Flash: Rebirth #2 Cover and Didio on Why Barry?

Newsarama’s latest 20 questions with Dan Didio is up, featuring a detailed response to the question, “Why bring Barry back when Wally has been the Flash for a whole generation of readers?” — and the cover to Flash: Rebirth #2, an homage to that classic Showcase #4 cover (previously reimagined for the collected edition of “The Return of Barry Allen”)

Showcase #4 Flash: Rebirth #2

Time to start worrying about dead speedsters?

The Q&A segment is long, so I’ll put it after the cut.

10. A couple of Flash questions showed up in the thread – Barry Allen had one of the most heroic and honorable deaths in modern comics, complete with his replacement coming of age and literally filling his boots to honor him. When the story lines up so logically, and his replacement, Wally, has been the Flash for the past 20+ years, why bring Barry back?

DD: The same logic that applied to Hal Jordan’s return applies to Barry Allen’s. My argument is that we want to return our characters to their most iconic representations. In the case of Flash – you can’t tell the origin of Wally West without Barry Allen. Barry Allen was the first Flash of this generation. You don’t have a Wally West without Barry. You don’t have a Bart Allen without Barry. You don’t have the Tornado Twins without Barry Allen. All of these things spring from Barry being the primary Flash. Beaucse of that, we decided to go back to our roots, find what made him the most unique Flash of the bunch – and not at the expense of the other Flashes. We wanted to show what makes Barry great, what makes Barry unique and show why Barry Allen is first and foremost, The Flash.

NRAMA: It seems like an uphill battle – for this generation of DC readers, or for the under 30 segment of DC readers, Wally has been The Flash for them. Barry coming back will appeal to a certain group of older fans who knew Barry as the Flash, and a group that you want to convince that Barry is “the” Flash for the DC Universe.

DD: There was a point in time where we convinced a group of fans that Wally West was the Flash after Barry’s death. There was a point in time when we convinced fans that Bart Allen could be the Flash. And you can argue that there was a time before Barry even appeared who believed that Jay Garrick was the only Flash. What we’re doing is we’re looking at all the new Flashes, and building new story on Barry. There are many things that make this character great and unique, and more importantly, we’re hoping that this will appeal to people who are fans of the Flash franchise.

You say I’m talking to fans who’ve never known Barry as the Flash, but the truth is, Wally has seen him and interacted with him. We have told stories from Brave and Bold to Flash itself where Barry was front and center. We’ve told stories with the Justice League where we’ve referred back to Barry. Quite honestly, Barry Allen has never been gone from the DC fans’ psyche for an extended period of time. It’s the same argument that I’ve made with Hal Jordan. When Hal Jordan was “dead,” he was in books just as much as when he was alive, both as The Spectre and in flashback appearances.

In both cases, the fact that our writers always go back to those touchstones, and that the fans always buy those stories when the characters appear in them show to us that there is a continued interest in those characters as well as continued support for those characters. Our hope is that when we bring them in and make them the regular Flash and Green Lantern again, and put them right in the front of the existing continuity, people will be there and excited about it.

11. A question then about Flash: Rebirth from the thread – is Geoff’s plan with Flash: Rebirth similar to what he’s done with Green Lantern, where Rebirth was the first part of a larger trilogy that now includes the Sinestro Corps War and the coming Blackest Night?

DD: That’s getting a little ahead of ourselves, but there are elements in Rebirth that will have definite repercussions when the regular series begins.


23 thoughts on “Flash: Rebirth #2 Cover and Didio on Why Barry?

  1. Mo

    Man, thats sweet! Ill say what I said round the ‘Bloc: Awesome cover! I really like the new version kind of thing! But, as I will say this with everything Flash, needs some MOOSE!

  2. CM22

    Technically isn’t it just as necessary that Jay exist in Barry’s origina as it is Wally? I mean in a recap page it’s one sentence. Wally West was struck by lightning and bathed in the same chemicals as his mentor Barry Allen and grew up to become THE FLASH. Barry Allen was struck by lightning and bathed in chemicals and donned the costumed alias of a child hood comic book hero, Jay Garrick, THE FLASH.

    Unless of course they’re going to edit out the Jay Garrick influence from Barry. Which technically, is just cheating to prove a point.

    1. Kelson Post author

      I mean in a recap page it’s one sentence.

      Yeah, that’s the problem I have with this argument. Just because you can go into incredible detail tracing a character’s origin through all his predecessors doesn’t mean it’s necessary.

      Even Bart — as Kid Flash, all you need to know is that he’s the grandson of a previous Flash and inherited his speed. Done. It’s a little more complicated as Impulse because you have to mention growing up in virtual reality so he has no concept of danger. Even then you don’t need to worry about the time travel.

  3. CM22

    Every interview just digs it in worse and worse for me honestly.

    Though, the cover is technically amazing, and as always great work from the team, but I REALLY didn’t need to see Wally and Jay running themselves to death. Not incredibly hope inspiring.

  4. Brandan

    Thank you CM22. How can Didio honestly use that as an argument when Barry wasn’t the first Flash! Didio is making rash decisions(bringing Barry back) to re imagine his favorite characters, instead of just having someone write a good Wally West story. He talks like every issue Wally ever had featured or discussed Barry Allen! I have little hope for Wally fans after Rebirth.

  5. Seve.Ride

    Wally is a continuation though. A great character trying to replace a proverbial “legend” and strike lightning twice. And it worked.

    But that story does start with Barry, and all the important Flash concepts start there. The costume, the rogues, Zoom, Grodd, founding the JLA, time travel, speed powers, the Superman races, on and on. That’s why Barry is central. Sure, you can transfer all that concept stuff to ANY character. But it is Barry’s schtick.

  6. Seve.Ride

    And Brandan, firsr has little to do with anything. Nothing about the Flash mythos is based on Jay. He came first and was popular for 10 or so years. But since 1956 the Flash has been based around Barry and his lineage.

    1. Kelson Post author

      Nothing? Other than the obvious super-speed and the name, how about…Keystone City, winged headgear, lightning motif, time travel (yes, Jay did time travel on several occasions), a love interest who knew the hero’s identity, various speed-based tricks…

  7. Jason West

    i am excited about Rebirth.

    i’m not any one particular Flash’s fan. i am a Flash fan. whoever it is. Wally, Jay, Barry, you name it.

    i choose to ignore what DiDio or Johns or whoever at DC says. it’s Geoff Johns, it’s EVS, it’s The Flashes, it’s the Rogues. what more could you want? stop being finicky and enjoy the ride!

    .-= Jason West’s latest blog post: Rebirthing… =-.

  8. West

    How much Jay matters depends on how the cosmic dust settles after DC’s latest crises (which I don’t claim to understand).

    If Jay continues to be from the same Earth as Barry, then Barry’s Flash is based on Jay’s. If not, then Barry’s Flash is his own entity.

    I do agree with Seve, though, that Barry’s identity as the Flash is less dependent on Jay’s than the other Flash’s identities are dependent on Barry’s.

    Wally didn’t just take Barry’s costume and become the Flash. He also existed as Barry’s sidekick. That’s part of his identity and history. It’s tied to Barry moreso than Barry’s name and visual themes are tired to Jay’s Flash.

    And so on.

    In the end, though, Didio has shown he’ll say what he has to say to sell the product. So, the reasons he’s given us needn’t be THE reasons. They just have to sound halfway plausible and distract from the fact that DC has screwed up the Flashes to the point that they feel the need to go back to basics.

    Jay’s old and JSoA is too popular to make him young, again.

    Bart was screwed up. Hopefully I needn’t rehash that.

    Wally has formed his own Flashtastic Four.

    Barry is revered. They said, “Screw it. We brought back Jason Todd. We can darn-sure bring back Barry and breathe some new life into this franchise, like we did with GL.”

    We’re spinning our wheels dissecting stuff that Didio himself may or may not believe. DC wants to sell more funny books and they’ll kill or resurrect whomever they have to to accomplish that.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Mary, Mary, Mary =-.

  9. Javi Trujillo

    First, Wally is iconic. Ask anyone who grew up with Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. My son has 3 wally west figures.

    oh, and you never convinced me that Bart could be the flash. at least not yet. the transition from impulse to kid flash to flash was very fast and unexpected. i figured maybe someday bart may take over, but i don’t see a reason why wally can’t stay as the lead in the main book. apparently, if you read or write comics, your story is over once you marry and have kids. wally;s story has much left to be told and the kids can’t drag down someone who can outrace death.

    is a presumably young barry going back to his old wife iris? what about going to the future to spend time with his kids and grandkids? isnt he part of the flashtastic four then too?

    while we’re at it, let’s get rid of all the legacy characters in the JSA. they’re not iconic enough.

    I can handle letting Kyle and Wally go if it is to make way for the NEXT generation’s heroes, not for the return of the PREVIOUS. they aren’t bad characters, but keep them in an out of continuity silver age tales book.

  10. West

    Javi, I don’t think Barry’s got a Flashtastic Four because his offspring aren’t young – or alive. His grandkid is from the future. He’s got a wife, but she’s not any more of a hindrance than most other love interests.

    Wally’s kids, the way I’ve seen them handled, became more than an anchor to keep him grounded. They became more like something that held him back – despite how often he’s out-raced death.

    They’re not babies, too young to have voices or character traits that are relevant to the series. They’re not adults, off to start their own families. They’re of walking, talking, deciding, lying, (potentially dying) and superheroing (supposedly) age and they’re active as heck, alongside their father. And then Linda becomes more than an emotional support – she becomes a superheroic support system, complete with advanced technological aids. That’s Flashtastic Four territory.

    To me, that’s a big difference.

    To address your other point about whether Barry will go back to his old wife (when they’re probably going to make him young) – I dunno, but I think that’s one of the things that suggests this move is a bad idea. Barry’s return (which I still don’t understand) ought to be a result of a grand event that restructures or reboots DC continuity. Otherwise, Barry has no Iris that’s his age. He’s got kids he never raised, but apparently won’t go to the future to do so (and I’m guessing they won’t come to the present). The list goes on.

    I’m not a fan of his return, to be honest. Between logical reasons, like those, and philosophical disagreements with the creators behind the curtains, I do not see good things ahead. Yet hope springs eternal.

    It just doesn’t have as much spring as it used to.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Mary, Mary, Mary =-.

  11. George Morrow

    I’ve been reading and enjoying the Flash for a couple of years now because of the good buzz around Geoff John’s run and the likable portrayal on the Justice League cartoon, but I’m out.

    “Our hope is that when we bring them in and make them the regular Flash and Green Lantern again, and put them right in the front of the existing continuity, people will be there and excited about it.”

    This is like a slap in the face. It’s not like the Kyle Rayner/John Stewart situation where you had fans clamoring for Hal Jordan to come back. Wally West was accepted as the Flash for over twenty years and a generation of readers. This just feels like a completely transparent way of setting the clock back so a bunch of writers, artists and editors can have comics the way they were when they were reading with no regard or respect for the people who’ve been following the books since then.

    I was annoyed by this all but was curious enough to give it a shot, but when I read something like that where they’re not even going to pretend like Wally West isn’t going to be marginalized I just can’t. It’s the written equivalent of being kicked in the balls.

    Have a good day.
    George Morrow

    .-= George Morrow’s latest blog post: So, I Figured Out What’s Wrong With My Back =-.

  12. Javi Trujillo

    the tornado twins’ death has nothing to do with it. Eobard Thawne is dead, and yet he and Wally fought after Barry killed him. Barry is more synonymous with time travel and what could stop him from visiting or saving his kids other than the writers? I don’t think Wally’s kids are that well developed yet, other than what they are being shoe horned into for Didio to bring back Barry. Let’s face it, since Johns left, the main Flash book has been pretty disappointing. There have been a few rays of hope, but it doesn’t feel like enough effort and care were being put in. the last 2 years feel like a placeholder.

    maybe with all her futuristic know how, Iris can surgically alter herself to look younger.

    speaking of surgery, the end of flash 350 had barry with black hair and his face altered. in crisis did he change it back before he died? or was his look retconed in some other story dealing with him being in the future?

  13. West

    The Tornado Twins’ deaths DO have something to do with it, as long as “it” remains consistent with the original question: “isnt he [barry] part of the flashtastic four then too?”

    The answer is no, because I don’t think anyone on this board believes that Barry’s series will take place in the future or that DC will make Barry even MORE like Wally’s by… resurrecting Barry, rejuvenating his wife, and de-aging his kids and bringing them into the present to be raised by their parents.

    That’s what it would take for Barry to have a “Flashtastic Four” within in the context I meant when I first typed the term under this post.

    If they’re going to do all of that, they may as well have kept Wally in the throne.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Mary, Mary, Mary =-.

  14. Golden Snowball

    I like that they’re bringing back Barry but only because the since Infinite Crisis, the Flash franchise has been run into the ground by DC.

    The damage done to Bart and Wally seemed (at the time) irrevocable but at least now they’re fixing things. And with things messed up, maybe something as drastic as Barry coming back is what’s needed.

    I totally disagree that Barry. If anything, I think the Flash SHOULD embrace its legacy hero aspect. The only ONLY superhero in comics who has successfully passed on the mantle from one hero to the other.

    Sure, Green Lantern passes rings around like a Hollywood Marriage contract but only the Flash characters are intricately connected to each other. Barry was a fan of Jay and Flash of Two Worlds strengthened their link as a legacy hero. Even in the retconned universe. We all know the ties of Wally and Bart to the name.

    The first sidekick to successfully surpass his mentor. And Barry, I felt, always lived on in Wally as corny as that sounds but Wally upheld Barry’s legacy at great cost and risk to himself.

    Anyway, here’s hoping that 2009 returns the Flash to his pacekeeping status as one of DC’s elite.

  15. Golden Snowball

    By the way, it was explained in Life Story of the Flash that Barry did in fact get is face changed back in the future.


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