MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Flash Fact – Barry Allen Sucks!

Marc Alan Fishman

Marc Alan Fishman is a graphic designer, digital artist, writer, and most importantly a native born Chicagoan. When he's not making websites, drawing and writing for his indie company Unshaven Comics, or rooting for the Bears... he's a dedicated husband and father. When you're not enjoying his column here on ComicMix, feel free to catch his comic book reviews weekly at MichaelDavisWorld, and check out his books and cartoons at Unshaven Comics.

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18 Responses

  1. gotee matt says:

    Great article. I want to point out that new characters poping up in flashpoint seem to be showing up in future solicitations of the post “starwipe” DC universe. So now more people can fall through the crisis cracks.

  2. Yeah, and that alone makes me me want to vomit. The “star-wipe” is a chance to literally clean house, and start fresh. Instead, DC is pussing out, and just lifting bits and chunks of continuity to serve their needs.

  3. Dale Zawada says:

    I love star wipes.

  4. Steve Chaput says:

    Wow! With one column you have become my favorite Comic Mix columnist. Even though I gave up on the DCU in the middle of “Brightest Day”, I have had several folks trying to get me to pick up on this ‘event’. I’m glad that somebody with some sense has come forward to put me right.

    Personally, I always liked Barry Allen, but do have to agree with you that thinking back it never really had much of a personality. It was Wally West (written by some very good creators) that made The Flash an interesting character. I think like Bucky Barnes & Jason Todd, Barry should have remained in the Great Comics Beyond and …what? Who came back???

  5. I like Barry Allen BECAUSE, He works in a CSI lab. He loves his woman, Iris and he’s kind of a momma’s boy. That’s a real personality in a medium where ‘real’ personalities are never found on a superhero, only on their un-super supporting characters.

    Barry Allen is a nice guy who gets a super power and decides to the right thing. Bruce Wayne-payback for his parents. Kal-El-his dead daddy from a superior planet tells him to take care of earth. Hal Jordan-is chosen, blah blah, blah.

    Each of those DC Superheroes were LED to their paths AND they were already superior beings before their freakin lives changed.

    Barry Allen was not super rich, not an alien, not a jet pilot who is shown the light of purpose for the greater good and decides he must do his part.

    Nope-Barry Allen was a nice guy with a regular job who decides to do the right thing.

    Like I said, I like Barry Allen he’s jut a nice average guy who can do fantastic things. THAT’S what make’s him super that’s what makes

  6. Adam Hoffman says:

    I’m not reading Flashpoint aside from the Frankenstein mini. Mainly because I have no interest in it.

    However, I will argue the point on Barry Allen. I really like Barry Allen. I love his old stories. Silver Age stuff, Carey Bates stuff, Mark Waid flashback stuff. It’s all pretty good. He actually had Wally’s personality before Wally had Wally’s personality (don’t believe me, read a little of the Carey Bates stuff). However, they botched his return. First of all, it was a risk seeing as how so many people were okay with him being gone. Then, they ended up shuffling Wally off into limbo, upsetting the Wally West fans. Then, all the people who were actually happy to see the return of the archetypal old-school hero were disenfranchised when Barry got settled with some all-too-modern angst in his Rebirth mini. They did almost everything they could to not win with anyone.

  7. MOTU,
    Those traits that I mentioned, are some good ones to have. Barry at his best IS that momma’s boy who is just a good egg. But as Adam puts it so well: Since his return, he’s been milquetoast incarnate. If Johns could remember that, we’d have SOMETHING to latch onto. But Johns over time has waterered down his once pitch perfect characterization into sad generic archtypes.

  8. Kyle G. says:

    I think we all know who the best Flash was. It’s time to de-age Bart Allen and make him the Flash again!

  9. Russ Rogers says:

    Here’s what I hate. The best thing I could say about Barry Allan is that he bravely and valiantly gave his life during the Crisis of Infinite Earths. That sacrifice becomes almost meaningless when DC revivifies him. Death has become just a trivial and forgettable plot point.

    • Adam Hoffman says:

      Okay, there seems to be this point of view that the only good thing about Barry was how he died. People tend to forget that a whole lot of the Flash mythos was built around Barry Allen. There wouldn’t be a Central City, a Flash Museum, a Rogues Gallery, a Gorilla City, a Cosmic Treadmill, the iconic red costume or any of that without Barry’s tenure as the Flash. Wally made good use of it, but it all stems from Barry.

      • Rebel Rikki says:

        Adam, that’s confusing “having interesting things” with “being an interesting character.” By that logic, every d-bag with a nice car is a person full of depth and interest, when often the opposite is true.

        • Adam Hoffman says:

          Once upon a time, that was enough. Barry comes from a time when “character development” wasn’t the highest priority on everyone’s list. The Silver Age was all about sci-fi concepts and mythology building. Aside from maybe the Cary Bates run, Barry really didn’t get much of a chance to be developed in the modern way. And now, in the Modern Age, all we get is Geoff Johns hamfisted addition of dead parents to his backstory.

          Okay, maybe I’m a little easy on Barry. But that’s for two reasons. One, is because I really love Barry’s Silver Age stories. Two, is because he comes from the days before the “Flash legacy”. I’m really not crazy about the Flash legacy. I feel like it’s an excuse to follow old, familiar patterns and to force formerly unique characters (like Bart Allen aka Impulse) into preformed molds.

  10. Rebel Rikki says:


    I agree with all of this, and I’m really glad that some comic press is finally paying attention to the fact that Barry Allen is a super-boring, weak and lame character. My friend Craig likes to say he only has a personality retroactively; after he died in Crisis, some crazy editors decided that he was actually interesting, somehow, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter how hard Geoff Johns tries to convince us otherwise, Barry will be nothing more than a giant piece of white bread around which the rest of the DCU happens.

    That said, I DID really like his role in Blackest Night. Everything else he’s been in since the resurrection… no thanks.

  11. Sinc I haven’t read much of Barry Allen’s past adventures (and what I have read wasn’t very good IMO), I still think he has better personality than Hal Jordan and Bruce Wayne have (both of which I can’t stand).

  12. Paul1963 says:

    Well, I have many issues of Barry’s title (from roughly #145 to the end, #350, plus a bunch of earlier issues) and I was reading it from about 1976 to the end.

    Yes, Barry was a nice guy. Yes, Barry was very, very clever about coming up with new ways to use his speed powers. But honestly, for most of his run, Barry just wasn’t that interesting a guy. He had a wife, he was always late, and oh yes, he was a comic-book collector (just like us!).

    But he wasn’t that interesting.

    Now, Wally West, he was interesting. He didn’t really become interesting, though, until Mike Baron and Bill Loebs and Mark Waid got hold of him. Even under Marv Wolfman, in The New Teen Titans, Wally had only slightly more characterization than he’d had in his earlier solo stories.

    If Geoff Johns had spent some time trying to make Barry an interesting character instead of just setting up this latest event, I might feel better about bringing him back.

    As a martyr to the cause of universal salvation (“Jesus of Central City,” I call him), Barry was useful. As a role model to Wally and Bart and the many, many other speedsters in the DCU, he was useful. Unfortunately, since his resurrection, he just hasn’t been that interesting.

    Frankly, I miss Wally. I didn’t order the new Flash #1, primarily because I’m not aware that Francis Manapul has ever written any comics before, but y’know what? If Wally was gonna be at the center of the new book, I might have ordered it.

  13. Mindy Newell says:

    I liked Barry, Marc. Otherwise, I do agree with you about the whole FLASHPOINT thing.