When it has to be there in a Flash!

I considered a bunch of "fastest man alive" jokes.  I took the high road with homage to the late, great Carmine Infantino instead.

I considered a bunch of “fastest man alive” jokes. I took the high road with homage to the late, great Carmine Infantino instead.

I’ve just started watching the Flash series on television, and it is pretty good. I like the fact that it is unapologetically positive, avoiding the “brooding superhero” grittiness that I find so totally boring. It also moved through an origin story episode without boring me, which was an accomplishment.

The series takes enough liberties with established Flash canon to stay interesting, yet at the same time respects the heritage of the character. The first mention of adapting The Flash to live-action led to questions centering on one issue: how to depict super-speed. The extended trailer for the series showed that Barry’s powers granted him the chance to essentially slow time, but the gimmick is used sparingly. What viewers get instead is essentially taken right from the comics: The Flash is little more than a red blur (accented by lightning), with occasional close-ups on Barry’s face. It’s a pretty serious visual homage to the distinct visual style created by Carmine Infantino that I have to give real credit to.

Since the Flash’s superpower is essentially the ability to run very fast, his depictions of speed formed an essential part of the narrative. His graphic depiction of motion blur, and his decision to make this blur a key component of many panels, was, at the time, unprecedented, and gave the stories a distinctive look. Interestingly, when Carmine Infantino returned to the Flash in the late 1980s, he changed his style dramatically. Where his faces and bodies had been rounded, they were now sharply angular, with perspectives more harshly exaggerated. That’s primarily where I began my interaction with the character, and the defining style for me.

The art without logos and text.

The art without logos and text.

The art pays homage to Infantino’s earlier style in Flash No. 123, where he introduces the idea of Earth-2…a concept that DC’s New 52 has brought back, and is heavily milking. Instead of the Earth-2 Flash, we have the protagonist running on the right hand side, griping about how heavy that girder looks. We know this is just griping…we’ve seen her pick up PT Cruisers, stop ’57 Bel Air Chevy’s with a boot, and throw things directly into the sun.

In her defense…the girder does look heavy.

I’m hoping the TV series “The Flash” stays consistently enjoyable.

Next Issue: A Union Meeting!


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