Tag Archives: Death

Of Robins and Flashes…Endangered Species?


Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out just what is more dangerous in the DC Universe – to be a Robin or to wear a lightning bolt on your shirt?  There seem to be a lot of beloved characters falling by the wayside lately, and it bears some examination.  After all, Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown, and now Damian Wayne have all died while wearing the symbol of Robin.  It hasn’t been the safest role to take on in the DCU…although I would make an argument that running fast seems to attract even more trouble.

In the latest print issue of  Smallville Season Eleven we find the conclusion of the story arc that features Bart Allen, the Impulse of the Smallville-verse.  In this story, Clark and his good friend Bart are reunited in a globe-hopping battle against the Black Racer, the enemy of Flashes past and present.  In the end, Bart saves the day…but sacrifices himself to do so.  All we are left with are Clark’s plans to build “a big statue” to Bart, and another Flash that has left some form or other of DC continuity.

This adds to the demise of the Wally West of Earth 16 in “Young Justice”, and the deaths and disappearances of Flashes over the years.  Let’s take a partial toll here:

  • Barry Allen died saving the Earth in Crisis on Infinite Earths, remaining basically “dead” until Flash Rebirth.
  • Jay Garrick and the rest of the JSA died over and over again soon after CoIE while in a continual time loop, fighting the battle of Ragnarok.  This is where they stayed for several years until they were brought back into DC continuity.
  • Wally West has been in and out of the Speed Force, presumed dead more than once, killed in the Flashpoint series without ever having taken on the mantle of Flash, and now does not even exist in the New52.  He was killed once again on Earth 16 in Young Justice as noted above.
  • Bart Allen was pummeled to death by the Rogues while serving as the fourth Flash, being brought back to life some time later.  And, as noted above, his Smallville-verse self just took a one-way ticket (presumably) into the Speed Force.

This doesn’t even start to list other dead or missing speedsters like Johnny and Jesse Quick, Max Mercury, or Wally’s kids.  It really doesn’t seem safe to run fast these days.flash tfma 13

The toughest part of all this for me is the way the actual deaths are being handled lately.  Bart’s passing in Smallville felt forced…it wasn’t truly necessary.  Yes, he got rid of the menace…but how did that help Clark and the rest of the Smallville gang?  Believe it or not…exposure to Speed Force energy somehow cleansed Clark of the tracking radiation Luthor was using to follow Superman’s every move.  This allowed Superman to resume acting as Clark Kent without being found out by Luthor.

In other words…Bart’s sacrifice was made so that he could act as a “spot-remover” to some radiation that was creating an inconvenience for Clark.

I have supported (and continue to support) the New52 volume of The Flash, as it represents some of the finest scripting and art in the DC lineup today.  I’m not the guy that would ask “Where’s Wally?” for the thousandth time to Dan Didio at a con.  I do like most of what I see from DC – I’m a DC guy and have been for over 40 years of collecting.  I’m just sad to see the plot device of killing off speedsters used so much.  It seems that being a Robin or a Flash means you are wearing a red shirt in the metaphorical sense as well as in the literal sense…and both roles are simply too valuable to the history of the DC Universe to continue to be treated in that way.

And Then There Were None…*Young Justice: Invasion Spoilers*


Hello Speed Readers,

As many of you are aware the last episode of Young Justice aired this past Saturday. I finally got a chance to watch it this morning and wow, what a heart breaking episode for Flash Family Fans.


Spoilers for Young Justice Season 2 Episode 20 “Endgame”


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Captain Boomerang’s Legal Status

Captain Boomerang is sort of in a legal limbo right now: is he still culpable for crimes he committed before he died?

In one sense he’s like Ygor in Son of Frankenstein: Ygor was hanged for grave robbing and pronounced dead — but the coroner made a mistake. He was still alive, but legally speaking, no one could touch him. Not only had the sentence for his original crime been carried out, but they couldn’t arrest a “dead” man for new crimes.

In The Flash #3, the guards at Iron Heights prison talked about getting Boomerang’s murder convictions reinstated…but something’s missing: Until that happens, what is he being held for? What has he been charged with? (Admittedly, the prison is still run by Warden Wolfe, who has never been particularly concerned with following the law where criminals are concerned.)

Of course, now that he’s shattered a frozen guard (probably killing him), seriously injured several others, broken out of prison, and left a swath of destruction on his way to confront the Flash, it’s a moot point. There are plenty of new crimes to charge him with the next time he ends up in police custody.

But technically, what was he doing there to begin with?

The legal system in the DCU must have procedures, or at least precedent, for dealing with heroes and villains coming back from the dead. No one seems concerned about the Flash’s legal status, and Barry Allen’s official records say he was simply in Witness Protection, not dead, but it’s got to have come up in other cases.

Speed Reading: Two Worlds, Comic-Con, Gulf Auction and More

Some Monday morning linkblogging…


Comics Should Be Good’s Year of Cool Comics spotlights “Flash of Two Worlds” — or more precisely, the Grant Morrison/Mike Parobeck retelling of the story from Secret Origins #50. The story was recently reprinted in Flash: The Human Race.

Speaking of CSBG, Brian Cronin reviews Flash #1-3 and settles on “delightful.”


Will Comic-Con International leave San Diego? Publisher’s Weekly has a good round-up of the situation.

Now that the full schedule for this year’s convention is online, I’ve updated my Flash at Comic-Con post. I’ve also added a couple of items to my Tips for Comic Con.

…and Beyond!

A group of webcomics artists have put together a Web-Comics Auction for the Gulf Coast benefitting the Colbert Nation Gulf of America Fund. (via The Nerdy Bird.)

With ComiXology making waves, Comics Worth Reading checks on the status of other digital comics platforms like Graphic.ly and Longbox.

In light of Death’s upcoming appearance in Action Comics, Comics Alliance rounds up the long history of Sandman and the DC Universe.

Update: Let me add two more here: Collected Editions has worked out the Blackest Night reading order for the trades/hardcovers, and Once Upon a Geek has also taken a stab at Death in the DCU.

Speed Reading: Cupcakes & Death, Futurama X-Men and Robots from Space

Some funny links from the last week or so two…

Geoff Johns and Matt Fraction joke about a Green Lantern/Iron Man crossover.

Ah, super-heroes and dead parents! The cliche is so established that it’s been spoofed, as Comics Should Be Good spotlights Kill All Parents in their Year of Cool Comics.

Comics Oughta Be Fun mashes up those Hostess cupcake ads with Gwen Stacy death to reveal…what really happened the night of June 16, 1973.

gottabecarl draws the Futurama cast as the X-Men via IO9 and Ryan the Iowan.

The National Park Service really is having problems with a movie about “Robots from Space” — Transformers 3.

And totally off-topic, but I thought it was funny: a local city is really concerned that you understand that the dead grass is intentional and not a sign of *gasp!* poor maintenance.

Speed Reading: Flash Deaths, Sightings, Pricing and More

Some linkblogging from the past couple of weeks:

Flashy Links

Newsarama interviews Francis Manapul on his work on The Flash.

Comics Bulletin presents the Top 10 Flash Deaths in order of how long they lasted.

A reader at Silver Age Comics discovers that Flash Comics #13 is different on Earth-One.

You’ve probably read about the thief who took Free Comic Book Day a bit too literally and tried to steal a $150 X-Men Omnibus…and was foiled by Spider-Man, two Jedi, and the Flash.

Speaking of FCBD, Chris Samnee has posted a FCBD sketch gallery featuring both Flash and Quicksilver.

Super Heroes

Comics Worth Reading’s Johanna Draper Carlson has some ideas for how to make super-hero comics interesting again

4thLetter’s David Brothers encourages you to focus on the stories, not the canon. Don’t buy something you don’t like just because it’s “important,” and don’t pass up other good stuff because it’s not.

Comics Alliance has a thought-provoking article on the racial implications of running legacies backward.

Grumpy Old Fan ponders the role of secret identities in DC comics from the Silver Age through the present.

Once Upon a Geek also reviews the DC Fandex guide (my review went up on Monday).

Comics in General

Westfield Comics’ KC Carlson explains how to meet artists without being talked about afterward, and offers suggestions for convention behavior.

LIFE has a photo gallery of people reading classic comic books from the Golden Age through the 1980s, including a boy reading Flash Comics in 1949. Nitpick: By 1949, the feature wasn’t about a “college student” with super-speed. Jay Garrick graduated during his origin story. (Link via Xian)

Collected Editions considers an increasingly common problem: the trade you want is out of print.

Multiversity Comics analyzes the impact of the shift from $2.99 comics to $3.99.