"You can't have a Crisis without a dead Flash," Heroes in Crisis writer Tom King told a group of reporters over the weekend, standing on the dock of a yacht while he and everyone in sight was wearing white DC Entertainment-branded bathrobes.
That bit of wisdom, which pretty clearly implies King means to kill off a Flash in the upcoming miniseries, was reportedly imparted to him by DC co-publisher Dan DiDio, something to which DiDio admitted during the event. Apparently, the DC boss had originally said it when Wally West and his family disappeared into the Speed Force during Infinite Crisis.
While most of DC's Crisis stories center on cosmic reorganizations that rewrite history and continuity, some -- including Identity Crisis and King's forthcoming Heroes in Crisis -- are cataclysmic on a more personal, psychological level.
The story of Heroes in Crisis takes place at Sanctuary, a mental health facility put together by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. At the story's start, there is a "slaughter" at the facility, leaving several people dead. The prime suspects in the murder become Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, who were there seeking treatment.
King's Flash tease -- which came near the end of the event -- was never followed up on, so it is difficult to distinguish whether a Flash will die during that inciting incident, or at a later time in the story.
Barry Allen sacrificed himself to stop the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and then Wally West had close calls or false "deaths" in both Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time and Infinite Crisis. Bart Allen, who recently returned to the pages of DC Comics for the first time since 2011, was the Flash family casualty of Infinite Crisis...though he returned shortly thereafter and took over the mantle of The Flash until his next death a year later.
Both Barry Allen and Wally West (the one from the pre-Flashpoint timeline) both currently operate under the name "The Flash," although certainly characters like Impulse and Kid Flash might be on the block for Heroes in Crisis. The Flash family is also pretty big, and there are Flashes and other affiliated speedsters going backwards and forwards in time for generations -- although to call them a "dead Flash" might be a stretch.
Heroes in Crisis #1 will be available digitally and in comic shops on September 26.