By the time his four-part crossover with Batman was completed this week, The Flash had suffered a lot of blows -- the worst of which came at the very end and had nothing to do with Gotham Girl.
Warning: spoilers ahead for The Flash #65, out this week from writer Joshua Williamson, artists Rafa Sandoval and Jodie Tarragona, colorist Tomeu Morey, and letterer Steve Wands.
In the run-up to this issue, Barry Allen learned of the death of Wally West, his fiancee's nephew and his own long-time sidekick, at Sanctuary, the superhero trauma treatment center to which Wally was sent following the events of "Flash War."
In this week's issue of Heroes in Crisis, the story focused heavily on Wally and the loss and isolation he felt being the only hold-over from the pre-Rebirth DC Universe, where he had a wife and kids and things were just slightly different.
Still stinging from the loss of Wally, Iris West entered the fray. Barry and Batman, who had gotten together to investigate the killings at Sanctuary, ended up sidetracked by Batman's sometime-nemesis Gotham Girl, whose enthusiasm for heroics is undeniable but who was left deeply scarred by the death of her brother. In this story, she took her trauma out on Barry and Batman, but using her powers actually brings her closer to death each time.
So by part four of a four-part storyline, Gotham Girl was clinging to life as Batman and Barry alternately tried to stop her from killing them and get her to calm down and stop using her powers.
Along comes Iris, who slapped Batman, blaming him for Gotham Girl's lot because he had dragged her into the world of heroics.
Batman defended himself, saying that there was little he could do to prevent an incredibly powerful metahuman from being a superhero if she wanted to, and that he was simply providing her with guidance, but Iris was having none of it, saying that Batman and The Flash had created an environment where impressionable people who looked up to them suffered for their choices.
It was this revelation that led Iris to leave Barry at the end of the issue, leaving him a note that read, in part, "You decided long ago that you're willing to pay the price for this life…but I can't. I love you with all my heart, but it's too much. I'm going to go away for a while. Figure some things out. You've saved my life so many times, I think I should live it. But that's the real cost, isn't it? You an save everyone from this life but yourself. And then…you're all alone."
It will be interesting to see when Iris next turns up in the comic, and whether the inevitable solution of Wally's murder in Heroes in Crisis changes her perspective at all. In the meantime...well...there's always the TV show, right?
The Flash #65 is available in comic shops -- or you can get a digital copy from Amazon, ComiXology, or Barnes & Noble -- now.
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