Buried Alien

Today's Nexus contains some spoilers regarding tonight's episode of Smallville. Continue reading only if you've seen it or don't mind.

Still here?

Since it's inception, I've been waiting for Clark to run into another young DC hero. Like most viewers, after three seasons I was ready for a young Bruce Wayne. So it was a surprise to find tonight's episode featured a young Flash. Actually it was a surprise when the WB spoiled everyone a week ago with coming attractions. OK, if I'm being honest it was actually a surprise when I read speculation on Kryptonsite that this episode would be a test to spin the young Flash into his own Smallville-esque teen superhero series. And if I'm being really honest, I read about it over a month ago on Spoiler Fix.

There have been several heroes to bear the name, and the Wikipedia entry I linked to above goes in to greater detail. I was most familiar with the Barry Allen Flash, and was glad CBS used him for their Flash live-action series. In the comics, Barry had died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths series. To destroy an antimatter cannon, he ran against the flow of antimatter, pushing himself faster than he'd ever gone before, aging rapidly as he began moving back in time. He succeeds in destroying the cannon but his body disintegrates, leaving nothing behind but his costume. Seemingly this was the end of Barry Allen.

With so many to choose from, Smallville went with the current Kid Flash. Originally known as Impulse, Bart Allen is the future grandson of Barry Allen who travels back in time to the present. Tonight's episode had two clever nods to the comics, first with Bart having a collection of fake IDs with the names of all the previous Flashes--”Jay Garrick”, “Barry Allen” and “Wally West”. Oddly enough on a Wednesday night last year on the WB, references to these three characters were made on an episode of Angel by the character Charles Gunn. The second nod to the comics was when Bart, in a seemingly throwaway pickup line, tells Chloe he “came back in time.” The show is coy about whether or not this Flash is a contemporary of the young Clark Kent's, or actually in fact from the future. If he does get a spinoff, maybe we'll find out.

One last interesting aside--Barry Allen's last appearance in comics was technically NOT issue #8 of Crisis. Unofficially, the late great Mark Gruenwald managed to work in an homage in Quasar #17. In the issue a race is held between all of Marvel's super speedsters from the Earth to the moon through a special warp tunnel. There could be only one winner, and in the end it was a late entry to the race, an extradimensional being with amnesia who easily bests every racer in the competition. When prompted to give his name, the winner thinks a moment before recalling that it sounded something like ”Buried Alien.”


Blogger Curt said...

I seem to remember Barry Allen showing up in an issue of Justice League in which Kilowog invented a time machine using parts from a space ship confiscated from a tiny race of aliens. Several JL members ended up going back in time--and shrinking--and seeing a meeting of the old JLA, including The Flash, which caused some distress for Wally West. I don't know if that was before or after the Quasar incident, though.

10/21/2004 10:08 AM  
Blogger MCF said...

Hmm...you may be right. As I said, I was mainly a Marvel fan, so some more research would be required on my part to determine how many post-death appearances Barry may have made in his own universe, and when they took place in relation to the Quasar issue. It's something of a tradition in comics to either resurrect dead characters, explain how they never really died, or my personal favorite, have them show up as zombies to fight their old friends as Marvel did many times with The Legion of the Unliving. It sounds like quite a bit of material for a future post once my current multi-part tale is complete, so keep watching this space....


10/21/2004 11:10 PM  

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