Monday, April 2, 2012

Manic Monday--Flash Can't Drive 55!!

You know, I've been a tiny bit too calm lately. How about a nice, blood-pressure-rising fan entitlement rant?

The following is from the DC All Access panel at ECCC this past weekend. And in fairness, let's acknowledge that the writer of the piece tells us that this is a "rough breakdown" of the Q & A session, not a verbatim transcription...and the DC person responding to the question isn't even identified. So, there's a lot of room for DC to walk this back, or say it was taken down wrong, or whatever. Still, let's look at what we have:

Q: Why are you literally making the Flash go slower?

A: We want him to have more challenges. A character that does nothing but zip around at the speed of light might get old after a while.

You see, one of the ongoing plotlines in The Flash right now has him unable to use too much superspeed, or else the Speed Force energy creates wormholes and EMPs and other bad things.

Now, I had been thinking that this was just some temporary setback, an obstacle for him to overcome, and then back to the status quo. Apparently, not so much...

Now, given that the Flash has been "zipping around at the speed of light" for 55 years or so, you'd think we were past the point of "might get old after a while."

And you think that, given DC's determination to revive Barry Allen, come hell or high water, they'd want to keep some of the things that made him Barry Allen. Nope, instead it's become, "we're bringing back Barry, but erasing his wife and most of his family, and he can't run as fast or do most of the things he used to do...but by gum, at least he's not Wally!"

I'm (sadly) reminded of the Star Trek The Next Generation episode Force Of Nature, wherein the writers sort of crazily decided to do a story which revealed that warp drive damaged the fabric of space and time, opening subspace rifts and other gobbledygook, so Star Fleet passed a rule that ships couldn't go faster than Warp 5. (Said effects and rules were quickly and conveniently excused/forgotten/never mentioned again upon fear of banishment).

It's a pretty terrible episode, and if you want to see it properly dumped upon, see my friend Siskoid's takedown. But the reason I bring it up here is...why would you want to emulate such a disaster? Just as virtually no one wanted to see the Enterprise seek out new life and new civilizations--just REALLY slowly--who out there is agitating to see The Fastest Man Alive obey some arbitrary and ridiculous plot contrivance putting a governor on his speed?

The Fastest Man Alive is boring because he's too fast? Time travel tales and jaunts to other dimensions "get old?" You give Barry back his Cosmic Treadmill, but instead of using it to do cool stuff, it's merely to burn off his excess energy? He's going to have to check his power meter several times an issue, to make sure he's not approaching his limit? That's Iron Man in the 60s and 70s, not the Flash!!

None of this should be taken as a stab at Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, who have been doing wonderful work on the title. (And it should be noted, neither was at this panel). And I'm sure that, whether this was their idea or not, they'll keep turning out great stories.

But good gravy, this is a perfect picture of what's been wrong with much of the nu52--a deliberate tamping down of imagination and fancy, exchanging the fantastical for the lead-footed and prosaic.

Guys, this is the freakin' Flash!!! If I wanted to read about someone who could just run really fast, I'd go dig some Quicksilver books out of the quarter bin...


Siskoid said...

Is it me or are the superhero universe poles shifting?

Marvel used to be more down to Earth, while DC had the cosmic-level heroes.

Depowering Flash and Superman, and setting a lot of stories in New York seems part of a Marvelization that's years our of date when you consider what's happening in the MU these days.

SallyP said...

Self entitled fan rants are the BEST rants!

But seriously, I have to agree. I like Barry, I always have...but to bring him back at the expense of Wally and his family, not to mention they've dumped Jay on Earth II...and gotten rid of all of Barry's STUFF...!

Man, I can't wait for them to finish this whole stupid new 52 and go back to the REAL universe.

Martin Gray said...

I didn't get the impression Barry was getting perma-depowered, I thought this was just a speedbump.

I wish they'd used the relaunch to simply dump the whole Speed Force business, it's beyond stoopid.

Scott said...

Yet another example of how the DC Reboot has made their universe smaller instead of more expansive...

Bill D. said...

I wish people - The Powers That Be and fans alike - would stop getting hung up on the "realism" of superheroes. The entire concept of the superhero falls apart the second you apply any logic to it, anyway, so why not throw logic completely to the wind and just have fun with it?

Notintheface said...

DC Editorial is just one giant fun-sucking black hole.