1984’s Crisis On Infinite Earths – The DC Comics Multiverse-wide event that saw the complete destruction of multiple versions of Earth and its superheroes as the company’s clean-up efforts to make their stories more linear – is known for two deaths: Supergirl and Barry Allen. In the case of Barry, his destruction of the Anti-Monitor’s cannon came at the cost of his own life. His loss was the most significant because it was the Barry Allen version of the original Scarlet Speedster that kicked off the Silver Age of Comics. Barry would remain dead, and his protege Wally West would carry on his mantle, until Geoff Johns retconned and returned him to prominence 25 years later in Final Crisis and Flash: Rebirth. Further, elements of the latter story – Barry’s origin retconned thanks to Johns and his red herring, The Reverse-Flash – would find their way into the conception of the successful live action CW adaption of the beloved hero. Not only his new backstory, but also his sacrifice.
Since the 2014 pilot of CW’s The Flash, Barry’s sacrifice and subsequent disappearance has been teased and hinted behind multiple stories and familiar sequences. But it always comes back to that future 2024 Central City Citizen article’s headline that appeared at the end of that first episode: “Flash Missing, Vanishes in Crisis” With the introduction of The Monitor in this year’s Arrowverse Crossover event “Elseworlds,” and that infamous teaser of the adaptation of Crisis On Infinite Earths, showrunner Todd Helbing confirms that article’s relevance.
“We’ve certainly been teasing [the headline] for a long time,“ Helbing laments, “but it’s a major factor in next year’s crossover. There will be little tidbits here and there that people will be able to start to put together.”
But will they go through with killing off one of the CW’s beloved superhero series? There have already been talks of a death of one of the major superheroes in the Arrowverse. Given Oliver Queen’s negotiations with the Monitor that ensured their defeat of this year’s Big Bad, and the introduction of sister Emiko Queen, could it be his time? Further, although Green Arrow is mentioned in Iris West’s article about Barry, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be Oliver under the hood. Then there was the appearance – and immediate disappearance – of Earth-90 Barry Allen/Flash portrayed by John Wesley Shipp, initially popping in and out much as how Barry had in the original story.
So many possibilities, so long a wait, and a multiverse of possible outcomes.
Sadly, we will all have to wait until November to see how the powers that be determine the final fate of The Fastest Man Alive.