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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.