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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 245

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at the death of Barry Allen, the Flash, in Crisis on Infinite Earths…

Now Barry Allen had been held captive by the Psycho-Pirate and the Anti-Monitor, but in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, he escapes and uses the Psycho-Pirate’s power to control emotions to turn the Qwardian warriors against the Anti-Monitor, hopefully giving Barry the distraction he needed to destroy the Anti-Monitor’s anti-matter cannon (which was about to destroy the universe)…

Gripping work by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.

41 Comments

“Feel myself slowing down… my legs becoming stiff and leaden…”

Might want to stop wasting energy on all that talking then, Barry.

It’s freaky how over-written it all was. Watchmen is the same: glorious stuff, but so wordy! Say what you will about the decline in quality of comics, at least the modern ones occasionally show a bit of artwork in between the speech bubbles…

Yeah, but the modern ones also take 3 minutes or less to finish. Hell, if this was produced today, it would take Barry 2 or 3 issues to what he did. We’d have gotten splash page after splash page of him running.

It’s a good moment. Not as epic as Kara’s swan song, but still moving, and almost got me to care about a character I usually don’t.

Yeah it’s overwritten overshadowed by Supergirl’s Death, but there’s some nice work from Perez here.

It’s freaky how underwritten today’s comics are.

Everyone familiar with this moment should be familiar with the epilogue in SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #2. This story really made Flash’s death in CRISIS work.

http://www.hyperborea.org/flash/wheres-barry.html#thunderbolt

I actually like the panels with him using the Psycho Pirate on the weaponeers, too.

Notice how he gets telepathy when he sees Batman!

One thing I was never clear on…. Because Supergirl died, she never existed in the Post-Crisis universe. However, Barry dies the very next issue, and is remembered forever in the Post-Crisis universe. How’s that work again?

One thing I was never clear on…. Because Supergirl died, she never existed in the Post-Crisis universe. However, Barry dies the very next issue, and is remembered forever in the Post-Crisis universe. How’s that work again? Was a reason ever given? Was there any logic behind it?

I think Barry was remembered because he inspired someone else to become a hero in his image. Supergirl was the reverse, taking up Superman’s mantle.

@JoeMac

I think no one remembered Kara and everyone remembered Barry was because DC was sick of Supergirl’s sagging sales numbers and the fact that a Flash series still had legs (HA!).

Also, because in the retcons that happened immediately afterward, Superman’s backstory was radically changed so he wasn’t ever Superboy or in the Legion, and there was no Supergirl in his life.
Wally took over as Flash, but Barry was still his mentor before then. How they explained he died exactly, I don’t remember now. Flash fans?

that to me was one of the omg Dc actully did that moments . for it showed why barry is one of the big guns and what it truely means to be a hero.

I still think this moment is cheapened by Barry’s return last year. I mean, look at him: Barry melts into a skeleton and clearly dies. The retcon that he was absorbed into the speed force really, really does not jibe with this moment.

I do like the occasional play on Barry’s time-traveling in his last moments, allowing a pre-death Barry to reappear (but knowing that he’s still slated to die). Waid did that at least once, right? I think Byrne wanted to use it even further, but it was nixed.

Good gosh!

@Joe Mac: The differences are explained by the effects that the Crisis had on the DC universe’s history, rather than differences within that story. The Crisis changed time so that Superman was now (and always had been) the only survivor of Krypton. Therefore Supergirl had never existed, and so couldn’t be “forgotten”. This was later refined by the recent Jeph Loeb Supergirl series, so that Supergirl has now only just arrived on Earth, and wasn’t yet here at the time of CoIE.

Barry Allen’s history wasn’t changed by the Crisis as much (although now he presumably knew about Jay Garrick through news reels/history, rather than comics about Earth-2): he had still existed, been an active hero up until CoIE (including as a founder of the JLA), and his death in that Crisis had therefore happened and was remembered.

@JoeMac – because it simply wasn’t well thought out and coordinated long term. Too much stuff was going on and changing at once, so some long term consequences weren’t really consistent with each other once the fallout from Crisis began being dealt with. So simply put, Barry Allen’s death was remembered because the writers of the post-Crisis Flash needed him to be, Supergirl was forgotten because John Byrne needed her to be, neither coordinated with each other.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing either. I don’t think writers should obsess over reconciling continuity too much.

And that was the last era when it was super-freaking-OMG-awesome to be a comic book geek.

How they explained he died exactly, I don’t remember now. Flash fans?

People remembered that there was a Crisis — that the skies darkened, some heroes died, there was the Anti-Monitor and Pariah and Harbinger and whatever else — but they were kind of fuzzy on the details, and never remembered the whole thing about other universes (with very few exceptions, like Psycho-Pirate).

Psycho-Pirate was my favorite villain from Crisis on. And comics nowadays are no wordy but they are blander. Never cared too much for fist-fighting – for a lesson in doing action but not fist-fighting, read more Jack Kirby. And he was also wordy.

It’s freaky how underwritten today’s comics are.

Everyone familiar with this moment should be familiar with the epilogue in SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #2. This story really made Flash’s death in CRISIS work.

I am huge fan of both halves of Secret Origins #2, but the Barry Allen story was amazing. When Geoff Johns decided to bring Old Barry back, the fact that one of the best Flash stories ever was out-of-continuity certainly crossed my mind.

William Messner-Loeb on the Flash is one of the most under-rated comic book runs of which I am aware. It is a shame that he gets so over-shadowed by Mark Waid.

The funny thing about saying comics back then were overwritten…that scene above would have easily been spread out to two or three issues today. And in those two to three issues in today’s comic, there would have been a bunch of first person caption narration serving basically the same purpose as the thought bubbles. And if you took all that first person narration you got in those two to three issues, it would probably be actually more writing than what you see in that Wolfman sequence above.

The point is, you get just as much first person narration writing in scenes today, we just notice it less because the scenes are drawn out over far more pages, making the text seem less claustrophobic.

One thing I was never clear on…. Because Supergirl died, she never existed in the Post-Crisis universe. However, Barry dies the very next issue, and is remembered forever in the Post-Crisis universe. How’s that work again? Was a reason ever given? Was there any logic behind it?

DC made a massive mistake post-COIE from which it still has not recovered.

The smart decision was to simply re-boot everything from Year: One along with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Give the entire DCU the full Julius Schwartz treatment and roll out an all-new Flash, a all-new Green Lantern and the rest. Re-tell the origin and early stories of inter-connected characters, like the Legion, in the new continuity.

However, the two titles that would have been most radically effected were the LOSH and (Teen) Titans, which also happened to be the biggest sellers of that period. Instead of doing the smart thing, DC tried a patchwork continuity that made an utter hash out of more than a few characters. Hawkman was never wildly popular to begin with, so adding confusion to his history has proven (repeatedly) fatal.

DiDio seems to believe that the solution is to revert to the status quo ante. His belief seems to be that reversing all the changes from COIE will fix things. Personally, I doubt it. DC was not in great shape relative to Marvel when Wolfman and Perez took out their wrecking ball. My guess is that the warm feelings of nostalgia some us felt at seeing Barry and Hal in “New Frontier” fades once we realize that we have to live with them again.

DiDio seems to believe that the solution is to revert to the status quo ante. His belief seems to be that reversing all the changes from COIE will fix things. Personally, I doubt it. DC was not in great shape relative to Marvel when Wolfman and Perez took out their wrecking ball. My guess is that the warm feelings of nostalgia some us felt at seeing Barry and Hal in “New Frontier” fades once we realize that we have to live with them again.

The problem is, New Frontier was Barry and Hal with good, solid all-ages writing and easily accessible continuity. Didio’s rollback is Barry and Hal but with dark, rapey, kill-y, angsty writing and all the pre-Crisis confusing continuity combined with post-Crisis continuity combined with post-Infinite Crisis continuity. So it’s basically the pre-Crisis DC except with even more confusing continuity layered on it, plus tacky writing.

I think bringing back Barry and Hal can be good if DC took what worked with them and jettisoned what didn’t, which is what New Frontier did.

@wwk5d: I’ve never understood the “time it takes to read” argument as an indicator of quality, or even value. If that were the standard, then the yellow pages or an auto repair manual would be the height of literature. I’d much rather have an engaging, smart comic that takes me 5 minutes to read than an overwritten book filled where the page is covered in word balloons droning on with unnecessary exposition about the events the art is depicting.

It’s cute how Flash can see what Batman’s thinking.

I never understood why Barry was viewed as such a boring character. He was responsible for ushering in the Silver Age and continued to appear in all sorts of media and merchandising well beyond his demise, even more so than Wally. I was okay with Wally replacing him because it seemed logical and Wally was also a favorite of mine. But as these pages prove, Barry was no slouch in the mid-80′s and could still look cool given that the right creative team was handling him. Wolfman and Perez proved this point, if only for a couple of months.

Barry knows concentrated anti-matter when he sees it.

The “moment” has got to be the 3 panels at the bottom left on the last page (if I had to pick one, it’s the last of those three). The dialogue is a perfect eulogy for The Flash (some may call it overwrought, I call it appropriate grand for a great hero like Barry Allen). Terrific work by Perez again; packed a ton into these panels and made you see it and feel it.

The Death of The Flash was a great one, and I wish it hadn’t been undone. So unnecessary! Wally had become a great successor, Barry had gone out in appropriately heroic style…and without regret.

American Hawkman

September 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I still don’t think this moment is nearly as impressive as most people do, which, of course, was why I was thrilled at Barry’s return. Comparing this to Kara’s sendoff the issue beforehand just makes it seem anticlimatic. (Although the use of Barry’s image by Hector Hammond recalling this death in Green Lantern #200 got to me.)

Barry Allen deserved better than to go out against what’s essentially a one-shot villain with a gun… even if that gun’s a universe killer. I’m glad he’s back… even with the stupid retconning of his parents’ deaths.

Oh, and to the person complaining about Johns’ retconning Secret Origins? I personally take Mark Waid’s bit with the speed force as retconning that out… and Johns’ story as tying both together into one version, while answering the big question left unanswered by the Secret Origins one, i.e., why Wally got struck and empowered as well.

Oh, and to the person complaining about Johns’ retconning Secret Origins? I personally take Mark Waid’s bit with the speed force as retconning that out… and Johns’ story as tying both together into one version, while answering the big question left unanswered by the Secret Origins one, i.e., why Wally got struck and empowered as well.

Less complaining that noting. If I like a story, then I like it whether it is in continuity this week or not. I mean, who really cares?

Secret Origins Annual #2 is a better story than Flash: Rebirth by a fairly wide margin. The clever continuity weaving of Geoff Johns does not make the story even remotely compelling.

Totally agree.
The Secret Origins story is a perfect, powerful and even touching epilogue to Barry’s death. I don’t care if it’s continuity or not, I just think it’s a great tale and unfortunatley underrated.

Rendered less cool, for me due to rebirth (yes, I know, stupid of me).

@Neal K: With the prices of comics these days, yeah, it is a factor. I’d much rather have an engaging, smart comic that takes me more than 5 minutes to read than an underwriiten book filled with pages are nothing more than splash pages and kewl moments.

Seeing these pages again after more than 20 years reinforces my thoughts that the Anti-Monitor is a pretty lame design for a villain.

Geez, both times you left out my favorite moment from the issue. With Crisis #7, Superman taking Kara’s body into space was “the” moment for me. And here, it’s the Spectre, crying out in anguish over a death no one else knows about yet.

@Neal K: With the prices of comics these days, yeah, it is a factor. I’d much rather have an engaging, smart comic that takes me more than 5 minutes to read than an underwriiten book filled with pages are nothing more than splash pages and kewl moments.

Yeah it goes both ways.

Some comics are densely written without suffering in the slightest (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, The Dark Knight Returns, Year One, From Hell) and that’s great. You have a fantastic read and great value for money. Unfortunately what you often get (or got when this type or writing was more popular) are you unnecessarily over written comics that are just a chore to get through (like Claremont’s X-Men).

Other times you get excellent comics that take space to tell a story well without feeling the need to fill it with words (Animal Man, WE3, That Yellow Bastard) resulting in a story that’s quick to reed, but still great. Unfortunately what you often get are comics that are just a bit too slight (JLA: New Maps of Hell, just about anything by Daniel Way).

In my poorer years I’d have favoured the denser ones (though I loved Animal Man) because value for money was a real concern. These days I value the more decompressed ones (though I still love the really good denser works) because my time is at a premium – and at least those overly decompressed stories aren’t a chore to get through.

[...] Cool Comic Book Moments #245 features the death of Barry Allen from Crisis on Infinite [...]

Seeing these pages again after more than 20 years reinforces my thoughts that the Anti-Monitor is a pretty lame design for a villain.

Every George Perez design is lame. The man is a gifted artist but horrible designer.

Every George Perez design is lame. The man is a gifted artist but horrible designer

I though that his first batch of designs on Teen Titans were very good. Starfire’s costume has not … ahem … aged well. However, Cyborg and Raven are very good designs. Deathstroke was cool looking bad guy.

Even the very dated Nightwing and Starfire costumes have a solid foundation. Other folks were able to tweak them into great costumes, rather than needing to throw them out.

However, my favorite was the sort of alternate toga costume that he did for Wonder Woman. It was a better, more logical version of her classic bathing suit.

That said, your larger point is still valid. Perez has always been better at drawing costumes created by others than creating them himself. His characters always looked like they were coming back from a ’70s-era Van Halen show on Halloween.

I wouldn’t call it the moment of the issue, but the page immediately prior to the first page shown here has that neat bit with Barry zipping P-P around to HYP-mo-tyze the Qwardians, complete with a brilliant depiction of P-P’s terrorized face. I loved that.

Damn, that’s pretty powerful.
I realize that the dialoge is pretty outragious, but this is a guy trying to literally outrun oblivion. I think that’s an excuse to think out loud. It probably would have worked better in thought bubbles, but I’ll gladly take what I got here.

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