SPOILER WARNING: This article includes spoilers for “The Flash” #12, on sale now.
Having survived the super speed onslaught of Godspeed, a shadow war with the Shade’s rogue spectres, and the teen angst of new partner Kid Flash, it’s about time something finally went right for Barry Allen. “The Flash” #12 by Joshua Williamson and Davide Gianfelice gives the Fastest Man Alive his heart’s desire, restoring the classic romance between Barry Allen and Iris West.
Well, Barry asks her out on a date, anyway. Readers will have to wait until next issue for Iris’s response.
“Your lovely wife”
At the successful conclusion of their team-up adventure, former villain turned dapper but conflicted good guy the Shade tells the Flash to “let your lovely wife get some rest,” referring to the recently-rescued Iris. Barry awkwardly stutters that they are not married, to which Shade replies, “My mistake.”
They were married, of course, prior to “Flashpoint.” Ever since the Silver Age “Flash” #165. And CW’s “The Flash” television series frequently hints that Barry and Iris will marry at some point in the future. It’s as close to destiny as any couple in comics.
Barry and Iris’s story has taken some wild twists and turns along the way. First, Iris discovers her new husband is the Flash shortly after their wedding because he talks in his sleep; one wonders if this is the best way to start a lifelong partnership. But Iris has other things on her mind, because it turns out she was born a thousand years in the future — no word yet on whether this is still canon post-“Rebirth.” Zoom murdered Iris, prompting Barry to take the villain’s life, the first time he had killed a foe; later, it would be revealed that Iris was not dead but back home in the future, where Barry would join her long enough to start a family before sacrificing his life in “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” At some point, Iris returned to our present with her grandson Bart Allen, aka Impulse, later Kid Flash, and, very briefly, The Flash. Much later, Barry himself returned from the Speed Force in “Final Crisis,” then rewrote history in “Flashpoint,” erasing everything about his life Iris except the tingle in his belly.
Which brings us, more or less, up to now.
Barry has dated other women post-“Flashpoint,” including, recently, fellow speedster Dr. Meena Dhawan, who is missing in action following Godspeed’s attack but seems to be approaching the Flash via the Speed Force. But his affection for Iris has always been clear. His rat-fink partner August Heart commented on Barry’s obvious crush before revealing himself to be the Flash’s new adversary. So this has been a long time coming.
Plus, there’s the matter of “Rebirth” and Iris’s central place within its changes. She herself does not seem to be a major player, as such, but as Barry recently noted she was a mother figure to both Wally Wests (how precisely that works remains to be seen), one of whom is essentially the point of view character for the entire modern continuity. The Flash himself plays a key role in almost every major DC Comics event, from his pivotal role in “Crisis” up to his universe-annihilating turn in “Flashpoint.” If there are major changes to the Flash’s world, if the heart of bygone worlds is reasserting itself, of course, of course Iris is going to be right in the middle.
Just don’t mess it up, Barry!
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