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June 20, 2007



I dunno...I'm a "they'll ruin Barry!" guy, I guess. The thing is, it'd be so dangerous that way...I hated Waid's run on Flash, but loved him on JLA: Year One, so which Waid (and which Barry) would we get? If the "good" Waid wrote Barry, it'd be absolutely fantastic. But if the "bad" Waid got his claws into him...


I guess it's all academic by now, but you see I haven't heard the news yet...


While I was a Flash reader (Waid's original run), I was totally against Barry's return. That's because it WOULD have invalidated Wally West's role. It would have been detrimental to a character that was in full development. Plus, there was some charm in the notion that the lightning that struck him was his own energy going back through time.

Now that Wally's not around, and that Crisis has largely been undone, and with the 20+ year moratorium... I'm fine with it.

Although I do wish they'd just rebooted the DC Universe properly and just reestablished Barry in the role without forcing some kind of resurrection. Those are sort of annoying.

Mark Engblom

"I dunno...I'm a "they'll ruin Barry!" guy, I guess."

I don't think so. Trust me, it couldn't be any worse than the last couple of years of his solo title back in the 80's, with the interminable "Trial of the Flash" storyline making Flash one of the most pathetic figures in comic history. The lowpoint for me was the revelation that his fat, old man lawyer was actually his dead wife Iris Allen in control of the body. Eww.

"The thing is, it'd be so dangerous that way...I hated Waid's run on Flash, but loved him on JLA: Year One, so which Waid (and which Barry) would we get?"

To an extent, I share your concern, knowing how erratic Waid has been on certain books. I really disliked his take on the Fantastic Four, and I'm always AWOL whenever Waid gets on a more political jag, or the "Youth Power! Down with Grown Ups!" silliness from his early Legion of Superheroes run.

However, I think Barry Allen is a character Waid's been dying to write his entire career, and not just in flashback form (no pun intended). Waid's got the science background to not only give the super-speed stuff some zing, but the forensic science angle as well. I really believe Waid would bring his "A-game" for a Barry Allen Flash.

Mark Engblom

"Now that Wally's not around, and that Crisis has largely been undone, and with the 20+ year moratorium... I'm fine with it."

Yeah, there definitely seems to be fewer and fewer reasons to keep Barry on the sidelines (only in comic books can death be considered being "on the sidelines").

"Although I do wish they'd just rebooted the DC Universe properly and just reestablished Barry in the role without forcing some kind of resurrection. Those are sort of annoying."

I agree it can get annoying, but most of DC's most recent batch of resurrections have been quite entertaining, especially Hal Jordan's. Moreso than any other "dead hero", his return was a virtual Harry Houdini escape considering all the strikes against him. He wasn't only dead, but a cosmic traitor as well. Geoff Johns' spectacular "Hail Mary Pass" of a resurrection story was moving, logical and incredible entertaining. In my book, that's always preferrable to a "reset button" reboot.

Similarly, it's a creative challenge to bring Barry back within the ongoing narrative, and I'm hoping DC will rise to that challenge.

adam barnett

sign me up as one for "no Barry." Barry Allen was as dry as melba toast. Wally has always been ten times more interesting.

Mark Engblom

I think the perception of Barry being dull (or "dry") compared to Wally has more to do with the changes in comic book storytelling since his death, and less to do with the character being inherently dull. Wally had the advantage of the Speed Force thing juicing up the Flash concept, as well as a host of interesting new villains and supporting characters. I'll admit that many of Barry's adventures were pretty low-key (especially in light of what his powers were), but again, I think we can pin that on the limitations of the times (most DC characters fought the "dull" perception at one time or another it seems).

Now, since Barry's death, I think DC's gone a little overboard in retroactively presenting him as the Hero Who Could Do No Wrong, to the point where....yeah....he does seem dull in that legendary "canonized" context.

However, as we've seen recently at DC, characters once thought ridiculous, uncool or forgotten have been revived and well-received after competent writers have picked them up and dusted them off. I think the same thing can be done with a "dry" Barry Allen.


I'm much more a "marvel guy" than a "DC guy," so I can't really enter the barry/no-barry debate. Instead, I'd like to play devil's advocate for a moment and ask-- why *couldn't* they resurrect uncle ben? I'm not saying they should-- I agree with you it'd be pretty lame-- but I disagree that it would undermine the whole spider-man mythos. After all, the importance of UB's death is not just the death itself, but the LESSON of the death-- "with great power, etc." And it seems like that lesson, once learned, can't be undermined-- he'd still be spider-man, still be peter parker, still have the same moral culpability/responsibility. Maybe bringing UB back would, in fact, raise some interesting narrative possibilties about guilt, love, responsibility, etc. Again, I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but it certainly couldn't be any worse than the damage done during Stra-stink-ski's run.

Also, isn't it more likely that many of the writers and artists working on superhero comics today (bendis, whedon, etc.) grew up reading in the 70s and 80s, as much as the 60s? (I know, it makes us all feel old in different ways...(:).

As always, mark, great blog and great post. And let me recommend a good pair of TPB's, if you're not already familiar with them-- The New Frontier, which does for DC what Marvels did for the Marvel Universe-- reimagining its origins in a more "realistic" context, and in doing so reaffirming a more classical style of art and storytelling. Good, good stuff, and I thought of it because they do interesting stuff with the flash character.

Drew Clements

I'm a big fan of the Wally West Flash, so it was my hope that they'd bring him back. I consider Waid's original run on The Flash to be one of my favorites, so putting 'em back together is an exciting idea.

But then again, I also liked Chris Claremont's original run on the Uncanny X-Men and found his latest run to be, um, a bit lacking (nicest way to put it).

The parallel there is the reason why I'm nervous. Can Waid return the book to its classic greatness (imho, that is) or will it be a disaster?

I have faith!

Mark Engblom

Yeah, I've really become a fan of Wally as well, thanks in part to the Waid run you referred to...though, as you'll recall, there was a similar "bait and switch" when it came to Barry Allen during that run as well.

I certainly prefer Wally over the Brat...uh...I mean "Bart", so I'll be sure to check out Waid's new take on the character.

Upon re-reading the issue of JLA, there's enough ambiguity on a few points to make me wonder what might really be going on here. There appears to be more to the story.

Thanks for stopping by, Drew! You're part of a really cool site!


"I think this is just more proof that the Silver Age nostalgia freaks who run the industry are trying to re-live their childhoods."

It's good you mentioned this. I've been thinking this to myself for a while now and although you make a really good point. I still can't help but feel like they are writing what they want to see happen. I mean essentially that's what writing is all about anyway, writing something you feel passionately about.

However, just because we can do something, does that mean we should?

I don't have an issue with creators and editors bringing the silver age story telling back with them. But it is the characters I have a problem with. You say a strong character concept can adapt to any era in the hands of a dynamic creative team, and Silver Age characters are no exception. Except a recent Superman writer brought up this recently in an issue, where it became harder to relate to Superman the older he gets because he grew up and was created in a time that of my grandparents. You can make that character adapt, sure...but why not try this adaptive writing style and pass on the legacy to sidekicks and people of that nature instead of sweeping THEM under the rug.

I mean it's a case by case basis. Characters like Superman will be around for a long time because they CAN live a long time, Characters like Batman and Green Arrow? I mean, they have sidekicks just as capable as they are with growing experience. I don't want the Silver Agers to be swept under the rug either, but, it would just be nice to see some characters be given the chance that others have.


I think its awesome if barry comes back fulltime. I hope they bring bart back and barry mentors him, unlike wally barry would have the patience to do so. Wally can take another name or retire. Wally never came close to living up to barrys legacy, and with modern writing i think barry could do as good if not better than Hal and ollies resurrections(and thats a TALL order)


You would think that Barry coming back would be a natural, what with Kara AND the multiverse back now... All the major deaths have been reversed... Not to mention GA Supes, EP SB, Alex of E3 and Lois of E2 coming back during IC... Would only make sense to have Barry return full time!!


My major beef with his return is that it follows the trend of focusing more on Silver Age characters and shoving other characters to the side. I understand why people love Barry Allen. He's an incredible hero who had the absolute BEST in comics. I just believe that Wally West is a much better Flash. DC's touting of Barry Allen being this perfect hero hasn't really helped either.

I also think this is DC's way of trying to spark interest in a particular title in the hopes of boosting sales. The problem is that that there's interest at first, and then people just stop caring.

Take Green Lantern for example. People absolutely DESPISED Kyle Rayner, and wanted Hal to come back. Geoff Johns wrote the story, and sales were excellent. Now look where it is. Green Lantern's a great book, but it's still not selling as well as it was after Rebirth and during the Sinestro Corps War. I'm worried that people will lose interest after a while, and his return will mean absolutely nothing in the long run.

I know that s mean very little in comics these days, but this is Barry Allen we're talking about. Ed Brubaker was able to successfully bring Bucky back as the Winter Soldier, but Barry Allen had the best in comics. He was in the absolute dumps, character-wise and in comic book sales, and he ran himself to to give his buddies a SHOT at the big bad guy. Not to BEAT the Anti-Monitor, but to have a chance in hell.

I don't care about Superman's , because that was just to boost sales, and he came back rather quickly. Hell, I don't care about Bucky's , because his return was executed perfectly. To me, Barry Allen's is kinda like Uncle Ben's. Their s were pivotal in the histories of both DC and Marvel, and to bring them back would really mess things up. DC has a SPRAWLING continuity, and if they want to organize it a little, or at the very least repair aspects of their universe, bringing Barry back will only make things worse. DC will initially rake in a lot of cash, but in the long run things will only get more confusing.

In my opinion, to bring Barry back would not only make things worse for DC, it would be disrespectful to the character. This may sound selfish, but I always considered Wally to be MY Flash, and the only reason Bart's run as the Flash was abysmal was because Dan Didio went against Waid, Johns Wolfman, and a bunch of other writers and made him the Flash. Barry's already had his time in the sun and went out in a blaze of glory. He's already earned his spot as one of the greatest superheroes of all time, if not THE greatest. What's left for him to do?

Not trying to crap all over your points (your argument is very strong), I'm just asking.


Yeah I'm sorry, but I think barry's ressurection is lame. I mean his death served a huge purpose and made his charater a icon in comic history. But now DC is going to take one of the biggest moments in comic history and trash it. Also I think resurrecting old charaters is one of the cheapest thing yo could do in a comic. I mean you menetion the industry and a good portion of the fanbase includes those who grew up reading comics in the 60's and 70's, but why do you think that is? Because most of these charaters are from the silver age with decades of back story that none of the newer generations can even relate to and with things like the multiverse it just makes most of dc comic way to distant to anyone new to relate to. I personal think bring back the mutliverse and resurrecting past charaters just closes off anyone not from those time. Personally I think its time for DC and comics in general to clean the continuity of there comics and stop doing cheap things like retcon's and resurrections and just focus on moving the stories forward and not draw on the past so much.


i grew up with Barry as the flash and i for one am glad he is coming back. i always thought that it was a shame he was sacrificed due to low sales because of a weak storyline. it will be a treat to see how he interacts with the other characters of the modern age of comics. would this not mean that he will be the last person who remembers the original crisis and wont he remember the main dc characters as they were pre-crisis? lots of possibility there. hopefully it wont lame out.

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