Armchair Quarterbacking the Flash

Today’s guest post is by Perplexio.

Perhaps it’s because Geoff Johns has done such a brilliant job writing Green Lantern, or maybe it’s that he did such an excellent job writing Wally after Mark Waid had passed the torch and moved on that many fans are still reserving their judgment on how Geoff has been writing The Flash since Barry’s resurrection.

I’ll be honest I’ve found some of what Johns has done with the Flash title since Barry’s resurrection to be inspired. However, some of the things he’s written have left me scratching my head in bewilderment or nodding my head in chagrined disbelief.

One of the areas where Johns has been absolutely inspired is how he has written and resurrected Professor Zoom. Having read some of the old Flash comics with Zoom, he often came across as rather two-dimensional. He really wasn’t that interesting. Granted, he was a product of the era in which he was written and originated—but that doesn’t fully explain it. After all, the Batman’s rogues, the Joker and Two-Face in particular, were very well and richly developed despite the era in which they were written. Professor Zoom in the Silver Age came across as flat. He was evil for the sake of being evil. Then, starting with Mark Waid’s Return of Barry Allen storyline that started to change. Waid started to make Eobard Thawne a little more interesting. Now, over fifteen years after Waid injected some personality and dimension into Professor Zoom, Geoff Johns has given his personality a shot of adrenaline. If anything Johns is writing Professor Zoom much better than he’s writing Barry Allen. I don’t believe I was the only one who came away from Flash:Rebirth feeling like the story maybe should have been Professor Zoom: Rebirth as Eobard Thawne totally stole the show from Barry throughout much of that series.

Another interesting and fun twist Geoff has thrown our way is making Wally’s daughter, Irey, the new Impulse and stripping his son, Jai, of all his powers. This opens up the door for some interesting family tension and conflicts in Wally’s future once DC eventually gets around to developing the rest of the Flash family again. Jesse Quick becoming Irey’s mentor could raise some interesting conflicts between Wally & Linda and Jesse in the future as well.

The one area I’m sitting on the fence is Boomerang/Captain Boomerang. I thought it was cool that Digger was resurrected in Blackest Night but it shouldn’t have been at the expense of his son, Owen. From the moment Geoff revealed that Meloni Thawne was Owen’s mom, thus making Bart Allen his half brother, he opened up a lot of tremendous story and character development material for that character. If Owen’s death was/ is meant to be permanent—a convenient way to dispose of a character that Johns no longer had any inclination to further develop he’s made a terrible mistake. If, however, Owen’s death is a mere plot device to align Captain Boomerang and Professor Zoom in a Faustian-esque deal that involves Professor Zoom changing the past and un-doing Owen’s death… It’s a stroke of genius on Johns part. Since this hasn’t yet played out and I’m not sure how it’s going to play out, I’m reserving judgment.

There’s a rumor that there’s a story in the works that will turn Iris into Barry’s greatest foe. If this is true, this is a terrible misstep. Don’t mess with Barry & Iris – they’ve already been put through far too much. Instead, Johns has at his disposal an untapped resource—the jilted almost Mrs. Allen II, Fiona Webb; the very same Fiona Webb whose life was saved when Barry snapped the neck of Professor Zoom. Who better to turn into one of Barry’s greatest rogues than a jilted former fiancée? Fiona was as much as “written off into the sunset” during the trial of The Flash never to be heard from again. If Johns is so intent on mining Barry’s past for story fodder, methinks Fiona has greater potential as a Flash rogue (not to mention a considerably more believable rogue) than Iris.

What say you, fellow Flash Fans? What’s your take on Geoff’s treatment of Barry Allen (and his rogues for that matter) thus far? What would you like to see in Barry’s future?


7 thoughts on “Armchair Quarterbacking the Flash

  1. Mr Maczaps

    nice write up. i agree that Zoom stole the thunder… heh.
    Barry so far has been kind of boring, and I really really miss Wally & Bart & Jay… I know “they” are “working on it” but I’d really just like some solid stories and no massive crossover events… I’m event burned out and highly considering changing hobbies because 50(?) comics a month just to tell a giant crossover is just insane and too pricey…

    Lets see some good Barry & Iris, Wally & family and the rest of the secret ids…

    The rogues were well done…
    The first arc was okay but it wasn’t leaps and bounds above what was happening with Wally or even Bart… and I really miss the lighthearted Impulse book…

    1. Hyperion

      and I really miss the lighthearted Impulse book…

      So do I… and quite frankly, younger Iris just doesn’t have the unique charm Bart had.

      1. Perplexio

        So do I… and quite frankly, younger Iris just doesn’t have the unique charm Bart had.


        Before Johns started writing Professor Zoom in Flash:ReBirth, Hunter Zolomon was a far more interesting character with much more depth and a considerably better back-story than Eobard Thawne. Johns has completely turned that on its head with both Flash:ReBirth and Reverse Flash ReBirth (Flash #8).

  2. Rob S.

    I’d love to see Fiona again… though I wonder if playing her as a supervillain would be too similar to Wally’s ex-girlfriend, Frances Kane?

  3. EJ

    I’m one of the few Flash fans that didn’t really care too much for Johns past run on Flash with Wally. I didn’t think it was bad or anything but the stuff he did with characters like Zoom didn’t interest me that much.

    So I come from it from another perspective and i’m loving what he’s doing with Barry and Proffesor Zoom so far. The book has a nice balance between the fun and light sides of the character and it balances it out with the danger and suspense of his villan.

    I think Flashpoint will really be telling to see exactly where Johns is going to take the character and the mythology. I like the idea of Flash being to time what GL is to space, hopefully the delays have been fixed and Johns can really help get Flash back to where it should be one of DC’s biggest and best books.

  4. Jesse

    I liked Johns’s original Flash run but never thought it compared to Waid’s or Messner-Loeb’s. The new series is fine, but I still haven’t seen anything so unique that it warranted bringing Barry back.

    This last issue, with Reverse-Flash, was the first issue that I found really inspired – and Barry wasn’t even in it.

  5. Dylan

    It seems as if Geoff Johns is hell-bent on ruining everything that Messner-Loebs and Waid [especially Waid] did to develop Wally as a character. Anyone ever read Mark Waid’s essay in the back of Flash, Vol. 2 #79? Dig it up and give it a read. In it, he goes into detail about how he couldn’t understand how anyone would think that bringing Barry back would be a good idea, and how angry he was that he and Brian Augustyn were the only ones that seemed to realize how stupid it would be. They hated the idea so much that they cooked-up “The Return of Barry Allen” story arc just to tease the people who kept bugging them about it. Geoff Johns has taken over 20 years of character development for Wally and flushed it all away – and at the same time, completely negated the sacrifice that Barry made. As Mark Waid put it, Geoff Johns killed the First Official Saint of DC Comics by bringing Barry back. If Johns cared about the character at all [or knew anything about storytelling], he wouldn’t have brought him back. I love comics, and I love the Flash – I even loved some of Johns’ earlier work, especially JSA – but the ‘revolving door policy’ on death and the direction that Geoff Johns is leading DC in is a complete joke, and it’s sad that too few people are noticing.


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