“Hot” Iris

With the release of the Flash #1 preview, there’s been renewed talk about Iris Allen’s youth. After all, she lived long enough in the future to have children, watch them grow up, and have grandchildren, and when she came back with Bart, she looked visibly older: graying hair, crow’s feet, etc.

The question came up a lot when Flash: Rebirth launched last year, and I recall Ethan Van Sciver mentioning in one of his podcast interviews that he tried to draw her somewhat older, but that she and Barry didn’t look right together, so he and Geoff Johns decided to make her look closer to his age.

Now, there are a lot of reasons one can give for her looking 30 instead of 50 or 60: better medical care in the 31st century, the fact that she’s been transplanted into a new body at least once (don’t ask!), and the suggestion made in Flash: Rebirth #5 that exposure to the speed force keeps people young. This had actually been established before with Jay and to a lesser extent Joan Garrick.

Of course, it doesn’t explain why Iris would appear older in Flash vol.2 and Impulse, then younger in Flash: Rebirth and Flash vol.3, but since then, DC has established Superboy Punches, the “New Earth” rearrangement of history in Infinite Crisis, and Flash: Rebirth‘s alterations of Barry Allen’s past — including how and when he and Iris met.

But let’s not forget: When she returned after an extended absence during Geoff Johns’ run on Wally West’s series, Iris made her entrance looking like this:

That’s Flash vol.2 #180 (2002), art by Scott Kolins & Doug Hazlewood.


16 thoughts on ““Hot” Iris

  1. Esteban Pedreros

    I was just commenting this (in spanish), and it seems like nobody wanted to complicate themselves having the girlfriend/wife of the hero looking too old to be hot.

    I also think that Manapul draws Barry in a manner that makes him look younger than Wally, who’s supposed to be 27 or 28 years old.

    I think that it would be interesting to have an odd couple like that…. Barry back from the dead being around 35 to 40 years old, and Iris looking like she’s on her 50s. I guess that people would ask “what the hell happened to you?”, but it would be like that Mel Gibson movie from way back.
    .-= Esteban Pedreros’s latest blog post: Sólo Batman supera a Superman =-.

  2. Some Guy

    I get the feeling that they are drawing her so young because they are going to completely glaze over the fact that Barry’s going to be a deadbeat dad, by not mentioning the fact that he’s got kids in the future, and the means to time travel back to them and contribute to raising them.

    But they’ll keep bringing up Bart being his grandson, without mentioning the specifics about it, because Johns never liked Impulse.

    1. cm22

      Wow, I was thinking about this the other day. While I wouldn’t call him a Deadbeat Dad by any means (I always got the impression from “Chain Lightning” that he was around to raise the Tornado Twins for at least probably the first 10 years or so, even though Race Against Time makes him seem nonexistent to them) but yeah, Barry (and Iris) have a good bit of Family laying around that they should seem want to reconnect with. I never thought it made sense that Bart kept living with Jay after Iris came back. And while I definitely think that, and agree with Max being more of a father to Bart, even with him back it seems weird that Bart wouldn’t live with his Grandpa and Grandma(who, Bart has always been written as close to and protective of).

      But that’s definitely related to part of the “hot Iris” thing. I have a feeling even when he brought her back to raise Joshua (and then somehow let him get taken away from social services, kidnapped and killed :\) Johns was already planning for Iris to be back in a big way. And it’s just a rule of doing pretty much ANYTHING mainstream, your protagonists (and antagonists to a degree) HAVE to be attractive. It’s possible to draw a 50 year old attractive lady I guess, but usually attractiveness is associated with youth and vitality, so Iris needs to be young and hot, and so does Barry.

      As much as the Barry=Speedforce thing is silly to me, it’s in play, the speedforce has been shown keeping people young before, so it’s entirely viable that the speedforce would keep the person absolutely closest to Barry in her younger hottest form.

      1. Hyperion09

        it seems weird that Bart wouldn’t live with his Grandpa and Grandma

        I think it’s to avoid the potential difficulties that they’d have explaining Bart’s…unique situation to visitors not aware of the dual identity.

    2. Omar Karindu

      Barry and Iris’s kids were mentioned in the last issue of Rebirth, so it seems they weren’t completely forgotten.

      1. cm22

        When was this? I didn’t remember it the first couple of times I read it, and I just flipped through it again and didn’t see it either. Page or Scene?

          1. I.Strange

            Ditto, but the Tornado Twins were mentioned in Legion of Three Worlds #3, at least.

            Incidentally, I find the wording there rather interesting:

            “Your story started when Barry Allen took a brief reprieve in our time period and attempted to start a family. You were a part of that Flash family, XS. But after Barry Allen disappeared, his twins became targets of the Flash’s negative opposite…”[etc.]

            It sounds like maybe Barry stuck around long enough to raise his kids.

  3. Stanley

    Did the same thing happen with Joan? I started reading when Scott Kolins was on art, and I remember her being depicted older, frailer and more adorably great-grandmotherly. So now I always find it jarring when I can only tell her from Iris because she’s the one with gray hair. But maybe she was drawn that way because she was sick at the time.

    1. Kelson Post author

      Joan gets drawn all over the place. Sometimes she looks 50, sometimes she looks 90, sometimes she’s frail, sometimes she’s portly, and everywhere in between. I don’t think artists have even *tried* to be consistent with other artists’ portrayals over the last 20 years.

      Maybe because classic Joan is linked to the 1940s, artists are less worried about making her recognizable than they are with Iris.

  4. Perplexio

    I’m still curious about Barry’s almost 2nd wife, Fiona though. I’m not sure if Geoff is planning to retcon her out of existence (by Thawne having gone back in time and prevented her from meeting Barry or whatever) or if he plans on bringing her in to create a bizarre love triangle with her, Barry, and Iris. He could probably squeeze at least a 2-3 issue story-arc out of something like that. Or maybe have Fiona go all Glen Close in Fatal Attraction over Barry…. there are certainly possibilities there.

    1. Kelson Post author

      I think it would be hard to erase Fiona, because she’s the reason Barry killed Zoom. It all came down to, “Guess who’s going to kill your wife again?” That heightened the stakes to the point where Barry took the desperate measure of a potentially-lethal choke-hold as Zoom raced with murderous intent toward the woman he was about to marry.

      Sure, they can retcon away the motivation…but making it easier for Barry to kill would undermine the focus on him representing hope and optimism.

  5. West

    The more I think about this, the more it bothers me.

    It seems like just another reason Barry shouldn’t have been brought back. Iris got old. I see no reason that she’d be younger, but no one else who stays around speedsters.

    Besides, why would that “youth-a-sizing” only affect Iris… or only affect a given person to a certain point of aging? It’s puttin’ the kibosh on my suspension of disbelief.

    Even if you put all of that aside, aging isn’t just about the physical effects. Iris lived in the future – probably long enough to get used to it. She gave birth to and raised children. She did a lot of living and growing and hurting in that time.

    That sounds like a different individual would turn out, even after a lil rejuvenation.

    AND, if they WERE going to reset the clock on her body and her mind, it might’ve helped to provide some type of transition of SOMEthing other than an off-panel, blink-of-the-eye switch-out.

    They didn’t even TRY to help us out.
    .-= West’s latest blog post: MIA =-.


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