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The Greatest Flash (Barry Allen) Stories Ever Told!

Every day in November we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Flash (Barry Allen) Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

10. Flash #137 “Vengeance of the Immortal Villain!”

Vandal Savage returns in this classic Silver Age tale of two worlds! Gardner Fox wrote it and Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella did the artwork.

9. Flash #155 “Gauntlet of Super-Villains”

Gorilla Grodd manipulates the Rogues into fighting the Flash so that Grodd can take control of Barry’s mind. Story by John Broome, art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

8. Flash #148 “Doorway to the Unknown”

An offbeat supernatural story by John Broome that really stood out during the Silver Age. Art by Infantino and Giella.

7. Showcase #4 “Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt!”

The classic introduction of the Flash! One of the great origin issues of all-time. Kind of hard to miss with a creative team of Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert!

6. Flash #300 “1981 – A Flash Odyssey”

Cary Bates came up with a clever story where BArry Allen is tricked into thinking that perhaps he just imagined his life as the Flash and he was actually horribly injured in the lightning explosion way back when. Carmine Infantino and Bob Smith did the art.

5. Green Lantern #13/Flash #131 “Duel of the Superheroes”/”Captives of the Cosmic Ray”

The beginning of the legendary Flash/Green Lantern duo! John Broome wrote both stories, with inks by Joe Giella on both issues (pencils by Gil Kane and Carmine Infantino, respectively).

4. Secret Origins Annual #2 “Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt!”

Robert Loren Fleming and artists Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson examine the life of Barry Allen in a touching story that came up with the clever idea of Barry (after his death in Crisis #8) actually becoming the thunderbolt that hit him back in Showcase #4.

3. Flash #275-284 “The Death of Iris Allen”

Cary Bates (with artists Alex Saviuk, Don Heck and a host of inkers) crafted a compelling epic over nearly a year’s worth of Flash stories showing us both Iris Allen’s murder and the mystery surrounding it, as Barry has to come to terms with the loss of his beloved spouse.

2. Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 “A Flash of the Lightning!”

This is the classic death of Barry Allen, sacrificing himself to save an entire universe! Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Jerry Ordway was the creative team.

1. Flash #123 “Flash of Two Worlds”

One of the greatest tales of the Silver Age, this brings Barry Allen face to face with his hero, Jay Garrick – the original Flash! (I occasionally see this argued as a classic only in hindsight, due to its importance in introducing the concept of Earth-2 and bringing back all of the Golden Age versions of the DC superheroes. However, it is worth noting that this was a highly acclaimed story at the time – it won all the fan awards back in 1962). Written by Gardner Fox with art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

28 Comments

Hmm, I had 1, 2 & 3 but in the reverse order. I also only included the death and aftermath issues. I thought it was a really well done grieving story and made the Flash a more interesting character.

Wow I thought crisis would be no 1 .
Gotta love how absolutely none of the johns era made it, including the super hyped flashpoint.
Whyd they bring him back again???

The Crazed Spruce

November 24, 2011 at 7:31 am

I would’ve voted, but my list would’ve pretty much just been #s 7, 4, 2, and 1. (I might’ve also thrown in the “Flash of Two Worlds” retelling from Secret Origins 50, too. Can’t help wondering how that one placed on the list.)

Gotta love how absolutely none of the johns era made it, including the super hyped flashpoint.

This was for Barry Allen – Johns wrote Wally West…. (unless you count his limited recent run.)

And note: Johns made me fall in love with Wally West.

figured both barrys death in crisis and also the classic flash of two worlds would be on the list and at least in the top five. and nice to see them at one and two.

The Dastardly Death of the Rogues (the first arc from Johns/Manapul’s Flash run) came in #12 (right behind another Rogues-related comic, Flash #174).

Fun fact about Flash #137 — All the gadgets Vandal Savage uses were actually used in the story the issue refers to, All-Star Comics #37′s “The Injustice Society of the World”.

The Johns run had a great premise (Barry Allen: CSI, for heavens’ sakes!) but epically failed to deliver. Thankfully, it looks like Manapul and Buccelato realize the potential and Barry is in good hands with them.

i definitely figured the Trial, or at least #324, would end up in the top 10. still, good list!

Trial came in at #13. Then the Superman/Flash race from World’s Finest #198. Then “Fact or Fiction?” closed out the Top 15.

So happy the tragedy of Rebirth didn’t make the top 15

Mopee was robbed. Also the Puppet Flash. But yeah, sounds like a majority of my votes were in the Top 15.

Actually expected Flash of Two Worlds to be #1 on greatest Flash Barry Allen stories ever, given its significance in history.

#200 is one of my all-time fave stories ever!

er… #300, rather!

None of these are from after Final Crisis.

For a reason.

It is interesting to see how clustered these comics are. #131, 137, 148 and 155 represent four stories that were released within 24 months. That seems noteworthy for a character who has around for a half century.

I love that Secret Origins story and many of the others listed. One of my favourite Barry Allen tales, however, is probably Karl Kershl’s beautiful take in Wednesday Comics–for me, that was just good, good comics. I also liked the Barry v. Cold sequence in Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier, but am too lazy to look up the specific issue number.

For what it’s worth, I’m also really enjoying the new series by Manapul and Booch. If it keeps up, it’s on par with the best of the Waid and Messner-Loebs stuff (i.e. better than the Johns’ stuff).

This certainly isn’t a Barry Allen story, but my all-time favorite Barry Allen moment was in Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow run, when Ollie runs into Barry in heaven, and Barry says something like “Wally calls it the Speed Force. Darndest thing.” In just one word balloon, it seemed like a perfect characterization of Barry.

The Death of Iris Allen was the *worst* Flash storyline ever in my opinion. Not only we lost a classic character for no apparent reason, not only it turned Barry into a murderer (of Professor Zoom) it dragged for a year before finally ending in the reveal that *gasp* IRIS WAS ALIVE ALL ALONG! Maybe if it had been a three-parter or so it would have worked for me, but as it was, it killed my interest in The Flash. (His death in Crisis was epic though.) I guess it was a sign of the times, that DC felt they couldn’t sell a True Hero like Flash without some tragedy. Of course that *pales* next to what they do today.

Anyway: Overall a great list.

Did Flash ever catch that horrible villain Yaaaaah, who killed his wife?

How many of these stories were written in the last 30 years? And people clamored for his return? How many of these stories are better than Wally West as the Flash?

@Tuomas: Yes, he did…but only after putting on his sunglasses.

[...] results are in! Comics Should Be Good has posted the top ten greatest Barry Allen stories ever told, as chosen by the blog’s [...]

C. Adams – I don’t think too many comic fans clamored for Barry’s return – most of today’s comic fans are from the 90s. Also, few of these stories were written in the last 30 years because the character was killed off 26 years ago. This ain’t rocket science.

And let’s try to keep the conversation above the “Wally vs. Barry” stuff that rules the DC boards. I’d bet Wally will come back to the DCU someday. Even if not, right now Manapul and co. are doing a great job filling **everyone’s** shoes, delivering a very high-quality Flash run.

Lots of reasons to celebrate, even if we miss some favorite characters…

It’s a very strong list, isn’t it! All 15 of them. (Makes one wonder about #11-#25 for Batman from the last time around hint hint :D)

“Broome received a 1964 Alley Award for Best Short Story: “Doorway to the Unknown!” in Flash #148, with artist Carmine Infantino.”

(Brian, that of course is the story I was voting for that I couldn’t identify but only describe. I trust you worked it out, even if I did remember it a few years later than it was)

The Secret Origins issue also has one of the best Wally West stories (The Unforgiving Minute). And that version of the Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt was the sort of triumphant capstone to hundreds of stories by dozens of talented people, in effect collaborating across decades of work, to rank alongside the epilogue to the LSH’s Great Darkness Saga.

Yeah, nobody was clamoring for Barry’s return. Geoff Johns brought Barry back because Geoff Johns wanted Barry back. And don’t get me wrong, I love Barry. I was a big DC fan growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, was a regular reader of Flash and JLA, and at the time I found Wally the most annoying and least interesting of the New Teen Titans. But Barry had a good death, Wally proved a worthy replacement, and it felt as if it had all been settled long ago. Bringing Barry back at this point feels like bringing Dan Garrett back to take over the Blue Beetle mantle again—why do it? So far I haven’t seen any good answer for that in the comics themselves.

I felt a bit differently about resurrecting Hal, because I’d hated the Parallax story so much in the first place. If Barry had a good, appropriate death, Hal had a ridiculous, horrible one, and I certainly didn’t mind seeing it undone. How Johns did it was a mess, and I haven’t liked Hal much as Johns writes him, but there at least I can see why he’d want to reclaim and redeem Hal as a character. But there was no need for any of that with Barry. Barry was just fine where he was.

None of that affects my enjoyment of the stories on the list, anyway. I loved them when I was growing up, and I love them now.

randypan the goatboy

November 27, 2011 at 8:13 am

What was wrong with rebirth? I Understand why people hate Flashpoint, but I liked rebirth. i despise the fact that since 1986 Wally West was the Flash and then one day because no one demanded it Barry Allen was brought back and Wally was done away with. I hate the direction DC has taken and I for one plan on showing them with my money[ I am sure they will survive without me} But if everyone registered their disgust with the new direction they would have a mini series called Crisis 4 the apology so fast that our collective heads would spin. No Wally West, No Powergirl, No JSA and a Booster Gold who has been demoted down to second tier status after so much effort was used to buld him up…I call shenanigans DC….shenanigans

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