Warning: SPOILERS for The Flash #50.
Most major comic book events usually end with the death of a character. The final chapter of Flash War - a recent event taking place in The Flash - broke this trend by unexpectedly bringing a popular speedster back to life. Or, at least, bringing them back into the reality of DC Rebirth.
The events of Flash War focused upon a conflict between the two heroes who call themselves The Flash - Barry Allen and Wally West. The conflict was set into motion by the villain Zoom, who revealed that Wally West's memories had been altered so that he had forgotten the existence of his children. Spurred by the suggestion that they were trapped inside The Speed Force in the same way he had been, Wally ran off to break The Speed Force open. Barry chased after him, prompting a race that had disastrous effects upon the DC Comics multiverse.
This all proved to be part of Hunter Zolomon's plan, which was meant to clear the path to his acquiring more powers than any previous Reverse-Flash beyond even those offered by The Speed Force by tricking Wally into destroying The Force Barrier that kept these powers hidden away. Barry and Wally were able to stop Zoom from going back in time and altering the past, but now the realm of Hypertime - the gateway between potential realities that speedsters previously used to travel in time - is closed off from The Speed Force. This is only the latest in a number of recent events that are changing the nature of DC Comics' cosmology in unexpected ways.
Yet the most unexpected change of all came at the end of The Flash #50, when it was revealed that the destruction of The Force Barrier also freed Bart Allen - a.k.a. the speedster Impulse.
First introduced in The Flash #91 in 1994, young Bart Allen was born into the world of 30th Century Earth and was the grandson of Barry Allen. Bart developed a connection to The Speed Force shortly after his birth, with his accelerated metabolism aging his body (but not his mind) so that he appeared to be 12 when he was truly two years old. Efforts to treat this by sticking him in a virtual reality environment capable of keeping pace with him proved ineffective, prompting him to be sent back to the time when Wally West was The Flash, in the hopes that the shock might restore his aging process to normal. It did, but it also left Wally West with a teen sidekick with a cartoonish view of reality and no sense of self-control.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that Impulse has returned to the pages of The Flash now, with the character poised to be part of the team in the upcoming return of the Young Justice animated series. Or it could be that Bart is merely the first of The Flash Family to break free of whatever force has been trapping them in time and space? Either way, the lives of Barry Allen and Wally West are sure to become even more chaotic with Bart Allen around.
The Flash #50 is now available from DC Comics.