Well, now we know why DC has been infuriatingly vague about what happens in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #14-15. The answer: Nothing.
That’s right, nothing happens in issues #14-15 — because they don’t exist! In an interview with Newsarama, Mark Waid revealed that DC is canceling the current series after #13, and relaunching it this fall with #231, picking up the numbering from the previous series. To bridge the gap, they’re also releasing a special All Flash #1 in
And the plans have been in the works for almost a year. Given how closely everything is tied to Countdown, the JLA/JSA crossover, etc., DC knew going in that they weren’t going to pick up with #14, which means that the solicitations, the covers that they commissioned, and the retailer incentives were all a smokescreen to keep the relaunch under wraps.
Of course, why relaunch the book if you’re going to keep the same Flash?
On one hand, I think the new book was just hitting its stride, and Bart deserves his shot. On the other hand, Mark Waid on the Flash? And a 1-in-3 chance that it could be Wally? Where do I sign up?
My signing up will depend on if it’s the Waid from the first fifty or so issues of his Flash run, or Cobalt Blue Waid writing the book. But then again, I’m drifting away from comics altogether, so the fact that I’m considering it is a pretty big pull.
I am amused by one thing – the Bart Allen Flash book lasted one issue less than Mike Baron’s relaunch of Wally West. Baron wrote, by my count six stories – Vandal Savage, Kilg%re, Speed Demon, Red and Blue Trinity, Chunk, and Velocity-9 with Vandal Savage again. The new book managed what, two story-arcs (with maybe a single issue story thrown in the middle)?
Baron also had the advantage that he (appropriately enough) hit the ground running. Instead of pausing to tell an origin story, he started with Wally as the Flash, spent the first issue introducing him in that role and jumped right into a story.
Decompressed storytelling can work, even with a guy whose claim to fame is that he’s really fast (see “Wonderland,” for instance—and, in retrospect, “Ignition” works quite well, though it was excruciatingly slow one month at a time), but it’s not a good choice for a series launch.
I suspect if they’d made “Lightning in a Bottle” 3 issues instead of 6, and had ended the first issue with Bart putting on the costume (which, IIRC, happened at the end of the second issue), the fan response would have been much more positive.
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