The Perfect Life of Barry Allen

Still rummaging through old Secret Origins for Memorable Moments when I came across Secret Origins Annual #2 starring the Flash. We all know the story of Barry Allen: Perpetually late police scientist gets hit by lightning and chemicals and becomes the Fastest Man Alive(TM). As it turned out, he would end up fighting a colorful Rogue's Gallery of gimmicky gentlemen thieves, prepare a legacy in Kid Flash, and cosmic treadmill himself to the future with his wife after killing an evil version of himself. And then the Crisis on Infinite Earths happened, in which he gave his life by running after a faster-than-light tachyon powering the Anti-Monitor's cannon trained on Earth-1.

Barry Allen's death is retold in this issue with one important - and memorable - difference. As the Flash goes beyond the speed of light, he starts to go back in time (it's physics, Einstein!) and watches his life unfold in reverse (it's what happens when you die, stupid!). He can't bear to look and screams out:He runs so fast he not only catches the tachyon, but turns into energy (E=yes, that's right).
OH. MY. GOD.
"As a scientist, I should've realized right from the start that electricity always travels in a circuit... and lightning can strike twice in the same place."

This little bit of recursive thinking is a beautiful idea and the reason I couldn't believe they were bringing Barry back in the recent Lightning Saga. The cycle was already complete.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is EXACTLY what I was hoping for with the Lightning Saga. When I read the story all those years ago, I realized it was the perfect "escape clause" for Barry's death. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think either the editor or the writer was Mark Waid...which gave me even more hope that they were going to play this "ace in the hole" with the Lightning Saga.

Alas....looks like they're not interested in bringing Barry back. Everyone else can come back with no problem at all....but for some reason "dead is dead" only seems to apply to Barry Allen.

Siskoid said...

I was leery at first, but then became pretty stoked at the idea of Barry Allen in a mix of CSI and Silver Age craziness. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Anonymous said...

It still might be. The face that Brainiac 5 holds up for us at the end has to belong to somebody with a Flash-like cowl.

 

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