For a superhero who can run faster than the speed of light, it sure took him long enough to return.
DC Comics is reviving Barry Allen – aka The Flash – the popular superhero killed off by the publisher 23 years ago.
Unlike other comic book deaths – even Superman went up, up and away for just a year – The Flash was so good at dying that his demise became part of comic book lore.
Many fans had come to like the character better dead than alive after he was disintegrated saving the universe.
“That’s the point of comics – they don’t have to die, because they’re fictional creations,” said Grant Morrison, one of the writers behind the comeback.
“We can do anything with them, and we can make them come back and make them defy death,” Morrison said. “And that’s why people read comics, to get away from the way life works, which is quite cruel and unheroic and ends in death.”
Not so fast, said comic historian Alan Kistler. “Barry’s had this heroic sacrifice, which is the coolest thing you can do for a superhero,” insisted Kistler – unaware that DC Comics will announce the Flash’s resurrection today in the last panel of its “DC Universe #0.”
“If you brought Barry back, the question is can you do anything to top it?”
Well, The Flash did save the entire comic book industry.
When the red-and-gold costumed speedster debuted in “Showcase #4” in 1956, super heroes were virtually extinct; Westerns and war comics were all the rage.
All that changed with the surprise sales success of The Flash, rejuvenating the likes of Superman and paving the way for future superheroes, including Spider-Man.
“Without Barry Allen, we’d still be reading comic books about cowboys,” Geoff Johns, co-writer of the new Flash comics, told the Daily News.
Morrison and Johns had been waiting for the right moment to bring back their childhood hero. In Johns’ words, “When the greatest evil comes back to the DC Universe, the greatest hero needed to return.”
Comic hyperbole aside, Morrison believes that it won’t take long for The Flash to get back up to speed, alongside his Justice League teammates, Batman and Wonder Woman.
“He’s the God of the modern world,” Morrison said. “People are doing more everyday, moving faster and I think the Flash can be their hero. I do think he’s a superhero for now.”