The Life Story of The Flash

by Alan Rapp on September 24, 2008

in Comics

  • Title: The Life Story of the Flash
  • Comic Vine: link

“His legend will be emblazoned across the centuries, his heroism and unselfish sacrifce revered and remembered a thousand years hence.”

When I sit and ruminate on my favorite comic characters of all-time a certain Scarlet Speedster always finds himself racing up the list.

Part comic and part biography The Life Story of The Flash is one of the most unconventional graphic novels you will find.  Written by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, the life of the Flash is told from beginning to end (not counting our hero’s return in Final Crisis) through the eyes of his wife Iris Allen.

The majority of the material is written as a book with occasional pictures, comic panels, and pages inserted for clarification of the major events of Barry Allen’s life.  The book celebrates the first hero of the Silver Age from childhood through that fateful night that lightning stuck, his villains and comrades, his sidekick Wally West, marriage, the loss of his wife, his final act of saving the entire DCU, and his legacy.

Longtime fans of the character will enjoy this book as will those unfamiliar with the character’s origins and history.  It sounds like DC has big plans for Barry in the near future, so for those wanting to know a bit about his past this is a good place to start.

Sadly both the hardcover and trade paperback versions of the graphic novel have been long out of print, though Barry’s return to action may move this one back to the presses.

My favorite moments included here are the depth given to the relationship between Barry and Iris, the classic one panel of Captain Boomerang, the retelling of “Flash of Two Worlds” which reintroduced the character of Jay Garrick to the DCU, and Barry’s final run from Crisis on Infinite Earths.  The novel captures all of the Flash’s history, both the goofy and the tragic and presents it in a condensed volume that will make you want to go out and get more Flash comics.  The book also ends with a bit of a hopeful and ominous note, a flash of lightning and an unspoken hope that Barry may one day return.

Though you may have to hunt the Internet for this one, I heartily recommend it both to longtime fans of the character and for those getting their first taste of Barry in Final Crisis.  The book itself is a great read, but the idea behind it (a fictional character writing a life history of another fictional character) is inspired.  The book also throws in some nice touches along the way including a blurb from Lois Lane on the back cover in which she describes the book as “the finest super-hero biography I have ever read, written with all the tenderness and compassion that only the woman who knew the Flash best could bring to such a book.”  I agree.

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