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Mark Waid on Flash

On This Page:
>> Mark Waid: Q & A on joining FLASH [1994]
>> Brian Augustyn on TERMINAL VELOCITY [1995]
>> Mark Waid on TERMINAL VELOCITY [1995]
>> Mark Waid takes a FLASH vacation; Morrison & Millar Fill-In [1997]
>> Mark Waid: Returning to FLASH & ‘Chain Lightning’ [1998]
>> Mark Waid Ends His Run on FLASH [2000]


Mark Waid Q & A
[HERO #18 December 1994] Mark Waid interview by Paul Grant

So why stop being an editor [to become a writer]?

I think I was right for the job, but I think it came too early to me, in terms of dealing with the pressure of the job and other editors. There was a time when Mark Waid was a pretty cocky, inflexible guy who didn’t make a whole lot of friends on the DC staff. I think, to my credit, those days are long past. The job just wasn’t working out. I left staff on Christmas Eve, 1989.

What happened next, and whatever havoc I have since unleashed on comics, can be attributed to Brian Augustyn. Brian was still my friend and made sure that I had enough work to get by. Brian would give me fill-in Flash stuff that never saw print, just basically making sure that I could put food on the table and pay rent. Brian gave me the Flash Annual for 1990, the Armageddon 2001 tie-in, and let me do a story for the Flash TV Special. I’m very grateful and have never forgotten that. There were times when I couldn’t get arrested at DC, but Brian made sure that I had plenty of work

Flash has always been one of my favorite characters. I always wanted to have super-speed, because life is too damn short and I’m an impatient son of a bitch anyway. I think this is what makes Flash such an interesting and long-lived character. No one gets up in the moming and says, ‘Gee, I wish I could throw power blasts out of my hands.” However, everybody in the world knows what it’s like to miss the bus. That’s why I think the Flash’s power is so cool. It’s something like flight that everybody, whether they read comics or not, can key into. I certainly did. That was one of the things that attracted me to the Flash. The other thing was he was a young, impatient, strong-willed hothead and God knows that’s something I keyed into pretty quickly as well. Wally West is my alter ego. Wally is the easiest character in the world to write for me. He’s what I’d be like if I was 60 pounds lighter and 10 years younger. Oh, and had super-speed.

How does your approach to the character differ from that of Mike Baron and Bill Loebs?

I think Wally’s unique in that his personality is defined by his power. People ask me ‘What would Wally West be doing if he didn’t have super-speed?” I have no idea. Wally would have no idea because it’s a dream come true to him. As a child, he wanted to be just like The Flash. He got his wish. To me Wally is one of the few guys in comics who gets up every morning and says, “My God, I have the greatest job on Earth. I can’t wait to be Flash today.” That is core to Wally’s personality. Previous writers had a tendency to concentrate on the supporting characters and gave me the impression they weren’t as interested in Wally as they were in the people around Wally. That’s certainly a valid approach, but it’s not an approach I like. Every once in a while I get letters asking, ‘Whatever happened to Chunk or Wally’s mom?” I don’t care. The book is about Wally.

Probably the story line that you’re best remembered for is ‘The Return of Barry Allen, “a rather cruel and sadistic trick you played on Silver Age Flash fans.

Mark Wheatley, in one of our Impact conferences, said something that I’ve never forgotten: “Our job is to give the readers what they want, but not what they expect.” If I embroidered, I would put that on a sampler and hang it over my desk. All we’ve heard since 1985 was ‘When are they going to bring Barry Allen back?” ‘Well, we’re not. Live with it.” “Okay, but when are you really going to bring Barry Allen back?” So my feeling was we needed a story that would establish several things. One was to show that we’re never going to bring Barry Allen back. Wally is the first sidekick in comics history to actually fulfill the promise, to take up the mantle of his mentor. He got bad-rapped for years by people saying that Barry was the real Flash. I loved Barry Allen, but I like Wally even more. My job was to show people that Wally deserved the mantle and mystique, to walk up to the problem and address it in the comic. We wanted to do the story right off the bat, but we realized we had to make Wally a stronger character first.


Introduction: Terminal Velocity
By Brian Augustyn from the Flash: Terminal Velocity Trade Paperback

Momentum (mo-men-tem) n. 1. The impetus of a moving object. 2. In mechanics, the quantity of motion of a moving object, equal to the product of its mass and its velocity. 3. A moment.

If we can believe what we’re told, the “Terminal Velocity” story arc in FLASH made the comic an overnight sensation. It’s extraordinarily flattering that this perception should exist, but as with most ‘overnight’ successes, our comic has been on this track for many more nights and days than many realize. After all, the first glimmers of the “Terminal Velocity” story first appear in the title’s 91st issue – Mark Waid’s 30th as writer and my 64th as editor.

As is appropriate for a character whose modus operandi is speed and motion, I like to think of FLASH’s success as being a product of a carefully maintained momentum. We’ve been heading here for a long time, and, thankfully, people are starting to take notice.

When this book was first launched some nine years ago, the then creative team opted for a fairly radical approach: they decided to make Wally West, the hero, a thoroughly unlikable ego case with a rampant libido and the temerity to charge for his super-fast services.As a fan, I was not terribly pleased. When I arrived at DC and the dream-come-true job of editing the FLASH comic, I was determined to change that, but fast.

The problem was that, while I wasn’t nuts for the way Wally was being presented, it was a valid and fairly consistent treatment. I couldn’t just arbitrarily change things and make Wally a nice guy without blowing the book’s credibility right out the window. I realize that this sort of sudden, drastic change happens with distressing regularity in other comics, but the “deconstruct, dodge and deny” method has never worked for me.

In pursuit of an organic evolution of character, I realized that we had to find the key to why a previously nice guy like our young speedster had turned into such a chauvinistic s.o.b. in the first place. Explain why he was where he was and then go forward, growing him up into the hero we knew he should be – without disturbing the momentum.

It didn’t take a great deal of effort to realize what was the most obvious reason for Wally’s crudification. It was something that grew from everything we already knew about the character, in fact.

Wally West had recently suffered the tragic loss of Barry Allen, his best friend, mentor and father figure, and without a chance to mourn, thrust himself into a job he wasn’t near ready for. Feeling inadequate from the get-go and having those fears reinforced by unfavorable comparisons to his predecessor at every step would surely have a devastating effect on a young man.

If Wally was going to keep hearing that he was “no Barry Allen,” then damnit, he would stop striving upward and just be the jerk that everyone, including himself, already believed him to be. Once we knew that important character detail, running with it was a breeze.

It was new writer Bill Loebs’s innate inability to write a shallow character that first pushed Wally West onto the road to maturity and kept him going and growing. We’ve joked that Bill could write Satan and make him complex Humor aside, though, it’s absolutely true of Bill Loebs’s work that every character he writes, good guy or bad, is a fully realized, complex human being. Even demons from the pits of hell.

After forty-six successful issues, Bill decided he had taken Wally as far as he could and moved on to other challenges. Without a moment’s hesitation, I handed the baton to a relatively unknown writer named Mark Waid, who took over the race like a born sprinter. Mark and I had been friends since he was an editor at DC. and I knew we were already on the same track.

I knew Mark had two strengths that I could count on to take FLASH to fast forward: a deep and abiding love of e classic characters and tales of DC’s past and a very modern cynicism towards slavishly regurgitating that past in the form of simple rehash.

There were those back then who were convinced that we would be hoist with the petard of that first instinct, never realizing that the combination of traits would lead Mark to champion an approach to writing that would become an exemplar of the craft less than four years later – writing informed by an affection and respect for the past, infused with an appealing sentimentality but driven by an unerring, laserlike talent for what is absolutely right now and fresh. It’s been a joy watching Mark’s deserved ascension take place, though I take credit only for believing in Mark from the beginning. He’s become the best writer in comics all by himself.

Since then we’ve done what we’re best at: kept the momentum, headed ever forward and kept our eyes on the destination. Mark’s first effort on Flash was designed to restate in current terms the details of Wally West’s life and journey in the acclaimed “Flash year one; Born to Run” storyline.

Setting the stage, reintroducing the characters and their connections, laying the groundwork for the future and basically just limbering up for the long run, “Born to Run” leads us through the following issues and directly to the next plateau: “The Return of Barry Allen.”

That now-infamous six-parter let the world know that we were serious about our intent to run FLASH right to the top. For the first time, our perceptive fans began to pick up on the through-line of the book: the maturation of Wally West. “Return” was also just a road stop along the way – albeit a tremendously important one – and represented Wally’s graduation out from under the shadow of his mentor.

Since we’ve always been looking forward, we knew that our hero had to take his “Return of Barry Allen” steps to be ready for the surge to the next level; to be prepared, in fact, for “Terminal Velocity.”

Along the way, FLASH has been blessed by a number of truly terrific artists. First by Greg LaRocque and, starting with the book’s eightieth issue, by a stellar parade of newcomers: Mike Wieringo, Sal Larrocca, Carlos Pacheco and our current artist, Oscar Jimenez.

The popularity of this talented artistic aggregation, all represented in this collection, can be attested to not only by the acclaim they’ve received from the fans, but by the fact that every one of them has been courted heavily by the happy folks at Brand-X. Our esteemed competitors have finally “discovered” Mark as well, so I assume we have some big fans downtown. On the subject of art, though, I have to mention the great Jose Marzan, Jr., our inker – the glue that has held this book’s visual integrity together for years.

We’ve maintained the momentum that carries us ever forward, kept our characters growing and evolving, and we’ve arrived at the plateau of “Terminal Velocity.” Before we get to the story, though, here are some quick notes on the characters you’ll meet here.

Wally West is, of course, our hero. Finally, a young adult dealing with the rest of his life as a hero. He is helped in his ongoing quest by Linda Park, a television reporter and, not incidentally, the owner of Wally’s heart. Make a note of this; it’ll be a very important key to a lot of what follows.

Jay Garrick is the first man to take up the mantle of the Flash, and he continues to support the latest generation of the lightning. Ever a hero in his own right, the levelheaded Garrick also considers himself the unofficial grandfather to Wally West and all the younger speedsters. You’ll also meet Golden-Ager Johnny Quick and his daughter Jesse, both members of the speed fraternity and important players in our unfolding drama – especially Jesse, whose importance to “TV” and all that grows out of it surprised even us.

Most important, though, you’ll meet the two characters who most represent everything that FLASH stands for: past, future, and the journey between. I’m speaking of the Zen-master of speed, Max Mercury, and the super-fast wild child, Impulse. Both of these fascinating folks introduced into our storylines were assigned far simpler roles than the crucial ones they decided to play instead.

Max was introduced during “Return” to join Jay and Johnny as a member of the old guard but quickly turned into a mysterious speed guru – a fellow somewhere between the grizzled veteran of Sean Connery’s Untouchables character and Star Wars’s Yoda.

Originally thought to be a contemporary of Garrick’s, you’ll find in these pages just how much stranger Max’s story and background really are. The fleet-footed sensei of speed has insinuated himself into our book, our characters’ lives, and the hearts of those of us on the creative side of things as well. Max will be a part of the Flash mythology for years to come, and only he knows exactly where we’re all headed. Really.

Bart Allen, a.k.a. Impulse, on the other hand, was intended to be the next Kid Flash, a role he has neither the interest at nor the attention span to fill. Bart’s the grandson of Barry Allen from the thirtieth century, brought back to our time to learn the super-speed ropes at the elbow of his sort-of-cousin Wally West. Unfortunately, they can’t stand each other.

Cursed with a runaway metabolism, Bart was rapidly aged from infancy to adolescence in a blink. Thanks to future technology, the youngster’s education and development kept pace with his rapid growth, but he’s still basically a two-year-old in the body of a teenager. And now he’s stuck in the twentieth century and anointed the successor to the role of Flash – if he survives “Terminal Velocity.”

So, you’ve now seen where we’ve been, and I’ve hinted at the road ahead; now it’s time to check out “Terminal Velocity.” We hope you enjoy the excitement of this romantic (that’s correct, you’ll see) adventure. Be assured that beyond these events, the story of Flash continues, moving always ahead, always upward… always keeping the momentum.

Enjoy the ride!
Brian Augustyn


Terminal Velocity: Afterward
By Mark Waid – from the Flash: Terminal Velocity Trade Paperback

I got the last line first; everything else fell into place like gears in a Swiss watch. Stories on the power and bond of True Love are easy to write when you’re as much a sucker as I am.

“Terminal Velocity” has this much in common with most other FLASH stories: it is a pure and true collaboration with editor Brian Augustyn; it came whole and complete in one late night; and it came unbidden, without our even having to look for it, as the Speed Muse perched comfortably on my shoulder and began screaming into my ear faster than I could type.

I say we didn’t have to look for it, but that’s not entirely accurate. I think we knew we needed something. Brian and I have been together on FLASH since issue #62, and in my mind, since our very first page, we’ve been writing a series about growth and change and maturity.

In that time, we’ve given Wally West a solid, contemporary relationship that’s as stable as our poor, charming-but-stumbling hero can make it; we’ve freed him from the specter of his predecessor, Barry Allen, and proved to Wally that he’s worthy of his great legacy; we’ve honed his powers to a razor edge and taught him a few things about responsibility.

We even gave him a protege in order to help him grow up a little bit faster.. .and right about the time Impulse showed up is when Brian and I glanced at our road atlas to find that we’d just driven voom off the edge of the map. We’d upped Wally’s speed… we’d given him a life partner, made him happy… and now we were perilously close to making him a full-fledged mentor.

As our car crashed through the guard rail and out over the abyss, Brian and I turned to one another and said, together:

“Barry Allen.”

Whoops.

Now, Brian loves Barry, and I’m pretty fond of the old stiff, too. But DC spent twenty-eight glorious years (plus two more during which Flash was on trial, for a total of three decades) publishing stories about the late, great Barry-Flash.. .and there was no need to go there again. Wally West is his own man with his own path to follow and his own race to run. We just had to find it again.

So we began considering-reconsidering-the source of speed in the DC Universe. With the exception of Wally and Barry, who shared an origin, every other speedster in the DC Pantheon seemed to have acquired his or her power from a different source-and even Wally’s powers seemed to behave differently from Barry’s sometimes.

And then there was Barry’s predecessor, Jay. Jay’s origin, in particular, drives me insane. Johnny and Jesse’s shtick-a spoken-word formula-is something I made peace with years ago once I decided that 3×2(9YZ)4A was merely a three-dimensional representation of a fourth-dimensional construct which, once envisioned in the mind’s eye, unlocks the brain’s hidden powers.

(I lose Brian around this curve every time we hit it, but if you’ve ever read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, you’re probably still with me).

So much for the Quick family. Jay Garrick, on the other hand, was knocked unconscious by hard-water fumes and awoke to find himself possessed of near-lightspeed. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. It’s not the least thought-out origin in comics, but it’s up there. What in this world tied him to the other speedsters? What in this world tied any of our speedsters together?

What…off this world?

Boom. Lightning in a jar.

The idea that there was some extradimensional energy source out there… “beyond the speed of light, whatever the hell that means,” I remember muttering as I frantically dialed Brian’s office.. .the discovery of that Speed Force would absolutely rock Wally’s world. If Barry-Flash had indeed leeched his energy from that weird place, would that confirm Wally’s longtime suspicion that Barry wasn’t completely human? Would it make Wally doubt his own humanity?

Better yet, once he got a taste of Ultimate Power, how quickly would Wally-one of DC’s most down-to-earth heroes-lose that humanity? We weren’t sure… but we knew that the process of finding out was going to give us a whole new road map. Allow me to point out some of the not-so-obvious mile markers we passed along the way….

Marker One: “What’s this story really about?”

A question that comes up somewhere during the middle of writing every FLASH adventure. “Sure, we’ve got a story about Flash fighting a big yellow alien named Mongul. . .but what’s it really about, Brian? Oh, God, I’m lost, help me!” With “Terminal Velocity,” we didn’t enjoy this characteristic panic. We knew what the story was really about from the get-go.

So did those longtime FLASH readers who count on the heart of the series being the relationship between Wally and Linda. Oh, sure, we’ll grudgingly play a super-villain through every once in a while just to keep up appearances-keep that under your hat-but the Wally/ Linda romance is the soul and often the momentum of the book.

So while the fanzines ballyhooed “Terminal Velocity” as an earth-shattering, hundredth-issue, everything-changes-forever super-hero epic, we were gleefully telling a love story. More accurately, a love story disguised as a western cloaked in a super-hero epic. (That’s right, a western. The evil earthquake rustlers move into town, and it’s up to the quick-draw sheriff and his posse to run ‘em out. I make no more secret of the fact that “Terminal Velocity” was written to Bruce Broughton’s soundtrack to Silverado than I do that “Dead Heat,” the sequel to “TV,” is currently being penned to the music of The Magnificent Seven. Yee-hah.)

Marker Two: “What do you mean he’s got his own series?”

Flexibility is the only thing that keeps a writer alive in an industry where change is the norm. Any scripter who claims that he’s got his sprawling mega-epic worked out down to the final dot on the last “i” is either lying or a crash test dummy. It never once in a million years occurred to me, for instance, to bring Jesse Quick into our story until halfway through writing Chapter Three.

If you were with us then, you’ll remember that as the time DC proudly announced the debut of the new IMPULSE series that would follow “Terminal Velocity.” Good news. Great news. I only locked myself in a dark room for three days horrified that we’d surrendered our only candidate for the role of Wally’s successor.

Gee, maybe the New Flash will be the kid who’s getting his own book, you think? In retrospect, of course, I moped way too long; not only did desperation-ploy Jesse turn out to be a terrific addition to the cast, but the fact that Wally deliberately lied to her has since electrified their ongoing relationship. Readers writing in-all of whom love Jesse-thought we planned it that way. To this day, we smile knowingly to maintain the illusion that we were ever more than half a step ahead of them.

Marker Three: “Pull!”

I thought the final chapter would be the hardest to write. Wrong. In order to script the penultimate chapter, I had to pull so much emotion out of myself that I slept for two days afterward. The only parts that offset the angst were the parts where I got to shoot the rest of the cast like fish in a barrel. Good thing Max is along for the P0OM! Maybe Jesse Quick can save the P0OM! Good Lord, now our only hope is ImPOOM! Say what you like about the rest of the series, but FLASH gives good cliffhanger. This we know.

Marker Four: “Can’t we come up with a better name than the Speed Force?”

Apparently not, but it bothers me less with each passing day. You?

Anyway.. .that was pretty much the whole ride. I hope you enjoyed it. If I had “Terminal Velocity” to write all over again, the one thing I’d do is clarify the ending just a hair to accommodate the too-literal-minded; a very few readers hammered us for claiming in print that no one has ever come back from the Speed Force, then having Wally come back anyway.

Almost all of the rest of you understood (thank you) that any story that starts with the words “No one has ever braved the Cavern of Doom and lived to tell the tale!” is generally the story of the guy who braves the Cavern of Doom and lives to tell the tale. You knew that unlike those who came-and went-before him, Wally chose not to embrace the Speed Force because he had something far greater waiting for him back here on Earth.

He had True Love.

And there’s no super-power more wondrous than that.


Waid Takes a Flash Vacation
Waid and Augustyn take a one-year vacation from Flash
An article from Wizard #66 [1997]

The Flash creative team is taking a vacation.

Writer Mark Waid has announced that he and Brian Augustyn will be taking a year-long sabbatical from The Flash, beginning tentatively with issue #130. However, Waid maintains that he and Augustyn will return to The Flash probably around issue #143.

“I have no intention of leaving The Flash forever” said Waid. “Everybody knows they’re going to have to pry this book out of my cold dead fingers, but right now, I really feel a bit burned out on The Flash. “I just want to step back for a year to recharge my battery and then come back better than ever.” added Waid. “It’s more important for the issues to be good, than to be consecutive. Not only are we coming back, but we already have our story in place.”

In their absence, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar will take over the creative reigns of the book. Morrison and Millar were handpicked by Waid and Augustyn as their successors. “They seem to have the same respect for Silver Age comics that we do,” said Waid. “And have a way of taking the Silver Age stuff and putting a nice spin on it.”

“Taking on The Flash is the one thing that can still make me feel this way, because this was my favorite comic when I was a kid,” said Morrison. “When Mark [Waid] came to me, I came up with an entire year’s worth of plots in five minutes. I’m going to cripple [the Flash] in my first issue and put him in a wheelchair. Then I’m thinking we’ll have a race story which hasn’t been done in a long time.” Morrison will wind down his 2-issue run with a story concerning a dark Flash character that will lead into Waid’s return. “I’m going to introduce the personification of the dark side of the speed force,” said Morrison. “Basically, it’s Death. And on the cover, we’ll see the Flash running with a black skull-faced person following right behind. And it’ll read, ‘You can’t outrun Death.’”

Meanwhile, Waid and Augustyn are already working on the story that will mark their return and lead The Flash up to issue #150. Entitled “Chain Lightning,” the story will span 1,000 years as it looks in-depth at the Flash legacy between the 20th and 30th centuries. “It will be the biggest, most ambitious story we’ve ever told,” said Waid. “I cant really say who the villain is – it’s more along the likes of a group of villains unlike [Flash's old] Rogue’s Gallery – but sharp-eyed readers will pick up clues throughout the year in all Waid/Augustyn titles.”


Flash Forward
As writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn return to the Flash, Wally West makes the ultimate sacrifice.
from Wizard Special Edition: JLA, 1998

The Flash is a dead man.

When phrases like ‘the ultimate sacrifice” and “his life’s about to change forever” start getting bandied about, that’s often most readers’ first reaction. And when you’re talking about the Flash, death is no stranger. The second Flash, Barry Allen, gave his life in battle against the Anti-Monitor several years ago to save the universe. So does that mean the current Flash, Wally West, is doomed to follow in his footsteps? Returning writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn aren’t telling. But what they will I say, as their six-part “Chain Lightning” storyline kicks off in issue #145, sounds a familiar – nothing will ever be the same I again.”

Back after a yearlong hiatus, during which time writers Grant Morrison and Mark I Millar put the fastest man alive through his paces, the co-writers returned with issue #142, just in time for Wally’s wedding to Linda Park. Inspired by their pinch hitters and joined by former Green Lantern artist Paul Pelletier, the duo launches “Chain Lightning” in December, a pivotal storyline that features – in addition to perhaps Wally’s final fate – an array of new characters and reveals new secrets about the Flash lineage. “This makes a great jumping-on point for new readers,” says Waid. “If you’re a big JLA fan, you’re going to love this story, because we’re coming up with new and imaginitive approaches to speed and all the speedsters. I really think I’m tapping into the ‘Grant Force.”‘

STEPPING OUT

West began his superhero career as Kid Flash alongside his uncle Barry, the second Flash, and took over the Flash mantle following Barry’s death. He’s since tapped into – and even entered and returned from – an energy source called the Speed Force, which somehow connects all the speedsters throughout history, including Barry; Jay Garrick, the original Flash; Jesse Quick and the late Johnny Quick; Bart Allen, aka. Impulse; and Impulse’s mentor, Max Mercury.

In recent months, however, Wally’s connection to the Speed Force almost turned lethal when the Black Flash, the embodiment n of death, tried to claim his life. The Black Flash took his girlfriend Linda Park by mistake and trapped her in the Speed Force, where speedsters go when they die. When it later returned for him, Wally managed to defeat the entity and rescue Linda from the Speed Force, bringing into focus the depth of his love for her. It brought the couple even closer together – so close that they were finally married in issue #142.

Wally’s not the only one who’s gained new insight, however. Waid and Augustyn’s year away from the book has also renewed their focus on Wally, his supporting cast and where they want the book to head.

“While we were writing the maxi-series JLA: Year One, we came to an understanding of who Barry Allen was, and through that a new concept of who Wally West is,” says Augustyn. “In doing that, we found some interesting things about the Flash heritage that affect Wally and why Barry was so integral to his outlook. We now know better what the Flash heritage is about, and know the size and shape of the shadow that Wally’s moving out from under.” And according to Waid, that new insight is propelling them into their latest turn on the series.

“Brian and I spent five years moving Wally from where he was to where he is now, and getting him out of that shadow,” says Waid. “Now we want to say something new with the character.”

LIGHTNING STRIKES

Seeing Wally portrayed in a new light is exactly what fans will get in The Flash in coming months. As the current mystery of Cobalt Blue from issues #143-#144 deepens, the “Chain Lightning” storyline finds the enigmatic villain – who’s got a bone to pick with all the speedsters connected to the Flash legacy – traveling back in time to murder Barry before his death during “Crisis.” As a number of Speed Force wielders from different eras team to defeat him, the story will allow the writing duo to explore not only Wally further, but their new take on the Flash legacy, as well.

“Readers will see the entire Flash legacy for the next 1,000 years,” says Waid. “There’ll be a lot of Flashes you’ve never seen before, including Allen descendants, West descendants and Thawne [Prof. Zoom, the Reverse Flash] descendants.”

Regardless of whether or not Cobalt Blue succeeds, his machinations will usher in a new status quo for the series. “The storyline very definitely gives us a launching point to take the series in a different direction,” says Waid, who hints that the new direction may not include Wally, teasing, “Wally makes the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the galaxy.”

Although plans remain secretive and sketchy beyond “Chain Lightning,” which concludes in issue #150, Waid says he hopes to create new villains for the fleet-footed hero. “I want to acknowledge that, as cool as the Flash’s rogues gallery is, the Flash needs new rogues,” says Waid, who’s also considering bringing back the villainous speedster Savitar. “The trick is to find a way to create villains who’re as distinctive as the previous group, using cutting-edge science to make them work.”

Waid also wants to spend more time exploring the book’s array of other speedsters, especially Jesse Quick. “We’re going to make a point of using Jesse more often,” says Waid. “She’s become a fan-favorite, and she’ll be a major player in the coming months. We want to make her cool.”

Additionally, Impulse #46 will loosely tie into “Chain Lightning” as the young and (naturally) impulsive Impulse considers what it would’ve been like to have Barry as his mentor rather than the Zen master of speed, Max Mercury. And not to be shown up by the storyline’s time hoppin’, a new 80-Page Giant is also in the works, featuring seven stories from different eras in Wally’s life, as well as an “Elseworlds” title about a crippled Wally in the future.

THE FUTURE

Of course, whether Wally has any future at all after the upcoming arc remains to be seen. “After ‘Chain Lightning,’ the rules definitely will be different,” says Augustyn. “This sets the stage for what we have planned.” In fact, the storyline also ties into Waid’s “Kingdom” series of one-shots planned for the end of the year, which will put an entirely new spin on the DC Universe, according to Augustyn.

“These two events will definitely make it clear that the future has never been more wide open,” says Augustyn. “We’ll show a small piece of why that’s true in this story. Barry absolutely will be appearing in this story, in the time before he left to die in ‘Crisis.’ And what happens to him may change everything.”

Freelancer Craig Shutt thinks Fastback from Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew is the fastest man alive. Er, make that fastest turtle alive.


FINISH LINE: WAID ENDS ‘FLASH’ RUN

He brought “The Flash” back into the forefront of DC Comics titles and used his love of the medium to link together a whole pantheon of speedsters that have become an integral part of the modern DC universe.

And now, writer Mark Waid’s leaving “The Flash.”

“Issue #159, on sale in three weeks, will end my eight-year run on the book that has been easily the most creatively fulfilling project I’ve ever been associated with,” Waid announced Wednesday morning.

While the move had been rumored for weeks, it goes against statements Waid had made in the past. “‘But you said they’d have to pry this book out of your cold, dead fingers!’” Waid paraphrased himself.

“When I said that, I meant it with all my heart – and let me make it crystal clear that no one, NO ONE, loves Wally more and carries a greater devotion to him than do I – but I was foolish to try to predict the rest of my life when I was 29. It’s certainly not a matter of workload; unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that, and I hope those who care will understand that this was the hardest professional decision I ever had to make – actually, probably the hardest decision ever, period. I also hope that those who care will (eventually) believe me when I say that I’m leaving for Wally’s own good.

“Let me explain: at least from my perspective, the book’s always been at its best when it’s been its most personal – when I was using Wally to work out difficulties and quandaries in my own life. How to deal with impatience; how to learn to know, truly know, the one you love; how to set personal goals and how to deal with personal grief – astute readers have, over the past eight years, frequently realized that Wally’s been the lens through which I’ve examined my own past and my own future. Lately, however, I haven’t felt that same deep personal connection to Wally, and after nearly a year of reflection, I’ve finally come to the inevitable conclusion that it’s because whatever issues and challenges I’m facing today, eight years later, Wally’s not the appropriate character through which to explore them. I wish I could explain this better – frankly, I wish I could say it at all without sounding borderline delusional – but I’d be doing Wally a disservice at this point to try and force him down my own personal path rather than let him explore his own roads; he and I are no longer moving in the same direction. That said, here’s hoping (with, to be honest, some certainty) that our paths will cross again someday.

“Some readers may be disappointed, some Usenetters will no doubt be celebrating, but across the board, I hope they understand that I’m making this decision out of respect for a character who was around before I was born and who will probably outlive me. I owe him at least that much. “Over the last eight years, I’ve done some good work and some less-than-inspired work on this book, but I have always, always given it 100 percent. I’m lucky to have been joined by many folks who did the same: Greg LaRocque, Mike Wieringo, Carlos Pacheco, Oscar Jimenez, Paul Ryan, Paul Pelletier, Tom McCraw and others – and first and foremost, my editor and collaborator Brian Augustyn, who’s backed me through thick and thin. Wally and I are both grateful to them all.”

Augustyn, won’t be sticking around much longer, either. “Yes, I am leaving Flash as well,” he told the Comic Wire on Wednesday. “Issues #160 & #162 are my last – #160 is a solo, and Waid helped plot #162. I began editing Flash in 1988, with issue #27, and all these years of working on one of my all time favorite characters has been wonderful. Going freelance in 1996, I was lucky enough to join Mark Waid as co-writer (with, I think, #118).

“It should go without saying that working with Mark Waid (whose career I, of course, created :-D) has been a large part of the pleasure of working on Flash. But I express deep gratitude to all the other creators we’ve worked with on the title over the years; Bill Messner-Loebs, Greg LaRocque, Jose Marzan, Mike Weiringo, Oscar Jimenez, Carlos Pacheco. Paul Ryan, Paul Pellitier, Pop Mahn, Tom McCraw, Gaspar Saladino, and many, many other great talents. Thanks too, to Joey Cavalieri and Paul Kupperberg, the editors I worked with as a freelancer on Flash. “I’ll miss the book, of course, and may even return on a one-shot or two. “I continue to write Cliffhanger’s ‘Crimson’ every month (with creator/artist Humberto Ramos), and am in the development stages on many other projects, both inside mainstream comics and out. It’s too early to release details of these projects, though I’m sure I’ll be blabbing about them soon enough. I can say that, among others, I’m doing a lot of writing for the terrific folks at Platinum Studios, the multi-media creative producers behind the movie, ‘Men in Black,’ and a lot of other hot stuff, including comics.

“Thanks to everyone who has supported me and Flash over the years. None of what we do is possible without the fans!”

above info courtesy of www.comicbookresources.com, Comic Wire by Beau Yarbrough.

 


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author


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