Last summer we bought a fuchsia to hang above our balcony. It bloomed for months, then seemed to die over the winter. Living in southern California, the idea of a plant that actually goes dormant in winter is a bit of a foreign concept, but we figured, well, just in case, let’s keep watering it.

It started to grow new leaves in spring, and the first hints of new buds appeared as summer arrived. It finally started blooming in earnest in mid-July, when I took this photo:

Fuchsia flowers (closeup)

Update: I’ve posted a larger version of the photo on Flickr.

Bart Allen, a.k.a. Impulse.Superman, Batman, and Max Mercury have all been cited as giving comic-book speedster Bart Allen the name Impulse. Batman most famously in Impulse #50, and Superman just recently in the previews for next month’s All-Flash #1. But who named him originally?

Cover: Flash #93
Cover: Zero Hour #3The name first appears on the cover of Flash #93 (August 1994), with an out-of-control Bart Allen fighting the Flash. The cover is captioned, “Brash Impulse!” Over the next few issues, Wally West’s inner monologue refers to Bart as being impulsive, or (at one point) as “Mr. Impulse.”

It first appears on-panel as a name in Zero Hour #3 (September 1994), when Bart meets Superman for the first time, but Bart introduces himself as Impulse. Dan Jurgens writes.
Continue reading

One of the controversies surrounding this summer’s relaunch of The Flash is the question of how far ahead it was planned. Interviews with Mark Waid and Marc Guggenheim make it clear that it was in the works “nearly a year ago,” and definitely before Guggenheim took over as writer. Dan Didio has suggested it was their plan all along, though many fans find this idea suspect, and find it more likely that it was put in place after the first few issues of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive failed to catch on with readers.

While looking for something in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1, I noticed something interesting. Continue reading

Flash v.1 #193: Captain Cold holds up a photo labeled 'Censored' and says, They wouldn't let me show you what I did to the Flash.  Do you dare read this issue and find out for yourself!?I didn’t think I had anything to add to the discussion on the infamous Heroes For Hire #13 cover. (Some of those links possibly NSFW.) Something stuck in my mind, though. Typolad suggested that “you would never, ever see Marvel or DC make a cover like this with a male protagonist. Yes, a male hero may be shown in peril, but his face will be defiant. He won’t be shown as submissive.” Lea Hernandez’ remix of the cover alters the expressions to do just that.

Now, I agree—that cover was way past the line, and I can’t imagine DC or Marvel doing the same thing with male characters, especially when you take into account the sleaze factor. But phrases like “never, ever” tend to read like a challenge. Looking just at the defiant/passive stance, I knew I’d seen at least one cover with the Flash beaten to within an inch of his life, unable to put up a fight or even a glare, so I took a trip through the Grand Comics Database’s cover gallery. Continue reading

The suggestion box on my Flash site has picked up a couple of requests for the Flash’s “weakness.” The concept doesn’t really apply to the Flash’s powers, though. Thinking about it, if your hero has to have an off-switch, that’s kind of a sign that they’ve been over-powered, isn’t it?

It reminds me of a line that bothered me in Unbreakable. (Minor spoiler.) Samuel Jackson’s character explains to Bruce Willis that water is his Kryptonite. That’s hardly the case, though: a glass of water isn’t going to take him out of commission. He’ll still be invulnerable and super-strong while swimming. All it means is that he still has to breathe (and, presumably, eat and drink). A plastic bag over his head would be as effective as drowning.

Compare that to, say, Superman and Kryptonite, or Wonder Woman and being tied up, or past Green Lantern books and yellow objects or wood. It’s not in the same league (pun not intended).

Which brings us back to the Flash. What “weakness” does he have? Well, he’s a specialist, so he doesn’t have the advantage of super-strength or invulnerability. He can get tired. Like David Dunn, he has to breathe. He can get distracted. He can make mistakes. He can act without thinking. Are any of these really “weaknesses” in the Kryptonite sense, though?