I’m not much of a DC fan. Not in comparison to Marvel, at the very least. I’ll admit this readily. However, Flash is one of the coolest heroes they have, sometimes even edging out Batman for the top spot. Flash is honestly one of the greatest heroes ever, full stop.
I think that the finest complete DC story is DC – The New Frontier. It oozes cool from front to back. I ordered the Absolute edition of it for my birthday, and it showed up yesterday. I haven’t read it yet, though I did skim the backmatter and annotations. I also skipped directly to one of my favorite spots in the book, a scene featuring Barry Allen springing into action. The first half of this scene is reproduced below.
(One of the annotations for this scene simply says “One of the biggest secrets of New Frontier… Captain Cold is Grant Morrison!” I am seriously loving that redesign, too, from the rings on down. Sharp work.)
I don’t like a lot of the Silver Age heroes. Jordan bores me to tears (though Gavok does have a very interesting take on him being Superman without a cape that he needs to write up), and after that, who’s left? Aquaman? Please. Red Tornado? Don’t even.
Barry Allen, and by extension Iris West/Allen, is pretty awesome, though. I can’t put my finger on why. He’s a forensic scientist with an investigative reporter girlfriend. He doesn’t play up the Clark Kent stumblebum garbage. Instead, he’s just late to things. What better alibi does the fastest man alive need? “Barry can’t be the Flash, he’s been late to every one of our dates!”
Funny bit of trivia: In New Frontier and the proper DCU both, Iris figured out his ID before he told her and just humored him. Barry talks in his sleep in the DCU, and, well, she’s an investigative reporter in NF. She’s no idiot.
If Barry is cool, Iris is, too. She’s the glue that holds the latest Flashes together. Barry’s wife, Wally’s aunt, and Bart’s grandmother. She gave Barry a reason to continue fighting the good fight, she gave Wally confidence, love, and support back when he needed it most, and she saved Bart’s life. Each of them would willingly die for her, and Barry even went so far as to kill for her.
She’s smart, she’s loved, and Iris Allen is, without a doubt, what Lois Lane dreams of growing up to be. Lois wishes she were this cool. She may be the most powerful man in the world’s greatest weakness, but she’s got nothing on Iris West, first lady of the Flash legacy.
Barry and Iris are one of my favorite comics couples. They work. There’s none of that stupid slapstick that pervaded the premarriage Lois & Clark relationship, nor any of the playboy drama that Bruce Wayne brings. Not to mention the blatant or implied infidelity that Ollie brought to the Arrow/Canary partnership.
I think my favorite part of the scene above is the bit where Barry defrosts Iris’s hand. “She’s okay! Just unconscious. I give her hand a quick thaw… I grab a little sugar… and now for the tough guy who shoots at women.”
“I grab a little sugar.” That’s dope. That’s actually better than the bit that Johns had in his run on Flash, where Jay Garrick tips his metal hat and smiles at each person he saves.
Flash Fact: Barry and Iris are cool as ice. So is New Frontier.