It’s probably safe to assume that The Flash is currently a higher priority for DC than he has been for some time, when you factor in he has a hit show on The CW and is (hopefully) headlining a solo film before the decade is out. As such, they made sure they had the right minds behind his latest comic book series that launched as part of the Rebirth era – and they most assuredly found the perfect writer in Joshua Williamson.
What perhaps makes Williamson’s run on The Flash remarkable is that while it’s in no way a carbon copy of the TV series, it nails much of the same criteria. In other words, it simultaneously functions well at being a superhero story, a science fiction story and a drama with rich, developed characters.
For me, the author’s greatest contribution to the ongoing mythos (at least to this point) has been that of the villain Godspeed, a cop named August Heart who worked alongside Barry Allen, became endowed with speedster abilities and used them for selfish purposes. Great storytelling aside, the Godspeed name alone is so undeniably perfect for a Flash nemesis that one has to wonder why it took three quarters of a century for someone to come up with it.
In addition to charting new territory, Williamson has since made good use of classic baddies such as the Shade and the Rogues – specifically Captain Cold. Not only that, but a crossover with Batman is set to kickoff this spring that will no doubt be one of the more significant things DC publishes in 2017, so it goes without saying that will have my undivided attention.
Having already answered some of our questions regarding his recently concluded Vertigo miniseries Frostbite (you can check out the first part of our interview here), Joshua was polite enough to chat further about the Scarlet Speedster. Check it out below, and enjoy!
WGTC: You began your run on The Flash by charting new territory with the villain Godspeed (major kudos for coming up with that name, by the way). Can you talk about the importance of utilizing classic baddies such as the Rogues so soon after and why it comes down to Barry and Captain Cold in the end?
Joshua Williamson: Thanks! I love Godspeed. I miss that dude. When I first started writing The Flash, the biggest challenge was that I like writing jerk characters, and Barry is never a jerk. So with the creation of August Heart and Godspeed, I was able to find the balance I was looking for.
And with the Rogues, I had to write them. They’re my favorite group of bad guys. So much of the Flash over the last, I’d say thirty years, has been about building a family. And the Rogues are a family. So I wanted to show that contrast here. They know the Flash just as well as he knows them. Flash is just a hopeful person who believes everyone is good on the inside and will do the right thing. The Rogues test that. After the first 13 issues I felt like it was time for Flash to be tested again. The Rogues are perfect for that. And it felt like it was the right time.
It’s said in this week’s issue, but Captain Cold has so much potential. And it annoys the Flash that he wastes it. So aside from the obvious criminal antics, there’s tension there as well. They’re such opposites. More so than any of the main rogues. And so it will always come down to the two of them. Flash can move quickly, but Captain Cold always plans a few steps ahead. It helps them be evenly matched.
And this story between Flash and the Rogues is just getting started. There are more Rogues waiting in the wings to return…
WGTC: An important element of your run has been exploring the journey of Wally West as he comes into his powers. How do you go about differentiating him from the Wally over in Titans?
JW: The original Wally at this stage of his life is a lot more confident than the new Wally, I’ll just call him Kid Flash here. Kid Flash hides his nervousness with cockiness. It’s why whenever Kid Flash is confronted with something emotional he runs away. The original Wally dealt with things that upset him differently.
There are a few things, like the search for father figures and family, that they have in common, but I just lean into it. It’s something that all of the Flash characters have in common. They lost or were rejected by a family and search for a new one.
And y’know… I just hear their voices in my head differently. To ME they are very different characters. Hopefully that comes out on the page. And hopefully we can have them around each other again soon in The Flash so we can see how different they are.
That concludes the rest of our interview with Joshua, but be sure to pick up a copy of The Flash #17, which is now available in comic shops.