction than anyone was willing to do with the mainstream DC Universe at the time.
I have a fairly detailed bio of the Tangent Flash on my site. There’s a somewhat sparse Wikipedia entry on the series. After my reread, I expanded the Flash bio and filled in some info on the Wikipedia page.
Anyway, the collection has 5 of the 9 issues that made up round one: The Atom, Metal Men, The Flash, Green Lantern and Sea Devils. As a guess, they’ll probably fill out the rest of the series in volume two, then see how well it sells before putting out the Tangent 98 books in volume three. With the lower page count per story, all 9 could fit in the same page count as volume one.
*What’s a fifth-week event? Monthly comics are usually scheduled by week 1, 2, 3, or 4. That only adds up to 48 weeks out of a year, so some months have a fifth week during which few comics are scheduled. During the late 1990s, DC would occasionally schedule a one-shot series during that week to take up the slack.