The Comic Speculator: Barry Allen Lives!

Cover of Flash #225
Cover of Flash #149
Cover of Flash #217
Cover of Flash #179
Cover of Showcase #4

DC Universe #0 hit the new comic stands this week and started a firestorm of rumors about the return of Barry Allen, the Silver-Age flash. The story even found legs in the Associated Press and was printed in The New York Times. Click here to read the story:

While some of us are thrilled by Allen’s return others, myself included are still reeling from the lack luster return of Wally West, the Modern Age Flash. Regardless of which Flash is your favorite, an argument that can get just as nasty as the Hal Jordan/Kyle Rayner Green Lantern debate, today the speculator is taking a look at some key issues in Barry’s comic life. When Allen does return, presumably in the pages of “Final Crisis”, there will be a definite spike in value on all of the Silver Age Flash’s appearances. Especially if he returns EVIL! That’s right I’m calling my shot! Barry is coming back a bad guy! Maybe I’m insane but I’m betting Grant Morrison would love to take a beloved Flash icon and make him a villain. You herd it here first! And yes, I’m a Wally West guy.

Barry Allen’s first appearance was in “Showcase” #4, DC 1956, which currently guides for $45,000 in Near Mint condition. “Showcase” #4 is also considered the first Silver Age superhero comic hence Barry Allen’s importance to the point of reverence with creators and fans alike. Allen took his superhero name from his childhood hero Jay Garrik, the Golden Age Flash. At the time DC’s Golden Age heroes like Garrick and the other members of the JSA didn’t exist in Allen’s universe but were fictional comic book heroes. Later the concept of Earth One and Earth Two would bring the Golden Age heroes back into the DC universe but that is a whole essay within it’s self. Perhaps I’ll ask my friend Mike, an expert on the subject, to write a brief explanation of Earth One and Earth Two in the DCU.

Allen’s first appearance and most of the Silver Age “Flash” run is definitely well out of the price range for the average collector but there are plenty of other key appearances that are still very affordable.

Flash v1 #179, $110 in Near Mint condition. 1st unnamed appearance of Earth-Prime when Flash travels to the real world to meet series editor of the time Julie Schwartz. Earth-Prime is the current home of the DC heroes and the keystone of the 52 existing Earths in the DCU. Mind-blowing isn’t it?

Flash v1 #217-219, $50 in Near Mint condition. Neil Adams takes over the creative duties with issue #217 and begins the first of his legendary Green Arrow/Green Lantern stories as a back-up feature.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, $20 in Near Mint condition. This is the issue to watch. Barry Allen is killed while stopping the Anti-Monitor from destroying the Earth. When Allen finally does return I’m predicting this issue sees the largest jump in price.

Flash v2 #149, $3 in Near Mint condition. Barry Allen travels through time to help Wally West defeat Cobalt Blue, Allen’s evil twin brother. Issue #149 was part of a five issue storyline called Chain Lightning by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and is still one of my favorite Flash stories.

Flash v2 #225, $3 in Near Mint condition. Issue #225 was the final issue in Geoff Johns amazing run on the Flash and what an issue it was. Barry Allen appears this time to help Wally West defeat Professor Zoom the instant before Zoom murders West’s unborn twins. On a sad side note West twins more recently reappeared in last years pathetic Flash relaunch as pre-teens with really weird powers. It’s sad that this latest Flash incarnation tarnishes what Johns did for the character of Wally West and I only hope that after Final Crisis West is not pushed aside as Kyle Rayner was when Hal Jordan returned.

The DC message boards are already lit up with talk of Barry’s return and with “Final Crisis” shipping soon his return couldn’t come at a better time. Bringing heroes back from the dead has been DC’s bread and butter for the past five years and has yet to prove unprofitable. Barry Allen seems to be the next to join the ranks of dead heroes returned to life along side Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), Rex Mason (Metamorpho); no Metamorpho’s return wasn’t as huge as the previous two but I like him a lot and it’s my column, so there. After you see Iron Man this weekend pick up a copy of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and see what all the what all this Barry Allen fuss is about. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

For more on “Infinite Crisis” and other new comics check out my other blog, This Week in Geek where I discuss the new comics of the week that could be tomorrow’s collectibles. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact me or post your question in the Comic Book community forum. Want to know what your comics are worth? Join Worthpoint for free and post your titles in the “Ask A Question” section.

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