Thursday, October 23, 2008

Calling all Flash fans!

I will readily admit to not having read the main "Final Crisis" comics, I'm waiting until the whole series comes out, so I can enjoy the whole story uninterrupted. However, DC is promoting in all of it's comics that Barry Allen has returned from the dead.

Now, where as I have been collecting Marvel Comics for about 17 years now(WOW that's a long time...)I've only been reading DC titles for about 2 years or so. In those 2 years, I've managed to acquire about 2,000 DC comics, so I have a pretty good(although not great) understanding of the DC Universe and many of its characters. Out of all the characters in the DC universe, I've tended to gravitate towards the Flashes.

This has a lot to do with the fact that the first DC comic I read was an issue of Young Justice, where I immediately became a huge fan of Bart Allen(Impulse). I wound up collecting all of the Impulse related comics I could get my hands on, including his full series, his early New Titans appearances, as well as his later Teen Titans and Flash books. From reading about Bart, I became curious about the current Flash, Wally West. I also liked Wally, and was able to get a lot of his adventures in with JLA, as well as his regular comic, "The Flash".

Well, from there I began to collect the JSA comics, to read about the "old" Flash Jay Garrick. Once again I found another character I enjoyed reading about. So, thus far, I've established I really like the character of the Flash in all his various forms. Now for the problem. I don't know much of anything about Barry Allen... I know he sacrificed his life during the big DC crossover in the 80's, I know he was a cop, I know he was married, I know Bart is his grandson and I know Wally reveres him. Other than that I know squat about him...

Barry Allen has been dead for over 20 years, which is longer than a lot of people have been collecting comic books, I know there are exceptions, but I'd say most collectors haven't been collecting for over 20 years. This brings me to the question I really wish someone could explain to me, why bring Barry Allen back at all? I would imagine all of his die hard fans who may have been disappointed by his death all those years ago have moved on to other characters and probably barely give Barry any thought anymore.

Without Barry, there are two Flashes, Wally and Jay. I'd think that two Flashes is more than enough. That leads to the next question, is the DC Universe big enough for three characters sharing the same moniker? I kind of don't think it is... That would mean that one of the three Flashes would have to go.

Jay isn't going anywhere, he is still a vital part of the JSA title. If Barry is indeed back, it would make no sense for him to be the one to go, right after returning. Which leaves Wally... Wally West has been the main Flash for roughly 20 years now, meaning that an entire generation of DC fans have grown up with him as "their" Flash. However, Wally seems to be the most likely Flash to go. As I stated above, the other two Flashes have strong reasons for not going anywhere, while Wally's life seems to be changing rapidly, as if DC is setting him up for something, and by something, I don't mean something good...

I really like Wally West. I like his family dynamic. Not many heroes have a personal life as rich as Wally's. In other words, if Wally were to die at the end of "Final Crisis", DC would be throwing away a character that is established, has a rich history and still has tons of storyline potential. I'm not sure how many fans would get behind Barry Allen as the Flash again, I know I would be very tentative to read a Barry Allen "Flash" comic in a world with Wally either gone or de-powered.

The strange thing about the rebirth of Barry Allen is the fact that DC really didn't need another Flash, they needed a KID Flash. As I said earlier, Bart was my favorite Flash as well as one of my favorite characters period, but I mainly knew him through his Impulse/Kid Flash days. Why not bring back BART Allen as opposed to BARRY Allen?

Wouldn't the DC universe be better off with two Flashes and a Kid Flash, as opposed to a world with three Flashes? The news of Barry Allen's return is obviously bothering me, but I would be very interested to hear what some other fans of any of the Flashes think.

Is it a good thing to bring back Barry at the expense of Wally? Are there a group of Barry Allen fans that have been clamoring for his return that I was unaware of? Do people really want to see Wally killed off/de-powered? Or like me, are there some folks out there who would prefer to see Bart Allen return in the guise of Kid Flash/Impulse? I would really love to get the opinions of some other fans of the Flash or even just DC comics in general. Well, this turned out to be a longer post than I intended... Anyway, if anyone could throw some comments out there I'd really appreciate it. Thanks for reading!


  1. First off, thanks for reading my blog, it's nice to know someone besides me took some time to look at it.

    As far as the return of Barry Allen, I can tell you I've never understood the many appeals of the older fans to bring him back ( people have wanted him back since the issue he died). Perhaps it goes back to the whole idea of his character ushering in the Silver Age of comics, and his iconic contribution in this sense. If you think about it, Wonder Woman, Superman, GL, and Batman (at least for right now) are still the same identities they were 30 years ago. They may have been changed or replaced, but it always evens out. I don't know if this helps, but I went back and read Barry's first appearance in the Showcase: Flash Volume 1, and it gave me more of an appreciation for the character. He is a level headed scientist who uses his brains to control his powers in new ways, and he loves his wife Iris more than anything else in the world. Really, that's all you need to know about him to be able to read about him. To sum him up, he is the ultimate "everyman" hero, and he ALWAYS does the right thing.

    I see you've been catching up on your DC comics recently, may I suggest DC: the New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke (if you haven't looked into it)? While it doesn't take place in the actual DC timeline, it illustrates very clearly why people love Barry Allen.

    As for our beloved Wally, who is the Flash I grew up with and the main reason I got into comics as an adolescent (it was right around Flash #119),he is going to change but not disappear. Ethan Van Sciver is redesigning his costume for the Flash: Rebirth mini-series, but I've read online the design will be very similar to the current costume. So the return of Barry is at his expense, but hopefully he'll find a niche. I have a feeling the whole Flash world is going to become like the Green Lantern world, and Johns is going to expand on the notion of speedsters to the point that having a ton of really fast heroes together will be the norm.

  2. Ha, I felt the same way to see someone take a look at my own blog! It's always great to hear from other comic book fans, since nobody I know personally reads them anymore...

    Thanks for the recommendation to read DC: the New Frontier, I'll definatly look to pick that one up. I actually just picked up "Kingdom Come" which I heard a lot of good things about, so I'm always happy when someone points me towards a new comic.

    Honestly, I'd be happy with just about anything they do with Wally as long as they don't kill him off.

    I really like your idea at the end about a Flash Corps, sort of like they already have a GL Corps. With a team of speedsters all working together, you'd have to be a pretty dumb criminal to be working in Central or Keystone City!

  3. Hey. I have to say that I'm just reading your blog for the first time after being directed here from and I have to say that I am with you on Wally. Now unlike a few other people like ourselves I'm able to see the positives that a Barry Allen story could produce.

    1. A new and different variation on the smart super hero. Let's face it a lot of the character of Wally is that while he has battle honed experience and can command his speed very well, he's really just an average guy with average intelligence. Barry is well read, a college graduate and a meticulous forensics scientist. All things that could translate well to the current state of comic fandom(especially with shows like CSI continually getting high ratings) and really shake up The Flash comic book. The only thing about this is that at the same exact time, Barry is married just like Wally albeit minus kids (which a lot of readers, myself not included thought were annoying) and he definitely appears to have less personality than Wally. But Barry would definitely appeal more to the older comic book fans than to young bucks like myself and as it is older comic book fans still have a very large voice.

    2. It's also one of things where yeah people have their favorites and they feel like it's unfair for Barry to have been gone so long whereas favorites like Hal pretty much never disappeared. Although I believe this is selfish reasoning I can't really argue with it as I felt the same bad taste in my mouth when Wally disappeared. Actually scratch that. Because unlike Barry Allen who got a fantastic send off Wally was cast off into limbo, while Bart took over. And while I actually enjoyed Bart's run (especially towards the end when Guggenheim took over) I still held a little resentment towards him.

    With Barry coming back I'm getting the same feelings that I got after Hal came back. Kyle (the GL I grew up with) was pretty much pushed to the back burner and he hasn't been the same ever since. His costume sucks, his personality sucks, his appearances have just sucked. I feel like the same thing is going to happen to Wally which I think would be much worse than simply killing him off.

    Now personally I would have rather seen these things two or three years ago (if we had to shake up the status quo a bit)

    1. Wally given a proper send off in the first place. Maybe going into semi-retirement while raising his normally aged kids with Linda but still being around as a mentor to Bart.

    2. Jay still running with the JSA. I don't know why but Jay is just one of those characters I can never see leaving. Ever.

    3. Bart I personally would never have accelerated his age like they did. At least not to four years later. First off it has made for a lot of issues with his contemporaries and just raised a lot of stupid questions with his continuity being made even more ridiculous and alienating him from his friends and even former enemies. I don't know about others but I would have had no problem reading a Kid Flash title for a year or so while he was being officially trained by Wally and Jay to take over as The Flash and then having him redebut as a new Flash for the new millennium with a slightly redesigned costume and some new issues to face. Bart was what 16 I think when the Teen Titans were around, then we jumped One Year Later which would put him around 17 and then with a year still training as Kid Flash when he was done he would be 18 and ready for any number of new challenges including joining the police academy if he still chose to.

    Barry I personally would have left dead. While I can see what he would offer, it's honestly not enough. Sure it might bring the Flash mythos "full circle" but like you said I'd much rather see Two Flashes and a Kid Flash then Three Flashes with one being pushed into the background and getting his identity stripped from him. Yeah they are just changing his costume but honestly, first and foremost Wally earned that costume. Maybe more than any other legacy hero. He has so much character development, so many trials and tribulations that he faced on the way to becoming who he is now, it seems like a waste to even think about changing him. Any part of him.

    Oh and about the Green Lantern Corps idea with The Flash. See yes there are some analogs in the GL and Flash mythos but this should never ever be one of them. Have a ton of different Flashes would be interesting at first (especially seeing all the costumes like in Chain Lightning) but like also in Chain Lightning it gets to be a little bit much. I didn't mind when Wally, Jay, Jesse, Johnny, Max, and Bart (with a little XS) were running around because they all had very rich back stories and were all very very different as far as looks, tactics, personality etc. They all stood out. I don't see that happening with 30 or more odd Flashes.

    Sorry if this is a little all over the place I just woke up a little bit ago.

  4. Thanks for reading Human Tornado! I can definiatly see the appeal of bringing Barry back, even though I don't really agree with it. Like you stated, there are a lot they can do with his character(especially the CSI aspect, I actually recall reading someone in DC saying this was a main reason for bring him back), as well as tons of interactions he can have with heroes he knew in the past, as well as the whole new crop of heroes that have sprung up in his absence.

    I really liked your ideas about how things should have turned a few years back. There was no reason to make Wally just vanish. That never made any sense... Aging Bart 4 years made even less sense! I would have much rather seen Bart grow into the Flash role, while being slowly helped along by his various mentors. Those stories would have been great. In the end Wally could have given Bart the Flash uniform and Bart could have continued his grandfather's tradition as the Flash. That would have really brought things full circle, and made for a much more satisfying story.

    I'm just kind of biased torwards Bart, and would much rather have him back as Kid Flash/Impulse again, but that's just me. With the events going on in "Flash" right now, I can see Wally, if he survives Final Crisis,wind up with little to no powers at all. That would be lousy, but as long as he's alive, at least there's always a chance for a good writer to figure out something to do with him.

    I'm always glad to hear from other fans of the Flash characters, because it helps give me some extra insight into the characters. Anyway, thanks for the comments!