The Flash: speeding into a breakout year?
HE MAY have been slow getting there, but the Flash is counting on 2014 to be the year when he speeds into the pop-culture zeitgeist.
While Superman and Iron Man were the superheroes of 2013, the zippy DC Comics character is getting the fast track in comics and on screen. At the very least, his appearances this year will raise his profile from simply being Sheldon Cooper’s frequent Halloween costume of choice on The Big Bang Theory.
Flash alter ego Barry Allen, who plies his trade in the Central City police crime lab when not in his red costume, gets thrown into more procedural adventures when the new creative team of writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen and artist Brett Booth make their debut in The Flash # 30, out April 23.
Artist Brett Booth said this cover of the upcoming The Flash Annual #3 teases Wally West’s return, but is he the Blue Flash in the middle ... or that kid spraypainting graffiti in the corner?
A week later, they reintroduce Wally West, another guy who’s worn the Flash togs, into the DC Universe in The Flash Annual # 3.
Meanwhile, Christopher Gorham ( Covert Affairs) voices the Flash in the animated movie Justice League: War (just out on Blu-ray and DVD). And Warner Bros TV is filming a pilot later this year for The Flash as a spin-off of The CW’s Arrow (Grant Gustin guest-starred as Allen in two recent episodes to introduce the character).
Unlike the serious Superman or broody Batman, the Flash is just “a fun guy”, Gorham says. “He’s a really smart scientist in his daily life who’s a bit bumbling and socially awkward, but obviously he turns it on when he puts his tights on.”
For Venditti, one of the things that makes the Flash so appealing on a mainstream level is he’s just a guy who’s really speedy.
“From a very young age, one of the first things you want to be able to do is run fast,” the writer says. “You don’t want to fly, you don’t want to have a ring that makes constructs out of light. It’s just a simple, basic thing: ‘I want to be able to run fast.’
“It’s ingrained in our DNA, and here’s a character that lives that out.”
Of course, the real test of any superhero comes when he’s put on the big screen. The next big moment for the Flash – who made his debut in the Silver Age of comics in 1956 – could be an appearance in the 2016 Man Of Steel sequel, which already has a powerful trio in Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).
“To tell you the truth, DC needs the Flash to break out, as he’s a major component of the Justice League and has always been one of the stars in their canon,” says Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations.
He adds that they may want to push him to the forefront sooner rather than later, since Marvel Comics’ resident racer Quicksilver will be appearing in X-men: Days Of Future Past (May 23) and 2015’s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
“Time is of the essence here, DC,” Bock says. “Godspeed.” — USA Today / McClatchy-Tribune Information Services