In Flash #0 we finally get the New52 retelling of Barry’s origin as the Flash. This story pulls together threads from the various versions of the origin story, and adds of couple of additional twists just for fun. While the story does not appear to be groundbreaking at first glance, there are some hidden gems that may turn into major storylines down the road.
SPOILERS AHEAD! SPOILERS AHEAD! (along with some theories)
The story starts with Barry working late on the case of his mother’s murder, becoming so frustrated that he throws some equipment right out the window…just as the lightning is ready to strike (guess it’s lucky the lightning hit him or he might have been in some real trouble for that one, huh?). He is flashing back to a number of moments in his life, from the murder of his mother to a conversation where Henry Allen confesses to the murder in order to get an adult Barry to go on with his life.
The story follows both Barry’s healing process and a number of flashback moments in his life, leading up to the discovery of his powers and the design of his uniform, along with his debut as The Flash. In the middle of all this we get a lot of nuggets that may or may not mean much more in the near future. But, let’s start with those flashbacks…
While Barry prepares for a spelling bee (his record so far is basically a lot of 2nd and 3rd place finishes), there are papers served to Henry Allen on behalf of his wife Nora. Presumably, these are divorce papers. There is a conversation that “it’s about HIM”…which on first read sounds like they are talking about Barry, though I don’t think that’s the real meaning here. More on that later.
In young Barry’s room we see a poster of a speed skater in a very Flash-like pose (Apollo Ono? Hard to tell…but still…). Later on, when Barry is trying out various armors the early designs look very much like the uniform and helmet that one would see on a speed skater. In a way, that makes perfect sense as far as uniform design, and helps to explain that little chin strap we now find on Barry.
Barry goes to the spelling bee and actually wins. Yay Barry! But, before he can show his mother the trophy he is sent off to the comic book shop…and when he returns his world falls apart. His mother is dead and Henry Allen is arrested for the murder. Barry meets Darryl Frye, an officer who knew Nora, and Darryl takes him in and raises him as his own.
Eventually Barry recovers and designs his uniform, one made of metal plates that expand in reaction to the “force around him” - so in Barry’s case at least this is a true armor plate uni. He debuts in this new uniform, making sure he uses the name that “took him forever” to think up…Flash!
Two things here…one just food for thought and another that is completely my own take on things (though you may share that thought). First, we are introduced at one point to a prisoner named Daniel West. When he tries to escape, he is subdued by Barry…but given how blatantly they identified him I doubt this is the last we’ll see of a male with the last name West (maybe he has a son or cousin or brother we will meet sometime…I hope).
The other is my own take on the issue, that Henry Allen may not be Barry’s father at all.
I think Darryl Frye is Barry’s REAL father.
It’s more than the obvious resemblance. It is how Henry reacted to his son before the murder. It is the “him” they reference in conversations about the divorce papers - I don’t think “him” refers to Barry, but to someone else…possibly Darryl Frye. It is how Darryl introduces himself to a young Barry as being someone who knew his mother and that he knew what Nora would have wished. It is how Darryl sits at Barry’s hospital bedside talking about not wanting to go through this again and how much he misses “her” so much. Of course, I could be misreading the whole thing, but it WOULD be interesting.
At some point, if my ramblings had any validity, this would have to come into play in the story line. There are several ways this can go, and all of them would be highly interesting. So…even in a story that appears to be a plain “here’s the story of a man named Brady….er, Barry” origin, there are some nuggets that may be critically important before long.
The artwork was once again amazing, holding up the high standards established by this team of Manapul and Buccellato. What more can I say without gushing? As for the armored uniform, I’m okay with the explanation here. We no longer have fabric that expands on contact with the air, but metal that expands in reaction to Barry’s own dose of speed force…and that works well enough with comic book physics to be fine by me.
SUMMARY: Though this story appears on the surface to be a general “here’s the story of a man named Brady, er, Barry”, there are some important twists that may set the stage for some blockbuster story lines down the road. All in all, a satisfying read for a Flash fan!