Welcome to Part two of my Review of “The Life of the Flash.” You can see part one over here. This time around I will be talking about the latter half of the book which covers a more personal look at Barry’s adventures. As before this story is rather old, but still has some possible spoilers in it for modern Flash stories.
Picking up where we left off, we now come to the introduction of Barry’s closest ally. Starting off with a poor family life as left a young Wally West looking for a hero. He found one in our scarlet hero, and had his Aunt help him meet his idol. Now of course Iris wasn’t able to coax the Flash directly, but hoped that her fiancé could reach him with his mutual interest in Justice. Barry being the kind soul that he is takes the kid on a tour of his day job, before setting up a visit from The Flash. While answering the boy’s questions of his origin, history repeats itself and grants Wally the same powers as his hero. With this sudden development Barry takes Wally under his wing and has him become Kid Flash, happily named so by his unknowing Aunt. Starting out in an identical costume, Wally wouldn’t gain his own unique outfit until after Barry finally shared his identity and an accident with a matter converter took place.
Our next introduction is to Barry’s lovable group of Rouges. His group of villains who all share a taste in designer fashion. While not all not all of his villains could make the list, the ones who did make a lasting impression. Familiar threats for those who have seen the TV show include: Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Heatwave, the Trickster, Weather Wizard, Grodd and of course the Reverse Flash. It also includes a few villains that I will enjoy seeing on TV like Mirror Master, Abra Kadabra and Dr. Element. It gives minor details to villains who don’t share a name with Barry’s alter ego, but enough to get how serious a threat they could be. As for the Reverse Flash, his story in this doesn’t end in the introduction, but is put on hold for the next couple of chapters.
A group shot of the Rouges vs Barry’s successor.
Since we just saw Barry’s villains, what better time to introduce his hero? This is a retelling of the classic story of the Flash of two Worlds, from issue 123 of Vol 2. With the multiverse having been destroyed, instead of traveling between (more on that later,) Barry instead had to find an entire city that had been missing for decades. Hidden away by the combined powers of Golden age Flash villains the Fiddler, the Thinker and the Shade, Flash had to wake up his hero to save the day. The best way to read this chapter would be to read the original story as it is still a classic must read.
So after meeting his childhood inspiration Barry now was now preparing to face his next feat, getting married. Shortly before the wedding in comic fashion Barry had his identity revealed to the world and suddenly forgotten. No deal with the devil needed this time. Before the secret was put back, Barry had promised to reveal his secret to Iris again on his wedding day. Too bad the death of fellow officer to the local mob also made him promise to not go into the field. Conflicted Barry withheld the secret, but was able to get his wedding done without a supervillain brawl.
Now wedded bliss was something that neither party could find right away. Barry racked himself with work and keeping his secret, especially after getting asked about having kids. Iris however, would learn Barry’s identity from him, while he was sleeping. Iris wanting Barry to tell her himself, didn’t bring it up. She also threw herself into her work more and more as Barry held on to his secret. As she waited she gave herself an ultimatum, if Barry didn’t come clean by their anniversary, she was going to leave. Barry in typical fashion did come clean, at the last minute. However it turned out he was reluctant to share this secret till he finished some important tests. The tests were to see if he could sire children, which he didn’t want to rob Iris of the chance of having. They decided knowing was good enough, but they could wait to raise children for now.
With the big secret of Barry’s dual life out, our loving couple was able to enjoy their marriage much more. Now if Barry needs a quick exit, Iris would set up a distraction. Of course they were not just going to be sitting at home waiting for Barry to save the day. The enjoyed making friends like a co-worker of Barry who died while running for DA. Being the kind souls they were, they took in his daughter during her first year at University. She wasn’t privy to know Barry’s alter ego, but was treated a family just the same. Now as happy as they were, drama always has a way of sneaking in. While cleaning out her Dad’s office, Iris found something that would change her life. She found what looked to be a necklace with a name tag on it, Iris Russell. On further inspection a message began playing, detailing that Iris was not only not adopted, but from the future. With this revelation, Iris had a bit of a break down against her father. This was solved with a little reunion via Barry, but was not a simple matter.
Once again I will leave off here before we see the end of the story. Next week when we pick up we will see a big upheaval for Barry and a glimpse into the future.