Discussion has erupted over a teaser image that DC Comics has just released for an upcoming crossover between Countdown and The Flash:

Flash: The Fastest Man (Alive).... The Countdown Continues

The image, with the battered Flash at the mercy of his Rogues Gallery and his name shown in giant stone letters, has been widely recognized as an homage to the classic Flash v.1 #174 cover by Carmine Infantino & Murphy Anderson (1967). What you may not know is that it’s not the first time that cover has been referenced. In 1989, Mike Mignola revisited the cover for Secret Origins #41, featuring the origins of the main Rogues.

Flash v.1 #174 Secret Origins #41

I have a list of 15 26 Flash cover homages online. Admittedly, it’s due for an update. Aside from this, there was at least one in Rogue War, and people have pointed out a few that I’ve missed.

Meanwhile, does anyone know who did the art on the Countdown image? My first thought was Brian Bolland, but on seeing the full sized image it doesn’t look like his style. Edit: It turns out it’s Ryan Sook.

(via Crimson Lightning)

Update: Wizard has an interview with Marc Guggenheim [archive.org] on the significance of the teaser, and the relationship between Countdown and Flash: The Fastest Man Alive.

Let’s see… what have I picked up recently?

Otherworld (Vertigo). I picked this up on the strength of Phil Jimenez and part of the concept. A group of people from present-day Earth get dragged into an extra-dimensional war—which, of course, has been done before. After issue #2, I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on, beyond the basics. We’re still figuring out who gets transformed how, and as for what’s actually going on in the other world, I think we’re going to have to find out along with the leads. (Heck, I’m still trying to figure out which character is narrating the whole thing.) I’m hoping things will become clearer with #3.

The Atheist (Image/Desperado). A skeptic paranormal investigator (nicknamed the Atheist by his colleagues) comes up against the one case he can’t debunk: the dead are returning and taking possession of the living. In some ways this reminds me a bit of Simon Spectre and Frank Ironwine, the two Apparat books inspired by Doc Savage and the detective pulps. Definitely continuing with this one.

Beyond Avalon (Image/Desperado). King Arthur’s daughter takes up a sword and leaves the island of Avalon to see what’s out there. #1 was just interesting enough to get me to buy #2. But I haven’t actually read #2 yet.

Mnemovore (Vertigo). The concept of this one intrigued me enough I had a dream about it a few nights ago. (Appropriately, I can’t remember much of it.) The main character, injured in a snowboarding accident, has amnesia…but something is causing everyone around her to lose memories as well. Something alive, that Kaley encounters at the end of the first issue. Another one I’m definitely following.

Countdown to Infinite Crisis (DC). I have to admit I had very low expectations for the latest big event book. But the 80-page giant was actually quite good. Three of the four spinoff minis are out now, and they’ve been hit or miss. On one hand, I like the idea that each series focuses on a different corner of the DC universe—Day of Vengeance for the magical characters, Rann/Thanagar War for the sci-fi, The OMAC Project for the superhero/thriller types and Villains United for…well, you can probably guess. On the other hand, at 6 issues apiece plus the 4-issue Return of Donna Troy, that’s already 29 books, plus however many issues Infinite Crisis itself will be. This is all for the 20th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was only 12 issues! And, frankly, the “Which one will lead to Infinite Crisis? Buy them all and find out!” gimmick offends me.

Anyway, I liked the first issue of The OMAC Project, Day of Vengeance #1 left me just curious enough to pick up #2, and Villains United didn’t intrigue me much at all.

Rising Stars: Voices of the Dead. Now that JMS and Top Cow have resolved their dispute and finished Rising Stars, the publisher can start releasing Fiona Avery’s spinoff minis again. First out of the gate is this one, focusing on Lionel Zerb, who talks to the dead. Unfortunately I can’t help but wonder what happened to Rising Stars: Untouchable, the mini about telekinetic assassin Laurel Darkhaven announced two years ago. My impression was that it was done, or at least completely written, with publishing held up by the dispute. I’ll have to reread VotD without that question in my head. (Strangely, I can’t find anything about either series at Top Cow’s website)