(Now this section should have been up last Monday, but I felt the need to re-read “Flashpoint” as well as several other Bat-family comics and more recent news.)
—The Barry Allen Code. Part II: Allen-Gate—
Five Robins in Five Years?
- The Brave and The Bold…redux.
I’d like to take everyone back a little while to the Silver Age(…and don’t pull faces [you know who you are!], this is important! I promise. I don’t think some people in the wake of the reboot realise how important both the Silver and Bronze ages are right now,) so lets trip back nearly fifty years. =
Bruce Wayne has been close with very few people within the superhero community, (including some within his “Bat-Family”) and even those he keeps in contact with on a regular basis are rarely let into his inner circle.
Clark Kent gradually widdled his way into the “inner-bat circle” during the so called “World’s Finest era” and still, to this day, it is strongly regarded that Bruce, (while valuing Clark’s friendship and abilities in battle to a certain extent.) primarily keeps him close in order to keep an eye on him. (He mentions this fact often to Dick and occasionally to Tim.)
But if we’re really going to get to the bottom of the strongest friendships that Bruce has forged you don’t have to look any further than The Brave and The Bold comic series.
While there are many superheroes Bruce is shown to have close ties to within the pages of B&TB, (including Oliver Queen/Green Arrow and Rex Mason/Metamorpho, [who would also be a member of his Outsiders team,]) there is one particular friendship that stands out and indeed lead to another strong friendship.
From the outset Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne were going to have a relationship that was either going to be rivalry or understanding. It never was the latter, the understanding relationship began pretty much from the beginning because they were both scientists, they both frequently had to face a menagerie of odd villains and…believe it or not, Barry was the closest thing to a friend, and not just “ally”, that Bruce ever actually had! (Dick and Alfred were family.)
There’s a reason why Dick and Wally were best friends long before the Titans were formed, Barry, later accompanied by Wally, frequented the Bat-Cave often and both Barry and Bruce were often eye-to-eye on both methods, forensic and scientific facts. This allowed for an easy friendship to develop between their young protégés, (one that Roy would always be jealous of because Bruce barely tolerated Ollie and wouldn’t let him near the Bat-Cave!)
The friendship between Barry and Bruce was close, closer than that of Clark and Bruce, (which has always been more along the lines of great allies,) and Bruce gave him something rare, his trust. He never barred Barry from visiting the Bat-Cave and he would also ask him for advice.
Barry valued this relationship deeply, because he knew the type of introspective, wary person Bruce was and that his trust was the most valuable thing he could ever give. It was something both envied by the bulk of the superheroes who ever associated with Bruce Wayne/Batman and yet a position most would never wish to be in for numerous reasons.
Hal Jordan was one ally who, though close to Barry, was never offered the position of trustworthy by Wayne, as Bruce never trusted him fully even on the battlefield. Bruce has never really trusted aliens, magic, myth or Gods, including any weapons or instruments associated with them.
The three Bruce does trust, (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Zatanna Zatara and Billy Batson/Captain Marvel,) are never let too far into his circle and are still often regarded only as a last resource by him. Barry has powers but his came by science, this Bruce understands.
When Barry disappeared into the speed-force, Bruce accepted Wally as the Flash and he still allowed West the same trust to frequent the Bat-Cave as always, but he never gave up the hope he might see Barry again one day. This is never more clearly illustrated than in the below panel from JLA V4 #10 when the speed-force gives back Wally and his family:
People have furrowed their brow a little over the softer attitude Bruce seems to have developed during the reboot for example:
What the Hell? Hal Jordan, the man Bruce has never trusted…I mean never, (especially after his genocide, which we can ignore since it didn’t happen on this Earth) suddenly is worthy of Bruce revealing his secret identity, in the middle of a public street, in the midst of battle! Holy flying…wait a minute.
Remember what I said at the beginning of the article? About the Silver and Bronze age being vitally important in the wake of the reboot, which effectively has wiped out all “Crisis’ ”?
This “Flashpoint” Batman is not The Batman Alan Moore and Frank Miller brought through the post-crisis late-eighties and into the nineties.
Ladies and Gentleman, this much kinder, less standoffish Batman is none other than the previously much despised by Gen X and some of Gen Y:
The Silver Age/Bronze Age Batman!
Bruce is, by all accounts and everthing we’ve so far seen, exactly as Barry remembers him!
This is one of the keys of what I call: The Barry Allen Code.
This is effectively a throw back to pre-Crisis! We are in a variation of the Bronze Age.
Look how every character, from the Big Three to the characters we now know are Earth-2, Helena Wayne/Huntress and Karen Kent/Power Girl. Superman’s attitude, Wonder Woman’s still wariness of man, Batman’s much less standoffish and dark.
And Helena and Karen/Kara are exactly how Barry remembers them…from his visits to EARTH TWO!
Is this being done deliberately, yes. I believe it is. DC is playing the “Crisis’ never happened” card, so this means all the crisis, so we’re effectively being thrown back into a condensed version of the Bronze Age.
Remember my earlier point in Part I? That I believe this world is purely made up of Barry Allen’s broken thoughts? This makes perfect sense, my first clue was the panel below:
As far as Barry could tell? If, as I believe, his memories have been damaged in a similar fashion as they were during Final Crisis #1, would he truely recognize the changes and…would Barry want to change things even if he is not lying about things being different. [I’ll direct people back to Part II if you haven’t read it for that answer.]
So, we are looking at a condensed Bronze Age…how do the “Robins” and the other “former side-kicks” fit into this one?
All will be revealed Thursday, in what I like to call Five Robins In Five Years? Part 2: Five Robins, Four former Teen Titans, Three Batgirls, Two Batmen and…One Flash? of The Barry Allen Code Part II: Allen-Gate.
Have a “bronze key” for your troubles:
And a gif for following through to the third installment:
[Part 1: Roy?] [Part 2: Where in the World is Wally West?]