While DC Comics’ teenage heroes tackle time travel and dinosaurs in the upcoming June and July issues of “Teen Titans,” written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Brett Booth, one of their teammates is going to get a little more attention come August: Kid Flash.
In “DC Universe Presents” #12, Kid Flash finds himself in the midst of his own solo adventure penned by writer Fabian Nicieza with art by Jorge Jimenez. Taking place between issues #11 and #12 of “Teen Titans,” Nicieza’s tale focuses on speedster Bart Allen, a character whose full back story and connection to the Flash is still shrouded in mystery.
Unlike the previous “DC Universe Presents” arcs, Nicieza’s Kid Flash story isn’t a pure stand-alone tale, crossing over into the ongoing “Teen Titans” series as the main story spins out of that title’s previous issues. Nicieza is also writing an epilogue to his Kid Flash “DC Universe Presents” solo as a back-up story in “Teen Titans” #12.
Nicieza spoke with CBR about the ambitious issue, getting into the genesis of the multi-book story, dishing out jokes and explaining how Bart Allen reminds Nicieza of another famous, fast-talking character from his comic book past.
CBR News: Unlike the previous characters explored in “DC Universe Presents,” Kid Flash is one of the stars of an ongoing series and is well known among fans. To your mind, how does Bart fit into the “DC Universe Presents” mold?
Fabian Nicieza: I honestly didn’t know “DC Universe Presents” had a mold. I say throw out the mold! It’s gotten moldy! I thought “DC Universe Presents” was meant to showcase characters, period. Kid Flash is a character. This issue showcases him.
Over the last few months, my old pal and apparent zombie (’cause he came back from the dead) Scott Lobdell kept asking me when I would start writing again, and, voila, there was a story worth telling that he knew he wouldn’t have room for in “Teen Titans.”
Getting down to basics, what is your “DC Universe Presents: Kid Flash” story about?
Without giving away any story details, a five-page prologue at the end of “Teen Titans” #11 picks up directly from the events of that issue and flows into Kid Flash’s adventure in “DC Universe Presents” #12. Then, there will be a five-page epilogue to the story in “Teen Titans” #12.
The Titans come back from a wild adventure and accidentally bring some trouble back to Manhattan with them. Kid Flash is the only one around when the dino-poop hits the fan, so he has to work with some new characters — based on nifty-cool Brett Booth designs — to restore order. And you know that if you need Bart to restore order, things must be in pretty crazy state!
Will it feature other characters from “Teen Titans,” or is this Bart, completely on his own?
It’s Bart on his own. The Titans are referenced, plus we’re introducing three new characters, some of whom could prove to be allies or enemies.
Is there anything you can tell us about your three new characters?
Brett Booth had designed three “humanoid dinosaurs,” or Dinosoids I think I used to call them back in my “Turok” days. They were really great designs. If there’s one thing I learned about Brett, it’s that he has some serious love for dinosaurs. So those were the characters we had to develop a story around.
How does your “DC Universe Presents” story connect to what’s happening in “Teen Titans” and “Superboy?” Do readers have to be versed in both titles in order to pick up your story?
Even though the story springboards from ongoing events in Titans, you can read the self-contained “DC Universe Presents” story and get a complete “done in one” story. The prologue and epilogue are kind of the icing on the cake and cherry on the sundae, but the “DC Universe Presents” story has an intro page reminiscent of my now-classic (at least in my mind) “Cable & Deadpool” intro pages that get everyone up to speed (no pun intended).
Now not only is Bart Allen Kid Flash in “Teen Titans” and showed up in “Superboy” and “Legion Lost” but as a Flash-related character you’ve also got Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s “The Flash” continuity to take into account. Before you sat down to write, did you have conversations with Scott Lobdell, Tom DeFalco, Manapul and Buccellato about who Bart is and where he fits into the universe?
No. The hell with them all! Let them reach out to me and ask me what I am planning to do! I have sold more comic books than all of them combined! Well, maybe not, I don’t have a calculator with me.
I will pour molasses into the Speed Force! Take that, Buccellato! I will turn Superboy into an ice cream clone! Choke on it, DeFalco! As for Lobdell — I won’t do anything to him; his life is tragic enough as it is.
On that note, is it challenging to come in and write a story for a character that has so many different people developing him and so much of his past unrevealed?
It could be, but luckily I chose the path of least resistance and simply tried to tell a fun story about a fun character doing fun things. It doesn’t need to remake the wheel, just roll real smoothly for a month!
We’ve already got hints from “Teen Titans” that Bart’s not from the 21 century — will you be exploring his origins at all? Should fans be looking to this one-shot to explain who the New 52 Bart Allen really is?
We toyed with doing a couple of things to “advance” those revelations, but decided within the context of a single issue, we were better served focusing on Bart’s core strengths: his sense of humor, his impulsiveness and keep the pace going fast, faster, fastest!
Because Bart is starring in “Teen Titans,” are you trying to match Lobdell’s tone in your story? Or are we seeing a different side of Bart?
You will see every side of Bart, from the soles of his feet to the wispy top of his bouncy hair. Since he narrates the issue as well, you’ll get a really fun look at the very fun way he thinks, too.
Then how would you as a writer sum up Kid Flash? What is it about Bart that makes him unique among the Titans?
He’s a little like Deadpool, without the psychopathic side to him (at least so far); Bart’s mind thinks faster than his mouth and his mouth talks faster than his mind! He can juggle multiple thoughts at once, but the filter isn’t always there to keep him from saying them out loud. He is a lot smarter than he lets on, I think, and his impatience tends to show through in how he interacts with people. I think the New 52 Bart is less innocent and naive than the “old” Impulse was and certainly not as measured and reserved as he became in the pre-New 52 Titans.
It’s fun, fertile ground, and after not having written comics in almost six months — the longest stretch I’ve gone since 1987! — and not having written my inner Id, Deadpool, in several years, it was really refreshing to write a character as snarky and quick-witted as Kid Flash.
On the art side, what has it been like working with Jorge Jimenez?
Jorge’s been great so far, great layouts, cool, fun art. And yes, Dinosoids abound. They look sweet. Normally, you might not notice them in the concrete jungle known as Manhattan, but they interrupt the vital cash flow of tourism in Chinatown, so that’s bound to raise some hackles!
Finally, after this story is there any chance we’ll see you back writing another title in the New 52?
If I had better blackmail material on DC’s editors, my answer would be, absolutely, yes, but unfortunately, I had a bout of morality a while ago and burned all my juiciest evidence. [Mike] Marts and [Bob] Harras breath tremendous sighs of relief.
So — it’s up to them.
I remain completely capable of typing scintillating stories of varying quality on a timely basis at professionally acceptable rates of remunerative exchange.
If that’s not a hard sell, I don’t know what is!
The prologue for Nicieza’s story begins in “Teen Titans” #11 out July 25; “DC Universe Presents: Kid Flash” hits shelves August 15; the epilogue appears in “Teen Titans” #12 out August 22.