Apr 30, 2008

News FLASH!

CAUTION: DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE SPOILED BY A MAJOR EVENT IN THE DC UNIVERSE!

Art by J.G. Jones

Around this time last year comics jumped onto the front page of the mainstream media. The NY Daily News announced the demise of Captain America to the whole world. It was huge. It was dramatic. It was...depressing.

Today the NY Daily News reported something much bigger and definitely happier. Barry Allen, the beloved Flash who died 23 years ago saving the universe, is being resurrected. Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns are quoted in the article but neither actually say the words 'Barry Allen is back.' Though the article does name Johns as a co-writer of the new Flash series.

DC Universe #0, released today, gave us our first glimpse into his return. A nameless narrator box led us through the issue changing slowly from black, to red, to red with a lightning bolt. It was as if he was slowly coming back into consciousness and it was thrilling. If you don't already have a copy shame on you. Go pick up two, they're only fifty-cents.

Online, fans are already disagreeing about whether this was a good move or not. Surprisingly I've seen a lot more on the negative side. Also, what will this mean for the current Flash, Wally West? Only time will tell and we probably won't have to wait that long. Final Crisis begins next month.

By the way, The Daily News also has a nice History of the Flash companion piece to go along with their breaking news.


EDIT: Newsarama interviewed Dan Didio who mentioned that the part about Geoff Johns being a co-writer on the new Flash was a misprint. According to Didio it was supposed to say that Johns is the co-writer on DC Universe #0, so nothing new there.

4 comments:

GeekBoy said...

Man, it's amazing to me that people can even get up the energy to be upset when major comic book characters are killed and/or resurrected these days. Being alive or dead is kind of a fluid state in comics at this point, isn't it?

Sorry, I've probably been a bit cynical about this ever since they brought Jean Grey back to life in 1986 ... coincidentally, a year after Barry Allen died.

To be honest, I'm not a hardcore Flash fan, and have a hard time keeping up with DC continuity. But my general philosophy is that if a good story can by told by bringing a character back -- Barry Allen or otherwise -- then go for it!

Superduperman said...

Hate it. What's the point of killing someone off only to resurrect them later? It cheapens their deaths and scarifices. Death is meaningless in comics. Another major character dies..ho-hum. Sales spikes driven mostly by collectors. After a year or so, they return.. to the status quo. Capt America, Superman, Thor, Capt Mar-vell and even Capt's old partner Bucky who's been dead for 60 years shows up alive to assume his mantle. Can any reader identify with such nonsense? We face death and it's consequences everyday in our lives. In comics, it's a cheap gimmick to drive up sales and destroys any credibility in my eyes.

GeekBoy said...

SDM, while I definitely agree in principle, with a medium like this, there are other issues (no pun intended) to consider. For one, most comic book characters live obscenely long lives while barely aging. Core characters like Superman and Batman and Flash were 20-something back in 1940. And now at most, they're 30-something. When combined with the prevalence of alternate universes and time travel, concepts like time and and aging and death in comics are by necessity artificial concepts -- ones I'm not sure any reader can reasonably identify with.

Having said that, many writers are able to pull off making readers care. It's all in the story details. To be honest, certain comic book characters "die" for me whenever somebody starts writing them badly. And they're resurrected for me whenever a writer whose work enjoy picks their story up. I hadn't cared about the X-Men for years until Whedon started writing Astonishing, and I'm not sure I ever really liked The Avengers until Bendis took them on.

I'm also a big fan of alternate universes, perhaps exactly because it's a way to reinvent characters without the messiness of killing or resurrecting them.

It's definitely a cheap gimmick, but I give Barry Allen credit for actually staying dead for 23 years! :)

Nerdy Bird said...

geekboy, I know what you mean. It kind of just comes with the medium, you have to expect it. Like soap operas, you can never be sure someone will stay dead forever.

superduperman, I only agree bringing someone back cheapens their death if it's only a year or so later. If that's the case why was it done in the first place? But with someone like Barry who's been gone for so long I think it's different. And what geekboy said is true, there's a lot of fantastical stuff in comics, we can't identify with it all.

Anyway, I think it will all come down to how it's actually dealt with this time around. Will it actually be a cheap gimmick with no driving purpose or will it be genuine and actually serve the story? We'll see.