Joshua Williamson is the longest-running writer on one title at DC currently with The Flash, but he's bringing it all to a close with a hyped finale that began this week with The Flash #759. In this arc, titled 'Finish Line,' Barry Allen reunites with the Flash family as they together battle Eobard Thawne.
Williamson's run on The Flash ends with September 22's #762, but the writer has revealed to us now that he's getting a victory lap of sorts with the Dark Nights: Death Metal tie-in one-shot Speed Metal, also on sale September 22.
With the beginning of the end out now, Newsarama spoke with Williamson about his finale on The Flash, why he thought it was important to include the Flash Family into the 'Finish Line,' how he says goodbye to both Wally and Barry with the end of his Flash run and Speed Metal, and why Speed Metal is much more than just another one-shot tied to an event.
Newsarama: To start off, Joshua, why did you want your final arc on The Flash to not only be about Barry but the whole Flash family?
Joshua Williamson: I feel like it has to be. It's not only about the whole Flash family but about Barry and Eobard. Now, you're making me think that Eobard is part of the Flash family.
Nrama: [Laughs] That'd be a whole different story, wouldn't it?
Williamson: Anyways, with this whole run, I definitely wanted to work more with the Flash family in places. So, I felt like when I was on my way out, I needed to finish a bunch of stuff.
There were certain promises to myself that there was no way I could go out the door without bringing Max and Jesse back. There was no way I can go out the door without having Bart being reunited with Iris and suddenly other members of the family and getting a chance for him to meet Kid Flash, Avery, and stuff like that.
When I first got the job - the very first meeting I had I asked about Bart. It was always in my head about wanting to get the Flash family back together.
One of the challenges is that the Flash family stuff was more of a Wally thing than a Barry thing. He was always this unseen patriarch because we didn't see a lot of him, right? He was always this legend when the Flash family was really forming.
When people talk about the Flash family, they're talking about Wally, Jay, and that part of it. For me, as somebody who has been a Flash fan my whole life, it was important to me to do one last story that was really a Flash family story. Like I needed to do that before I could go.
Nrama: Are there any moments with the Flash family in your final arc you can tease about?
Williamson: A lot of reunions.
There's a lot of moments where you get to see some characters meet each other for the first time. There are different scenes, here and there, not getting too deep because of spoilers, but for example, you can see from the first issue a lot too, Bart is clearly in the story and he plays a really big part and the Tornado Twins are in the story too. And that's his dad and aunt - we get to see them see each other really for the first time.
Issue 100 – it will always be issue 100 in my head, but it's The Flash #761. The second-to-last issue. There's some really big, crazy stuff that goes on in that issue. We have a lot of like - I want to say Easter eggs.
We posted a teaser back when we first announced the arc and one of the things I told people was - on one side of the Flash family was like Bart, Max, Jessie, Avery, Kid Flash, and the other side was the Legion of Zoom. I was saying to people, there are a lot more people in this story. There are a lot more characters in this story that you get to see on this teaser.
So, I think when you get into this you're going to start seeing more and more of that, especially when you get to #761. I mean #761 is crazy.
Howard Porter told me that he has never drawn that many characters in an issue before, which was crazy because he did JLA.
So, there's a lot of stuff that happens throughout this arc, and I think people will be really surprised.
Nrama: Wally West has a heavy involvement in Death Metal - why should fans following the main title pick up your Speed Metal One-shot?
Williamson: I got lucky with this because the way the schedule was working out, I wasn't going to be able to have certain pieces that I wanted in 'Finish Line.'
Originally, I wasn't going to write Speed Metal; at first, James Tynion was going to write Speed Metal, and I was going to write another special. Then once we started getting closer to knowing what these scenes were going to be - I started looking at Wally, making sure that I wrapped up certain things with him.
'Finish Line' wraps up, to me, what I have to say about Barry and the Barry Allen story that I've been building since 'Rebirth.' Speed Metal wraps up a lot of the stuff with Wally and really ties things up on an emotional level between Wally and Barry, things from 'Rebirth.'
When you read it, you'll see we're connecting all these things going back as far as 'Rebirth' then resolving things from Flash Forward. It was important to me that I put certain things into motion starting with my issues of 'Rebirth' and 'The Flash War.' It was really important to me that I also tied those things up and finished some of those stories, and that's what Speed Metal does.
It definitely pushes Wally further along in his story, while wrapping up a lot of these things before. And if you're reading the main book and if you want the end of all these things we've been building you have to read Speed Metal. They're very connected. There are parts of 'Finish Line' that connects into Speed Metal.
The last issue of my Flash run - they both come out the same day, and they connect. There's a scene that's literally very connected - I don't want to get into spoilers. I feel like I'll accidentally give a bunch of stuff away, but they connect.
If you've been reading Death Metal – you'll have to read Death Metal #3 that comes out this week. You're going to want to read Speed Metal because it goes right into it. I really think that if you're reading The Flash since the beginning, and particularly if you had read 'Flash War,' you're going to want to read Speed Metal.
It's an important piece of the story we're telling. In a lot of ways, it's the real last issue because you have to read 'Finish Line' then you can read Speed Metal. You have to read it in that order. Then once you do - it ties all of this stuff.
Again, I don't want to get too deep into spoilers, but it definitely wraps up a lot of things. It definitely ties together some really big moments for Wally, Barry, and the Flash Family.
There's huge stuff that happens in that issue. It's bonkers. We're not really showing a lot of art in it so far. We're gradually putting out little teasers here and there. I think eventually we will start showing more and more art, but I think once people see the opening of Speed Metal and you start seeing more of the art, you're going to be like, 'Oh, this is a really big deal. This is not just another special. This is actually something really big within the DC mythology that I've been doing for the last four years.'