The death of Barry Allen, The Flash, in Crisis #8 marks the last time a mainstream superhero death meant anything – to us at least, and maybe you feel the same. Maybe you’re sick of everyone from Superman to Colossus coming back to life over and over again. (F@$& you, Jean Grey!!!) But here, in the ten-page scene we share with you today, Marv Wolfman and George Perez kill off the Flash like they mean it. For good. (Or at least for 23 years until the next Crisis thingie brought him back in 2008. Sigh.) And, they do it in a way that makes his death matter.
To say this scene affected us in 1985 would be putting it mildly. It burned an intense trajectory across our 12-year old brain. In fact, we used it to get into Drama Club in 7th grade. For the try-outs, we converted the scene into a monologue for Flash, giving it a ‘dramatic reading.’ We may not have been a great actor, but we could memorize lines like nobody’s business – and had no fear of the stage.
So, yeah, we got the lead in the first school play of 7th grade: a singing role as Rumplestiltskin. Not only did Barry Allen save the universe, he got us a part as a mad dwarf. This cemented our involvement in drama club throughout junior high. Thank you, Flash. Without your noble sacrifice, we would have never played Rumplestiltskin, Gandalf, a crazed serial killer, and a kid who dressed up as a maid to get the girl.
Come to think of it, Flash – if you could use your time powers and erase that last one for us, that’d be swell.
– From Crisis on Infinite Earths #8; DC Comics, 1985.
– Reprinted in Crisis on Infinite Earths Absolute Edition, 2005.
– Reprinted in Crisis on Infinite Earths Hardcover, 1998. Limited Edition, includes Poster and Slipcase.
– Reprinted in Crisis on Infinite Earths TPB, 2000.