The internet is a wonderful thing. It facilitates the free exchange and sale of other people's ideas, and gives a voice to those who might not otherwise have one: upper-middle class white kids. But despite all that, it's hard to imagine life today without it.
Still, thank god the internet didn't exist in the 80s.
The Fastest Man Alive, he can run at velocities approaching the speed of light.
Barry Allen is the first offical saint of the DC Universe, having sacrificed himself to help save the universe during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He became a noble symbol of everything a hero could accomplish, and a reminder that sometimes accomplishment also meant loss. Perhaps most impressive of all (at least by comicbook standards), Barry Allen has managed to remain dead for 20 years now.
Imagine a world where the internet existed in the '80s, however. A world where Barry still died during Crisis, but his fans had the ability and wherewithal to organize themselves and make their displeasure known. With the internet, Flash fans could have formed B.O.S.S. - Barry's Official Scarlet Saviours - and spent a decade pissing and moaning like little girls until DC "triumphantly" brought him back in the mid-90s.
For a dead guy, Barry's got a lot of miles left in him - in fact, all of his best stories have been post-Crisis. The Return of Barry Allen, JLA: Year One, Chain Lightning, New Frontier... before his death, Barry's biggest character trait was that he was constantly late (which still gave him more of a personality than Hal Jordan), but now he's becoming something truly special, even getting the deluxe Alex Ross tretment in the artist's next big project, Justice.
To celebrate the upcoming comic, DC Direct is releasing Justice League figures based on Ross' artwork, much like they did for Kingdom Come, and Barry's the only hero other than Alex Ross mainstay Superman to find his way into the first series.
The Flash is looking damn good in figure form. Barry's looks were always as bland as his personality, so Ross pretty much had a blank canvas to work with. Barry's looking young and fit, and it suits him, but it might be unexpected. He's got a slight smile on his lips, and a bit of a questioning look in his eye.
If you look at the official promotional photos, Flash looks older - it's a combination of dramatic lighting and the fact that all those pictures are of a two-up. I think the "old" face would have been better, but the one we got is nothing awful. It's a question of Barry at the end of his career vs. Barry at the beginning.
The figure's body is excellent, of course: Tim Bruckner is the man when it comes to turning 2D art into 3D toys. Though Flash doesn't have a lot of costume details, what we did get is great. The lightning bolts on his chest and waist are actual raised sections, rather than just being etched in. This means that they cast slight shadows, giving them a natural outline without having to be traced in black, the way Kid Flash's sigil was. Very nice!
His suit wrinkles under the arms, and especially around his neck - he's supposed to have his head twisted a bit to the side, so the material around his neck is pulling in that direction. There are seams where his mask has been stitched together, the wings on his ears look nice and even his boots show evidence of flexing. Which turns out to be something of a problem.
Barry (you notice no one ever really calls him the Flash any more? He's always Barry) is sculpted in a pseudo-running pose, with one foot flat on the ground and the other just beginning to lift off. It's pretty nice, once you find the spot that both looks right and allows him to balance, but the lack of ankles means that it's almost impossible to get him to stend any other way. Yes, Barry has the same display stand as the rest of the figures in this line, but his peg hole is in the toes of the foot that's raising up, and there's no hole in the other foot, so one tiny peg has to support the entire weight of a figure in an extreme pose.
The paint is applied very well, but the color choices are unexpected. There's a slight metallic sheen to the red suit, which doesn't work as well for Barry as it would for Wally. This Flash costume was made of simple cloth, not crazy sparkle juice. His boots and bolts are gold, which makes sense in an Alex Ross sort of way, but it makes Barry look too "high-class", for lack of a better term. What's wrong with simple yellow?
I only bought this figure as a base for a custom, but it's turned out to be pretty good on its own. Barry Allen proves that a beloved comic character can be dead and still have good stories told about him - a lesson that Green Arrow and Green Lantern fans should have learned.
Who's your favorite Flash? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge