There will only ever be one Flash. Barry Allen is the scarlet speedster we all love and he will forever be the fastest man alive. Geoff Johns knew that when he asked for Allen to be revived during the DC event ‘Final Crisis’. This brought back the Flash in a big way and brought a lot of attention back onto the series after a waning interest from the readership. Then, for his next trick, Johns wrote Flash Rebirth (in a similar vein to his previous Green Lantern Rebirth series which had been a resounding success) and blew fans away with a great story and origin redesign that is now considered to be the only Flash origin. With a Flash fever gripping readership the corporate higher ups wanted a big Flash event. Johns sat at his desk and then after several minutes began to pen the liquid gold that would be the Flashpoint script.
Flash had recently discovered an ability called the ‘speed force’ which gave him lots of new abilities and so Johns wanted to dig deep into how the character would react to such power. This lead to Barry using the speed force to time travel back to the past in an attempt to save his mother from her death. Barry managed this feat and then returned to the present to find himself in an alternative dimension. However, unlike many weaker alternative dimension storylines, this DCU was packed full of great characters and ‘what if?’ moments. We were introduced to a Thomas Wayne who had taken up the Bat-mantel I when his son had been killed in front of him and a warring version of Aquaman and Wonder Woman. It was a fun and vibrant universe that then lead to the Flash having to correct himself and allow his mother to die in an emotional climax you could find in few other books. The fallout carved the path for the new 52 and a completely different DC Universe.
A Flash In The Pan
I searched across a lot of websites in preparation for this article and so I can say with absolutely certainty that Flashpoint has never received a one-star or below rating on Amazon and only 1% of readers from Goodreads gave it one-star or below. That’s better a better record than industry classics such as Watchmen or the Killing Joke. There are a lot of reasons for this of course, less people have read Flashpoint than either of those greats for example, but I think a main reason is that Johns manages to nail the emotional heart of the situation. In the main book we get all the set up and pay off needed for both the Barry Allen and Thomas Wayne arcs which is a sign of great writing. The sales of the time show Flashpoint selling out and topping the charts at release. This was a success in all directions and it didn’t stop there.
The Rise Of The New 52
This book showed that comics can be crazy and play with high concept sci-fi, without resorting to the grim-dark ultra violence of the nineties scene. It heralded a new age over at DC where characters could undergo vast redesigns or backstory shifts, such as Snyder’s Swamp Thing or Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, as long as the plot was tied to great writing. It created a shift in the industry and left ripples that we are still feeling today with events like Secret Wars and Rebirth. This is a modern classic with a brilliant legacy to leave. Join me next time when I will be looking at The Walking Dead and how Image comics used a zombie apocalypse soap opera to rise from the dead.
…That was this week’s Comic History 101!!! Check back on Saturday for a new BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!!