Flash: How Did Iris Survive Death in the Comics?

In Death is not the End, we spotlight the outlandish explanations for comic book characters (mostly super-villains) surviving seeming certain death.

In the current storyline on the "Flash" TV series, Barry Allen is trying to change the events of the future that he saw earlier in the season, where the love of his life, Iris West, was killed by Savitar in May 2017. Already her by-line in the future newspaper that Flash has at STAR Labs has changed from a by-line of Iris West-Allen to someone else entirely. So it seems like her death is set in stone, but as we know about comic books and comic book TV shows, there is no such thing as a death set in stone. In fact, Iris actually already DIED in the comic books before...and got better! Read on to see how it happened!

The event went down in 1979's "Flash" #275 (by Cary Bates, Alex Saviuk and Frank Chiaramonte), as part of an odd little spate of death in DC Comics during the late 1970s (Aquaman's son was also murdered and the Batman of Earth 2 was also killed). The Flash and his wife, Iris, had just decided to have a baby the day that they also attended a costume party. Barry wore his Flash costume and Iris dressed as Batgirl. Later in the party, Barry was drugged by "angel dust" and had to sit down for a moment. While he was sitting, Iris was killed! Barry thought it was a recurring villain of the time, who was in the room with her at the moment. He then passed out.

The next issue, he hallucinated until finally a friend of his got him to come to his senses after Barry was hospitalized (seems odd that the guy would freak out and yet never exhibit any super speed, but whatever) and broke the terrible news to his friend...

The next issue, with Barry still dealing with the effects of the Angel Dust, he fought his Justice League teammates, but eventually came to grips with Iris' death. They had the funeral...

Then, six issues later (with Don Heck now on art duties), we learned that it was Professor Zoom who had killed Iris!

Barry eventually moved on and was set to re-marry and then Zoom tried to kill Barry's NEW wife! Barry, in turn, seemingly killed Zoom in retaliation. This led to the epic storyline, "The Trial of the Flash," which took up the last few years of the "Flash" ongoing title. In the final issue, "Flash" #350 (by Cary Bates, Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin), Barry had been assisted by a mysterious man who was helping him stop the bad guy who had hypnotized the jury into finding the Flash guilty.

As they discovered that it was Abra Kadabra behind everything, the Flash realized that this mysterious guy was secretly someone else...

Yep! It was Iris!

Here's how she was saved from her death...

Not too convoluted, eh? My pal Shad wanted me to note that we had learned years earlier that Iris was born in the future and brought to modern times as a baby, where she was raised from infancy, so that aspect of her resurrection was not shocking.

I somehow doubt that gets worked into the TV show, but it'd be pretty funny if it ever did!

If any one else has a suggestion for an interesting example of how a comic book character came back from the dead, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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