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!
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.
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.
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 àlready 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.