Sunday, September 28, 2008
The Return of Bart Allen
Lately Geoff Johns has been dropping some pretty obvious hints that Bart Allen will soon return to the land of the living (most recently here). I'm fairly confident that lightning rod in Legion of Three Worlds will have a part in bringing the kid back. I figured before it happens I ought to make public my theory on how Bart should return. This is, at least, how I would do it were I Geoff Johns.
The problem with Bart's death, of course, is that no one cared because the character we all knew and loved had been gone for at least a year, since Kid Flash had disappeared into the Speed Force during Infinite Crisis and returned as a powerless--and rather boring--adult. I didn't bother to read the Flash relaunch with Bart as the protagonist but I did later read it in trade and I see why no one really latched onto the idea of Bart as the Flash. This adult Bart had nothing to do with the character writers like Mark Waid, Peter David, and Geoff Johns had made so likable.
So when I learned that Bart had been murdered by Inertia, a teenaged clone of Bart, it occurred to me: what if this character we'd been reading about (or not) for the past year really wasn't Bart? Suppose at some point in the future, Inertia grows up a bit, realizes what a hero Bart was, and what a tragic mistake he made by murdering him. So to atone, he hops on a cosmic treadmill (why have them if you're not going to use them?) and pops back in time to the point when Bart disappeared with Superboy Prime during Infinite Crisis. He gives Bart--at this point still the teenage Kid Flash--a shove, pushing him into the future, and takes his place. For it to work, Inertia would have to convince himself he really is Bart, which would be a nice nod, I think, to the "Return of Barry Allen" storyline in which Professor Zoom believed he was Barry Allen. Adult Inertia-as-Bart, then, is the star of the shortlived Flash: Fastest Man Alive and the one who is killed by his younger self. Kid Flash shows up in the present with no idea a couple years have passed and voila! four years of poor storytelling choices undone.
Now, with Zoom trying to teach Inertia to be a hero in Rogues' Revenge, I'm wondering if Geoff Johns really does have something like this planned. Which is why I felt the need to put my theory out there now, even though no one who might possibly care will read this--if this is how things go I want the adolescent satisfaction of saying "Hey! I called it first!"