Monday, June 15, 2009

Hero of the Week #3: Flash

Real Name: Barry Allen
First Appearance: Showcase #4 (October, 1956)
Group Affiliation: Justice League, Flash Family
Gaming Credentials: The Flash (1991); The Flash (1993); Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe (2008)DC Universe Online (TBA)
Infinite Wars Cumulative Ranking: #21

In the pantheon of DC superheroes there are a select few characters vying for the degree of signifance and popularity granted to the easily recounted trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. On the cusp of this headlining echelon has traditionally been the key secondary cast that round out the Justice League of AmericaGreen Lantern, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and of course, the Flash.

As one of the defining characters from the transitional period of the Silver Age of comic books; the Barry Allen incarnation of the Flash has become one of the most storied legends in and out of the fiction, standing as a definitive example of the generational legacy DC have been able to craft. For most gamers reading the site, Wally West will be the more familiar Flash, having succeeded his uncle [Barry] after his famous moment of self-sacrifice in DC's now classic multiverse epic, Crisis on Infinite Earths.

More than twenty years after the character's death, Barry Allen officially came racing back into the land of the living in the pages of 2008's Final Crisis #2 .
His timely return would play a key role in defeating the series villain - Darkseid - whose spread of the Anti-Life Equation enslaved humanity indescriminately and reduced the world to only small pockets of resistance.
Together with his counterparts; Jay Garrick and Wally West; the resurrected Flash led death itself to Darkseid's door. It is the cost of this act, and the mysterious circumstances of his return, that have spun-off into his affectionate return to the DCU, Flash: Rebirth.

Hot off the heels of Allen's transformation into the dreaded Black Flash (death to speedsters) and his reassimilation into the Speed Force [in last week's third issue]; it's the on-going adventures of Rebirth that are the reason Barry Allen is this week's H.O.T.W!

Considering his heyday came to an end in the mid-eighties, it's perhaps somewhat surprising that the Barry Allen Flash made his way into as many video games as he has. The 1991 Game Boy issue, and bizarre and enjoyable 1993 Sega Master System release, were both spawned by the ill-fated 1990 television series, starring TV's John Wesley Shipp (Dawson's Creek).

The unlikely crossover between the bloodlusting martial artists of Mortal Kombat, and the heroes of the DC Universe, brought with it the first modern appearance of Barry Allen in a game. Surprising, given that the official release of the game came mere months after the "shock" return of the character in Final Crisis. Here, the Flash earned infamy for his easily spammed attacks, and bastardized manifestation of one of comics' most revered costumes. (Seriously, did we really need more lightning bolts?...)

Gamers, similar to fans of the cartoons, are likely more familiar with the Wally West version of the character. The comics savvy among you, however, will know just how vital the legacy of Barry Allen has always been to the contemporary Flash and the winding mythos of the character. His return has been part of an initiative by DC to allegedly reinstate the most iconic incarnations of their heroes, and in that respect, you can almost certainly count on running across Allen in the upcoming MMO extravaganza, DC Universe Online.

Secret Wars on Infinite Earths: The Comic Book Fight Club is updated with varying consistency, promising a feature fight for every Friday on the calendar (even if sometimes they're late). The site acts as an information resource, discussion site, review blog, and general good time. Be sure to check it out!

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