His Love Life Will Change — In a Flash!

We’ve known since Comic-Con that the New 52 reboot would retroactively break up Barry and Iris Allen (and I had some fun with the phrasing the other day). Today, as discussed at Robot 6, DC formally announced the breakup at The Source, and revealed who Barry will be dating in at the beginning of the new series.

Patty Spivot (Flash #10)

Yes, folks — in the post-FLASHPOINT world, Barry Allen has not only never dated Iris West, but he’s dating someone else entirely in issue #1! And that someone is…his longtime coworker Patty Spivot!

Long-term Flash readers may remember Patty Spivot as Barry Allen’s lab assistant in the late 1970s and early 1980s. More recent readers have seen that in the modern continuity, she was a full-fledged police scientist in her own right, and that she had been romantically interested in Barry Allen during their years as colleagues. In “The Road to Flashpoint,” Barry gave her the “Let’s be friends” speech, and in Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost, she stole Hot Pursuit’s bike and gear to take on the role of a time cop. (This being the Flashpoint universe, the new career didn’t last long.)

Editor Brian Cunningham continues:

But don’t fret—Iris West remains an active supporting cast member. And a wonderfully entertaining one, at that! Who else could possibly hit up Barry for anonymous crime-story tips to fill her blog on the Central City Citizen’s website? No one but the go-getter Iris could consume so much caffeine and live to tell about it.

And who knows, maybe someday we’ll have the opportunity to see why Barry and Iris fell in love in the first place. Or maybe not! Stay tuned — I can assure you Barry’s love life will never, ever be boring!

In the original history, Barry Allen and Iris West were married in The Flash #165, way back in 1966, still in the Silver Age.


17 thoughts on “His Love Life Will Change — In a Flash!

  1. Keith

    I’m not liking all this complete rebooting all of the sudden. I think bring Barry back in the previous, pre-flashpoint,, continuity and giving him a forensic/csi spin would have kept him fresh and new and interesting without having to strip him down and start over from scratch. And the ‘Flash Family’ concept has been a long time staple that I always enjoyed. Looks like they’ve tossed that as well.

    On another note, I can’t stand the fact that, once again, the hero becomes the hero because of a villian that will eventually become his nemesis. Virtually EVERY Superhero movie has done this.

    Finally, Barry used his powers for good because it was right. He had no tragedy in his background. It seemed to make him more… pure. Now we have Zoom killing his mother and once again we have another tortured tormented hero who has lost a parent, or both parents.

    I’ll keep reading in the hope they’ll at least write good stories. But they had such opportunity with Barry as he was, as they brought him back. It’s just disappointing to see such a rich history get tossed.

    1. Savitar

      You’re spot-on about the new tragedy aspect. Barry used his powers for good simply because that was the right thing to do (inspired by a comic no less!)

      Call it a spin on the great power = great responsibility without the tragic consequences. Until now. When did nobility and goodness become insufficient motivation??

      As for Barry and Iris, I can understand their reasoning but I don’t like it. His new relationship may breed new stories but the truth is, everyone will be wondering in the back of their minds when he and Iris will get back together. It seems inevitable so why not spend their creativity towards re-developing/building/growing that instead?

  2. Martin Gray

    ‘Coworker’ made me laugh, I’m such a kid. Moo.

    Let’s see. It seems the thinking is that if Barry is wed he seems too old. But if he’s dating Iris, it’s too obvious.

    Does anyone really think Barry/Patty/Iris won’t be played as triangle, with Iris positioned as the prize being denied to Barry by the upstart Patty?

  3. Noah

    The more I think about it the more this niggles at me… There were two people mentioned during Flashpoint that Barry didn’t want to forget, Iris and Bruce. Iris has always been his lightning rod and now he’s lost her and it feels like Thawne took her from him again (albeit with Barry’s unintended assistance this time).

    For all the tear-jerker moments at the end of the series, Barry has lost his wife and every memory he had of his life with her. That’s a tragedy that seems as if it has just been glossed over.

    1. Martin Gray

      This ‘Iris as Barry’s lightning rod/anchor’ bit, isn’t that another thing nicked from Wally? I don’t recall that ever coming up prior to Wally’s longings for Linda Park.

  4. Javi Trujillo

    Losing the “lightning rod” aspect of the speed force saddens me. I can’t articulate right now how disappointed this reboot makes me, especially the brushing away of one of the best, most developed characters ever in Wally West

  5. kyer

    *sigh* His ties to Wally, his love for Iris (although he sure got over her quick enough when she was killed by Thawne. Somehow, I doubt goatee!Wally would have started dating again so fast if he’d actually ended up living in Scotland when Linda was taken by the Black Flash. Then the whole tragic background thing.

    Barry was cool because he was a science -and- a comic book nerd. What was wrong with that?

    One imagines that as a thank you for the daddy note, Bruce gave Barry tips on how to be more hip. “First you dump your girlfriend for another…the playboy disguise. Then you get more grim….you know…the Goddamned Flash.”

  6. Javi Trujillo

    It was Wally’s first, but reconned for Barry-he thought Iris was dead during COIE and that’s why he didn’t return from the speed force like Wally, if I remember correctly.

  7. Lee H

    I was fully behind unmarrying Spider-Man and Superman, but I’m neutral on Flash’s marital status. Iris West is a fine character, but from day one she’s been all too Lois Lane. The reveal of her being from the future started off silly and grew increasingly convoluted as she was killed, revived, raised children and grandchildren, was sent back in time, de-aged etc.

    I’m looking forward to this new direction. It gives the writers the chance to do something new with Flash’s love life, and also leaves the opportunity to possibly re-explore his romance with Iris at a later date without all of the barnacles.

  8. Imitorar

    I believe strongly that having Barry married to Iris is to the benefit of both characters, especially because it became a defining feature of them. But I also think that taking the opportunity to redo Barry and Iris’ relationship is a good thing.

    The thing is, if you’ve actually read the Silver Age Flash, it doesn’t look like a particularly healthy relationship. Iris constantly snaps at Barry for being lazy and unambitious, and no reason for why she sticks with him anyway is offered. Barry, meanwhile takes a ton of criticism from Iris and seemingly nothing else, yet he also stays in the relationship. There’s simply no real reason given for why these two people care about it, other than an editorial decree.

    I think this came out clearest in JLA: Year One, when Barry chooses Iris over Black Canary. I was actually a bit shocked when he did. In-universe, there was no real reason to. His relationship with Dinah seemed much more fulfilling to both parties than his relationship with Iris. But Barry Allen marries Iris West, and Dinah Lance sporadically dates Oliver Queen. That’s just how things historically are, and how they have to be, and so that’s how Mark Waid made them. But it rang hollow.

    The only time the Barry-Iris relationship seemed to be a fully developed idea that fit the characters was in The Life Story of the Flash, a book that does not get cited enough as a primer on who Barry Allen was and is (although thankfully DC is reprinting it in November). It portrays Iris as an ambitious, go-get-’em reporter who finds herself drawn to a dependable, down-to-earth scientist who cares about the truth as much as she does. Barry, for his part, is attracted to Iris’ vigor and intensity. It reads much like the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane, actually, but Superman was the model for all superheroes, so why shouldn’t his romance be the model for all superhero romances? (And I have a pet theory that Barry and Iris were modeled on Clark and Lois, since they were created when Superman was the only superhero still selling). But this portrayal has never come out anywhere except in Life Story of the Flash, which is a special released in 1997 and has fallen into obscurity. Unlike the Clark Kent-Lois Lane relationship, the Barry-Iris relationship has never gotten a sophisticated retelling in the comics.

    But it’s a new DCU, and now they have a chance to get right things that may have been bungled before. The Barry-Iris relationship can now be portrayed as the mature, sophisticated one it was in Life Story, not the plot device it was in the Silver Age (and I say this as a lover of the Silver Age Flash). I would love to see Barry date Patty Spivot, but slowly grow closer to Iris, and have their relationship develop along mature lines, clearly highlighting what it is the two see in each other and why they stay together. I’m not in any rush to see it. It doesn’t need to be immediately. But the option is on the table, and I think that it would be best for DC to move slowly in that direction. And they can, now that the revamp has freed them to rewrite history. And (perhaps foolishly optimistically) I think from that press release that they will.

    So I’m not really upset about this retcon, because I have faith that it’s leading to better things for the Flash, to a marriage and a relationship that will be stronger for having had to face more adversity in forming. Besides, this time DC can handle Barry’s revelation of his identity to Iris properly. Because even Life Story couldn’t quite manage to salvage that.

  9. Kyer

    b-b-b-but….Barry muttering in his sleep was the best part! Think of the potential stories! *JL Flash dozing in the Javelin copilot seat: “Bats is such the jerk…zzzz”

  10. Eyz

    But will Flash even remember his previous life/pre-Flashpoint world?
    I mean, is it gonna be awkward for him finding out he’s with someone totally new?

    And I’m tired of all these mainstream superheroes getting magically divorced… Supes, Spidey and now Flash!!
    Can’t they simply have a normal adult divorce instead – if writers want to keep them “fresh”, etc..?
    The only example I can think of his Ray Palmer and JEan Loring…and we all know how that ended! °___°

  11. Realitätsprüfung

    I really like Iris West as a character, so I’m glad she’s still going to be in the supporting cast. I also liked Patty from the recent Johns/Manapul run. So having them both in the book is a win win, as far as I am concerned.

    Also, it’s a new continuity, and the editor implies pretty heavily that Iris isn’t going anywhere, so no worries. These stories are journeys – it’s odd how fans tend to look at every development or conflict as a threat to the status quo. And stories require conflict, including challenges, unresolved issues, and goals/quests beyond immediate reach. DC is putting that stuff in the series – as they should.

    1. Martin Gray

      But new conflicts would be a treat, Real …, rather than winding back to repeat what we’ve already seen. I’d love some comics company to take on the challenge of convincing kids that marriage is a massive, scary, wonderful adventure rather than simply the end of the affair.

      1. Realitätsprüfung

        But Mark – we don’t know they’ll repeat a plot from the 60s (Barry and Iris getting married) or do something different. Perhaps very different. We’re into “criticizing a development that may not happen” territory.

        And even assuming Barry ends up with Iris in the new DCU, it’ll likely have as much in common with the 60s arc as the Wally/Linda arc in the 90s – when the Flash married a reporter. Again.

  12. Perplexio

    The one good thing I can see coming of breaking up Barry & Iris is the Bart angle. In the new continuity Bart’s going to have to figure out how to make sure his grandparents still end up together.

    Is Barry going to know that Bart is his grandson? Is Iris?

    And the whole Patty Spivot thing– is DC using the Walter West/Cindy Margolin love story as their basis for a Barry Allen/Patty Spivot relationship? It seems like in the new DCU Barry’s personality and love life are modeled after a combo of the pre-Crisis Barry, Wally, and now apparently to some extent… Walter as well.


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