As explained Monday, in September DC’s normal slate of monthly New 52 ongoing series will be replaced by 52 titles all focusing on a villain. It won’t be a 1-to-1 swap, meaning not all existing ongoing series will get a corresponding villains title – in fact Monday DC revealed three separate Batman ‘groups’ – Batman, DC VILLAINS MONTH Solicits: BATMAN & ROBIN, DARK KNIGHT, BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS 'Groups' The Dark Knight , and Detective Comics , each comprising four titles each (plus the newly added Batman and Robin ).
And the grouping doesn’t stop there. Newsarama can reveal The Flash will get a group of three titles of its own in September (click on the link to read the full solicitation copy) mostly created by familiar names. The Flash #23.1: Grodd will be written by Brian Buccellato with art by Chris Batista. The Flash #23.2: Reverse-Flash will be written by Francis Manapul and Buccellato with art by Manapul. And The Flash #23.3: The Rogues will be written by Buccellato with art by Patrick Zircher.
All three will have ‘3-D motion covers’ by Manapul.
Newsarama recently and exclusively had a chance to pose some questions to Buccellato about Villains Month as it pertains to the Flash ‘group’…
Newsarama: Brian, let’s start with the basics. Can you explain how Villains Month affects the Flash?
Brian Buccellato: You mean besides him not having a book that month? Seriously, though... Francis and I were fortunate that Villains Month organically plays right into our plans for the current story arc with Reverse-Flash. During this event, we will focus on Reverse-Flash's origin... who he is and how he came to be. Story wise, the timing couldn't be better!
Nrama: How was high concept of Villains Month explained to you? DC is hinting all the heroes disappear. Is the high concept here what happens to the villain community when a hero vacuum is created?
Buccellato: I'm not sure what kind of SPOILER details I can go into, here. I don't want to end up on the front page of any comic gossip sites. But I was pitched the full scope of Villains Month, and was given materials that set the landscape for the event before the process of writing the books began. And was that landscape was remarkably absent of heroes? Maybe [laughs].
Nrama: So why did you choose Grodd, Reverse-Flash, and The Rogues as the characters you'd focus on?
Buccellato: Reverse-Flash was a natural fit based on the story arc that Francis and I are currently doing, so that one was a no-brainer. As far as Grodd and The Rogues... I wish I could tell you that I chose those characters, but that wasn't the case. I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to write those books, so I jumped at the chance. And considering my roots in the Flash Universe, I think they made a fine choice!
I do feel a sense of propriety with those guys (and ape), because Francis and I have had the honor of shepherding them into the New 52. Ultimately, they don't belong to us... but I am happy to chaperone them for as long as the folks upstairs will let me.
Nrama: Where do you think Grodd ranks in the hierarchy of super villains? The solicitation copy suggests Grodd will have conquest on his mind – who do you think are his chief rivals in the DCU game of King of the Hill?
Buccellato: From my (admittedly biased) perspective, I see Grodd right there near the top. He's not just and oversized gorilla with super strength and speed... he's also highly intelligent and has mental abilities. And just as importantly, Grodd is not bound by our set of moral codes, so he's willing to get really bloody to accomplish his goals. He's also a king and has a monkey messiah complex, which puts him on that fanatical level usually reserved for religious zealots. And we all know what kind of havoc those kinds of villains can cause...
Nrama: Wrapping up Brian - obviously the superheroes will return eventually. Does Villains Month have any lingering effect on The Flash title beyond the fall and if so, can you give readers a sense of the possible ramifications?
Buccellato: Villains Month has far reaching consequences for Flash and for the cities he protects. When the cat's away, the mice play (and often destroy stuff)! Central City has some pretty hungry mice in the form of The Rogues and Gorilla Grodd.