Sunday, May 04, 2008

10 Reasons Barry Allen Needs to Be the Flash Now

Green Lantern sells twice as many copies as Flash.
You can credit good writing and blah blah; but all that hinges on Hal having returned. Besides, Wally's spent half of his stories fussing about living up to Barry's legacy, anyway.

Barry's much smarter than Wally.
Do you really need me to prove this one?

Barry stands at the same level as the other Justice Leaguers.
This is not a dig at Wally's abilities as the Flash; he's of the "Titans" generation and is needed there. The Flash is missing its Dynastic Centerpiece and has been for 20 years.

Barry's a unique character.
Honestly, I've been reading Wally as the Flash for 20 years and he still seems generic at best and inconsistent at worst. Barry may be a little old-fashioned but he's a pretty clearly defined character.

Iris is cooler than Linda.
Except for her very earliest appearances, Linda has never been much more than a prop (now she's a local reporter! now she's a famous broadcaster! now she's a med student! now she's the world-expert on superspeed physiology!). While writers have continued to shove their Legendary Love down our throats, we almost never get any sense of why these people even like each other, let alone have A Love That Transcends Time.

Barry Allen's profession.
With a quarter of the shows on TV being forensic police shows, it's time for Barry Allen, police scientist to return.

The Allen Name.
Bart's dead. Yet the Allen name is supposed to be part of the Flash legacy of the future. Without Barry, that ain't happening.

The JLA Needs Him
Wally's saddled with two children with medical issues, and, as pointed out in the most recent JLA, can barely meet his responsibilities to the wider crime-fighting community.

The Incredibles
Speaking of Wally's kids, are we going to enter permanent childhood territory with them or are they headed toward Their Tragic End? In entire case, the story is now theirs, not Wally's. It's never good with the Supporting Cast take over a title. Just ask Alan Scott about his dog some time.

Central City
The second Barry came back, Central City magically looked liked itself again. Personally, I need that.


Anonymous said...

I can't disagree with your basic premise, or most of your points. I will say I thought Waid wrote some good Wally & Linda scenes in which I could believe they were a couple(I haven't read his whole run, just what's in trade and a handful of individual issues), but their love being his "beacon" or whatever was too achmaltzy.

I'd much rather read about the JLU Flash. He's more fun than Barry ever was.

Anonymous said...

CSI: Central City

But which Who song would they use for the opening credits?

Anonymous said...

I would think "Going Mobile" would be appropriate.

But "Run, Run, Run" would also be acceptable.

Wally's would be "A Quick One While He's Away".

Not that I'm a Who fan, but I do my research...

-Citizen Scribbler

Anonymous said...

"I Can See for Miles and Miles"

It IS Central City.

Derek said...

With Barry coming back to work after all these years, I want to see how he reacts to the advances made in the field of forensics.

I mean, it's been a long time since he disappeared; there's been a lot of advances. Of course, I'm not sure how that works with the sliding DC timeline, but it'd still be interesting.

Derek said...

According to this, it's only been six years (in-universe) since Barry "died".

So maybe there won't be that much confusion. Even given how quickly technology advances.

Most forensics labs don't look like the ones in CSI. In fact, none of them do.

Anonymous said...

If it were about Ray Palmer, they could use "My Wife".

MaGnUs said...

I agree. Wally can still keep the name, and get a different costume.

Anonymous said...

10 Reasons Barry Allen Needs to Be the Flash Now (snip)-- Our Host

When I first found The Absorbascon, one of the first posts I read was about how Barry's return is perfect for the current "True Crime" zeitgeist. I was once a die-hard in the St. Barry-Must-Stay-Dead camp, but your simple explanation forced me to conclude that I was very, very wrong. *Tips hat.*


I'd much rather read about the JLU Flash. He's more fun than Barry ever was. -- Mike Loughlin

After 20 years of Irresponsible Horndog Flash, Depowered-Daddy-Slash-Uncle Issues Flash, Gotta-Make-Money Flash, Torn-Between-Family-And-Duty Flash, and Comic Relief Flash, I'm tired of Fun/Frivolous Flash. I really want a Flash with consistency, dependability, seriousness, and dignity...and while Jay Garrick fits that bill, I prefer him as Supporting Cast.

Send Wally to Comic Book Limbo so he can bask in its healing magic, and give Barry a chance to restore the franchise.


...we almost never get any sense of why these people even like each other, let alone have A Love That Transcends Time. -- Our Host


...but their love being his "beacon" or whatever was too schmaltzy. -- Mike Loughlin

Don't get me wrong--Waid worked wonders on the Flash-franchise; however, his latter-era work--especially as it pertained to Twue Wuv--became...problematic.

Before Gail Simone hit it big, she had a humor column called You'll All Be Sorry at ComicBookResources. She did a piece called "Reader's Digest Condensed Comics Classics" (8/2001,, where funnybook writers provided abridged versions of their work. Mark Waid's bit still tickles me after all these years:

THE FLASH by Mark Waid

FLASH: My name is Wally West. I'm the Fastest Man--


FLASH: I love you, Lindaaaaaaaa...

LINDA: Nooooooo!

FLASH: I'm back!

Kinda says it all, don't it?


With Barry coming back to work after all these years, I want to see how he reacts to the advances made in the field of forensics. -- Derek

Dorky Reply: Assuming Flash continuity is still in place, post-"Trial"-pre-COIE-facially-reconstructed-black-haired-Barry relocated to the far-future home of his formerly-dead-but-really-alive-time-jaunting wife (don't ask), so I doubt he'd be all that shocked by "modern" science. Forensics will have just caught up.

Less Dorky Reply: Given that superheroes always live on the cutting-edge of Comic Book Physics, I don't think "technology-shock" should even factor into his return. And, as you said, it's only been six years.

Jon said...

I was pretty much done with Wally, but I'll be jumping on this for sure, and am actually kindof excited about it. I'm a sucker for those "OMG, you're back" character moments.

Another thing worth mentioning (well, maybe not, but I'm gonna), I hate characters coming back from the dead, but after 20 years? I have no problem with that, it's a big enough gap to not cheapen his death.

And lastly, not that he's dead, but here's hoping we don't have to wait 20 years for Aquaman (the real one) to return.

SallyP said...

I'd love to have Barry come back. I like Wally of course, but my favorite Flash, is actually Jay. I've always preferred Bart as Impulse, sad to say, his stint as the Flash, just left me cold.

But Barry, dammit, Barry is NICE.

Anonymous said...

"The Incredibles" comment also gives Wally a plausible reason to leave the stage for a while - in classic Washington parlance, "to spend more time with my family."

Anonymous said...

My own idea is for Barry to come back sans powers as Wally's Heroic Mentor and father figure. It gives Wally a brain to consult and an ally on the police force, as well as supplanting the ridiculously ubiquitous STAR Labs in his comic.

MaGnUs said...

Bart as Impulse never did anything for me... now, as Kid Flash? Yes.

Anonymous said...

See, Jon's comment is the problem as I see it. That there even IS a subset of comic "OMG You're back!" moments, is the problem.

I guess I miss Barry all right, but over time, my affection for Wally as Flash is the consistency and the faith of it... It was one thing that, for me, made Waid's "The Return of Barry Allen" such a good storyline. Before spoilers or comic book news sources promulgated all over the Internet, I was totally caught up in the drama, BECAUSE the problem was, at the time, one COULDN'T be bringing back Barry... one just couldn't, so the mystery was how was he going to get out of it?

I don't know. I'm more disappointed than I thought I'd be when it happened. It just seems like such a waste of a good saint.

Scipio said...

"With Barry coming back to work after all these years, I want to see how he reacts to the advances made in the field of forensics."

While I understand the idea here, Derek, Barry lives in comicbookland, and invented a treadmill that allowed him to time-travel. I can't imagine he's going to be floored by DNA fingerprinting techniques... .

August said...

Very effective material, thank you for this post.
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