It’s a bit weird talking about a piece of concept art that finally reveals Flash and Cyborg found in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice bonus features. On one hand we’ve already seen blurry, concept art that gave the vague impression of what to expect in the upcoming 2017 Justice League. On the other hand we’ve so of these glimpses that it almost feels like we’ve seen a full rendering.
That’s when it struck me that merely talking about the reveal would be a bit of a let down. “Oh, a piece of concept art. How neat.” Instead, I became far more interested in how well the costumes have been translated. As many of you know, I am a massive Flash fan and have some strong opinions about the Scarlet Speedster. I’m also a pretty big fan of Cyborg as I globbed onto the Teen Titans in my youth. As a result, I think it’d be a fun exercise to compare what’s come before to what will debut on the silver screen.
So let’s get started with the concept art, shall we?
As far as “crystal clear” images go, this concept art gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect. Of course, at this point, we’ve already seen detailed photos of Jason Mamoa as Aquaman and the “Trinity” of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are well documented. That leaves the aforementioned Flash and Cyborg. The first thing that stands out is how bright and hopeful the Flash looks compared to the rest of the League. Just from the tone of red, he jumps out of the concept art like a beacon, and deservedly so.
But how does that compare to Barry Allen’s original costume? Well, let’s take a look at Flash #1 from 1987. Now to be fair, this is the issue that Wally West officially becomes The Flash, but he starts off in his mentor’s uniform and for a lot of folks this is “the look” that defines the Fastest Man Alive.
Well…it’s definitely red. One of the most frequent complaints during the production of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman V Superman was the lack of bold color, specifically blue and red. Everything seemed muted. The pure volume of red in the concept art seems to hint that we may be moving to a brighter color palette. Unfortunately with that color change, it appears that the new costume may be far more armored than the cloth. In fact it looks nearly metallic, which was a popular look for the Flash in the mid 90s.
Ok, fair enough. So he’s definitely going for the metallic look. Not a terrible choice, but where are the yellow highlights? Why can’t we get The Flash a yellow lightning bolt belt? Hell, I’d even take the New 52’s glowing yellow seams in between the armor plates. Just something to break up the monotony of red. It’s an easy fix and with those extra embellishments you could draw attention away from that horrific chest emblem. The Lightning Bolt affixed the white circle is so much apart of the uniform that even the TV show made the correction in season two. So what the heck is this? A big step in the “bad move” manure pile if you ask me. And don’t even get me started on the lack of ear wings.
Taken as a whole, I have to say this is my least favorite incarnation of the costume. My all time favorite is the near campy, but incredibly faithful design John Wesley Shipp wore on the doomed Flash TV show of the 90s (nostalgia makes this a hard act to beat). After that, is the Grant Gustin uniform that continues to evolve and may one day take the top spot because it is pretty damn awesome. Finishing way in the back, practically still in the blocks, is the Ezra Miller costume which looks like it was taken directly from the Injustice videogame. In fact, I’d put that in front of the Miller costume because at least it has the proper chest emblem. Hopefully the final product has a bit more of the comics worked in than what we’ve seen here.
So all in all, I’d give the Justice League Flash costume about a 5 out of 10. Nothing horrible, nothing great. Just chock full of meh based on this concept art, but there’s promise.
That brings us to Cyborg, who has been woefully forgotten about in live action arena until recently. In fact, to make this a fair comparison I’ve decided to add the Teen Titans cartoon design. After all it only seems fair. But before we do that, let’s compare the original Vic Stone design to his movie counterpart.
Ok, to be fair the original design, while very iconic, is also incredibly dated. Despite this, Cyborg’s design was left relatively untouched for the better part of 20 years. Once creators started to tinker with Vic’s design he underwent some pretty horrific growing pains.
Ugh, what can I say…handlebars were in? Honestly I have no idea why someone would install handlebars onto a guy’s legs and shoulders like that except to make it more “visually interesting”. Fortunately this look didn’t stick around too long before landed at what is his most popular look.
Now, to be fair, the modern version of Cyborg is constantly changing. Like Iron Man, he is always making improvements to his form and incorporating new technology. In general though, the combination of the classic design and the slightly more cumbersome armor is what people tend to think of when Cyborg comes up. In fact, the design is so popular that it heavily influenced his cartoon adaptation.
But how does the cinematic look compare to these designs? Fairly well, I’d venture. While it’s true that the cinematic Cyborg looks like he’s a fusion of the T-1000 from Terminator and an Olympic Athlete, that’s basically what Cyborg is. In fact in the most recent version of the comic, the cybernetic components of Vic’s body have taken on a life of their own, rebuilding him in a near human form. This very closely mimics the Cinematic look and I say kudos!
I would say that this design rates right at a 7 out of 10 for me. There’s a lot to like here, and I foresee plenty of moments where Cyborg’s body will morph to fit carnage on the battlefield. That’s going to be great. Even so, this design rates right in the middle for me. While there are certainly better designs, there are also a lot worse.
Overall, I feel that Justice League got more right than they did wrong. Even with the Flash’s lack of embellishment and classic symbol, you can feel that the character is meant to stand out. While Cyborg’s technorganic look is certainly a step in a new direction, it’s not without precedent and certainly allows him to transform his arms into a giant cannon, grow rocket packs from his back or create massive pile drivers from his machine body.
So there you have it folks, a full Justice League. What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? What’s your favorite version of each character? Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet!
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out on Blu-Ray July 19th.
Justice League is slated to hit theaters on November 17, 2017.