Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Flash / Barry Allen Returns From The Dead Today After 23 Years

The Second Silver Age Flash - Barry AllenToday the NY Daily News is reporting that “DC Comics is reviving Barry Allen – aka The Flash – the popular superhero killed off by the publisher 23 years ago.” (link) The Flash’s resurrection is part of a new company wide crossover that begins today called Final Crisis and occurs in the final pages of DC Universe #0, which hits stands today.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 CoverThe Blot honestly never thought I’d be typing those words. You see Barry Allen, DC Comics’ second Flash, sacrificed himself back in 1986 to save the world in one of comics’ most famous issues, Crisis on Infinite Earths #8. Crisis on Infinite Earths, to this day, is one of the most popular, earth shattering comic book mini-series of all time and the death of the Silver Age Flash is one of the reasons for that. What many people don’t realize is DC has had multiple Flashes. The first Flash of the Golden Age is Jay Garrick. Many years later DC introduced Barry Allen as a new Flash, which ushered in the Silver Age of super hero comics and really revitalized super hero comics in America.

The Third Modern Age Flash and Kid Flash - Wally WestAfter Allen’s death in 1986 his sidekick and nephew Wally West/Kid Flash stepped up and took over his mentor’s role as the Flash. While Barry Allen has made a few appearances over the years in stories where characters have jumped in time, his death has been one of the very, very few to have ever stuck in comics. It seemed like the highest honor the company could pay Allen’s sacrifice by allowing his death to stand for all these years.

The First Golden Age Flash - Jay GarrickTo me it’s a shocking move for DC because the character has been deceased ever since I started reading comics. As a comic reader in his late 20’s the only way I’ve come to know of the character is posthumously and the only modern day Flash I’ve ever followed has been Wally West, one of my favorite comic characters. Hearing this news really brings me concern, both for the future of Wally West as the Flash and what the impact this resurrection will have on the character of Barry Allen.

DC Universe #0 CoverThankfully the writing of the return of Allen’s Flash is being handled by Grant Morrison (writer of Final Crisis) and Geoff Johns (writer of The Flash), two comic book writers whose works I really enjoy and admire. Johns told the Daily News “when the greatest evil comes back to the DC Universe, the greatest hero needed to return. Without Barry Allen, we’d still be reading comic books about cowboys.” (link) Morrison added that the Flash is “the God of the modern world, people are doing more everyday, moving faster and I think the Flash can be their hero.” (link) As with life things can change in the blink of an eye, only time will tell if Barry Allen’s return is for good or just another publicity stunt to increase readership in a new title…either way it’ll be nice to see one the DC Universe’s central characters running the streets again.
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