When writer Geoff Johns took over the writing chores on DC Comics' "The Flash" a little over five years ago, he had the unenviable task of following a very well received and successful run by Mark Waid on the title. The title was at its most popular level in years and Johns had some pretty big shoes to fill.
The naysayers who thought Johns couldn't do it were quickly proved wrong. Johns maintained the popularity of the title and saw readership grow. This began a meteoric rise in the comics industry with the exclusive DC Comics creator tasked with handling a a number of major events within the DC Universe including the "resurrection" of Hawkman, guiding the direction of the "JSA," bringing Green Lantern Hal Jordan back to prominence and handling the writing chores of DC's next major event, "Infinite Crisis." But all good things must come to an end as Johns addressed rumors today that he'll be leaving the title shortly.
"My run on The Flash ends with #225," Johns told fans on his message board Sunday morning. Issue #225 concludes the 6-part "Rogue War!" storyline. He went on to say that following his exit Stuart Immonen would writer issue #226 with Darwyn Cooke writing an arc to follow.
Johns left a long thank you and explanation for his fans:
Thanks to everyone reading the book and for the support over the last five years. We watched the Flash go from a low seller to one of DC's highest books. I give most of the credit to word of mouth, so everyone who got someone else to read the book, we appreciate it more than you'll ever know.
I love the Flash. I always have. He's been my favorite character since I was eight, digging through my Uncle's old comics. When I first got offered the book in 2000 (!) I was literally writing comics for less than a year. Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. was just wrapping up (getting cancelled!) and I was working on my first few issues of JSA. Joey Cavalieri gave me a six-issue arc, but by the time I wrote the second script he asked me to stick around. Now it's five years later and with issue #225 I'll have written a total of 62 issues of The Flash.
When I started I had two goals in mind: define Keystone City to reflect Wally West (and vice versa) and to re-introduce the greatest group of villains this side of Batman and Spider-Man with a mixture of new and old Rogues. Joey was supportive of both.
In fact, I remember talking to Joey when I just started the book and saying, "I wish Reverse-Flash was around." And he replied, "Make a new one." Joey took a chance on me and I'm always indebted.
Nearly half of the run was illustrated by the underrated Scott Kolins. Scott came on and redefined Keystone City and Wally's supporting cast. We spent hours, and a weekend or two together, mapping out the city and creating a place that we thought a blue-collar hero would live in. And we got to introduce two cops I really grew to love: Chyre and Morillo.
Today, Howard Porter injects the raw power into the Flash and his Rogues that electrifies the book. No one else could pull off Rogue War. We still has four issue to go, and we're going for broke because, hey, we've got nothing to lose - you will not expect what's coming up. Howard is a constant source of mad ideas and enthusiasm that never runs dry. There couldn't be a better guy to share this experience with.
So why am I leaving?
Well, it sucks to be leaving but time flies when you're having fun. It's been incredible and I love the characters and the book. But everything must come to and end and as Rogue War was approaching, I wanted to finish on a story I really believed in. I didn't want to stay on The Flash just because I love the character more than Detroit Pistons basketball (you are all watching, right?). That wouldn't serve the book or Wally West. With the added workload of Green Lantern and Crisis, it was time to pass the baton off.
Hopefully, one day I can get back to the Flash in some form or another. A Rogues monthly book would be amazing or a Flash title or project of some kind. Who knows what the future holds?
This is comics we're talking about, and as much as I love them, it's the people I work with and the readers I talk to that make this job the greatest in the world. So thanks again to everyone for the chance to be a part of the legacy. It couldn't have been a greater experience on my end.
Long live the Flash,
P.S. I've heard Goyer's take on The Flash film and it's unbelievable. If this happens, it's going to be amazing.