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Interview: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato Talk Reverse Flash, Love Triangles, Bartending & More

Find out what you can expect in the upcoming arc that will change things for Barry Allen.

Francis Manapul has taken a couple issues off of THE FLASH and Brian Buccellato's two-issue arc with Trickster is underway. When Buccellato and Manapul reunite, the two will be diving into a new arc unleashing a brand new Reverse Flash upon Barry Allen and Central City.

With the first issue of the arc coming out in May, we talked to the two to try to find out as much as we could.


Comic Vine: Since issue 19 isn't out yet, what can you tell us about the new arc starting in 20?

Brian Buccellato: It's got Reverse Flash in it. There's going to be a new and different Reverse Flash and he's hunting residents of the Speed Force.

Francis Manapul: Basically issue #20 is a great jumping on point for new readers. We're really establishing Barry's civilian life, with him being with Patty and his job in the precinct working on the cold cases. He more or less has an ideal life until all these Speed Force murders start occurring. A lot of people that he cares about are in danger and he has to figure out who Reverse Flash is before all these people get killed.

THE FLASH #18 - Barry as
THE FLASH #18 - Barry as "Al" the Bartender

CV: So Barry's not going to be bartending anymore?

FM: No, he will not.

BB: Not for the foreseeable future. I don't think he actually quits his job but he won't be there for a while.

FM: He'll use it when he needs a little bit of extra cash. Barry's practical. I don't think he'll burn any bridges.

CV: Where did the decision to create a new Reverse Flash come from?

FM: So we could make him Wally West…no, I'm just kidding!


FM: No, the thing is a lot of the Rogues we've introduced, the upgraded versions of the previous ones, we thought this would be the perfect way to introduce a new Reverse Flash. One that's kind of born of our time, if that makes sense.

BB: Flashpoint, that was started by Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne). That was huge and because of that, we wanted to go in another direction.

FM: One of the things we wanted to do was create a new villain that would have a bigger emotional tie to Barry Allen and the people around him. We felt the previous ones, whether they were from the future or the past, it was a little bit distant. In this case, the villain is a lot closer to home than he realizes.


CV: Will there be any mention whatsoever of the previous Reverse Flash?

Both: No.

BB: He doesn't refer to himself as "Reverse Flash." He's not a guy that goes from the first moment, "I'm Reverse Flash."

FM: Yeah, at no point will he refer to himself as Reverse Flash. I think it's just going to be one of those things with a label attached to him but by no means does he call himself Reverse Flash.


CV: Will we find out Reverse Flash's motivation or connection to Barry right away?

FM: No. No. As Barry is investigating these murders, he's going to get closer and closer to identity of this Reverse Flash. Our Reverse Flash definitely has his own agenda, separate from Barry. Because Flash has to stop him, that's where the bad relationship and conflict begins.


CV: What can you tell us about Flash's upcoming confrontation with Kid Flash? Will we be getting some answers about Bart in the New 52 finally?

FM: No.

BB: [Laughs] I think the only hint we'll get is in regard to their relationship. I think it may be a launching pad for future stories with Kid Flash. We're not going to give you a huge revelation other than how Kid Flash relates to Flash.

FM: If my understanding is correct, this meeting might set off a series of events that would go deeper into where Kid Flash came from. I believe Scott [Lobdell] has plans for that. We'd love to have him more in our book but obviously he's staying in the TEEN TITANS universe at the moment. But yeah, in this interaction much like you do, Barry will raise all of these questions to Bart and whether Bart will answer them or not is going to be up to him.

CV: In the Reverse Flash arc, is time travel going to be involved?

BB: Yes.

FM: Yes.


CV: Will we ever see guest appearances by other members of the Justice League?

FM: We're working on it. We definitely want to try. It's just, sometimes these characters are used quite a lot in other books.

BB: Green Lantern is going to be in the annual so we'll have a little bit of a crossover. And a character from the Justice League is at the end of issue #19. We're trying to increase the amount of interaction between Flash and the others in the Justice League but we're not forcing it. Only if the story necessitates it.

FM: Believe me, I would love to draw the Justice League in THE FLASH. I would love to do it. Like Brian said, we're only using them as the story needs it.


CV: What can you tell us about the annual.

BB: The solicitation is out. The Francis Manapul cover is out there in the world.

FM: I'm not sure what the solicitation says but Brian is writing it solo and it is going to be awesome.

CV: We saw a flashback between Barry and Iris. Will there be any new developments in a possible love-triangle?

FM: Absolutely. It's going to get even more complicated now that Iris is back.

BB: Can we apologize to Iris for keeping her in the Speed Force for so long?

FM: Sure we can.

BB: Sorry Iris!

FM: Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?



CV: Anything you guys want to add?

FM: Brian?

BB: Nah, I talk to Tony all the time. I don't want to talk to him.


FM: I thought I'd let you close this game.

BB: Nah, you're the finisher, dude.

FM: Obviously I'm coming back with 20 and we're going all the way up to 24. Me and Brian were discussing before, I think this arc is going to be our best story yet. We've had a good year and a half to really solidify who Barry Allen is. Now we're gonna really delve into the personal life that he's created. How is he going to hang on to this good life he currently has? I think that's something a lot of us can relate to. Hopefully the readers will enjoy us messing around with his semi-almost perfect life. Well, perfect for the first three pages of issue 20 anyway.


Thanks guys. THE FLASH #19 is on sale April 24 and THE FLASH #20 is on sale May 22.

Avatar image for shajita
Posted By Shajita

I'm really excited for this. I started reading comis because of the convenience of Comixology and the DC universe reboot of the New 52, and The Flash is easily one of my high points every month. Whereever things may go, as long as DC is running (harharhar) with this creative team, I'm definitely on board.

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Posted By Shark_Repellent_Bat_Spray

Francis is such an incredible artist.

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Posted By bladewolf

Such a great series. Solid art and writing month after month. And to think I almost dropped it...

Avatar image for wimble23
Edited By wimble23

I can't get enough of Francis' art.

Avatar image for psycho_soldier
Posted By Psycho_Soldier

come on, it has to be Wally...

you don't go kidding around with that stuff

Avatar image for shadowmyst
Edited By Shadowmyst

what if the new Reverse Flash is Malcolm Thawne ( aka Cobalt Blue/ Barry's twin) ????

and what will happen to Eobard Thawne's character? will he be lost in the new 52?

Avatar image for caesarsghost
Edited By caesarsghost

I love what they are doing with the Flash, I will definitely be checking it out!

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Posted By Mucklefluga

Francis your art is the best! I actually feel like i'm about to get hit when i look at that page from issue 20 where Barry is running at us.

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Posted By Perfect 10

@psycho_soldier: why would you want wally to be a villian? i say keep reverse flash aka professor zoom and he could be the reason that wally gets his powers in some way with him messing with the time stream

Avatar image for mbecks14
Posted By Mbecks14

I really love this series. Manapul's art is always amazing. I can't get enough of it! Even the fill in artists have been great! I'm excited to meet this new Reverse Flash, and I'm excited to see the book taking a mystery approach to the story. And I love the slow burn love triangle with Patty and Iris. It's new and dynamic without being anti-Iris.

I'm glad the Reverse Flash can be a new/separate character, that way Eobard Thawne can come back later as just "Zoom" instead of Professor Zoom. I am not in love with the Kid Flash's New 52 look. His old look is just so sleek. His costume is the only one that ever rivaled his mentors in terms of cool factor IMO.

I'm also glad that the JL won't be in the title. I love the JL but I like it when books kind of stand on their own and don't get cluttered with crossovers and can establish their own universe. That being said, I am excited as hell for that Flash/GL team up Annual.

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Posted By Psycho_Soldier

@perfect_10: well, it could add some depth to the character via post redemption, and hopefully if this reverse flash still has memories of the pre flashpoint era this could lead to another soft reboot (othen than Stormwatch) or time travelling adventures like the ones Booster & Rip Hunter had

Avatar image for reignmaker
Posted By Reignmaker

@shajita said:

I'm really excited for this. I started reading comis because of the convenience of Comixology and the DC universe reboot of the New 52, and The Flash is easily one of my high points every month. Whereever things may go, as long as DC is running (harharhar) with this creative team, I'm definitely on board.

Got back into comics for pretty much the same reasons. Love The Flash. It is artistically one of the strongest books out there right now.

Avatar image for grumpybear74
Posted By GrumpyBear74

Anyone else think the last half of 17 seems to point to Dr. Elias being the new reverse flash?

Avatar image for uncle_yusuf
Posted By Uncle_Yusuf

I hope they bring in Wally West at some point.

Avatar image for juandicimo_magnifico45
Posted By Juandicimo_Magnifico45

Glad Manapul is back, been loving the both of them since issue one. SO excited for Reverse Flash!

@grumpybear74: I didn't even think about that. They sure have been including him a lot for some reason. I guess I should keep an eye on him.

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Posted By RedheadedAtrocitus

Manapul is back, awesome. And it sure did tickle me pink for a bit at Barry's foray into bartending!

Avatar image for saoakden
Edited By saoakden

I am super excited for the Reverse Flash arc. I've been wondering what they're going to do with the character since The Reverse Flash was killed in Flashpoint. I am liking the way the New Reverse Flash looks. Looks better than his previous predecessors. Also interested to see Barry and Kid Flash interact. Also looking forward to the Annual.

Avatar image for neospeedforce
Edited By NeoSpeedForce

The new Reverse Flash looks awesome. Im a little bummed that its the same jealousy story with the Reverse Flash being jealous that the Flash is the source of the Speed Force.

Avatar image for papo
Edited By papo

flash is my favorite and Manapul he is just out of this world

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Posted By LordRequiem

Manapul's artwork really suits this New 52 Flash for some reason, it's great.

Avatar image for jesusdisciple001
Posted By jesusdisciple001

SCOTT LOBDELL???????????????????? don't let him bring teen titans garbage he is writing to this beautiful comic nice book i don't know why it doesn't sell

Avatar image for kilowog52
Posted By kilowog52

Don't be ridiculous. It won't be Wally. At this point it's gotta be one of three characters. Either Iris West's ex-con brother, Dr. Elias, or that guy whose name I forget whose girlfriend just got arrested at the end of the latest issue.