The Flash: speed­ing into a break­out year?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - By BRIAN TRUITT

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

Where’s Wally West?

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