Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Where were you when the superheroes came? It was a decade in which they seemed to explode onto the scene and disappear just as abruptly. It was the appearance of the Flash, whom sources later identified as Jay Garrick, that truly made everyone think of Greek myth, given that his distinctive helmet evoked the messenger god Hermes, and because they were both speedy it seemed to fit perfectly. It was antiquities collector Carter Hall, however, who really complicated things, convincing himself that he was the reincarnation of the Egyptian Prince Khufu, donning an elaborate costume to transform himself into Hawkman, babbling about his soul mate Shiera and the evil Hath-Set, whom he called his sworn enemy. We heard about a boy named Johnny Thunder, who was somehow able to summon a mystical being he called Thunderbolt, and then some newsboy called Billy Batson, who seemed to have the scoop on Captain Marvel, who everyone agreed had a striking resemblance to Superman, the truly iconic wonder operating out of Metropolis. Detective Jim Corrigan likewise had a suspect relationship with the Spectre, the so-called spirit of vengeance that seemed to have a knack for ironic justice. Hourman was probably more amusing to the general public, given that he was rumored to be powered only an hour at a time.

Some people seemed more interested in trying to do something about it than others. Lex Luthor was a brilliant scientist who struggled to make sense of the claims some of these heroes were presenting for the origins of their incredible abilities, including the so-called “hard water” that had given Jay Garrick his speed. It was clear, however, that Luthor was more concerned with Superman, who relied less on fantastic and preposterous gimmicks than the continuing claim that he was, in fact, an alien, which was a far more alarming prospect than any terrestrial matter, given that we were all in the thick of a world war, which was at least something Luthor could wrap his head around. As usual, though, if something stirred in Metropolis there was an equal yet opposite reaction in Gotham, and Batman introduced his “boy wonder” sidekick Robin, which was an incredible development that would have more lasting repercussions than any of the more colorful heroes still emerging onto the scene. As if to contrast this, the appearance of Doctor Fate was contrasted with the emerging threats of the Joker and Catwoman, two decidedly human individuals who were among the first of what the media dubbed “supervillains,” what was considered a direct result of the provocation someone like Batman actually represented. Noted film actor Basil Karlo transformed himself into Clayface as if to punctuate these claims.

It was the debut of Green Lantern, Alan Scott, that began to blur the edges still further. His powers were derived from a magic ring that gave him the ability to create whatever he could imagine, something many believed could only be possible if the ring had extra-terrestrial origins, which Scott himself was never able to confirm. Somewhat less speculative and certainly less concrete was Uncle Sam, who was dismissed as a delusional figure who actually believed he was the reincarnation of a Revolutionary War soldier, a sort of strictly American answer to Hawkman.

Given that there were suddenly so many of them, someone realized that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to team up, which is exactly what Spectre, Flash, Hawkman, the existing Sandman, and a couple of smaller-tier heroes like Biff Bronson, Ultra-Man, and Red White & Blue did, tenuously. It didn’t last very long, but it was at least a precedent. The Atom, Al Pratt, soon appeared, and then Red Tornado, a woman who said she was inspired by Green Lantern. Perry White, who had just become editor of the Daily Planet, devoted much of his paper to these heroes, though he put the spotlight thoroughly on Superman. The culmination of all this exposure, and certainly of the basic mutual awareness that they existed, led to the formal inductions into the Justice Society of America of Flash, Atom, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hourman, Sandman, and Spectre, with the noted omission of Johnny Thunder, whose petulant behavior served both to advertise the team and its strict membership guidelines. The government soon took notice, and summoned the Justice Society to provide official service to the country. Still, it was Superman and Batman who received most of the attention, being more mysterious and extraordinary, and perhaps too necessary in their home territories of Metropolis and Gotham, the largest cities in America.

Like Green Lantern, Starman was aided by a special devise, which Ted Knight claimed he’d fashioned himself, while Doctor Mid-Nite fancied himself a superheroic medical professional. Both would end up serving in the Justice Society. The country received more direct support, though, from Blackhawk and Miss America, while Plastic Man, Firebrand, Human Bomb, Mouthpiece, and Phantom Lady all served their own interests. Some people were still thinking about the Flash, though, the first of the superheroes to appear, including Johnny Chambers, who announced that he’d discovered an equation that would give him the same speed as Jay Garrick, and took to calling himself Johnny Quick whenever he recited it. Are you curious? It was 3X2(9YZ)4A. Yeah, it never worked for me, either. I always assumed you had to know your math.

The Star-Spangled Kid and his sidekick Stripesy were easily the most patriotic superheroes to appear since the questionably-sane Uncle Sam, though they engaged in the useful activity of thwarting Nazi spies, months before the country entered the war thanks to Pearl Harbor. Perhaps inspired by them, and maybe Batman and Robin, Green Arrow and Speedy arrived on the scene, while Aquaman emerged from the oceans in what for him must have been convenient timing, since he couldn’t have known so many other gaudily-attired individuals were already fighting crime on dry land. Batman gained a new foe in the Penguin, the first new threat to appear in Gotham in more than a year, but still didn’t think to add to his allies, while that’s exactly what Green Arrow and the Star-Spangled Kid decided when they formed the Seven Soldiers of Victory with Shining Knight, Vigilante, and the Crimson Avenger, who had been engaged in these activities probably longer than anyone. Captain Marvel, meanwhile, welcomed who he called Captain Marvel, Jr. to his family, essentially a younger version of himself.

Perhaps the most sensational debut of the decade was Wonder Woman, who was said to be an ambassador from a tribe of Amazons, sent to “man’s world” to serve as an example for justice. She was greeted by Army captain Steve Trevor and Etta Candy, who agreed to help her make the transition. Terry Sloane and Ted Grant meanwhile, were a pair of athletes who donned costumes to transform into Mister Terrific and Wildcat, respectively; it was never confirmed that they were inspired by Wonder Woman, but once again, a strong Greek influence was hard to deny. Paul Kirk, perhaps by another amazing coincidence, soon turned himself into Manhunter.

In Metropolis, beat cop Jim Harper became the Guardian, and took on a group of orphans as his Newsboy Legion, perhaps as a criticism of the fact that Superman seemed to have overlooked Suicide Slum. There was also Robotman, who was said to have a human brain but otherwise robotic body, and who knows how that happened? Perhaps the street level was exactly where the Man of Steel should have been concentrating, because while he tangled with the Prankster, Batman was once more dealing with some very human threats of his own, including Two-Face and Boss Moroni. The war effort soon found itself supported by Brooklyn, Andre Chavard, Jan Haasen, Alfie Twidgett, and Captain Rip Carter, who formed the Boy Commandos.

Wonder Woman’s presence continued to have a sizable impact, as she soon found herself allied by Green Lantern and Flash, perhaps one of the more notable all-star combinations of the decade. Alfred Pennyworth was an amateur detective, meanwhile, who also happened to serve as a butler to Bruce Wayne, and many times suggested that he may have discovered Batman’s true identity. Maybe it was the distraction of Doctor Psycho, ably handled by Wonder Woman, that prevented his claims from being confirmed. Regardless, she continued to receive most of the attention, and action. While Superman handled another obvious nuisance in Toyman, Wonder Woman handled Cheetah. Green Lantern galvanized his fanbase by reciting what would soon become an iconic oath: “In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight; let those who worship evil’s might beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!” Perhaps it was just the inspiration he needed to tackle Vandal Savage, who claimed he was immortal. Still, Wonder Woman stole the spotlight again when she battled Giganta. Hard to say how anyone noticed that one!

Perhaps with so much competition, even the best of them started to become frustrated. Superman insisted that he didn’t make up the existence of the transdimensional dwarf he called Mxyzptlk (but then, who would actually invent such an absurd name?), and Green Lantern reported the existence of Solomon Grundy (“born on a Mond’y”), the reanimated corpse of the murdered Cyrus Gold, though he gave most of the credit to hobos (as if that made it more believable). For some reason, Wonder Woman changed her allegiances to Hawkman and Flash. From the heartland, reports began to surface that Superman had been active in Smallville years before he surfaced in Metropolis, so youthful that he had in fact been known as Superboy at the time. As if to justify Wonder Woman’s newfound faith in him, Hawkman tackled Jonathan Cheval, who called himself the Monocle. Neptune Perkins joined Aquaman as a marine-based hero. Perhaps the least-wanted addition to anyone’s associates was Black Adam, who said he was a predecessor of Captain Marvel, but was more of a rival and adversary.

The beginning of the end was ushered by Sandman’s retirement, a move that caught many by surprise, since he seemed to have been around just about longer than anyone. Even Superman wasn’t immune, almost literally, given that he was involved in the first full-blown atomic incident since the end of the war. Maybe it was just a case of reality trying to set in, but it all still seemed too surreal, especially when Tommy Tomorrow became the first person to set foot on Mars, or when Robin shockingly went on his first adventure without Batman, both of which would have not only been unthinkable but considered impossible just a few years earlier. The Wizard and the Gentleman Ghost seemed to take advantage of these circumstances to join the supervillain racket. Maybe that’s why Wonder Woman introduced the world to Wonder Girl, because she sensed the world could use a little comfort, or why people were suddenly interested in Tomahawk, a hero who had been active in a different century. The hapless Johnny Thunder met Dinah Drake and Larry Lance, who were somehow connected to the alluring Black Canary, who took over his territory without much trouble.

Years after the formation of the Justice Society, Vandal Savage and Wizard gathered the Thinker, Gambler, Brain Wave and Per Degaton to form the “Injustice Society,” exactly the opposite of what everyone needed. The Flash also found himself targeted by Thorn, and perhaps it was no surprise that Wonder Woman and the Black Canary had to come to the aid of the Justice Society after all, while Flash again confronted new threats on his own in the form of the Fiddler and Star Sapphire. But he would soon face worse times still. His pal Green Lantern, meanwhile, took on a different kind of sidekick in Streak the Wonder Dog, which raised a lot of eyebrows, but was still better than Johnny Thunder once again being eclipsed, this time by another hero from a bygone era who happened to share the same name. As if sensing the trend, Superman publicly celebrated ten years protecting Metropolis, just to remind everyone of all the good he’d done. And then people started talking about yet another hero from the Old West, this time Nighthawk.

Batman tackled Riddler and the Mad Hatter, two villains who messed with his head, to say the very least, but everyone figured he was up to the challenge. What no one was expecting was the retirement of Jay Garrick; the Flash had apparently run his last race. His friend Alan Scott, the Green Lantern, soon followed him. From Smallville came stories of Supergirl, if anyone wanted some happy tales of times past, a companion for the so-called Superboy. Who knows what they were thinking? Roy Raymond, the “TV detective,” maybe. Even he wouldn’t have wanted to report on the retirement of the Boy Commandos, or the biggest story of the decade, the existence of a substance known as Kryptonite, which was said to have lethal side-effects for Superman. Even though the war was over, casualties continued to be the story of the 1940s, and perhaps all of us were the poorer for it. For a decade that had produced so much magic, the cost was more than anyone could have imagined. Was it all worth it?

Adapted from DC COMICS YEAR BY YEAR: A VISUAL CHRONICLE, based on entries from
FLASH COMICS #1, 64, 66, 86, 88, 89, & 104,
MORE FUN COMICS #52, 55, 71, 73, & 101,
ADVENTURE COMICS #48, 61, 73, & 103,
ACTION COMICS #23, 40, 51, 64, & 101,
DETECTIVE COMICS #38, 40, 58, 66, 140, & 153,
BATMAN #1, 16, & 49,
ALL-AMERICAN COMICS #16, 19, 20, 25, 61, & 100,
ALL STAR COMICS #1, 3, 34, 37, & 38,
SUPERMAN #7, 30, 53, & 61,
STAR SPANGLED COMICS #1, 7, 65, & 69,
WONDER WOMAN #5, 6, 9, & 23,
GREEN LANTERN #9, 10, 30, & 38,

Thursday, December 15, 2011


It began at the highest levels of authority. I cannot breach confidentiality of names now, and otherwise, even if I did, it wouldn’t matter. Roosevelt was already President for two years when he was informed about the arrival of a strange visitor to Earth. Sandra, or so her codename identified her, was the first one assigned to the mission, strictly in the interests of national security. It was suggested that this individual, whatever it was, posed a direct threat to our government.

Sandra enlisted the services of Henri Duval, a soldier of fortune whose specialized skills she believed would benefit her mission, which originally led her to the figure of a man who became known as Dr. Occult. The Doctor claimed to be a “ghost detective,” and led Sandra and Henri Duval down a rabbit-hole that led to what they later claimed to be vampires, but this was never substantiated. Sandra’s services were soon after voluntarily relinquished, and given to Steve Carson and the Federal Men, a team considered to be better suited to the task. Their investigations somehow led back to Dr. Occult, who had adopted a curious red and blue costume he himself could not explain. Within a matter of months, the Federal Men, too, lost their credibility when they reported having taken an extraordinary trip to the year 3000, where they encountered self-professed “ace sleuth” Jor-L, who helped them overcome a band of space pirates.

Soon after, the mission was handed over to Speed Saunders, Bart Regan, and Slam Bradley, each of whom specialized in legitimate fields, and came recommended by various government officials. Saunders was a federal agent, while Regan worked as a spy, and Bradley a police investigator. Together they uncovered the strange visitor’s identity as “Superman,” though at first the story was so incredible that they weren’t believed. It took reporter Lois Lane’s dogged inquiries to land Superman in the national news, beginning in the papers of Metropolis.

As if the supernatural hadn’t already played its hand in these events, a stage magician called Zatara also revealed his incredible abilities, as if to confirm the existence and veracity of Superman. Private detective Larry Steele soon uncovered the activities of masked vigilante the Crimson Avenger, moreover, and newsroom office boy Jimmy Olsen was the first individual since Lois Lane to verify that Superman was no hoax. In Gotham, Commissioner Gordon refused to comment on the existence of Batman, but the rumors were already taking on a life of their own.

Lane landed the scoop of the year when Superman agreed to recount to her a modified version of his origins. By that time, it was impossible to stem the positive tide of public opinion. No matter what we believed, he was a sensation, and soon an organization known as the Supermen of America was formed. The odd appearance of the Sandman briefly caught attention, but the leader of a ruthless crime syndicate, a formerly paralyzed scientist who took to calling himself the Ultra-Humanite, forced Superman to perform his greatest feat when he actually flew in the air in order to intercept the villain’s airplane. The Man of Tomorrow was here to stay.

Adapted from DC COMICS YEAR BY YEAR: A VISUAL CHRONICLE, based on entries from
NEW FUN #1 & 6,
ACTION COMICS #1, 6 & 13,
SUPERMAN #1, and

Friday, December 9, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager - "Caretaker, Part 2"

She died on a meaningless survey mission.

There's no other way for me to put it. I was heartbroken. I spent decades trying to get us home. At first, "us" meant a Starfleet crew, the crew I originally put together to track down a missing Maquis ship. I recruited Tom Paris personally, but Harry Kim's innocense was something I cherished from the first moment I met him. Few people know this, but I was involved in the program that saw the development of the Emergency Medical Hologram. I knew the Doctor before anyone else among my crew. It was part of my own development to learn to treat him as an individual. My dear friend Tuvok had gone undercover as a member of the Maquis crew. He was in fact the reason I chose the assignment.

When the Caretaker brought us to the Delta Quadrant, it quickly became apparent that the Maquis could no longer be considered an enemy, but rather allies, in a mutually beneficial pact that would help us to operate the one ship that would allow us to undertake our journey home. That was how I met B'Elanna Torres. And that was how I met Chakotay.

He had been the captain of the Maquis ship, and therefore had every reason to resent my decisions and lead a justifiable mutiny against my intentions and my assumption of command. Instead, he chose to put his personal feelings aside. He saw the wisdom of cooperation. He was the only one who truly understood what lay ahead. There were times I believed he understood it better than I did.

We took on a pair of passengers fairly quickly, natives of the Delta Quadrant, Kes and Neelix. In their own ways they proved valuable to our mission. The next passenger was Seven. She had been a member of the Borg Collective almost her whole life. A fluke severed her connection to the hive mind, and I made it a personal priority to oversee her rediscover her humanity.

I began to feel as if I were Seven's surrogate mother, nurturing her unsteady first steps back into an individual existence, one where she had to depend on her own instincts, trust others she couldn't immediately interpret, whose voices expressed opinions she herself couldn't immediately understand. For so long she had known only cool intellect, had mastered dozens of scientific principals, and knew her role beyond a shadow of a doubt. Her life had been intuitive.

And I marveled each day that she struggled to make progress, even when I was horrified by her actions, even when she took so many opportunities to betray my trust. Yet I never gave up. Like Harry Kim, I saw Seven to be an innocent, even if she found it difficult to define herself in such a vulnerable way. For every misstep, there was a moment when I could see past her veneer of defiance and see the vulnerable little girl whose life had been stolen from her, the woman who only wanted to crawl back into the protecting arms of her parents.

As the years advanced, she emerged more and more fully from the damaged drone into an individual who didn't need me anymore. She began to form her own relationships. She found romance, with Chakotay. A part of me looked on this with melancholy. I had dedicated so much of myself to the mission, to the singular goal of getting us all home, I had lost the very thing I helped give Seven.

Then one day she died. I couldn't process it then. I mourned for a few hours, spent perhaps more time than usual in my quarters. I was always prone to brooding. To some, it probably seemed natural behavior on my part. I was so lost in myself, I failed to realize the impact her death had on Chakotay.

If I displayed my customary reserve for such an occasion, Chakotay became a completely different person. Over the years, he had become a little more withdrawn, the longer our journey took and the less he was needed to mediate between Starfleet and former Maquis crewmembers. But suddenly he was cold even to his closest friends, even B'Elanna. We barely spoke. In hindsight I wonder if he blamed me, if he had finally gotten around to it.

We all grew older. Decades passed. He aged worst of all. He died on heart failure on the exact anniversary of Seven's death.

I suppose that's when I first started making my plans. Even after we completed our voyage, returned to the Alpha Quadrant, I wasn't satisfied. Because of Seven. Because of Chakotay. There were other reasons, but I won't try and kid myself.

I knew that I would have to go back in time and get us home sooner. This was to be my endgame.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Trial as a Flashpoint #6

The trial began. Barry Allen stood accused of murdering Eobard Thawne in cold blood. Peter Farley's defense was that Barry hadn't intended on breaking the Reverse-Flash's neck, that he had done so by accident, in a panic to stop the villain from replicating the very same murderous actions that had already claimed the life of Iris Allen, Barry's wife and soul mate.

As far as soul mates go, Barry had no idea...

In matters of time travel, the physical body becomes an approximation of itself the moment an individual breaches their own linear dimension; the only thing that truly undertakes the journey is the consciousness of the individual.

Iris came from the future. She was a child when her parents sent her to Barry's time. She already knew everything that would happen, but her specific age was chosen so that she would still have a chance of participating in her own decisions, so that she would grow into the role of Iris West and Iris Allen of her own accord.

The other individual who participated in these events, the mad magician of science, Abra Kadabra, took on a perverted view and understanding of this same principle, believing that he could finally achieve his life's dream by ensuring that Iris survived her own death and returned in time to prove Barry's innocence.

He had become a foe of Barry's well after the career and legacy of the most famous Flash had become history, believing that his intuitive knowledge of the Speed Force somehow made a mockery of Abra's efforts to master nature. If you ask me, the man was first and foremost a headcase.

But that's villainy for you. In this case, it actually worked in everyone's favor. By inserting himself into Iris's efforts to transplant her consciousness back into Barry's time, he gave her the body she needed and the exact moment she needed to appear, at the end of the trial, when all seemed lost, when all the court needed was an expert witness. Who better than Iris Allen?

The press had a field day with the ruling, but what was anyone to do about it? If they believed that Barry Allen, that the Flash was the fastest man alive, they had to accept the reality of time travel, and therefore everything Iris might have to say about it, how Eobard Thawne couldn't possibly be dead, that there were very real reasons to believe that he would be back, that above all else, Barry was innocent of the charges, thanks to sophisticated technology that in the future proved his innocence...

Actually, none of that really matters. The trial brought out the worst in everyone because it had to draw out greater truths, reveal that there was so much more going on than anyone realized, most of all what Barry Allen himself knew.

He was happy to see Iris, beyond relieved to see her alive, but he sensed that she was holding something back. She was reluctant, at first, but then she agreed that they had all experienced extraordinary events, and that she owed it to Barry to be as honest as possible.

So she told him. She told him about the Crisis, how he would sacrifice his life, so soon after learning how precious it really was, to save the universe, by running faster than he ever had before. He would be consumed by his own speed.

The only thing she didn't tell him was that this wouldn't be the end. She told me in later years that she decided to make this incredible concession to the integrity of the timeline because she owed it to Barry, for the inspiration he provided to her own history, to mine, to my children's, to the tradition of justice and superheroes, everything that we can sometimes take for granted.

My name is Wally West, and I'm the fasted man alive. Sometimes there are things more important than that.

The Trial as a Flashpoint #5

To put it mildly, Big Sir mauled Barry, smashing and pummeling him beyond recognition. The only upside was that the Flash was able to dismantle the armor Duncan Ratchet had been given by the Rogues, thereby returning him to his innocent state.

Then he collapsed. Thanks to his increased metabolism, Barry was always capable of bouncing back from injuries quickly, and this was no exception, but his face didn't heal properly. This was later to have a bonus in that his lawyer Peter Farley would later convince him to unmask during the trial, so that his secret identity was safe from exposure, but the psychological effect was worse.

The sequence of events that had begun with preventive measures against his worst enemy had spiraled completely out of control. Barry could no longer trust or depend on anything. His moral character alone had kept him going, actively pursuing the role of superhero even in the midst of the buildup to the trial...but even Barry was only human.

Finally, enough was enough. He stopped running. For the first time since he had been granted his super speed, Barry Allen slowed to the pace of an ordinary man, permanently. He didn't just slow down, though, he found that he had actually lost the will to live.

If it hadn't been for the remarkable coincidence of finding Farley, who had himself been the victim of physical violence at the hands of the Rogues, perched at the same bridge he'd chosen, the one that linked Central and Keystone City, the one he had once crossed to meet his idol, Jay Garrick, the original Flash...Barry would have done the unthinkable.

But Farley had been there, too. Ironically, the last time attorney and client met before the trial was when they had both been driven to the brink of despair. As all the Flashes have learned over the years, it's far easier to embrace destiny when there are others who understand what that means.

Together, they chose life.

The Trial as a Flashpoint #4

The trial of Barry Allen's life wasn't just in court, where he was to be tried for the murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, but in the court of popular opinion, thanks not only to his infamous Rogues Gallery, but another, far more insidious foe, Gorilla Grodd.

While the Rogues staged a series of public pranks, notably led by the Pied Piper, Grodd took things to the next level, actively manipulating citizens on a wide scale, from the mayor of Central City to random pedestrians, runaway kids, respected businessmen, and church-going grannies into voicing opinions and otherwise denouncing the good name of the Flash.

None of them had any choice, since Grodd used his incredible mental abilities against them, and wiped their minds of any memories regarding their subsequent actions.

For years Grodd, who came from a tribe of highly evolved apes hidden deep in the heart of Africa, had tried to demonstrate his superiority to the race of men by crafting elaborate schemes of world domination, and each time he was thwarted by Barry, defeated like a common villain by a man whose only notable ability was to run really fast.

It vexed Grodd to no end. he would have been happy to damage the reputation of the Flash even if it weren't already on the verge of losing all credibility.

The Rogues somehow managed to be worse. In addition to their personal campaign, they recruited a man by the name of Duncan Ratchet, a mentally challenged individual with the intellectual capacity of a six-year-old, and gave him a technologically advanced suit of armor, transforming him into Big Sir.

Big Sir's only motivations were the same as Duncan Ratchet's, so once again the Rogues had to turn to manipulation, placing the gentle giant into a situation where he would view the Flash as an enemy.

The results, even in these circumstances, were catastrophic for Barry.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Trial as a Flashpoint #3

I guess I'll never understand Barry's Rogues Gallery, why he seemed to tolerate them...

The Rogues were a collection of foes Barry faced on a consistent basis, criminals who fashioned fantastic personas after the weapons they mastered.

There was Captain Boomerang, Heatwave, Captain Cold, the Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, Pied Piper...all of them completely self-explanatory by their chosen names.

The thing that always puzzled me is that none of them actually posed a direct threat to his incredible speed, only really causing momentary conundrums, no matter how clever, so that a man with his abilities should never have been concerned with any of them for very long.

Barry should always have been too fast to create lasting enemies, except for Eobard.

Instead, the Rogues remained in business for years, and eventually came to understand the concept "strength in numbers."

No hero except Batman ever amassed such a regular contingent of opponents quite the way Barry did. I think it's because he believed in the concept of justice. He worked, after all, in the police department, even when he wasn't dressed in scarlet.

The reason it was so shocking, even if completely inadvertent, when Barry killed Eobard Thawne, was that he had always seemed to have removed himself from the equation, believing himself to be an impartial agent, clinical.

That's why he was always considered so aloof, even by his friends, why it was so easy for the Fasted Man Alive to exist at his own pace.

How he could still be late for personal appointments, even though he could outrun even Superman.

The Rogues, more than any other collection of enemies, exploited that, especially during the trial. They were vicious, most of all because they realized they finally had the advantage.

Barry's high school pal Peter Farley agreed to defend him in court. Any other lawyer probably deserves a fair amount of ribbing, but Peter was one of the good ones.

That made the attack on his life all the more heinous. But was it really so surprising that the Rogues would stoop to that level?