After a nearly-four month hiatus, DC's The Flash title is back - and there's a new, different, familiar face under the mask.
Thanks to the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal and the events of Infinite Frontier #0, and he's safe. For the past decade or so, fans of the Wally West/Flash have rightly been a little flinchy anytime he's brought up in storylines, as it usually ends in dark times and tragic turns for him and/or his family.
But incoming series writer Jeremy Adams wants to tell you it's going to be okay. Wally is going to be okay. After making his comics debut with stories in the recent 'Future State' event, Adams is taking over The Flash title with this week's Flash #768 - and rebuilding a safe, fun place for Wally West.
This week's debut issue features art from David Lafuente, Brandon Peterson, and Marco Santucci, and they (along with Adams) are picking up the pieces from Death Metal and Infinite Frontier and to ride the lightning as Wally once again accepts the mantle as the main Flash in the DCU.
On the eve of the beginning of his new The Flash run, Adams spoke with Newsarama about what fans can expect from the title moving forward, what new (and old) characters will also appear, and also what role Barry Allen will play in his former book.
Newsarama: Jeremy, as a prolific TV and screenwriter, what made you want to jump into the comic book medium - more specifically The Flash?
Jeremy Adams: The real backstory is that my father had drawn some DC Comics when I was born. I remember him being an artist and I remember comic books from my first memories. I grew up with that.
My parents got divorced really early, not to get too heavy on it, but obviously, I was clamoring to connect somehow with my father in a way, and I just had been obsessed with comic books from a little wee lad.
I have an older brother, actually - this is totally a side tangent, but he convinced me to trade all of our shared X-Men comics for a complete run of Spider-Ham somewhere in, like, the early '80s that I'm like 'Oh, that was a terrible, terrible move.'
So, I've always wanted to do comic books. That's always been on my bucket list of something I always wanted to write because obviously, I've been a fan.
As the path of writers can be strange sometimes, I had happened to fall into Warner Brothers Animation specifically - all the stuff I was bullied for growing up I'm now making money for. Warner Brothers Animation has a really good reputation for well-thought-out stories and hitting the characters where they should be. I have been lucky enough to write on some of those great, different iterations.
What had happened was they called in a bunch of animation writers to give them a shot. They gave me a shot, specifically Mike Cotton, who's was my editor on Future State: Black Adam. He was basically like 'Hey why don't you come and do this Black Adam 'Future State'?' And at the same time, I was doing the Black Racer 'Future State,' and I got my first little chance.
I think Mike Cotton probably, foolishly let my foot in the door and said, 'Hey, do you have any ideas for the Flash?' And the thing about me is I have ideas about everything. So, I'm like, 'Yeah, let's do this.' And he goes, 'Well, that's better than what I was thinking.' So, they put me on The Flash and I knew it was going to be the kind of Wally West taking over the mantle.
Obviously, being steeped in the animated world - Wally had always been kind of the primary Flash and focus of that, especially in Justice League Unlimited. I always felt like he was a little more fun. Almost like Peter Parker in the DC set. I love his quips and his silliness. He's a guy that's a sidekick that kind of got promoted, you know?
So anyway, I had some ideas. Part of my mission statement for me is I want to have fun. I want to have adventures. I don't want Wally to go through any more trauma.
I find myself getting increasingly more protective of this fictional character as I keep writing him. Here's hoping that everybody keeps buying it because if they don't I know the next person is going to kill him. No, I'm just kidding. [Laughs]
Nrama: The The Flash title had a pretty lengthy hiatus with 'Endless Winter' and 'Future State'; were there any threads from those stories or the previous runs that you wanted to pick up upon, or is this just a fresh brand-new start?
Adams: I'm going to dip my toe into previous runs - the Omniverse and this idea that everything has kind of happened in some way. I'm cherry-picking the things that I like and acknowledging those things, but mostly it's setting off in a new direction. At least that's what I hope to do.
I want to keep the heart of an empathetic hero that empathizes even with villains sometimes, but somebody who's actually a family man. He has kids. He has responsibilities, but he's also saving the world. I think all that provides a rich backdrop to tell these adventurous tales and hopefully, people keep buying it because my poor editor - I'm like 'Here's my three-year plan.' And he's like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa.'
I have a lot of ideas of what I'd like to do with Wally. One of the reasons I like Flash, this is back to one of your first questions, is it's just a bananas title and it always has been. I'm a big Doctor Who fan, so there's much more of that timey wimey, wiggly, wobbly, where he is going.
He has the ability to go to the past and other dimensions. There are these elements to it that can make it super outside of a rogue's gallery. He has access to different dimensions of storytelling.
And I'm hoping that I can tell some of those or at least have fun telling those, but that's my primary focus is like I want to have fun. I want to go to places that maybe Wally hasn't gone. I want to try to tell stories that maybe they haven't told with Wally. That's a hard thing to do because it's just such a long-running title and such a rich character, from Mark Waid, Joshua Williamson, and all these amazing people that have gone before. I just hope that people enjoy what I'm doing with it.
Adams: I'm curious how much I'm supposed to say. Have you ever dealt with Gary Miereanu?
Nrama: Gary is great.
Adams: Gary is one of the marketing guys on the animation side, and I always joke that he's always 30 yards away with a gun pointed toward me. I'm always terrified that he's going to go 'JEREMY.'
But when it comes to this, Barry's going to have a part to play. This is mostly going to be the focus and the story and the adventure is going to be on Wally. Then after this initial run, without spoiling anything, I think Barry has other things he has to do. This is really the start of just Flash, Wally West.
Nrama: A big part of Wally's current story has been the loss of his family. Do you deal with this side of the character in your run?
Adams: Oh yeah. So, I have two kids myself and it provides a plethora of storytelling opportunities. You're also talking about kids that maybe or maybe not - I think we all know have powers, his wife, and home life. I think it kind of sets Wally apart a little bit. He's relatively more mature in terms of his responsibilities than maybe somebody like Dick Grayson. He's got a family. He's always been kind of the blue-collar guy that's still needed to pay the bills. That's going to be something that we really dive into. It's a needle I have to thread of telling these grounded stories, and then these cosmic fun, adventurous stories.
As a parent, that is at the forefront of my life. I have some moments that I think are going to hopefully play on people's heartstrings and explain to the audience how I see Wally - that's really is his first priority as much as he is being a hero. Even at the beginning of this run, the preview pages are out now, and what people see is that's where his mind's at - that's where his responsibility lies. He takes that very seriously.
Nrama: Are there other Flash heroes that will be a big part of this book?
Adams: Yes-ish. Yes, we will.
And hopefully, I'm on long enough to do even more with that. But yes, in this run, we're going to see a lot of different Flash heroes.
Nrama: You introduced Gold Beetle in 'Future State', what made you want to include them in The Flash?
Adams: I love Gold Beetles so much. I'm a huge fan of Ted Kord, Blue Beetle. I like Dan Garrett and Jaime Reyes, but Ted Kord was especially impactful for me and then, of course, Booster Gold. The JLI, that book, by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire, probably had one of the most profound effects on me as a comic book reader. Here's an adventure-like book that's also funny. There was a flavor of the Booster Gold/Blue Beetle bromance that happened there that I was like 'Oh man, I love that.' I like that he's somebody that maybe knows more than everybody else, but is also carefree.
When I was able to put her into 'Future State,' she just resonated with me, and I think my editor and Fernando Pasarin who was drawing it. Everybody was like, 'This character is kind of cool.' And I was like, 'Yeah, she's great I would love to be able to use her again.'
So, when we started plotting out what would happen, I was like 'Can I bring her back for this?' I hope she can be a reoccurring character every once in a while.
I don't want to overuse her, but I really enjoy writing her. I just love the kind of carefree attitude that she has. I actually hint at, depending on if I can do it, there is a larger story going on with Wally and Gold Beetle that I would love to be able to explore and explain. Like, I have it all mapped out in my head now, but who knows what the future will hold.
Nrama: Gold Beetle is a new character. Williamson introduced plenty of new characters in his run. Do you have any new characters you plan to introduce to the book?
Adams: I would love to. I mean, one of my joys and one of the things I always realized when I'm playing in somebody else's sandbox, which I am with DC and Warner Brothers, is that I play with their toys respectfully, but also there's this great opportunity to maybe add toys to that toy box so that other people can play with them too.
I can't think of how many characters that other people created that I fell in love with, and I created ships for and I followed all. If I can do that once, I feel like I've done something really incredible as a writer. So, I hope that I get the opportunity to create more characters and more villains, and more toys that everybody can respond to good or bad.
Nrama: With the return of Roy Harper, do you want to at some point explore his relationship with Roy and the other Titans?
Adams: All I can say is 'stay tuned.' I definitely want to explore those things.
Nrama: What are you most excited for fans to see with your run on The Flash?
Adams: My big thing that I'm excited to see is that hopefully, they'll come to trust me not to beat up Wally West.
I always feel like everybody's flinching a little bit when it comes to that they're doing something with Wally West. I just want to assure fans that as long as I'm writing Wally West, we're going to have fun adventures.
I definitely made these so that my seven-year-old, maybe she can't understand it, but my seven-year-old could read them and not be traumatized. I want this to be something that's fun, adventurous, and there will be emotional moments for sure. That's part of the character and I think that is also just respecting what's come before, but I want to write Wally in a way that fans can have fun. They can get the book and go, 'Man, this is really fun. That was really great. I enjoyed that.' Not - 'Why do they hate Wally?' Because I don't. I love Wally. So, that's kind of where I'm coming from.
Flash fact: these are the best Flash stories of all time.