Welcome to the final part of The Life Story of the Flash. You can look back at Parts one and two. Here we come to see Barry’s final big challenges as the Flash, and how he lived out his life. We also get a glimpse of stories that were yet to be as of the original printing. Some changed events forever, others not so much. Again I warn there are some minor spoilers ahead for things that maybe involved in the show.
Spoiler Warning have talked about recent DC event at time of writing.
To bring us hurdling to our climax, we are reintroduced to Barry’s worst enemy, The Reverse Flash. Not intent on just hurting Barry he has become obsessed with replacing him. It comes to the point that he has begun targeting Iris. He got to the point where gave her an ultimatum, she could leave Barry for him, or die at his hands. Using future technology he made sure Iris couldn’t warn her husband of the plot at hand, but still be able to think over the decision. Iris of course chose death, and paid the price without being able to say goodbye. Of course this being a comic death is rather cheap. When Iris was killed her spirit was greeted by her real parents, who were still alive…
Their last dance…
Barry was a wreck, he’d lost the love of his life. He had found that Zoom had killed Iris, and failed to get his revenge as Zoom got lost through time in their fight. It took months for the fastest man on the planet to move from his home. Of course once he entered his new place he kicked back into high gear. This of course was a troubling period of bad friendships that never went anywhere for Barry. He did manage to find love again with a beautiful blonde who took him for a criminal at first. Barry being in the rush that he was proposed rather quickly, and a wedding was soon to happen again. Barry however never got to that wedding as Zoom had arrived to greet Barry’s new bride. Zoom wanted to leave a lasting impression.
Unfortunately not their last dance.
To stop Zoom Barry took extremes, and unfortunately they went too far. The Flash had killed Zoom by breaking his neck while trying to stop him. Without any resistance Barry allowed himself to be arrested and took measures to make sure if the Flash went to jail Barry Allen was gone for good. He was almost voted out of the Justice League, made to question if there was another way, even from his own sidekick. Of course one of his villains Abra Kadabra was tampering with the Jury anyway so Barry was in a no win situation. He did have someone on his side though. One of the jurors turned out to be a familiar face, hiding out to help. Having been resurrected in the future Iris was sent back as a last ditch effort to make sure Barry would win his trial. She outsmarted Abra, and got Barry cleared. Barry now free said his goodbyes and rejoined Iris in the future to settle down.
This didn’t work.
After what seemed like months in paradise Barry and Iris couldn’t be happier. All seemed well for the lovely couple but unfortunately that wouldn’t last. The Anti-Monitor started his campaign to destroy all the worlds. He targeted the future where Barry was living and set up a trap to capture the Flash. Knowing he was the only person to freely be able to travel universes the Anti-Monitor needed to capture Barry alive. He then used Barry as source of energy to continue his onslaught. The Flash wasn’t going to just be used by a destroyer. He saved up some of his energy to escape his confines. Going further into the compound he found a weapon that he could only stop at the cost of his life. He never gave it two thoughts, and with that The Flash saved us all.
Saviour of the Multiverse
Barry’s death was something Iris knew the moment he went out to save the day. She wished she could have at least told him he was going to be a father. Turns out he was going to be twice over, as she gave birth to healthy twins. The twins both grew up with their own speed based powers and were known as the Tornado Twins. They had their own careers as costumed crusaders and family’s as well. The girl gave birth to future Legionnaire XS, who hasn’t done much outside of the Post Crisis run. His son fathered a hyperactive Bart Allen who had to be sent back in time due to advanced aging. Bart was in the body of a 12 year old before his second birthday. He would go on to become Impulse, founding member of Young Justice, then Kid Flash, and had a short run as the Flash as well. While as Impulse he was mentored by the long lived, time traveling speedster Max Mercury. Max who didn’t really hid his identity too much, only mentored Bart because he was too much for the successor of Barry to handle.
Wally West, who not only took mantle of the Flash, but did so as a public identity based hero. After a rough start Wally started to go above and beyond what Barry did as the Flash. He did feats that other speeders could only stare and gawk at. He took the title and lifted the bar to new heights form where Barry left off. Wally’s run as the Flash is currently the one that is most remembered today and featured in the current show. He unfortunately hasn’t been very prominent since Barry’s return however.
Now as the book closes Iris brings about forewarning for future events. These were not done immediately either, some were very minor events, like Bart losing a virtual friend. Others would bring about huge changes to both how we see Barry and other events. Some were very literal such as Bart’s dark twin, being his evil clone. Others were well hidden in throw away lines like I mention in part one of Barry’s own evil twin.
The main impact of this book, other than to serve as a tribute to Barry, was to show his history in the post crisis Earth. When Barry died there were multiple worlds, however the events of Barry’s death contradicted the new cannon that had become New Earth. This was made to correlate the changes. It does a fantastic job of telling us little tidbits and showing full scenes in mix of texts and comic panels. The story lines it sets up come from the tiniest of hints, yet make it look like they were just part of the story. It also shows a deep love for the comics it spawned from keeping alive the simple person Barry was under the mask.
The art is still some of the better comic art out there, using a look similar to the Silver age era. When the words disappear the art becomes the main driving force of the story. It brings to life the characters and scenes to show us their story. While it is generally consistent there are parts where there are odd little oddities like white Batman like pupils for the Flash on some pages. Still has a great aesthetic to match the tone of the book.
Unfortunately the events of this book do not cover anything in the current Nu52 run. While the death and rebirth of the Reserve Flash and the Flash play a role in creating it. For the TV series it does reference Barry’s sacrifice in the future newspaper and references the twin message at the beginning of book. Those are the only two things that have carried over so far. Barry’s life has been changed so much that this book now feels dated. Even after the latest series Convergence brought back the original multiverse and timeline, this book still isn’t relevant anymore. Spoilers for convergence here: At the end of Convergence New Earth Superman, Hal Jordan Pre Zero Hour Parallax and a couple other heroes go back to the original Crisis and stop the Flash and Supergirl from dying. In doing so they also revived the original multiverse. How this affects DC publications won’t be seen outside of the Nu52 based series just yet, but we will be seeing books form other worlds shortly.
Overall this is a great read for those who don’t want to trudge of 20 years single issues to know the history of Barry Allen. Even with all of the retcons, I would still recommend this book. It shows the man the Flash is supposed to be through and though. Overall this book is a solid 8/10. It doesn’t change the medium, but it brought one the most important characters back to the spotlight when he could have easily been forgotten.
The Life Story of the Flash - 8/10