The question comic readers everywhere should be asking is, “How long will Barry Allen be back for?”
It’s no longer a question of IF he’s coming back. That was pretty much made clear in DC Universe #0. And if you thought that might be a trick, check out this article from the New York Daily News (with interviews from Grant Morrison & Geoff Johns). Additionally, Mark Waid substantiated the rumor during a recent recording of a Word Balloon interview. Mark said, “If I didn’t know some of the creative people behind the next step, I’d be in a bell tower with a rifle right now…(but), I have some faith and some trust as to where this is all going….”
So the questions still remaining are how long will Barry be back for, and where will he appear (i.e. Final Crisis, Legion of Three Worlds, etc). Will Barry be back for good? Will he return in the 21st century or the 31st century?
I’m personally bothered by the possibility of the long-term return of Barry Allen for a few reasons:
1) Writers of Wally West have worked so hard over the past 20 years to prove that Wally deserves the mantle of the Flash. During Mark Waid’s run on the Flash, Wally finally grew out of Barry’s shadow and became his own man. What happens to Wally if Barry comes back for good? Will there simply be another Flash running around (Wally, Jay, and Barry)? If so, will Barry & Wally continue to use the same costume? I doubt it. Will Wally become the Kyle Rayner or Connor Hawke equivalent of the Flash? Both Kyle and Connor have pretty much been tucked into a corner of the characters history.
2) Barry Allen is boring. Sorry. I realize I just called the official DC Universe Martyr boring, but it’s a fact. The adventures he had were interesting, his rogues were interesting… Barry himself was boring. I can’t imagine reading his day-to-day adventures will be all that interesting.
3) Killing Barry Allen back in 1985 created a real impact. Bringing him back for any length of time would cheapen the dramatic ending of issue #8 of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry is also the last major hero to stay dead (Bucky Barnes is back, Jason Todd is back, etc)
While I’m sure the issues themselves will be written well given the caliber of DC creators, I’m truly dreading the concept surrounding the return of Barry Allen. I just feel that bringing Barry back for anything more than one story is a bad move. Just because a story can be told, doesn’t mean it should be told.