Note: In a flash, DC remade its superhero universe from the ground up last fall. Kid Flash aka Bart Allen has been a part of the Teen Titans series with a redesign by Brett Booth, but the advance solicits for DC Universe Presents #12 show a tweaked take on Booth’s design that really fixes many of the problems we discussed when the New 52 design was revealed. P:R asked who was the artist responsible for this redesigned Kid Flash, but have yet to hear back with a name. While we wait, we convened a P:R Roundtable panel with some of our writers discussing this new take. The illustration below is by Ryan Sook. – Chris A.
Vito Delsante: Without knowing who to credit with this design (I think Brett Booth did a design earlier in the year that was pretty sweet), and without seeing the design as a whole, I guess the best thing that can be said for this design is…at least the colors are right. In fact, there are a lot of things right with this (the traditional yellow mask/cowl, the way the pants start with a lightning design). I don’t really have an issue with this costume at all. But, as far as costume designs go, the original Wally West Kid Flash costume is, in my eyes, one of the greatest costume designs in comics history.
Oh, and I’ll never knock Ryan Sook art. That’s another thing this one has going for it.
Jessica Plummer: This design looks like an attempt to marry Bart’s Impulse costume to Wally’s classic Kid Flash one, modernizing it along the way, and for the most part I think it’s successful (though it does make me want to shake my fists at the heavens at Bart’s being shoehorned into Wally’s old role in the DCnU, which is a disservice to both of them). I like the contrast palms and the integration of the Titans logo on the shoulders, though I’m uncertain about what’s happening in the elbow area. My biggest pause comes from the eyes – the red lenses are off-putting and alienating, which seems wrong for any Kid Flash. Where is my sweet Bart of yesteryear?
Glen Weldon: I’m a big fan of the old original Kid Flash costume. (Well not the OLD OLD original – when he was just wearing a Muppet-Baby version of Wally’s costume, but the two-tone job he sported for 20-odd years.) I like the evocation of that look (though the teensy lightning bolts at the beltline don’t do much more than underscore the “look at m’junk” element of the costume; the lightning at the elbows just seems fussy). But the cowl is great.
The T-patches are okay, and deliberately recall the X-Men, but I worry where the “team designation design element” will lead — will Justice League Dark get little Hershey’s Miniatures epaulets?
Mostly, though, I’m puzzled by the twinned lightning bolts down the torso. When he’s running, they’re okay, but when he’s standing, they’ll just look like overalls designed by Bob Mackie, or, worse, a bolero jacket. I also question the depiction of the lightning iconography: Historically, the lightning bolts on the Flashes have been rendered horizontally (belt, gloves) or at a stark diagonal (insignia), which connotes speed. I’d argue when you render a lightning bolt vertically (Captain Marvel) you’re expressing POWER, not speed. Just me?
Jon Morris: Those are the same elements which are sticking out to me the most as well – the opera gloves are extra-fussy and they’re going to look a mess in the hands of half the artists who draw the character, and the vertical lightning bolts make him look more like a lightning-based character rather than a speedster (he looks like a flier, not a runner). Also – and this is something we see all the time with submissions to Project:Rooftop contests – all of the design attention has been paid to the upper half of the body, while from the waist-down it’s pretty perfunctory.
Outside of that, I always like to see short sleeves – or the intimation of short sleeves – and loose hair on the teen characters, they express “youth” very well. I like the palette overall – you run a risk with a ketchup-and-mustard color scheme, but these are good choices, the aged yellow and the somewhat sanguine, muddled red. I do think the cowl could use some breaking up, some more interesting shapes along the verticals of the face (are you guys seeing the lightning-bolt “headband” at his hairline? That’s got to go). I’m not really a fan of the yellow palms – or the gloves at all, really. Those could use a general re-think, they need to be less complicated and more fluid. I almost like the tunic, but the belt and the “vest” need to get along with one another better. I think I’d move the lightning bolts on his chest over to the sides of his torso, let their edges define a belt in negative space, move some yellow into his legs….