Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Top 10 Tuesdays - 5 Pros & 5 Cons of the Return of Barry Allen

This week's Top 10 Tuesdays mixes it up a bit with a slight change in format. There's still 10 items in this list, but it's broken up into 5 pros and 5 cons of Barry Allens return to the DCU in the current Final Crisis event.

Furthermore, this week's edition of T10T is written by guest blogger, Eric Rupe, who you might remember from the recent guest posts on Why I Buy Certain Comic Books or from his blog, The Comic Catalog.

While Eric didn't solicit this guest post as a Top 10 Tuesdays post, I thought it fit the theme of the column and co-opted it for this week's post. I'll let Eric take it away from here, so hit the jump for his 10 pros and cons to Barry Allen's return!

TOP 10 TUESDAYS - The Pros and Cons Of The Return and Resurrection of Barry Allen

Is the return of Barry Allen a good thing for the DCU? There are many parallels to what has happened with the Green Lantern titles since Green Lantern: Rebirth, which could be both good or bad, depending on your point of view.

Can lightning strike twice for Geoff Johns? Can all of the fans of the various Flashes be satisfied? Will this be a Golden Age for the Flash or is there a Dark Age on the horizon?

There is much potential and many possible outcomes for good and for ill. Here a five pros and cons that could accompany the return of Barry Allen to the DCU. However, please note that certain ideas and view points are based purely on speculation at this point. I tried to take a neutral view when coming up with these points so I do not subscribe to or endorse all of the points given. I would also like to thank BlindMessiah on the Newsarama forums for help with the list and Kirk for publishing it.

The Pros

Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver on the Flash

Self explanatory and obvious, unless you dislike their work.

Revitalization of the Flash Title

The Flash title has been constantly changing directions since Infinite Crisis and could use something to refocus the title. Barry’s return would give the Flash title a singular focus to deal with, in the short term, and then branch out into various directions.

It can also mark a fresh start for the title and allow it to move on from the mistakes of the past couple of years. This refocusing of the title could allow a writer like Johns to work up to something like a Flash equivalent of the The Sinestro Corps War.

Barry Allen is a cornerstone of the Flash mythos and his return could allow someone to bring in new material to enrich the Flash title and mythos much like what happened with Green Lantern: Rebirth.

The Flash as a Pillar of the DCU

Similar to what happened after Green Lantern: Rebirth and the Sinestro Corps War, Johns has hinted that he will continue to work on the Flash after Rebirth and it would be a chance for him to make the various Flashes an important part of the DCU.

Although the Flash is a member of the Big 7 he is not a cornerstone of the DCU, both in sales and stories, like Batman, Superman and more recently the Green Lanterns. Barry’s return is an important event which will bring a lot of attention to the Flash and with the correct story can cement the Flash as a major player in the DCU beyond just being a member of the Big 7.

Return of an Iconic Hero

Since his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry has become an iconic figure in DC mythos and his return brings with it numerous stories with it. Barry left the DCU with the first crisis and is returning during DC’s 'final' crisis. How Barry deals with what has happened during his absense has many possibilities.

There are also numerous stories that could deal with how the DCU deals with Barry’s return, and, in particular, with Wally West’s and Bart Allen’s (should he be revived) reaction to the return of their mentor or grandfather respectively. That is just the tip of the ice berg. How would the JLA or Rogues deal with his return?

Barry could also represent the “ideal” hero in an imperfect world, similar in theme to Captain America's 'man out of time' theme, and allow readers to view what is “wrong” with the DCU. It could also mark a return to better times for the DCU and DC, itself, and start a return brighter times with the return of an uncorrupted Silver Age hero. There are a great number of possible stories and the fallout of Barry’s return could have effects for years.

Two Flash Titles???

With the return of Barry, there have been rumors of a possible second Flash title and, if so, there would be many benefits.

The first would be to allow both Barry and Wally fans to both have a title to follow. It would also allow both characters to grow and develop without getting in each other’s way. Another possibility is for a Flash team or family title starring multiple Flashes.

Either way, a second Flash title could help establish the Flashes as major players in the DCU and help with any possible Flash events that could come out of Barry’s return. It would also allow for a way to introduce more into the Flash mythos in a shorter period of time and could function as a window in the Flash world for newer readers.

The Cons

Silver Age Obsession

Barry Allen died with the Silver Age and one of the many problems that DC has been accused of having is its obsession with the Silver Age. Although stories like All Star Superman and Sinestro Corps War do have their origins in the Silver Age, many people see it as problem for the current DCU.

It is seen as DC wanting to regress their characters instead of moving forward and making progress. It is also said that it makes many of DC’s titles inaccessible to new readers and hinders the different kinds stories that can be told in the DCU. Barry’s return will only continue to convince people of that.

Wally West is the Flash

Over the past 20+ years since Barry’s death in CoIE, Wally West has managed to fully replace him as the one and only Flash. Unlike when Kyle Rayner replaced Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, Wally has reached an iconic level as the Flash.

If you ask someone who the Flash is, people will most likely tell you it's Wally. If you ask who the Green Lantern is you will probably get a mix of Hal, Kyle, Guy, and John. Bringing back Barry only serves to jeopardize all the work that was put into making Wally the Flash.

Wally Could be Deposed or Overshadowed

One of the many problems with legacy characters is what happens when two of them are around at the same time. Barry’s return is going to bring a lot of fanfare with it and Wally could easily get lost in it all.

What if Wally and Barry both get titles but Wally’s fails because of reasons that are unrelated to him, as a character, such as bad writing? Should Wally take over Barry’s title or should he become a supporting character? Would Barry replace Wally as the Flash of the JLA? There are a lot of areas where the two characters could clash and Wally thrown to the way side simply because of Barry’s recent return.

Too Many Flashes?

With the return of Barry, there could be up to five people carrying the Flash title. Theres √†lready Jay over in JSA, Barry and Wally plus the possibility of Bart Allen’s return in Legion of Three Worlds in addition to Inertia, who may become a new Kid Flash in Rogue’s Revenge.

Yes, DC has had multiple speedsters around before, but not all of them were called the Flash. Who would be the “important” Flash and would one out shine the others? What about the costumes? The various Flash costumes are not that distinctive (The Flash costumes look very similar to each other, as do the Kid Flash ones) and have an iconic look to them. Creating a couple of new ones could be a problem and there could also be a “who’s who” problem for newer readers with so many different Flashes running around.

Two Flash Titles?

There are few characters that are able to support one ongoing title, let alone two or three. Although the Flashes have been able to support one title, can they support two? If there end up being two titles, is one going to be the lead title and, if so, who gets it? Or, if it ends up being a solo title and a group title, who gets the solo title and who is relegated to the group title?

Furthermore, creating two Flash titles could easily fracture the Flash fan base and damage both the characters and titles.

Related Posts


Andrenn said...

Great list Kirk, you make great points on both sides. I think that Barry's return is good, but your right, it could definitely end up being a real problem. Sometimes dead is dead and it should stay that way. Maybe things will go along smoothly, with Johns handling Rebirth, I would hope he could pull it off.

Kirk Warren said...

Heh, I think you may have skipped the opening preamble Andrenn. This list wasn't written by me. As I said above, it's by Eric Rupe from The Comic Catalog, but I'm sure he appreciates the praise. =D

Andrenn said...

D'oh *facepalm* well, it's still great. I just started reading the list from the beginning.

The Dangster said...

What makes people think Wally is going to survive Final Crisis? kidding, although Didio is insane. Although Ethan van Sciver had an interview stating that since Barry is a cop, he'd want to see more gritty cop stories they couldnt get away with in the Silver Age, so I'm not worried about that.

patrick said...

Although this is a somewhat different circumstance as hal jordan returning...Hal Jordan (and all of green lantern) became extremely awesome to read...I have no doubt that Barry coming back will be spectactular but i hope they have a long term plan because problems could come up quick..I was reading somewhere how someone mentioned how Barry has never met Tim Drake..i thought that was a cool topic and i hope character driven points like that get brought up cause they will be awesome interactions

Kelson @ Speed Force said...

Well, the costume issue should be taken care of by the end of Rebirth -- one way or another -- since EVS has stated that he's designing a new costume for Wally.

Cierdwyn2 said...

Some time ago, it was established that Wally would only see barry 3 more times in his life. When he found that out was #1. DC was quick to jump on this and remind people in interviews and such during Infinite Crisis that when Barry helped them stop Superboy Prime, that that was #2.

Assuming DC is still riding that line, and hasn't just decided to skip it all, that would mean Final Crisis is #3. This would, logically, mean that post Final Crisis, barry and Wally will never see each other again.

With the Flash: Rebirth coming out of Final Crisis, i think it's safe to say they aren't pulling a Return of Ted Kord in Booster Gold on us. that means something is going to happen to Wally.

Now, beofre the screams and cries and tearing of clothes and gnashing of teeth from Wally fanboys, it's also worth noting that DC was tossing around that the world that wally and his family were living on during the time they were gone was going to be mroe important, coming up. With all the writing changes and all that have happened since, DC's really stopped talking about all that, but theoretically (really, as theoretically as DC sticking to the 3 times continuity piece above), there are a couple of options for Wally.

1. Wally could retire again. The man deserves some peace and time with his family. Plus, like with Bart being able to carry on the fight, there's now Barry.

2. That world could be revealed to be part of one of the alternate dimensions. with all the changes and the various Crisis' that have been going on, wally could decide to move back there to defend it from some new trouble, as a team.

3. this just occured to me, and is somewhat far-fetched, but what the heck...what if Wally and/or the kids end up becoming New Gods, taking over roles of some of the now dead gods. It was my understanding in all this that the new gods would be replaced by newer, more modern new gods. Maybe the answer to the rapid aging of the kids can be stabilized by something in all that. Maybe it's just decided that the new gods need someone wise to the ways of Darksied and knowledgable enough to guide the new gods along. Wally's been around the block enough to help them, so to speak.

Personally, while I inherently dislike the idea of bringing Barry back, and somewhat ruining the impact of his actions in the original Crisis, I'm willing to look beyond that blot and see that there are a number of interesdting possibilities. I'm intrigued as to where things will go from here, at least.

Ethereal said...

I think the most important part, and one that I had never really thought of before this post, was that Barry Allen could be DC's Steve Rogers. This could be an amazing series under that description as there is so much open space.

The biggest concern is of course, the other Flashes. I'd be slightly interested in a sort of Family book for Flash (Similar to FF in Marvel?).

All of this is just means to make me very excited about Rebirth. The fact that Wally will get a new design is great, too. There is alot of Flash-related topics in DC right now, and pushing him should be awesome.

JacktheKnife said...

Cierdwyn2, regarding the whole Wally seeing Barry thing. First of all that was pre-death Barry. Barry from his time in the 30th century. And Wally did see him three times.

1)When he told him that which was the same time that Wally made his wish and the Spectre gave him his secret id back.

2)During Rogue War to help Wally fight off a pre-death Professor Zoom.

3)Superboy-Prime back during Infinite Crisis.

So he's already met him three times pre-death. Plus Barry now is post-death. This is Barry come back from his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths and thus the 'three more times' thing no longer applies anyway.

Kello said...

I don't think many heroes could support two books, and I would hate to see any Flash book meet cancellation. That said, I would be interested in seeing a Flash book with Barry and more of a family feeling.

Elwood said...

Of all of the Deaths That Meant Something, Barry Allen's meant the most. I have no doubt that Johns and Van Sciver will do a bang-up job with this story.

I just think it's the story that never should have been written in the first place.

Kirk Warren said...

I agree Elwood. Much like the return of Hal, I don't see anything coming from this that couldnt have been done with the current character, Kyle, John or Guy in Green Lantern's place or Wally with the return of the Flash.

As good as the Sinestro Corps War was, the early issues of GL were fairly average and in 30+ issues we havent learned anything new or had anything unique happen because Hal was Green Lantern.

In fact, it's been more about putting things back to what they were pre-Parallax with Hal as a test pilot for Ferris and fixing up the corps.

While it's been good, it could be anyone in the GL suit and the story would be identical in every way.

I fear the same will happen with the return of Barry. Nothing new will happen,w e'll get some status quo returns to pre-Crisis when Barry was the star and then stories that could have been told with Wally or even Bart in the Flash suit.

Johns will do a good job with it, but it doesn't mean it had to happen, just like the return of Hal didn't need to happen if they'd just put the same talent behind a Kyle or Guy or John solo book.

Dave said...

While I think that Barry Allen should stay with Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy, Bucky and Jason Todd, I have to admit that I would like to see a little bit more optimism and wonder in comics. Barry Allen was a wide-eyed optimist, at least that's the way I've always seen him. His death really was the end of the Silver Age and a change to a different approach in comics. That's a pretty obvious observation. What I'd really like to see is Barry back as a CSI-type forensics expert. I always smile when I watch any one of those shows. Barry Allen was there first. I wouldn't want to see him back any darker.

Did anybody see the story about the guy presumed dead for twenty years? He was staying somewhere and left right before a flood and was listed as dead in the casualty report. I saw that story just as the new broke on Barry Allen coming back. I said to myself, "Well how are they going to bring him back from the dead after more than twenty years? Who's going to believe that...Oh."

Jason said...

THe one thing that I have kept in mind, and in a way had my fingers crossed is what Marv Wolfman wanted to the Return of Barry Allen. When he was told to kill of Barry Allen he told DC he didn't want to, he wanted to take Barry out of the 50's and make him a more compelling character. His way of doing this starts with the Crisis On infanite Earths: When Barry dies he is seen in the past, future, and present. Wolfman's idea what Barry could come back, escape if not for a little while. So as no to diminish his sacrafice. He wanted to have Barry trust to the future while still running his death race. This being a way to update him, give him more of a cause, because he could, at any point, be thrust back to the moment before he dies running around the Anit-matter cannon. He would have the sence of "I don't have the time" as he does in Flash Rebirth 1 (When he's talking to Hal).
I'm sure that they wont do this, but I have my fingers crossed. Bart does have a point when he says "what did her really sacrifice?". (He has lost time)I was 5 when I started on The Flash... Barry is Earths Greatest hero for what he did. How ever, We can't help but love reading "My name is Wally West. I'm the Fastest Man Alive. I'm The Flash" at the beginning of each issue...
On a side note: I'm not happy about changing Barry's past. His parents were not dead, and he IS a square. Bow tie and all!

oakleyses said...

jordan shoes, michael kors outlet, christian louboutin uk, gucci handbags, true religion outlet, longchamp outlet, polo outlet, burberry outlet, nike free, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet store, coach outlet store online, replica watches, nike air max, polo ralph lauren outlet online, prada outlet, christian louboutin, burberry handbags, prada handbags, kate spade, michael kors outlet, nike air max, chanel handbags, coach purses, michael kors outlet online, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, christian louboutin shoes, kate spade outlet, michael kors outlet online

oakleyses said...

burberry pas cher, ralph lauren uk, new balance, sac hermes, ray ban pas cher, longchamp pas cher, true religion outlet, sac longchamp pas cher, nike air max uk, north face, nike roshe, nike air force, polo ralph lauren, converse pas cher, ray ban uk, louboutin pas cher, michael kors, guess pas cher, polo lacoste, michael kors pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike free uk, nike blazer pas cher, timberland pas cher, hogan outlet, nike air max uk, sac vanessa bruno, nike free run, north face uk, true religion jeans, hollister uk, mulberry uk, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, hollister pas cher, nike air max, air max, nike tn, jordan pas cher, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, lululemon canada

oakleyses said...

vans outlet, abercrombie and fitch, mac cosmetics, mcm handbags, hollister clothing, reebok outlet, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, nike roshe run, lululemon, oakley, giuseppe zanotti outlet, beats by dre, celine handbags, north face outlet, hermes belt, instyler, herve leger, iphone 6 cases, nike huaraches, mont blanc pens, chi flat iron, jimmy choo outlet, nike air max, longchamp uk, hollister, p90x workout, valentino shoes, soccer shoes, babyliss, timberland boots, nike roshe run uk, new balance shoes, insanity workout, asics running shoes, ghd hair, north face outlet, baseball bats, bottega veneta, soccer jerseys, nfl jerseys, ferragamo shoes

oakleyses said...

louboutin, vans, montre pas cher, converse, ugg boots, uggs outlet, marc jacobs, toms shoes, lancel, swarovski crystal, coach outlet, converse outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, juicy couture outlet, hollister, uggs on sale, ray ban, ugg uk, nike air max, wedding dresses, juicy couture outlet, replica watches, ralph lauren, ugg boots, pandora uk, ugg pas cher, hollister, gucci, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, supra shoes, thomas sabo, ugg, karen millen uk, links of london, pandora jewelry, uggs outlet, swarovski

Post a Comment

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Crisis - Comic Book Review Blog. Comments are always appreciated. You can sign in and comment with any Google, Wordpress, Live Journal, AIM, OpenID or TypePad account.