How John Byrne Would Have Brought Back Barry Allen

Wonder Woman v.2 #109Last week, comic book writer and artist John Byrne posted about how he would have brought Barry Allen back if he’d had the opportunity during the 1990s, as he hinted when responding to speculation about the cover for Wonder Woman v.2 #109. (IIRC, the Flash in the issue was either a clone or a robot. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it.)

Simple, really. It’s very, very, very hard to “kill” a character who can travel in Time. How old was Barry when he “died” in CRISIS? For all we know, he could have been 106.

My idea was to simply have Barry pop into existence in the “current” DCU, returning from one of his trips thru time to find he’d “missed his target” because of disruptions caused by CRISIS. He would then live out whatever life (nature and duration) the Powers that Be would allow.

This is similar to the way Mark Waid did bring Professor Zoom “back” for “The Return of Barry Allen” and the way a young time-traveling Hal Jordan spent some time in the then-present DCU for “Emerald Knights.” It’s also not far from the loophole Marv Wolfman placed in the character’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. The main difference is that in Wolfman’s plan, it would be Barry Allen during his final run, rather than a Barry from earlier in his career.

Byrne goes on to add:

(I also had an idea that, since Wally was being The Flash, Barry would take on another identity for a while, knowing that sooner or later he had to go die in CRISIS. But when the moment came, Wally would bushwhack him, take his place, and that would actually have been Wally we saw die.)

Interestingly, Peter David did essentially the same thing in his final Supergirl arc, “Many Happy Returns,” in which the Earth-1 Supergirl’s rocket gets diverted and lands on Post-Crisis Earth. After a few adventures, the Post-Crisis Supergirl gets in the rocket and takes her place, leading to a story of a 1990s heroine in a Silver-Age world. It doesn’t end well, for either of them.

Flash: Terminal VelocityFound in this week’s Lying in the Gutters, which also features another Flash-related story, short enough I might as well just quote the whole thing:

The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket, Rhode Island is having an online auction to raise funds for its non profit theatre. One of the items is a “Flash: Rebirth” #1 coupled with a TPB of “Flash: Terminal Velocity,” signed by the late great Mike Wieringo.


11 thoughts on “How John Byrne Would Have Brought Back Barry Allen

  1. deoagent

    It’s also very close in both statements to the way Geoff himself brought back to life Rex Tyler the original Hourman from his death in Zero Hour in JSA # 64-65 if I’m not mistaken.

    Rex was pulled from the past in the moment he was about to die and eventually replaced with the Hourman android (Mattew Tyler) to take his place or something like that.

  2. West

    Ah. I see someone already mentioned the Hour Man parallel.

    I like some elements of Byrne’s idea because I certainly enjoyed the young Hal Jordan’s visit from the past. I even enjoyed flexing my brain muscles figuring out how Hour Man could live and work in that little pocket of time – not to mention being replaced by another Hour Man, at the time of his death.

    However, I think Byrne’s point about how Barry Allen could be 106 is rather ridiculous. Being a time-traveler isn’t the same thing as being immortal (although I could see how it could come in handy).

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Hulk Fly! =-.

    1. American Hawkman

      I’m fairness, we’d seen that people in that future could survive ACTUAL DEATH by transferring their mind into a cloned body…. And that could be done through the timestream. Honestly, there’s no reason to assume Barry actually permanently died in the CRISIS at all.

  3. Kelson Post author

    Maybe not 106, but given that speedsters seem to age more gracefully than most, he could have easily had a decade or two of unchronicled adventures before coming back in time for COIE.

  4. West

    Maybe you’re right but I’ve never gotten the impression that speedsters age more gracefully than most other comic characters. Comic characters seem to age at the whims of their writers and artists – old one day and young the next. Or vice versa.

    Just ask Iris.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Hulk Fly! =-.

  5. West

    Maybe my mega-dorking count is too high but I can’t help being bothered by that Iris thing. I know that’s another topic but it snaps back into my mind whenever I think about Iris, now.

    I think Iris is key to so many other Flash elements that flaws in her characterization or representations affect more than just herself.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Hulk Fly! =-.

  6. Javi Trujillo

    so, John Byrne is bringing byrne stealing to an all new level? Wally DID go back in place of Barry to face the Anti-Monitor in Chain Lightning. It didn’t work out so well for him, either.

  7. West

    @ Javi

    I forgot all about that. It’s interesting that, despite all the ways that Wally surpassed Barry, the former was still unable to duplicate that ultimate sacrifice.

    Although, considering the retcons upon retcons that have taken place in the post-Crisis era, that storyline might never have happened… or it might have happened differently.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Hulk Fly! =-.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.