liberty's Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 - A Flash of the Lightning review

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Project 500: Barry should have stayed dead.


 Barry's ultimate sacrifice.
Welcome ComicVine's to this the eighth installment of Project 500. As you may know Project 500 was the idea of legendary reviewer Silkcuts.  This is in honor of his 500th review.  (Congratulations)  He saw a need that there were no reviews for the most famous DC Comics crossover ever.  The Crisis on Infinite Earths or the First Crisis as I like to call it.  He gathered some of the best reviewer's, and minds (modesty) for a Jam session style reviews on the first issue of the series.  Then asked for voulenteers to write a review for each issue.  One by one he got the reviewers to tackle issue after issue in a baton style.  It is my turn to take that baton and run with it.  
 
Now I think Silkcuts gave me the eighth issue to review because I am his 8th closest friend on the vine.  (Just kidding)  The real reason I assume is my passion on the particular subject of comic deaths.  In this issue we have the biggest death of a hero ever.  I say this because he was replaced for decades and not brought back in some long drawn out market driven return.  After this issue he is dead. 
 
 Running to the end.
The death of a superhero or a long standing villain need to be done right.  In other words a death in a comic should be used for something other than.  " I want to make this bad guy look tough/merciless...Who can I kill?"  It is by far my biggest pet peeve.  They have only done it correctly a few times.  There should be a set of rules.   Like...
  1. Is this a good story? (Ice, Yolanda, Anima, Baby Wildebeest, Bushido, Dolphin, Trickster, Big Barda, Mister Miracle, Tasmanian Devil.)
  2. Is this good for the over all plot of the story? (Johnny Quick, Maxima, Rocket Red, Steel, Spoiler)
  3. How will this effect the universe in the long term? (Elongated Man, Hawk(s), Dove(s), Guy Gardner, Firestorm, Hawkgirl/Hawkman(s), Triplicat Girl)
  4. Will this character stay dead?, For How long? and Is it worth it? (Captain America, Batman, Superman, Hal Jordan, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Superboy)
  5. Does the character have a protege to take up the mantle?  (Blue Beetle)
  6. Is the character/powers of the the character being used properly or are they just being put out a sacrificial lambs? (Crimson Fox, Amazing Man, Kilowog)

 This just in...
These are superheroes not red shirted Enterprise crewmen.  THEY ARE NOT FODDER.  Some of these deaths are so bad it would be the equivalent of Superman dieing in a car accident.  Heroes need heroic deaths.  I don't need a comic telling me anyone can die of cancer. (The Question, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, Lex Luther, Iron Fist, Amazing Man)  I can see that just by my friend who died last week.  In real life sometimes heroes die pointless and sad deaths.  Superheroes/fictional-heroes need the heroic deaths or their saga falls flat. 
 
Sorry about the rant.  The big question of this issue is did Barry's death mean something?  Was it done right?  I would say yes because he was gone so long.  When he came back he wasn't needed.  We don't need two Flashes.  It is like Batman having five different Robins.  Unless Batman is 70 he is going through these sidekicks at a quick pace.  
 
 The Ultimate Universe
I focused a lot on Barry's death because it was really the only thing beside exposition in the whole story.  The art of course was great and it is truly one of the most historical comics ever.  I gave the book four stars and now I must pass the baton to the next reviewer.  Thanks for reading.
9 Comments
Posted by Silkcuts

That is what I am talking about! *clapping* 
The heart I knew you would deliver is very much in full force in this review.  Thank you very much my friend and you were given the flash because of many reasons, you earned it right after the jam in my opinion, with your set up of it in the review, much like Barry's death is worked up to this moment, with him flashing in and out all over the place.  Another reason you earned this issue because besides Supergirl, this is likely the most desired issue to talk about.  Most people would go on about Barry and why they like(d) him, while you I knew would talk about why his death is so important.  I agree with you, he is not needed back in the DCU.  I grew up reading stories with Wally, I don't really know Barry personally.  You I think are also the only user on the Vine to know my real age...lol I also had to point out you were the first to volunteer, Sha was first on board because I had to give her Supergirl.  You were also very flexible and willing to do any issue, that flexibility and helpfulness were the legs I needed to Stand in Project 500.  This issue in my opinion was the "Legs" to his story to run, it was not me who really picked you, I think it was the universe.  Thank you again for the review my friend.
 
Barry's death did mean something and you are right it was the greatest death in all of comics because it hits all these quotas.  It was heroic, he furthered the story, he stayed away until Geoff Johns came along, he had a protege who I think worked better then Dick Grayson becoming a Batman and over all it was a good story.
 
I just wanted to add a bit of a "metaphysics" rant at the end, Barry dies in the 8 issue, and I have mentioned before in other reviews that the 8 is a vertical presentation of the "infinity" sign, which is also a mobius strip.  Barry did "die", but he become something "endless".  This is part of the reason I didn't want him back like you mentioned above.  His death was perfect.  May be he came back so DC Comics doesn't lose him to the Public Domain, Turok can tell us how likely that is.

Posted by jrh7925

Excellent commentary, as always! I agree 100% with comic character deaths. It is one of the reasons I stopped reading comics religiously. For me, two things drove me away from DC: killing off Sue Dibny and the return of Hal Jordan. I had loved Sue during the Giffen/DeMatteis run of Justice League, and to see her killed off was such a shame. 
 
I feel the same thing with Barry Allen. I feel like bringing him back cheapens a lot of the stories prior, especially the early Flash run of the late 80s. During that run, Wally West had to grow up and come to terms what it meant to be the Flash. There was a really good story from around that time where it was showed that, as Barry Allen was speeding backwards in time trying to stop the Anti-Monitor's tachyon cannon, he became the lightning bolt that gave himself his powers. During that run, they introduced Tina McGee (who saw screentime in the Flash TV series). After analyzing Wally's abilities versus Barry's, she came to the conclusion that Barry may not have been 100% human, inferring he was a sentient embodiment of the lightning bolt that created him. That may sound dumb reading it now, but as it was revealed, I liked it a lot. They used it as a way to explain how Barry could do some of the things he could (control his individual molecules?) and reset the Flash in a more physics-friendly environment. It also served to play up this fact that Wally could never live up to his image of Barry...  until Geoff Johns came along and made him into the Flash.
 
While I hate dating myself, I can remember the shock of reading Barry's death. Not to sound too much like an old fogie, but back then, there was no internet to spoil things like this. In hindsight, it made sense (Flash's series, which had run since 1956, had just been slated for cancellation after 29 years). But I can remember thinking "wow, they aren't joking around!"

Posted by Liberty
@jrh7925:   I really love what you wrote.  Thank you!
Posted by Krakoa

I loved the blend of analysis and personal catharsis, it made this review unique. I for one enjoyed the "rant" and methinks it would make for a broader blog post in the semi-near future? 

Edited by Dark Noldor

I´ve just read recently - tuesday - a portuguese edition of this fantastic issue and I liket it so much that I´m buying myself the TP in English. This was such a captivating story that even made me like a character that I didn´t care (still don´t like so much) that is Flash. Man, I loved Barry in this issue: the way he toyed with the Psycho Pirate and his sacrifice was awesome. Great review!!

Edited by Amegashita

  I think a hero is a person who is willing to put their life on the line in order to protect those who are unable to help themselves, by this nature, superheroes are just the epitome of that, right?  Most heroes end up saving lives, or they die trying, and so it should apply to superheroes in turn.  When people would ask me, why I think a superhero who kills isn't a hero, when police officers can kill and still be a hero, it's because officers live in a world where people are just people, they don't have powers, and they don't have the ability to react faster than light to situations we could view as implausible, yet in comics, we have heroes with fantastic powers where they can move the earth an undetermined distance to save it, yet they can't stop some petty criminal from shooting an elder citizen in the head?  It makes no sense, and I agree with you completely.  With comics, the world is designed in such a way where a hero can always resolve something, and just like heroic characters need heroic flaws, heroic characters need heroic deaths.  Your review is, absolutely, astounding and insightful as always.

Posted by Liberty
@Amegashita said:
  I think a hero is a person who is willing to put their life on the line in order to protect those who are unable to help themselves, by this nature, superheroes are just the epitome of that, right?  Most heroes end up saving lives, or they die trying, and so it should apply to superheroes in turn.  When people would ask me, why I think a superhero who kills isn't a hero, when police officers can kill and still be a hero, it's because officers live in a world where people are just people, they don't have powers, and they don't have the ability to react faster than light to situations we could view as implausible, yet in comics, we have heroes with fantastic powers where they can move the earth an undetermined distance to save it, yet they can't stop some petty criminal from shooting an elder citizen in the head?  It makes no sense, and I agree with you completely.  With comics, the world is designed in such a way where a hero can always resolve something, and just like heroic characters need heroic flaws, heroic characters need heroic deaths.  Your review is, absolutely, astounding and insightful as always.
This is an amazing statement and unbelievable compliment.  Thank you.
Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever

I'm glad Barry's back, I like him a lot as a character. Besides we don't need to fight death in comics, it's what makes comics unique. Plus being bead for 20 years is no small feat.

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