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DC Comics news: "The Flash" pilot casting, "New 52" in animation and "DC Nation"

Are some new villains coming for Flash's pilot?
Composite from Villains.Wikia and Rapsheet.com

The latest in DC Comics related news items from January 26th - 28th, 2014!

Casting new for The CW's "The Flash" pilot!

It has previously been established that The CW network is working on a spin off pilot for "Arrow", which is "The Flash" starring Grant Gustin as the Barry Allen incarnation of the scarlet speedster. The pilot will also star Jesse L. Martin as Detective West, a mentor to Barry in the police force (where Barry works as a CSI) and the father of his eventual wife in the comics, Iris West. Deadline has further revealed that two "Vampire Diaries" actors, Rick Cosnett and Danielle Panabaker will also play roles in the pilot. This wouldn't be Panabaker's first gig with superheroes involved; she co-starred in the 2005 Disney film "Sky High".

Cosnett has been cast as detective Eddie Thawne, who is a new addition to the Central City police force, "whose past is a mystery and who harbors a dark secret". Panabaker will play Caitlin Snow, "a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who lost her fiancé during an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs". Naturally, DC Comics fans will know who these roles will develop to be instantly. Eddie Thawne is close to "Eobard Thawne", who was best known as "Professor Zoom" or the "Reverse-Flash" from "The Flash #139" from 1963. DC Entertainment's chief creative officer Geoff Johns was very fond of the villain, having utilized various versions of him during his long run on "The Flash", which included "The Flash: Rebirth" and "Flashpoint". As for Caitlin Snow, she is straight from "Forever Evil" from last year which introduced her as the "New 52" version of "Killer Frost". There were two versions of the ice villain in the comics, and both debuted as part of the "Firestorm" series (in 1978 and 1984). She gained more mainstream attention by appearing in the Bruce Timm produced "Justice League" series' second season in 2003, and ever since has gone on to appear in subsequent cartoons such as "Justice League Unlimited", "Batman: Brave and the Bold" and "Young Justice". It may be a concern to Flash fans that having Killer Frost around may supplant the traditional ice villain of the Flash - which is Captain Cold. However, this could be an attempt to add some gender diversity to the cast.

"Justice League: War" part of animated "New 52" adaptations on home video!

It has become clear ever since "Flashpoint", the 2011 crossover event which birthed the "New 52" continuity, was adapted to a direct to video animated production in 2013 that Warner Brothers's home video division was no longer looking at timeless classics to adapt in the home video format. Next on the slate is "Justice League: War", which debuts next week and is an adaptation of the first arc of the relaunched "Justice League" series by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. At New York Paley Center premiere of "Justice League: War", producer James Tucker (Bruce Timm's successor) explained their new strategy going forward.

Tucker confirmed the notion that DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers seeks to use the home video animated films to further promote their "New 52" era. The new plan is now to produce two animated direct to video (DTV) films a year which share continuity with "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox" and "Justice League: War" with one DTV a year being reserved to more "classic" adaptations apart from the New 52 era. The next release due later in the year is "Son of Batman", which adapts the start of Grant Morrison's run on Batman.

To date, very few of the DC Universe animated original movies were connected to each other beyond direct sequels. Those include "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" in 2009 and "Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" in 2010, as well as the two-part adaptation of "The Dark Knight Returns" from 2012-2013. 2012's "Justice League: Doom" was treated as a unique work, although it featured the same writer and character designer from 2010's "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" as well as stock footage and a similar opening theme from the earlier work. It remains to be seen what stories, New 52 or otherwise, but they will likely continue to revolve around the franchises of Batman, Superman, and the Justice League.

"Beware the Batman" tie in comic canceled!

DC Comics has confirmed that their "Beware the Batman" comic series, meant to tie in to the Cartoon Network animated series of the same name, will end as of March's sixth issue. This may be viewed as a bad sign for the cartoon series itself, which has been on hiatus since debuting as part of the "DC Nation" animation block last year. DC Comics have always produced kid-friendly comics based around the animated series which they currently or recently had on the air, starting as far back as a tie-in comic for "Batman: the Animated Series" in the early 90's. Historically, these comics could often survive years past their TV series' end. As of 2013, however, DC Comics has been quick to pull the plug on these comics if their TV series were close to cancellation, as happened to the comics attached to "Young Justice" and "Green Lantern: the Animated Series".

This move is more out of corporate motives than sales, as the "Beware the Batman" comic was actually selling quite well for a "kid's book". The first issue debuted at nearly 20,000 copies, which is more than many DC Universe and Vertigo titles sell. Many of these "kiddie books" are fortunate to sell on average of 8,000 copies an issue, so this move reflects more of the corporate attitude towards the TV show than about the strength of the comic. This would leave "Teen Titans GO!" as the only healthy cartoon on "DC Nation", which is swiftly devolving into a mess.