Monday, May 6, 2013



Start your engines!

The story of creating a new Flash for the Beyond Universe was all about building the team. In the future, the Justice League already had its Superman and Batman (Terry), it's "Wonder Woman" (Barda), it's Green Lantern (Kai-Ro), it's "Aquaman" (Aquagirl), and even it's Hawkman (Warhawk). In a way, Terry does provide a bit of that youthful cutting humor that is prevalent for Flash. But I knew one of the number one characters that the fans would want on the team was a future version of the Flash.
In a way, our Beyond Flash has two real life athletic inspirations. The first one was obvious probably from the outset. Back when Dustin and I were planning on continuing on Justice League Beyond after our opening "Konstriction" arc (and before Batman: Li'l Gotham got greenlit and he couldn't do both), he came up with her first name, in reference to race car driver Danica Patrick (a female name synonymous with "speed"). The other is less obvious and more personal. Back in high school, my father was close friends with and ran track with Rafer Johnson (who would go on to be a gold medal winning Olympian, carried the torch to ignite the Olympic Flame in the opening ceremonies to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and went on to act and be a spokesperson for various causes). He's one of those athletes that has gone on to do a lot of good, yet is hardly remembered or recognized by the black community. So I thought it would be interesting to have our future Flash be portrayed both as a female and as a person of color. Plus it's really nice to see a range of nationalities present in the future League. That hopefully there's someone that each of us can relate to or be inspired by.
Flash Beyond designs drawn by Jorge Corona
Designing the costume for the Flash turned into a committee decision. I know when originally thinking up the concept for her, or for any future League members in Beyond, my first thoughts were to keep things streamlined and be as bold and different as possible. This is the future. We don't need to always go by the same visual conventions that all Flash characters have been in the past.  If anything, this would be our chance to try something new, even if that meant getting away from the standard red and yellow/gold costume. We could keep the lightning bolt symbol of course, but shouldn't feel like everything needed to remain the same. Needless to say, my feelings on the matter were shot down pretty quickly (ha)!  I did think adding black to her outfit would at least keep with the black color scheme that we saw in Terry's Batman and Superman Beyond. But the rest of the outfit would be drawn up and decided upon by the artist (Jorge Corona) and the editorial staff. I got one vote in there, but the idea was to keep the red and yellow. I do admit, it does look nice after the fact, and the fans seem to have latched onto it immediately. But I know after the first color designs were coming back…I just couldn't get "The Incredibles" and "Invincible" out of my mind. It seemed too similar to both, like some all-too-recognizable blending of the two.

If there's one thing I learned in the process of writing the story, is that the fans of the Flash (in any timeline or universe) are pretty fanatical. And while I never grew up as a devoted reader to the character, I knew I wanted to be as respectful of the character and its legacy as I could. And staying with the continuity established in the animated universe, there wasn't a Barry Allen version. Wally would end up being a mixture of both himself and Barry. But I still wanted a way to feature some of the other people that carried the name (and those that would talk to Dani in her mind). Of course, ending things with a Superman vs. Flash race seemed like the traditional way to cap off the story.
The traditional fastest man (or woman) alive race!
Fans clamoring to know more about Dani will get a chance to see her back story told in an upcoming "Beyond Origin". It was a fun way to show where she grew up and traveled to around the Beyond Universe, as well as explore the legacy of the Flash and how she's able to hear all the voices of the previous Flashes. I even created some new villains in there as a possible back-door "pilot" if she got her own series or more stories to help flesh out her world. But at this stage, I'm kind of doubtful it'll ever happen.

Since the "Flashdrive" story is all about fandom (how one enemy took his fandom to the extreme while Dani was a fan that tapped into the legacy of the Flash to do good), I'd like to end things by talking about the fandom of the readers. It's been refreshing to see how a majority of people really took to the character.  Her spunky, witty attitude and brief appearance, actually lead to a lot of cool fan art. That she would be so warmly accepted by the audience to draw her, is a lot of fun for me to see and share below. I have mixed feelings as a "creative" parent to Dani; one of a few that helped breathe life into the character, but who won't get a chance to continue her story. That's up to the creative teams that will continue on the title after my exit. I hope they continue to use her on the Justice League and forge a new path for her.
Fan Art by Kalinina Valeria -
Fan Art by Mark Torres -


  1. The whole Flash concept is about fandom, too, from Barry's fascination with jay to Wally's fascination with Barry, so it's great this this was a big part of the newest Flash's story. I hope she sticks around, too.

    1. That's a great point. Plus I just like the idea of a legacy character. DC has a few, where it seems every generation there's a person that inherits or can tap into the power and continue the name and tradition of that hero or heroine.