Hal Jordan (the Green Lantern) and Barry Allen (the Flash) are best buddies. It makes sense that they would be, because they’ve got a whole lot in common. For example, they each destroyed the universe.
Archive for The Flash
On several occasions, I’ve lamented the fact that comic book superheroes have stopped being heroes. The darkening of mainstream comics in the 1990s gave way to a modern comicdom where superheroes don’t have the shroud of grimness about them but still do horrific things, often being displayed as being in the right in the text.
Viewed in a metatextual sense, this can just be written off as bad writing and poor editorial decisions on the part of Marvel and DC. If we examine the actions of superheroes as though we were a part of these fictional worlds, though, there are some horrific implications. Power does indeed corrupt, and over a long period of time superheroes almost invariably do terrible, unjustifiable things. Some examples of how these gods among men have gone insane or simply turned subtly toward evil are outlined below. I’m using storylines from the 1990s and onward for all of these, and I’m not really changing the context of any of them.
When it comes to comic adaptations, the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) is pretty much the cream of the crop. Running for over a decade, the shared universe included Batman: the Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and the various tie-in movies and comics that connected to them. While the animated series aren’t comics, I think they’re awesome enough to deserve a list of Crowning Moments of Awesome all their own.
Flashpoint is the big DC event for the summer. As with most comic crossover events, I’m not really keeping up on it. However, I did get a look at some of the closing pages of Flashpoint #2, and it made me laugh quite a bit.
In a nutshell, Flashpoint‘s plot is that Professor Zoom, a villain of the Flash’s, has gone back in time and mucked around with things quite a bit, turning heroes into villains and villains into heroes as a result. Aquaman and Wonder Woman are engaged in a war that threatens several continents, Batman is actually a murderous Thomas Wayne, and other odd stuff. In the case of Barry Allen, aka the Flash, he never got his superpowers. He’s also one of the only people who realizes how messed up the world is, and he’s out to fix it. But first, he plans on recreating the accident that turned him into the Flash. It apparently doesn’t occur to Barry that an origin of, “I spilled a bunch of toxic chemicals on myself and then got struck by lightning” isn’t something he should try to go through again. So we get the following pages:
Barry Allen: He might have called himself the Flash, but he wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the box.
Comic book deaths are a punchline these days. A few years ago when Captain America died, no one expected the death to last more than two years, even though Marvel swore up and down that it would stick (sort of like how Spider-Man unmasking during Civil War was supposed to stick and not get retconned away thanks to a deal with the Devil). Despite the fact that a comic book death currently translates into little more than a cheap sales gimmick, there have still been some really good ones over the years. Even if they didn’t stick, they were chilling, touching, or otherwise hugely influential. What follows is my totally biased opinion of the best deaths comics has had to offer.
Round Ninety-One: The Jedi Council
The Jedi Council has observed Bruce Campbell’s actions over the past ninety rounds with growing concern. Bruce is undisciplined, and therefore prone to irrationality and hatred. As such, his potential to join the Dark Side is immense. Ultimately, the Jedi decide that he needs to be disposed of for the greater good. In making this decision, however, they do their specialty of waiting and debating until it’s too late. Bruce’s specialty, on the other hand, is action. Once he gets word of what the Jedi are planning, he goes out to proactively solve the problem…with a chainsaw.
Finally, the Jedi reach a decision.
“So we’re in agreement about how to dispatch of Bruce Campbell then,” asks the council’s head. Then he realizes what’s happened, and states the obvious. “Oh, wait. I guess we’ve already been cut down by Bruce while we were debating. And I guess he killed me, too. Well, I’d better shut up and lie down, because corpses can’t talk.”
With that, the last of the Jedi lies down and goes back to being dead, ending the impossibility that just happened. Round Ninety-One goes to Bruce Campbell.
There are actually three Flashes. Back in the 40s, there was Jay Garrick, who somehow managed to keep a secret identity despite the fact that his costume was a frisbee on his head. Then there was Barry Allen, who came up with the red spandex costume that looks so very lame. Finally, there was Wally West, who started as Kid Flash and then became the regular Flash after Barry bit the dust. Now Barry’s back and…oy vey. It doesn’t matter which one we’re using in this fight, because they all have the “super” power of running really fast. Then there’s my friend Carrie, who also runs really fast but also has several other super powers. Her appearance marks the first time I’ve used a real person in any of my fights (well, a real person that I’ve met…I have a suspicion that George Bush and Christopher Walken are also real).