The Flash by Bannister

Character: The Flash / Bart Allen
Publisher: DC Comics
Artist: Bannister
Reviewer: Dean Trippe

We actually received this submission a while back, and I’ve held it back with conflicted feelings. Now that the mantle of the Flash has been taken over by Bart Allen, this design has suddenly clicked in my head. So I’m going to review it under that premise. Click here to check out the incredible detail Bannister put intoi this piece.

First of all, the functionality here is astounding. Bannister has managed to simplify the Scarlet Speedster’s colors and iconography from the Flashes of the past and gone in a bolder direction, though I think on the same path that Wally West established after taking over for Barry Allen. Wally retained Barry’s major elements, but his uniform’s material always looked more advanced, more aerodynamic and resistant to friction. Barry’s lightning belt design was also modified to look more dynamic. It has a futuristic feel, which works with Bart’s origin. I mean, if you were suddenly living several centuries ago, wouldn’t you try to find outfits that were more like the modern attire you were used to?

Bannister’s design moves even further in that direction, creating a Flash suit that looks more like a uniform for a bicyclist or an Olympic sprinter than a guy in tights. The visor-style eye-covering is reminiscent of the goggles Bart wore in his earlier Impulse and Kid Flash costumes, and the wrist-display just makes sense for someone who needs to stay in touch with team members, up-to-date info, or heck, what chronological era he’s currently time-traveling through. More than anything, I’d like to mention how incredibly cool the shoes are. This is the first Flash-footwear I’ve seen that really look designed to move!

Anyway, it’s pretty dang bold, but all good fashion pushes the borders of what is acceptable in a positive direction. Thanks, Bannister!
Also, we’d like to thank Ain’t It Cool News and Newsarama for their recent articles on our Fights, Flights, & Tights contest!

26 comments to “The Flash by Bannister”
  1. The Flash’s costume is one of the most perfectly designed costumes of all time, and doesn’t really need updating.
    On the other hand, if Bart suddenly started wearing something like this in the comic, I wouldn’t complain too loudly…

  2. Too overworked. He’s taken a simple costume and covered it with random pieces of plastic. I like the shoes, though. Would prefer the wings to be part of the shoe rather than a piece stuck on the top.

  3. Wow, just using this costume or something like it would have made the Flash relaunch so. Much. Cooler. And yeah, those shoes are to die for. It’s all so perfectly Bart!

  4. I think it’s a fantastic redesign, on the level of “wow.” If I had a quibble, it’s that the one thing missing is the icon part of the costume–the lightning bolt on the chest is little, and hard to see. Granted, when the Flash is moving, you’re not gonna see a chest emblem anyhow, but it’s still nice to have a prominent, obvious symbol on a big-time legacy hero like the Flash. It just feels odd to have it missing, even for function’s sake.

    That said, the shoes–hodamn, those have been a long time coming. And the functionality, and the–yeah, this is a gorgeous redesign. It’s stuff like this, I’d say, that Project Rooftop is for–and why people doing big work in the industry ought to be reading it.

  5. I like it, but I think it could use some more yellow unless the plan is that it always shines light back as yellow. It does look like you could run pretty damn fast in it.

  6. First, I have to say that for the most part, I think that the red Infantino suit is rock solid to begin with. I do like this design, tho. The shoes, and with a little transparency in the shades this would be a really nice update of that look. I think I’d try to incorporate the original circle and lightning bolt emblem, since it’s still a vital design and it somehow looks very modern in its retro sort of way. The reason for making the eyeshades transparent is so the face could act and show a little more expression. This look is a little “Robocop” for acting.

    The construction of the suit is good, and I could learn to love that more “busy” look.

  7. I like this design, and while I agree with others that it’s not something I see on Barry or Wally, it’s perfect for Bart.

    I think my favorite part–aside from the shoes, natch–is the incorporation of the lightning-bolt-in-a-circle logo not on his chest, but on his back, right above his butt, there.

    Fitting for a character who is most likely going to be ahead of you.

  8. There are some good things in the design. I like the different shades of red and the visor. I don’t think that the visor should be see through, I like the reflectiveness. It puts an odd idea in my head. If Bart is traveling near light-speed, what light relects back, is it light coming from a nearby source or far away, and what images could you see in the visor?

    The lightening bolt connecting the darker red portions on his forehead is a nice touch. As are the shoes. The design on the shoes is, I think, very straight forward. The thing I like about them is that you’re dealing with a running hero. He should’nt be wearing boots.

    I don’t like the rib protection. It draws the eye away from the head and feet. I don’t see why Bart would need to wear that kind of protection. It’s more of a close combat kind of design, something akin to Nightwing, or Robin. Bart is a hit-and-move kind of fighter, if he is ever in a situation that needs that kind of protection, he’s already in deep trouble. And any kind of restriction to his breathing would be devastating to a runner.

    One of the things I like the most about the way any artist draws the Flash is that whatever lighter color is incorporated stands out when he is running. Whether it’s Barry or Wally with the yellow, or Wallace with the silver, that contrasting element to the rest of the suit gives a sense of direction as the Flash moves. Many artists use the belt as a line that follows the Flash while he runs, and allows the reader to know as well. Without that, he wouldn’t look like the Flash at super-speed to me.

  9. The shoes are very cool – and if you head over to your nearest Foot Locker for about $120 you can pick up a pair of Nike’s that look just like them… this isn’t a costume, this is a Flash themed speed skating outfit. Watch the olympics and you’ll see a bunch of guys in this same get up, right down to the shades.

    The wristband is a nice idea though.

  10. While I agree that this kind of redesign would be much better for Bart than any of his predecessors, I too am a firm believer of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

    I’m also struck by how much it reminds me of another costume design, but I can’t think of what it is. I haven’t read JMS Squadron Supreme series–maybe the speedster in that has a similar costume.

    So, it’s fine, if needlessly complex. It’s the sort of thing I’d expect to see if The Flash was taken out of action and replaced by a darker version of the hero (except that’s already happened a couple of times in the past several years).

  11. I reallly like this redesign because it is MODERN and something similar to what a real life FLASH might were. Neat!!

  12. Modern is all well and good and while the outfit looks ok it is not befitting of an icon. Icon’s don’t wear stuff like this usually and when they do make the change to stuff like this it usually changes right back. In any case this looks like something akin to the Ultimate or Supreme Power Universe. Heck in fact it looks almost like Stanley Stewart’s(The Blur)costume in Supreme Power. Anyway Like I said before not a look that fits a DC Icon. Also this isn’t about what a “real world” Flash might wear it’s about what a comic book Flash might wear. In short I think I would love this design as maybe an All-Star Flash look but nothing else.

  13. I don’t know. I’m just not feeling it. As an artist myself (and someone who puts the Flash very near the top of “Fave Characters”), I certainly don’t want to seem like I’m bashing your efforts, Bannister. I mean, you’re obviously a very capable artist.

    That being said, I’m not a fan of this redesign. It gives me a feeling of a design aiming for the “Ultimate” look but missing the mark. Possibly, it strays too far for the iconic Flash suit we’re all used to and comes across as a generic speedster costume that has a few lighting bolts on it to tie it into the “Flash” image. Like a few people have said, its like a speed-skater just got a new pair of sneakers and happens to REALLY like red.

    Just my opinion.


  14. I don’t know…is it iconic, no. Does that really matter…not to me. I mean, while we tend to identify the Flash with the clashy yellow thunderbolt, if you approach the Flash redesign with practicality in mind, you realize most of that needs to go away.

    That seems to be the leap Bannister has made here, and I for one enjoy it. The streamlined wings, the speed skater outfit, all make practical sense. Meanwhile, stitching different colored material into the red to maintain the “feel” of Flash just doesn’t, especially for physics related reasons.

    The communicator-esque addition is purely genius and the shoes are too cool for school (even if those fly-away elements might not be the most practical thing ever) and are the one real place where Bannister chose to add Flash-esque elements.

    The only thing that I turned my nose up at first were the maroon padded areas because at first I didn’t see the point, and it seemed to take away from the streamlined design. Then it hit me, if you ran as fast as Flash and some dastardly villain were to trip you, or materialize a wall in front of you somehow, wouldn’t you wnat a little extra around your vitals?


  15. I actually like the design. Basing a costume for the Flash on speed skating uniforms strikes me as obvious, not contrived, and the wing tips on the shoes are enough throwback to satisfy me. The yellow isn’t missing from the costume design, it just isn’t literally sewn into the costume. I envision the yellow lighting shown on the right of this drawing as part of the overall design: when Flash is at speed, the trailing outline of the character is drawn in in yellow at the keyframes of the action in that movement–changes of direction, physical contact w/ objects and people, etc. It seems to me an effective way to convey Flash accelerating and decelerating quickly rather than simply moving quickly, or rather moving quickly and with precision instead of just quickly in a blur.

    The ribcage is–I don’t know. Not terribly practical, but well suited to depict the form and position of the character’s body.

    All in all, this design strikes me as what a highly athletic Flash would choose, well in line with current speed-athlete aesthetics. Might not be what a comic reader would choose, however, and so might not suit use in a comic. If this is the kind of thing Trippe has on the “back-burner” I would want to see the rest!

    (Of course, I’m obviously not as serious about the character as most here, so grain of salt.)

  16. This is an excellent illustration. The only problem I have is that the lightning bolt on his forehead looks kinda like a big letter “Z”.

  17. It’s an interesting design and awesome illustration, but it looks too much like latex fetish wear for me.

    There’s a little too much superfluous padding too. This is strictly nerd-tech, but the Flashes all have some kind of low grade forcefield that protects them from collision and such already. With that in mind, giving the flash knee pads is kind of like giving Superman a helmet (though in all honesty I don’t expect anyone to know that, like I said, strictly nerd-tech).

    The Flash is one character who gets away with a simple costume because sleekness and lack of resistance is an asset to him.

  18. Overall I think the design would fit well with Impulse or Kid Flash were he in an “Ultimate” universe. I like the real-world textures and the fact that he’s got shoes with actual soles (can you imagine having to run at incredible speeds in spandex socks?)…

    However the Flash iconography is a bit lost in this redesign; it would have been nice to see a bit more of a treatment on the classic Flash lightning bolt – the current approach seems to want to hide it more than redesign it.

  19. comment from 2/15/07 had it right on! This suit really looks more like billy numerous (teen titans cartoon villain) then flash.. its a really nice concept though, and looks very attractive, but personally, i dont like it for the Flash.

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