(Editors Note: All editorials are solely the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of DC Comics News or its staff.)
In the time it took me to realize how little I cared about the minutia of Barry Allen’s life, a baby could’ve gone from conception to birth. In all likelihood, many did. And I hope they were all named Wally as an act of defiance.
I got nine issues into the New 52 Flash series before I dropped it. Trust me, abandoning a member of the Big Seven like that certainly hurt. It felt like a betrayal. I almost considered keeping the book on my pull list just for Francis Manapul’s excruciatingly beautiful art. But, at the end of the day, the writing didn’t hold up for me. I just didn’t care about Barry Allen.
Now, I’ve said this before and people usually don’t like it when I say it, but, given the circumstances, this is about as relevant as it’s ever going to be: the most interesting thing Barry Allen ever did was die. It was probably the best death a hero could have, really. He saved the whole damn universe. And he did it without a second thought, without any hesitation, no regrets.
There just isn’t another death in the entirety of DC history that even comes close to that. As Hal Jordan once so astutely put it, Barry died a saint.
And then “Rebirth” happened and Barry came back. The very instant he returned, every other speedster got marginalized. Most notably fan-favorite Wally West who’d maintained the mantle of the Flash for over twenty years. He doesn’t even exist anymore.
Barry’s solo series was okay. It certainly wasn’t as amazing as having Geoff Johns at the book’s helm should’ve made it. Of course, Francis Manapul was still there on art duties so the book at least looked sublime. Still, the issue was Barry. He just wasn’t particularly compelling.
I thought that might get remedied with the New 52. After all, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally had received one of the greatest runs of any hero in the DCU from Mark Waid. Maybe all Barry needed was a fresh start. Or so I thought.
As you could probably tell by the title of this article, that didn’t really pan out.
I think the real reason I dislike Barry is because he’s underdeveloped. We’re supposed to like him because he’s the Flash. He has, of course, all the necessary elements to be a really interesting character. But no one seems willing to actually explore those aspects. Hell, they were even ignored in “Flashpoint” for the most part!
Barry is a forensics expert who’s father was wrongly accused (or so Barry believes) of killing his wife, Barry’s mother. That’s compelling shit right there. But the writers seemed to forget about that until they needed a random filler panel at the end of a boring issue. Next issue, does Barry investigate further? Nope.
Mirror Master is nefariously fucking disco balls and everyone in the city is mad at the Flash for not creating a perpetual motion machine. Plus, Iris West gets bored waiting for Barry at the bow tie store… What wacky excuse will he use this time while flirting with patty spivot who is apparently important now and is that indian guy who’s always a dick to everyone secretly gay?
It’s like damn, Flash writers, how many plot lines can you make me not care about at one time?
Like I said, I only got nine issues in before I couldn’t justify spending three bucks a month on ten minutes of boredom. So maybe things have changed. Maybe Barry is incredibly interesting now. Then again, maybe he isn’t.
I want to like the Flash. I want to pick up the book and not be horribly disappointed. I want to get excited about the prospect of Barry Allen showing up on Arrow. But DC is making that difficult right now.