Flash Foreshadowing

To this day it’s not really clear how far ahead the 2007 death of Bart Allen and return of Wally West (not to mention the subsequent return of Barry Allen in 2008) were planned.

Interviews with Mark Waid and Marc Guggenheim at the time made it clear that it was in the works “nearly a year ago,” and definitely before Guggenheim took over as writer. Dan Didio has suggested it was their plan all along, though many fans find this idea suspect, and find it more likely that it was put in place after the first few issues of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive failed to catch on with readers.

While looking for something in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1, I noticed something interesting in the Barry Allen dream/origin sequence:

Will you ever outrun the shadow, Bart?

It shows Barry’s death, along with the Black Flash, who figured prominently in the last few issues. And that last remark: “Will you ever outrun the shadow, Bart?”

It could simply be setting the dark mood that pervaded the beginning of Bart’s run. On the other hand, maybe they did have this planned all along.

Originally posted at K-Squared Ramblings.


11 thoughts on “Flash Foreshadowing

  1. collectededitions

    Related, has it ever been explained where Wally Went to in Infinite Crisis (and returned from in Justice League: The Tornado’s Path)? Ditto how Barry, Max, and Johnny Quick showed up in Infinite Crisis? Various stories have suggested Wally was with Barry, was in a place with a duplicate Jay Garrick, etc., but I’ve never read a definitive explanation.

    Not looking for spoilers, naturally, just wondering if and when it’s ever been addressed.
    .-= collectededitions’s latest blog post: Review: Superman: New Krypton Vol. 2 hardcover/paperback (DC Comics) =-.

  2. mattchee

    I’ll believe that the IDEA of bringing back Barry has floated around as a serious possibility for a while– as far back as Infinite Crisis. Geoff Johns himself has said that it was something they’d talked about, and tried to implement since IC, more than once.

    On that note: I got a pretty clear and distinct feeling, while reading the Lighting Saga JLA/JSA crossover that it was originally about bringing back BARRY, not Wally. All the way up until Wally appeared in fact. Its sad, actually, I think the story would have had more punch, and it would have been a way better return for Barry than randomly showing up chasing a bullet backward through time and a “Okay, well I’m here now.”

    That said, I do think the last two attempts with Bart and Wally were honest attempts at revitalizing the character (IE – had they worked (or been given a chance to work) they would have continued on the respective path), though I do think by the second arc in each, the decision to try something else had been made, and the Barry thing was the ultimate solution (til the next one).
    .-= mattchee’s latest blog post: Vroom ‘n’ Boom – a Bigger Explosion Proof Preview! =-.

  3. Clegane, Sandor

    Collected Editions – Brad Meltzer revealed some time ago that the ending to the Lightning Saga was changed at the last minute, though he didn’t say how or why.

    Prior to the crossover’s release, he advertised that this was a story he and co-writer Geoff Johns had been waiting to tell their “whole lives”.

    They obviously weren’t looking to bring back Wally West from a parallel dimension their whole lives, since he’d only been there a year or so. They were likely talking about returning Barry to the DCU.

    I’d speculate DC decided to delay Barry’s return to give them time to build up to it with Final Crisis and Rebirth. This was in early 2007, and they probably figured 1 1/2 years would give them plenty of time to schedule the return accordingly. Whoops…

    1. mattchee

      I don’t happen to think they handled either Lightning Saga or the return in Final Crisis very well. Rebirth is kind of the consolation prize, if you will.

      I have to wonder if it had to do with Johns having his schedule clear to do a regular series?

      The bright side of the whole thing is that I think bringing Barry back at a time where both Wally and Bart are back in the picture will make for some interesting dynamics.
      .-= mattchee’s latest blog post: Vroom ‘n’ Boom – a Bigger Explosion Proof Preview! =-.

    2. Perplexio

      I’d speculate DC decided to delay Barry’s return to give them time to build up to it with Final Crisis and Rebirth. This was in early 2007, and they probably figured 1 1/2 years would give them plenty of time to schedule the return accordingly. Whoops…

      Assigning a story about the re-birth of the Fastest Man Alive to the slowest comic artist alive certainly didn’t help. I love Van Scriver’s artwork. Just not a fan of his speed (or lack thereof).

    3. Kelson Post author

      OTOH, they could have been talking about wanting to tell a Justice League/Justice Society/Legion of Super-Heroes team-up all their lives. From what I remember, the part about bringing back the Flash really only became clear in the last part of the 5(?)-part story.

  4. Perplexio

    I think Bart’s run as the Flash fell so flat because it seemed so arbitrary. At the time there was no real explanation of where Wally was or what he was up to. That didn’t come until Waid returned for his mini-run and even then the whole Flash planet thing seemed a bit “hokey.”

    I still think it’s going to be retconned a bit and “Bart’s” run as the Flash will be explained as not being the Bart from regular continuity. One of the Barts from one of the other Earths (he didn’t even realize he wasn’t on his own Earth because this one was so similar to the one he was from) became the Flash and was killed. The Bart that was brought back in Legion of Three Worlds was the Bart that had last been seen in Infinite Crisis NOT the one that had been killed in FFMA #13.

    I know I’m in the minority, but I liked how Guggenheim was writing Bart. I liked how the whole following in Barry’s footsteps and becoming a forensics cop was being done. I know a criticism of Guggenheim’s run was how he wrote the rogues so out of character. That’s what leads me to believe that Bart’s death wasn’t premeditated as far back as some at DC may now be claiming. It felt rushed and I think in rushing it Guggenheim was forced to write some of the rogues out of character to bring a swift end to Bart’s run as The Flash. Bilson & DiMeo did right by trying to introduce a new rogue for Bart, even if that rogue was poorly written. They had the right idea, it was just poorly executed.

    I hope that DC FINALLY does something with the whole Owen Mercer/Bart Allen half-brotherhood thing. It’s been out there for years. Do either of them even know they’re related yet? And speaking of Bart, with Barry back– is he going to be Barry’s sidekick or is he going to stick with being Wally’s sidekick. There have been panels in some of the first few issues of Rebirth that indicate Bart isn’t exactly happy about his grandfather’s return and still considers Wally, not Barry, to be his mentor.

  5. Esteban Pedreros

    With the shitstorm (pardon my french), DC received after the launch of the Flash: TFMA, the death of bart Allen and the Return of Wally West, one would guess that they would have pointed out that it was all part of some sort of plan, just to calm down the fans.

    If they ever said something like “It will all be clear in the future”, that doesn’t really count, as they can make the future up as they go.


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