by Vaneta Rogers
They kept telling us the summer storm was coming, and as we get closer to next Wednesday, it looks like we can finally see a few flashes of lightning on the horizon.
As announced by Dan Didio and Bob Wayne in Philly and Heroes Con, respectively, next week's Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 will be the last issue of the young series, which was just launched last year. Although DC is keeping mum about what happens in that pivotal issue, its story will act as a precursor to the announced return of Mark Waid to The Flash beginning in the fall with penciler Daniel Acuna (Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters).
And before the Waid-penned series officially starts with new (or, technically, old) numbering -- picking up at #231 where it left off when The Flash series ended with #230 in January 2006 -- DC will release a special issue called All Flash #1 in September. Written by Waid, the issue will feature work by a slew of DC artists, including Acuna, Karl Kershl, Shane Davis and Joe Bennett.
If all this sounds like a huge surprise, you're not the only one whose head is spinning. In the age of Internet rumors and spoilers, somehow DC kept a lid on this one until today's announcement. And although Newsarama caught up with Waid to talk about his work on the series, he isn't saying much about the story, won't tell us anything about what is going to happen between now and the beginning of his run, and can't even confirm which Flash he's writing about.
But he is issuing a warning: That storm is going to be a big one.
Newsarama: So you're returning to The Flash after a few years!
Mark Waid: After a few years, yeah! And it's a very comfortable place to be, although the effort is being made, both by me and by editorial, to make sure that it feels new and it's not just a return to stuff I've done before. A lot off that is because, you know, the characters I'm returning to are different.
NRAMA: "Different." OK. You know that's going to drive people bonkers.
MW: I know!
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NRAMA: Well, are you brushing off all your old research materials for this? Like, you know, older Flash stuff?
MW: [laughs] Actually, no! I'm actually more looking at it and trying to figure out places where, both plot-wise and thematically, just looking at places where Flash hasn't gone yet, and trying to stretch forward.
NRAMA: OK, so you're starting with an issue called All Flash #1 in September. Why is it called All Flash? Can you tell us anything about it?
MW: Yeah! In a way, it's sort of a retrospective of the Flash legacy over the years and how it's extended all the way back from Jay and all the way to Bart. And maybe beyond. So, that's the comic book reason why we're doing All Flash. And another reason is that, by the time we locked down the artist for the new series, we needed an issue in between in a hurry. So All Flash was born that day when we realized we didn't want to rush the guy who was doing the ongoing series, but he can't finish by the date we need. So what can we do that helps bridge the link between the Mark Guggenheim series and what I'm doing?
NRAMA: From you talking about the artist starting on it, does that mean you've already started writing your first few issues?
MW: Yeah, I'm already about three in. So I'm staggered by the fact that it's one of the very few well- kept secrets I've ever seen in comics!
NRAMA: Nobody knew!
MW: Nobody knows that I was back on Flash. We kept it a very, very closely guarded secret.
NRAMA: And yet it's been in the works for awhile?
MW: It has. It's been in the works for nearly a year, actually.
NRAMA: Is this part of why you came back to DC, or was it something that was offered later?
MW: Oh, it was offered later. But it made sense. It just made sense.
NRAMA: And it sounds like you've already seen some of the pages of art come back from Daniel for your start of the new series?
MW: Oh, they look phenomenal. I've never worked with Daniel, and his style is very airbrush, very painter-ly. I wasn't sure we were going to be the best fit, but I was wrong. He's great at not only capturing the expressions and the emotions, which is always a huge part of my writing, but The Flash looks amazing. Finally, 30 years worth of printing technology and coloring technology advancements have caught up to the Flash. It looks sleeker and more special-effect-laden in terms of what he can do with the art than we've ever done with The Flash before.
NRAMA: You know, it's sooo hard not to beg you to tell us what is going to be happening next Wednesday, and who is The Flash in your series, and what the hell is going on. It's like internet torture. All this hush hush makes is seem like it's something big.
MW: It's huge.
NRAMA: And your first storyline is going to continue that?
MW: Yeah. Those who pick up the last issue of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive next week will get a big part of it there, and those who pick up the end of the Justice League/Justice Society team-up the same day, when it ships, will get another gigantic part of the puzzle right there too. And then we just continue the momentum from there. We talked about a million ways to go with it, but this is going to be huge. It's really, truly huge.