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Saturday, September 05, 2009 

Barry Allen creating the Speed Force is too much to swallow

The fourth issue of Flash: Rebirth came out at least a week ago, and if there's anything else about it that strikes me as awkward, it's the idea that Barry Allen somehow created the Speed Force, and Eobard Thawne a negative form of the same.

Now this may not be as big a problem as the grisly retcon Geoff Johns forced upon Barry's parents and background, but it's still absurd and makes it hard to accept Barry properly as a human. First, time travel is a very tricky tightrope to walk on, but some time travel ideas do make more sense than others, and are even easier to accept than what Johns is turning out. If Barry Allen created the Speed Force, by that logic he surely would have made everything possible for Jay Garrick to become the Flash before him (and Johnny Chambers to become Johnny Quick), even granting him a speed aura, the precursor to the Speed Force effects that Julius Schwartz and company thought of back in the day, which protected them from heat friction. The same goes for just about all other speedsters featured throughout time in the DCU. That really doesn't jibe well with how the original premise went back in the Golden Age, well before such things were ever thought of, and runs the gamut of reducing their own significance by suggesting that they only got where they did thanks to Barry!

Second, it takes a serious risk of making Barry sound like a omnipotent pagan deity, even more so than DC's own deity-like entities inspired by Greek mythology, who, while not really human, are still vulnerable to injuries and such. Maybe it was a mistake to suggest that Barry brought down the lightning bolt on Wally West through a subconscious connection to the Speed Force when Mark Waid brought this up as he was writing the Flash in the 90s, though he certainly didn't try to suggest that Barry was anything close to a deity. It may not even be the first time DC's done something like this - some time ago, they ended the All-New Atom by giving their forced replacement for Ray Palmer something like internalized shrinking power, which makes it too easy for the protagonist of that series, whose cancellation was decidedly for the best.

Again, this isn't as bad as darkening Barry's background, but it doesn't do much to make him believable to the audience either, nor does it do much for the Flash's legacies.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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