SOURCE SPECIAL: GEOFF JOHNS TALKS THE FLASH, PART 2
Yesterday, we talked to THE FLASH writer Geoff Johns about Barry Allen, his Rogues and what it means to be a hero. But there’s more to cover, folks, so why stop there?
We’re happy to present the conclusion of our two-part chat with Geoff, where we talk about his amazing artistic collaborator Francis Manapul, what’s coming with the new series and the one page that’ll keep you guessing.
Alex Segura: Let's talk about Francis Manapul for a second. He brings a very neo-classical look to THE FLASH and his previous work in ADVENTURE. He's got the goods -- excellent storytelling, stunning splash pages/covers and a style that is both fresh but also rooted in the classics. What makes him the perfect guy to relaunch THE FLASH with? What's it like working with him?
Geoff Johns: Francis Manapul brings a renewed energy to the world of the Flash and in particular Barry Allen. We're really looking at this book as taking place firmly in the present (unless the cosmic treadmill is involved) and moving the Flash, his supporting cast and the Rogues into the future. Francis is key to that. His work really speaks for itself, but the energy he's given the Flash -- and you can see it in just a few of the sample pages -- is undeniable. His Barry Allen is earnest, smart, strong and methodical. His Flash never stops. I'm honored to be teamed up with such a fantastic artist on the first ever Barry Allen Flash #1 issue. Couldn't ask for more.
AS: Now, it's obvious you're no stranger to the world of The Flash, with your previous, lengthy run on the book, which dealt mainly with Wally West and his role. In many ways, you created very strong connections and parallels between Wally and Barry: the Rogues, the return of Wally's secret identity and the roots of the Flash stretching backward and forward in time. How are the other characters who've been called Flash going to fit into the new book? Are we going to see them crop up later, with the first few arcs cementing Barry in his new/old role?
GJ: You'll have to be patient to see the other heroes and villains who tap into the Speed Force show up. There's a story, a big one, but we won't get there right away. I love long term planning and this is a book I have a story to tell. More will be clear in issue #1.
AS: Going back a bit to Barry's history -- what are the stories that stand out for you as the best examples of what you're trying to do with this chapter of THE FLASH? Did any in particular provide some inspiration?
GJ: I don't want to select a single story. It's more the inception of the character and the creation of a new age of heroes. Barry Allen, for me, represents that optimism and forward thinking that reignited superheroes in the first place. Our approach to the book isn't what a lot of people will expect, especially with that story title of the first arc - CASE ONE: THE DASTARDLY DEATH OF THE ROGUES. There are a lot of mysteries here and a lot of crimes to solve and crimes to stop. There's an exploration of speed and what it does to us today, how we can succumb to it or be seduced by it. What do we have time for in our "busy" lives? Are we really too busy we have to send text messages instead of calling someone? Or is it easier to keep in touch with our loved ones that way? Do we need more hours in the day or do we need to stop overfilling up the hours we have? What is speed? What is time? What does it all mean to us in our lives day-to-day and year-to-year?
AS: In closing, I'd like to tap into your inner fan a bit. How exciting is it to be bringing back such a beloved character to the DCU? Are there any moments that you've written or seen on the finished page that have made you stop for a second and smile? What can readers expect from THE FLASH book that'll hook them?
GJ: The last page of issue #1. That oughta do it. :)