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What Did You Think About the Flash Promo Spot?

Towards the end of Wednesday night’s fun finale of the Arrow, the CW debuted their promo for the new Flash series that is coming to the CW on Tuesday nights this Fall.

I really liked it. I love how they are making Barry Allen a joyful character. It is a smart choice and it is very impressive to see how they’re willing to avoid using the same tone for all of their series. Where Arrow can successfully pull off the darker vibe (although, as this season shows, he can also pull off the heroic vibe, as well), that’s not Barry Allen – not even with his new, darker origins courtesy of Flash Rebirth. And the producers are not going that route, which is great. Plus, isn’t it nice to see someone ENJOYING having superpowers? It really captures the unique appeal of HAVING powers like the Flash’s if the hero himself is pumped about his powers.

And the costume looks okay so far!


Watching it I thought, “Faster than a speeding arrow!” ;-)

Not a fan of the costume, but if the stories are enjoyable I can live with it.

I really, really liked it. I thought it was very well done, playing up to the strengths of both Arrow and the Flash. The effects were largely okay (if not jaw-droppingly stellar) but what sold it was the performances. Barry’s excitement at his powers and Oliver’s grumpy “showoff” line spoke of two heroes, both very capable, both very different, but both (presumably) very good friends, too. It made me excited for a superhero team-up again, even after I thought Avengers had been there and done that.

So yeah, very good indeed.

This actually looks like…fun! What a concept!

Loved it!

I’ve learned to accept the budgetary limitations of the CW, and while the costume could be a bit more sleek, I agree with David that the performances are what made it. Barry clearly having fun, and that fun being infectious enough to get Ollie to crack a smirk. Good stuff.

Very much in the spirit of the Silver Age.

I’m not going to get carried away with thinking this will be fun. This promo spot is cool and all but it’s still too early to tell. Especially given that Geoff Johns is supposed to have a big hand in the new show. Don’t get me wrong, I hope it’s fun, and it very well may be, but I’m going to prepare for the worst anyway.

Also, I didn’t like all the excess blur and lightning in the effects, and the CGI looked a little weird, but I don’t like the excessive lightning and blur in the comics either, so I’ve grown to accept it. The most underrated and revolutionary renderer of super-speed ever i think was Jackson Guice, who used minimalism to render super speed to much greater effect. The minimalist approach seems to be what Singer is doing with Quicksilver and it looks amazing so far.

Gustin is better than I expected him to be, although he honestly still doesn’t remind me of Barry Allen at all. But Arrow doesn’t remind me of the Oliver Queen from the comics either, and I enjoy that show, so I’m sure I’ll be fine with this too.

Also,do we know who actually wrote the promo spot? They may not be major writers on the show.

Flash Rebirth was an awful mini series. Exposition, retconning, forcefully pushing a lot of B.S to implement Barry. Johns had too much to do at the time.

The promo though, was pretty good. I liked it a lot and the costume looks great in action. Didn’t care for the two lines of dialogue.

T, I was going to mention that the lightning looked like a carry over from the comics, just like the previous Flash show had Infantino-style blurring (for want of a better term).
It’s only a small step, but it is an encouraging one. It makes me think of the episode of Smallville where Bart Allen debuted and he and Clark end up racing–the happy look on Clark’s face at using powers alongside another super-human was wonderful.

Meh. Seems…so-so.

This promo, particularly with the music, makes the show look like it’s about the Flash trying to heal Arrow’s inner darkness with the power of his love.

I suspect that the reason for the blurring and lightning effect has to do with the fact that just speeding the running motion up doesn’t look right. Look at people walking/running at different speeds — the faster a person runs, the farther the distance between footfalls, with a top-level Olympic sprinter having a stride of almost 8 feet. Imagine, then, what a 90 mph sprint would look like.

In order to get the right look for the “outrunning a locomotive” scene in the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movie, the producers hung the actor playing teen-aged Clark Kent (or, probably, his stunt double) from a crane off the back of a pickup truck with his toes just touching the ground and told him to just run as fast as he could while they drove at 30 miles per hour (or whatever). This gave the speed AND the believable physics that made the scene work. Obviously, they can’t do this sort of thing in every scene for the show, so the easiest solution is just to make Barry Allen a… well… a Flash of red and gold, and hide the physics as much as possible.

That said, I DID enjoy the short, particularly the pure joy that Gustin portrayed. I’m looking forward to this.

The Flash, followed by Agents of SHIELD, may turn me into a hermit on Tuesday nights.

If Geoff Johns is involved, then I’m afraid that soon we will have the episode about the serial killer that is exterminating everybody that the Flash has ever saved…

I’m almost afraid to ask, but what is the new “darker” origin of Barry Allen? The Rebirth/Year One/Origin stories by DC were some of their first comics I started avoiding, probably after reading about the tragic secret origin of Hal Jordan’s jacket. Of course now I pretty much avoid their whole line of comics, but that’s beside the point.

Geoff Johns being heavily involved is very, very worrisome. The last big DC adaptation that he had a major hand in was GREEN LANTERN, which managed to faithfully bring everything that was terrible about 21st century DC Comics to the big screen.

With that said, there is a lot to like here. They have done a really, really good job casting The Flash. He may not be the most perfect Barry Allen ever, but that is a good thing. There is some of the cocksure fun about him that endeared Wally to me.

The costume plays much better on the actor than it did in the stills. Still not great, but in the range of something I can get used to.

The effects are so-so. The lightening bolt stuff does not really convey speed very well in live action (and has been way over-done in the comics). Still, the way it was cut together worked well. TV effects are never going to be mind-blowing, so it is nice that they are thinking in story terms.

@ Jazzbo:

I’m almost afraid to ask, but what is the new “darker” origin of Barry Allen?

Apparently, Professor Zoom went back in time and killed Barry’s mother. His father was wrongly convicted of the crime. Barry became a cop to exonerate him, or something ….

It is terrible on a lot of levels. It produces another orphan in genre over-stuffed with them. Seriously, what is Mother’s Day like at The Watchtower? Do Batman, Superman, The Flash, J’onn J’onzz and Hal Jordan just stand next to each other staring out the window?

Focusing on the “police” side of the police scientist job description is not brilliant either. Barry was never a Reed Richards type, but science (or more to the point Chemistry) is kinda his thing. Police stories have been done-to-death, but science stories (as opposed to sci-fi) really haven’t.

And, of course, it makes a basically happy character miserable.

The new 5-minute trailer is out. It is SO Johnsian:


Lot of Joseph Campbell hero-as-destiny, call to adventure monomyth cliches in the dialogue. I swear some of the “I’m not a hero” dialogue is straight from the first season of Arrow. I guess the “refusal of call to adventure” must be followed when slavishly working from screenwriter hack manuals. *Sigh*

And of course the Geoff Johns Literalism Method is in full display:

Just saw the extended promo. Some thoughts:

Zoom: Barry seems to be haunted by the murder of his mother when he was a little boy by Zoom. So, standard issue dark origin stuff.

Radical: Barry’s techie friends are a bit too hipsterish for their own good.

Metahumans: All over the place. Mutants by another name. The X-Men have much to answer for.

Weather Wizard: Debut villain. Odd choice.

The actor: Seems really, really young. Maybe too young. But, then again, DC is all about everyone being young and hot these days (cf the new and “improved” Amanda Waller).

The Conundrum: This goes back to my childhood. It’s the reason why I could never take the Flash seriously. How do non-speedsters fight him? If ordinary people are moving in slow motion to his eyes, how are they a threat? Shouldn’t he only fight superfast enemies?

Why is everyone whining about Johns being involved here? Yes, bringing Barry back was his mistake, but his stint on The Flash was amazing. He showed Captain Cold as more than just a one-dimensional goon in a hooded parka, and he made Zoom a serious threat for Wally to deal with. Also, even though the character Gustin is playing is Barry Allen, based on his appearances in Arrow’s second season, he had a lot of elements of Wally’s personality. I’m not saying it’s going to be Breaking Bad quality, but it certainly looks like it will be a fun ride.

Why is everyone whining about Johns being involved here? Yes, bringing Barry back was his mistake, but his stint on The Flash was amazing.

I disagree. Bringing back Barry was one of the few good decisions Didio and Johns ever made. His stint on Flash (or on anything) wasn’t my cup of tea, but bringing back Barry was one of those ideas I thought was necessary for a long time, and that I believed was a good idea, so I was shocked they did it.

I thought Johns’s Flash run was less than amazing.

The avalanche of Batman-type villains like Murmur really didn’t seem to agree with Wally. Captain Cold as a cokehead tough anti-hero with a tragic past seemed way, way too forced. It felt like a sort of parody.

I’m not opposed to grim and gritty on principle, like some fans are. But there is gritty done right, and gritty done wrong. The more light-hearted a hero is, the easier it is for the gritty take to feel like parody. And I feel that the Flash is one of the “lightest” heroes in the DCU, just like the Fantastic Four over at Marvel.

Give me Waid or Messner-Loebs any day over Geoff Johns. Even those earlier Mike Baron stories with Wally West basically as an immature jerkass were better.

Jazzbo, Johns’ Barry is burdened by his father having supposedly murdered Mrs. Allen in childhood (which has carried over into Barry’s past on Arrow)–Barry knows it’s not so and that’s what drove him to become a police scientist. Watching Flashpoint Paradox (DVD adaptation) deal with this, it came across very Batman-angsty.
I didn’t dislike Johns’ run on Wally, but no, definitely below the level of Waid or Messner-Loebs.

The problem with Geoff Johns is that there are two versions of Johns that kind of under-cut each other.

One is the Geoff Johns that is kind of a show-runner for the DCU. That is guy is clearly loves DC Comics and is very good at distilling its characters down to their essentials. He is seems shouting “Green Lantern! Will versus Fear! Go!”

The other is the Geoff Johns who is a writer with a story that he really wants to tell. That would be one story. It is about a white guy who lost his parent(s) at a young age. As a result he followed a macho, slightly self-destructive career path as . He has a hard time establishing lasting relationships with women, but he has a deep connection with one woman in particular who is a co-woker. She once went on a single date with another co-worker that is a rival for our hero. Our hero has a social circle that includes a black best friend who is technological genius and a antiheroic frenemy with a Big Secret. That Big Secret relates to Giant Organization with a Long, Complicated History. Our hero is pulled into The Organization which seems benign at first, but then Things Get Complicated. Eventually, someone gets an arm chopped off and/or impaled in the back.

It isn’t a bad story and Johns REALLY wants to tell it. The problem is that he shoves every single DC character into that general shape. He reminds of a James Robinson that never got STARMAN, except the show-runner side keeps him employed.

I did think handling the old Rogues was one of Johns’ weakest links. Trickster working for the FBI, Captain Cold growing up with abusive parents (abuse is way too often used as backstory), or having the Rogue reforms over the years written off as Identity Crisis-related brainwashing.

The fondness for Big Organizations having Long Complicated Histories drives me nuts. Apparently it’s not possible to have a secret society that goes back less than 1,000 years any more (“What you only founded your group after World War II? Our ancient society’s going to beat you up and take your lunch money!”).

Heh, there is one reason why I really dislike Gerry Conway. At the start of his career in the very early 1970s, he wrote a long storyline spanning the Iron Man and Daredevil titles, that was sort of prescient of the way comics would turn out 20 years later.

It had a nebulous villain with nebulous powers and nebulous personality, working behind the scenes with nebulous goals, manipulating the heroes through a nebulous conspiracy, and occasionaly spouting off some cryptic dialogue. After a lot of nebulous twists and turns, the story was resolved in a confusing way, and it made no sense if you read it all in single sitting.

If you read it once a month, the story may pass for sophisticated and mysterious, at least in the first episodes. But if you take it as a whole, it doesn’t make any sense and it makes it plain that Conway was just making it up as he went along.

Conway himself says that he started getting big gigs too early. He wasn’t ready for it and he tried to fake a sophistication and maturity that he didn’t have.

Any time someone goes a “Big Organizations having Long Complicated Histories” route, I’m reminded of that story.

I hate that every superhero in the dc u needs to have dead parents these days.

Rene, are you thinking of the Black Lama and Mr. Kline storylines (Iron Man/DD respectively)?
In fairness, making it up as they go along seems the norm in comics over the years (even Lee and Kirby did their share). But yes, those were kind of meandering (even if they’re not what you’re thinking of, they were still meandering).

Yes, it’s that damned Mr. Kline story.

I don’t remember if the Black Lama was involved or if that was a separate story.

Making it up as you go along is more acceptable when you got “open” stories with lots of big action, like some of the Lee/Kirby epics. Some of them sort of ended too abruptly (I can imagine Stan and/or Jack saying: “This stuff has gone on for 4 months already? Let’s finish it THIS issue.”), but the stories still made some sense when you read them in one sitting, anti-climatic ending and all (“And then cosmically-powered Doom collided with Galactus’s barrier. He’s defeated. The End.”)

But I feel like you shouldn’t try do it when writing a mystery story.

If you liked a minute….

I’m just going to leave this right here:

The Flash – Extended Trailer


Black Lama was separate (I didn’t remember Kline crossing over to Iron Man, but I trust your judgment). He was a mysterious figure who got various super-villains fighting for some ultimate mcGuffin and turned out to be the king of an alternate Earth.
Now I’d pick that Doctor Doom plotline as one that felt like they’d figured it out along the way. But reading the debut of the Inhumans, the story initially presents them as closer to Genoshan mutant refugees than the royals they later became.
You have a point about mysteries. On the other hand, so many writers end up getting yanked from books or moving on voluntarily before wrapping a plotline up, I can’t say I blame them if they figure long-term script plans are not a good career move.

I don’t remember now if the Black Lama appeared first with Gerry Conway or later, in Mike Friedrich’s Iron Man run. By the way, I sorta liked Mike Friedrich. It was still in that weird B-movie 1970s vein that Marvel had at the time, but it was a good kind of weird, you know? Now Conway’s run, in both Iron Man and DD, was just confusing.

And it makes me smile that, at the time, Marvel had both Dracula and Fu Manchu among their big supervillains. So yeah, the Black Lama story wasn’t all that bad.

And yeah, the Inhumans had a lot of weirdness going on. There’s a big story that ends also very anti-climatically so that the Galactus’ trilogy can start. And there’s Human Torch and Crystal suffering because they’re on different sides of a force field for months, and it takes a long while for anyone to mention that the Inhumans have always travelled via teleporting dog, so is it some super special force fields that blocks teleportation or what?

(It turns out that Lockjaw can teleport through the field, but there are then some confusing explanations as to why the Inhumans didn’t take advantage of that)

Er… message locked in moderation, again.

Travis Pelkie

May 15, 2014 at 5:03 pm

“Seriously, what is Mother’s Day like at The Watchtower? Do Batman, Superman, The Flash, J’onn J’onzz and Hal Jordan just stand next to each other staring out the window?”

Oh, that is horribly hilarious, Dean. Damn!

I happened across the first few issues of Johns on the Flash (where Wally gets trapped in an alternate world and they had those beautiful Bolland covers — redundant, I know), and I thought they were pretty good, but I didn’t read much after that (a few different trades from the library after that), but from what I’ve seen of Johns’ work after, I’m not much impressed.

I caught what I think was the tail end of Johns’ initial run on Flash, pre-Identity and Infinite Crisis, and I liked it quite a bit. At the time I was just getting into DC comics after a 5 year hiatus from comics entirely and before that a childhood as a Marvel Zombie. Between Flash and Hawkman and JSA he didn’t seem like the dark and dreary guy to me. Maybe at the time he wasn’t, or maybe because I wasn’t that familiar with the characters I just didn’t see it.

That new Flash origin sounds horrible, and only partially because they went with the typical dead parents route at DC. Do they think there’s this huge market of orphans with disposable income that are only looking to spend their money on entertainment that doesn’t remind them of what they are missing by being orphans? The orphan heroes and arm-severings are almost to a fetish level at DC.

Dean – that paragraph description you wrote of the typical Johns story is fantastic. They could probably save some money by just having you plug various characters into that template and not pay Johns his superstar level payrate anymore.

I liked John’s work on the post Crisis Golden Age Hawkman too.
I didn’t like his bringing back Barry. Of all the legacy heroes, Wally had earned stepping into the “adult” role more than anyone. And he was damn good in it. Even though I live Barry, I hated his return.
I’m reading through Mike Friedrich’s JLA work the past week or two and oy, the level of pretentious caption writing is horrible–he seems to think if he throws in enough deep thoughts, it will transcend the genre. Can’t speak for his Marvel work.

Saw the extended version. I liked it. Nowhere near as bad as some of the comments made me worry.

I’m not crazy about Mike Friedrich. He was only “good” as compared to the extreme pointlessness of Gerry Conway. But I may also be confusing Friedrich with Archie Goodwin. There were some interesting things in the 1970s Iron Man – the psychic, melancholic girlfriend was interesting, because Iron Man and all his supporting characters and villains are usually materialistic go-getters, there was the Guardsman who also liked that girl and was losing his mind, there was Inferno (was that his name?) the socialist anti-villain that was a little sympathetic, the black boxer that was a sort of proto-James Rhodes. Was all that Friedrich or Goodwin?

The socialist was Firebrand and yes, he was Archie Goodwin. Beyond that, I don’t know enough Iron Man of the era to be sure.

Bernard the Poet

May 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

@Marlowe – “This goes back to my childhood. It’s the reason why I could never take the Flash seriously. How do non-speedsters fight him? If ordinary people are moving in slow motion to his eyes, how are they a threat? Shouldn’t he only fight superfast enemies?”

This is a problem with the character. There was a story written by Messner Loeb, in which, the Flash is shot in the back of the head while he is sitting in a cinema. The moment the bullet begins to penetrate his skull, his super speed kicks in and he turns around and catches it. It is a great single issue, but it does beg the question, that if you can’t kill him when you are armed with an uzi, what chance has someone with a trick boomerang or an ice gun got?

Bernard –

But that Messner-Loebs story points out that that was an unusually high burst of speed triggered by his unconscious or something. In the rest of his run, the Flash’s speed was vastly inferior to that. But yeah, I’m not sure how Flash’s post-Messner-Loebs speed compares to what he experienced in that cinema. If it’s anything close to that, then only willful suspension of disbelief can explain villains like Captain Boomerang.

Fraser wrote:
“I’m reading through Mike Friedrich’s JLA work the past week or two and oy,
the level of pretentious caption writing is horrible–he seems to think if he throws
in enough deep thoughts, it will transcend the genre.”

Good lord, yes. That memorably bad issue starring “Harlequin Ellis” (Harlan Ellison) where Friedrich appears in the story to explain he was answering the “crash-pounding of his creative soul.” A line I’ve never forgotten in its embarrassing earnestness.


Jeff Nettleton

May 16, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Looks intriguing; but, I thought the same thing about the 90s series. It was only just starting to find its footing when it got yanked around the schedule and pre-empted. Somehow, I doubt the more fun aspects of the Rogues will make it here, as Hollywood can’t seem to do “fun” with superheroes. Only in animation do you find people who understand that aspect of comics (such as the Flash-cenetered episode of Justice League Unlimited, with the Rogues).

@Dean hacker. I suspect part of why you don’t see “science” shows in Hollywood is that so very few seem to have ever sat through a science class. Lord knows they don’t seem to understand the first thing about the laws of physics.

Oh, the crash-pounding of Friedrich’s creative soul. A line that truly deserves to be mocked.

he socialist was Firebrand and yes, he was Archie Goodwin. Beyond that, I don’t know enough Iron Man of the era to be sure.

The proto-Rhodey was Goodwin as well. The Guardsman that went mad isn’t ringing bells though.

How I wish having read this there was actually a character called the Black Llama.

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