Three and a Throwback
By The Daily Planeteer
This unabashed celebration blog is devoted to all my favorite moments from DC Comics. Its title, “Three and a Throwback” refers to the structure of the thing. For every three current mentions–as in stuff that happened in the last year or so–I’ll include one throwback… something from the DC days of yore that’s worthy of a little reflection, a little appreciation, a little fan love.
The disclaimers: as stated, I’ll be delving into stuff that happened. Therefore, you probably don’t want to read a given entry unless you’ve read the featured book. In other words, this blog is all about the spoilers. Be warned. Additionally, I am biased in favor of Superman and Wonder Woman and I love me some Flash. But don’t think that because my favorite moments focus disproportionately on these characters, I don’t love all kinds of titles. Because I do. Except Batman. He sucks. (Just kidding).
Okay, here we go. I loved it…
…when in DC Universe Rebirth #1, Wally West describes a watch his uncle Barry gave him “with an inscription on the back, ‘Every second is a gift.’” His uncle, he tells us, “was an optimist.”
First off, old Wally’s back! But New 52 Wally gets to stay, too. And it all makes sense. For DC fans, this is a having-our-cake-and-eating-it-
They’re cousins, by the way, both named after the same relative and as someone with an equally uncreative family (I happen to share my name with a parent and several cousins), I’ll buy that. But I digress. The point is, traditional stories and characters are folded into a contemporary continuity. After all, every second of DC storytelling is a gift. Even Krypto the superdog stories. Even Bat Mite stories. Old and new come together. Beautifully. Seamlessly. What’s more optimistic than that?
And that’s the thing I love most about the Flash: His optimism. He’s sort of like the photo positive to Batman’s negative. They’re both be-cowled. They’re both brilliant scientists. They both have superpowers (if you equate Flash speed with Batman money, which I totally do). And they both root their life’s work as detectives in the deaths of parents. But Barry Allen offers an alternative to Bruce Wayne’s grief narrative. From Barry’s mother’s death, he learns every second is a gift. From Bruce’s parents’ death, he learns every second represents time he could have spent with his family, time that has been brutally stolen. For me, both perspectives hold true. I need them both.
It strikes me as perfect, too, that this Rebirth series begins with a musing on the Flash and optimism because ever since the spectacular Flashpoint storyline, Barry Allen has been the backbone of the DC universe. Even though there was a third party at work, by altering time, Barry caused the New 52 to happen. He’s responsible for every event that took place over the course of five years’ storytelling. In a way, when Wally tells readers his uncle was an optimist, he might as well be saying that once upon a time, the DCU itself championed optimism. But maybe it lost its way. Maybe mistakes were made. Maybe “rebirth” represents a reclaiming of that old optimism, and of hope. I think so, anyway. In other words, I love you, Barry Allen. (And old Wally West). (And new Wally). You’ll get your optimism back. I just know it.