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  1. #1
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    Default How would you approach & write "All-Star Flash"?

    So, I've been thinking a lot about how, unlike Superman and Batman, the Flash doesn't have a lot of stand-alone stories in which the Flash's mythology is explored and experimented with. There are some great "runs", arcs, and graphic novels with distinct flavors to them, but there aren't many seminal works one can easily point to and say, "this captures the essence of the Flash". Part of this has to do with the fact that the Flash is a legacy character. But even so, I'm surprised more writers haven't given it a crack. Born to Run is the closest thing I can think of.

    I mentioned All-Star Superman for a reason. I could also point to landmark equivalents for Batman (TDKR, The Long Halloween, Year One), but Morrison's approach suited Superman in a way I think it would also suit the Flash. Aside from the fact that both are more hopeful, idealistic characters with bright colors and incredible abilities, I would love to see the Flash fleshed out in that same combination of old and new. In All-Star Superman, Morrison said he was trying to create a synthesis of everything Superman, formulate his core essence and distill it. At the same time, he was showing different sides of Superman and even pushing the boundaries of sides not always explored, such as those of his intelligence and scientific prowess. He was still farmboy Kent, and at the same time totally embraced his Kryptonian heritage, while performing amazing feats and battling larger than life threats.

    So, how would you write a similar story for the Flash, be it Barry Allen or Wally West (or both)? What would the overall story be? What mini-stories would you add? What sides of the Flash do you think are under-explored?

    I'd like to see the Flash interact more with the speed force and show what it's like to have your perception tied to super speed. I always felt that was an interesting part of the character that isn't explored enough. Although an interesting feature of All-Star is that there isn't much internal monologue at all (from what I remember). The story tells itself, and I'd like that kind of storytelling for a definitive Flash work, as much as I love internal narration.

    There are many ways to approach this, but I think it might be cool to have the comic book start out with Barry dying as he did in COIE, but travelling back in time as a lightning bolt. As he does, he relives different moments of his life, and never before told adventures unfold, but from the perspective of a Barry gaining a new understanding of life and the universe within the speed force. One mini story might be Barry temporarily granting super speed to those with similar personalities (aloof, methodical, scientific, morally rigid) around the whole world; Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe. That small but precious gift allows them to embody his spirit and save the day, while looking towards becoming a better person and an everyday hero.

    Another more straightforward version could simply be Wally West trying to right wrongs as best as he can in the world, with an emphasis on just how down to Earth the Flash is. He's more friendly and accessible than other DC heroes, and I'd love to see that fleshed out within the Keystone environment. Not to mention flashbacks of his childhood. That's a must. A classic adventure with the Titans (teen or grown) would also be a worthy chapter.

    Hell, why not a graphic novel divided into 3 parts-Jay, Barry, Wally-with a consistent theme or story thread running through them? That would emphasize each character as a distinct person, while reemphasizing a solid and consistent symbolism behind the Flash. Not sure what kind of plots would lend themselves to that format though.

    So what do you guys think? Is it possible, or even desirable? How would you approach it?

  2. #2
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    Barry has never been given the 'Year One' treatment the way Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and a lot of his other contemporaries have.

    I'd have the series immediately after Barry becomes the Flash. Maybe the opening moments would be the end of Showcase # 4, with Barry naming himself the Flash after apprehending the Turtle. The series would then be about Barry adjusting to his new life as a hero and the reaction of Central City to having the Scarlet Speedster in their midst. One aspect I'm particularly interested in them exploring is the idea of Flash, by virtue of his powers and MO, literally being a street-level hero and man of the people. So it would be interesting to see how people react to having a hero who literally walks (or rather runs) among them in the streets as opposed to lurking in the shadows like Batman or flying high above them like Superman or Wonder Woman. And of course, without retreading old material, the story can feature references, nods and winks to other classic early Flash stories.

  3. #3
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    I think if there's a second Flash title, it should be like this.

    http://community.comicbookresources....ed-Speed-Force

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    There won't be one at all, but there's a Earth one Barry by Jms soon, but it's going to be radically different.

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    Barry has never been given the 'Year One' treatment the way Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and a lot of his other contemporaries have.

    I'd have the series immediately after Barry becomes the Flash. Maybe the opening moments would be the end of Showcase # 4, with Barry naming himself the Flash after apprehending the Turtle. The series would then be about Barry adjusting to his new life as a hero and the reaction of Central City to having the Scarlet Speedster in their midst. One aspect I'm particularly interested in them exploring is the idea of Flash, by virtue of his powers and MO, literally being a street-level hero and man of the people. So it would be interesting to see how people react to having a hero who literally walks (or rather runs) among them in the streets as opposed to lurking in the shadows like Batman or flying high above them like Superman or Wonder Woman. And of course, without retreading old material, the story can feature references, nods and winks to other classic early Flash stories.
    Interesting idea, I also always found it curious that Barry never got the Year One treatment. I guess it's because he was dead. I have "Chronicles" and read the first stories of Barry becoming the Flash, and there's definitely potential for a juicy beginnings story. I like how you emphasize the walking among them theme. I'd love to see more conversations between the Flash and ordinary people. We've seen that here and there of course. And yes, nods to older material would be nice. As it currently stands, you could make a sort of patchwork Year One story for Barry out of Chronicles, Brave and the Bold, JLA: Year One, and Rebirth (the scenes with Iris, etc.). But as was mentioned, there's no single definitive story.

    I'm glad you brought up the Year One format. It's not exactly what I had in mind when formulating an All-Star Flash story, but maybe that would be the best way to do it, at least the first parts. Now that I remember, actually, Flash is supposed to get an Earth One coming out this year, no? By J. Michael Straczynski. I can only find announcement news about it, but he said this:

    “It’s a very different take on the character,” he promised. To convince the audience of his enthusiasm for the character, he described how when he was a kid he repeatedly used to practice catching a falling glass of water because he saw the Flash do it in a comic.

  6. #6
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    Morrison's doing this as part of Multiversity Too
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Strain View Post
    I think if there's a second Flash title, it should be like this.

    http://community.comicbookresources....ed-Speed-Force
    I think bogo and others are thinking more along the lines of a self-contained, limited short series such as ALL-STAR SUPERMAN or the never-completed ALL-STAR BATMAN rather than an ongoing series.

    The three-chapter idea is a natural one...perhaps a continuing arc that begins in Jay's time, continues through Barry's, and is resolved in Wally's.

    And yeah, a FLASH: YEAR ONE book that also focuses on Barry Allen's life in Central City, balancing his work as the Flash with his forensic scientist work, would be cool. The story could end with his first meeting with Wally, which would likely be the end of his first year in action (I think that during the Silver Age, though, Barry was two years into his Flash career by the time he first met Wally).

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    I've always wanted to know more about Barry as comic book collector and science nerd.

    Assuming an All-Star doesn't have to fit in a larger DC universe, I can see young Barry collecting comics and reading about his hero--The Flash--Jay Garrick. Barry's not really respected by other people. He's too much of a jock for the nerds and he's too much of a nerd for the jocks. So he finds escape in comic books--where everything seems to work out how he wishes it would in real life.

    He lives in a world that doesn't have super-heroes--they're just fantasy in comic books. But then when he gets his powers, it's the most amazing thing. He can be just like his hero--The Flash--and that's the name he chooses for himself when he tries to be a hero.

    He follows the text book for being a super-hero--the comics in his collection. But it doesn't quite work out. It's not so easy to run with a helmet on your head--and it's not practical to vibrate your facial muscles to disguise your identity. So using his science knowledge he designs a suit that will work with a mask and large eye-holes so he can see properly.

    I think that would be the hook: showing the contrast between how super-heroes work in the classic comics vs. Barry's experience at trying to do the same thing and then working out new solutions to these problems using science as his guide.

    And when it comes to romance--of course--it's nothing like what the funny books tell you. Barry would really be out of his depth applying comic book advice to his real life situation with Iris West.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buried Alien View Post
    I think bogo and others are thinking more along the lines of a self-contained, limited short series such as ALL-STAR SUPERMAN or the never-completed ALL-STAR BATMAN rather than an ongoing series.

    The three-chapter idea is a natural one...perhaps a continuing arc that begins in Jay's time, continues through Barry's, and is resolved in Wally's.

    And yeah, a FLASH: YEAR ONE book that also focuses on Barry Allen's life in Central City, balancing his work as the Flash with his forensic scientist work, would be cool. The story could end with his first meeting with Wally, which would likely be the end of his first year in action (I think that during the Silver Age, though, Barry was two years into his Flash career by the time he first met Wally).

    Buried Alien (The Fastest Post Alive!)
    Yep, that's what I'm after. Glad you like the 3-chapter idea. What kind of story do you think lends itself to that kind of format?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I've always wanted to know more about Barry as comic book collector and science nerd.

    Assuming an All-Star doesn't have to fit in a larger DC universe, I can see young Barry collecting comics and reading about his hero--The Flash--Jay Garrick. Barry's not really respected by other people. He's too much of a jock for the nerds and he's too much of a nerd for the jocks. So he finds escape in comic books--where everything seems to work out how he wishes it would in real life.

    He lives in a world that doesn't have super-heroes--they're just fantasy in comic books. But then when he gets his powers, it's the most amazing thing. He can be just like his hero--The Flash--and that's the name he chooses for himself when he tries to be a hero.

    He follows the text book for being a super-hero--the comics in his collection. But it doesn't quite work out. It's not so easy to run with a helmet on your head--and it's not practical to vibrate your facial muscles to disguise your identity. So using his science knowledge he designs a suit that will work with a mask and large eye-holes so he can see properly.

    I think that would be the hook: showing the contrast between how super-heroes work in the classic comics vs. Barry's experience at trying to do the same thing and then working out new solutions to these problems using science as his guide.

    And when it comes to romance--of course--it's nothing like what the funny books tell you. Barry would really be out of his depth applying comic book advice to his real life situation with Iris West.
    This sounds really cool. Sounds very Earth One, since it delves into realism a bit more and ignores other superheroes. I was thinking something more "the ideal Flash adventure" that draws from many already established corners of his world like All-Star Superman was, but I'd be just as excited to read something like this. I especially like the way you characterize Barry, as that's how I see him. Too nerdy for the jocks, too jocky for the nerds. You do get that sense, and that he'd find escapism and company in comic books, especially since he's an only child.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogotazo View Post
    Yep, that's what I'm after. Glad you like the 3-chapter idea. What kind of story do you think lends itself to that kind of format?
    In the 1990s, when Kyle Rayner was the only Green Lantern, Ron Marz did this story called FEAR ITSELF. A menace (perhaps an early forerunner to the Parallax fear creature) - a being that fed off of fear - attacked Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, and Kyle Rayner during each hero's tenure as Green Lantern. I'm thinking about something similar for a FLASH book.

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  11. #11
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    My hypothetical FLASH run (see what I did there?) has always skewed more towards the harder science fiction, almost just over the horizon; Fraction's Iron Man, or Ellis'...well, almost everything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogotazo View Post
    This sounds really cool. Sounds very Earth One, since it delves into realism a bit more and ignores other superheroes. I was thinking something more "the ideal Flash adventure" that draws from many already established corners of his world like All-Star Superman was, but I'd be just as excited to read something like this. I especially like the way you characterize Barry, as that's how I see him. Too nerdy for the jocks, too jocky for the nerds. You do get that sense, and that he'd find escapism and company in comic books, especially since he's an only child.
    Ignoring ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN (which I really don't like), the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN seemed to be in his own world. Or at least, a Superman-centric world--which is pretty much what the Wesiinger era Superman was, but for the World's Finest team-ups (and many of those were edited by Jack Schiff), and with the occasional guest appearance of some costumed hero.

    With the early Flash (before Green Lantern, before the Justice League), he likewise existed in his own world. Having him read a comic book, also underlined that idea that he wasn't in the comic book world of the old Flash.

    So that's what makes me think my idea is in the spirit of All-Star and getting Barry back to his earlier roots. Just where I'd go form there, I dunno. I'd want to bring in the Rogues' Gallery and the science fiction concepts. But I think the Flash would be key to all the developments in his world, which up to that point wasn't a super-hero world. Just like how Flash got the "Silver Age" started--in his All-Star world he'd be the starting point not Superman (who would just be another fictional comic book super-hero in Barry's comic boxes).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buried Alien View Post
    In the 1990s, when Kyle Rayner was the only Green Lantern, Ron Marz did this story called FEAR ITSELF. A menace (perhaps an early forerunner to the Parallax fear creature) - a being that fed off of fear - attacked Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, and Kyle Rayner during each hero's tenure as Green Lantern. I'm thinking about something similar for a FLASH book.

    Buried Alien (The Fastest Post Alive!)
    That was already done in the Flash 50th Anniversary Special.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deniz Camp View Post
    My hypothetical FLASH run (see what I did there?) has always skewed more towards the harder science fiction, almost just over the horizon; Fraction's Iron Man, or Ellis'...well, almost everything.
    Go on. Love the sci-fi elements myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Ignoring ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN (which I really don't like), the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN seemed to be in his own world. Or at least, a Superman-centric world--which is pretty much what the Wesiinger era Superman was, but for the World's Finest team-ups (and many of those were edited by Jack Schiff), and with the occasional guest appearance of some costumed hero.

    With the early Flash (before Green Lantern, before the Justice League), he likewise existed in his own world. Having him read a comic book, also underlined that idea that he wasn't in the comic book world of the old Flash.

    So that's what makes me think my idea is in the spirit of All-Star and getting Barry back to his earlier roots. Just where I'd go form there, I dunno. I'd want to bring in the Rogues' Gallery and the science fiction concepts. But I think the Flash would be key to all the developments in his world, which up to that point wasn't a super-hero world. Just like how Flash got the "Silver Age" started--in his All-Star world he'd be the starting point not Superman (who would just be another fictional comic book super-hero in Barry's comic boxes).
    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It would be Barry in his own world. I wonder what kind of story could be told. The Rogues have individual origin stories, but not necessarily one that groups them and ties them to the Flash (to my knowledge). I think they'd have to somehow reflect, in an opposite way, what the Flash stands for. I wouldn't necessarily want a story in which he creates or provokes his villains like Batman in Gotham is often written as having done, but he's a symbol of hope, and the Rogues are a group trying to make a quick buck and keep their head down, both operating in a scientifically minded city. I'll brainstorm...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    That was already done in the Flash 50th Anniversary Special.
    Remind us please?

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    Since Wally West has missed out on 5 years of development, I wouldn't mind a miniseries with him just teaming up with his old allies (Max Mercury, Dick Grayson, Barry Allen) fighting classic Flash villains, while the series reflects on what made the character appealing in the past, and also setting up his future development. Wouldn't be exactly like All Star Superman since it would be in continuity, but since Wally is only in a supporting role and a team book at the moment, it would be a good way to focus on developing him without giving him a solo series right away.

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