Yesterday on the Source, DC reiterated what it had said at SDCC about erasing the marriage of Barry and Iris West. Most of the focus on DC’s marriage undoing has been on the Kent marriage. That’s not a surprise as Lois and Clark are the more famous couple and, really, who could have escaped the news of their non-breakup, break-up given the coverage on gossip site TMC and the New York Post? But yesterday we had this (bolded parts mine for emphasis):
The Flash is a single man. He’s a bachelor who has never been married.
I’ll give you all a few seconds to take that in and digest it.
Yes, folks — in the post-FLASHPOINT world, Barry Allen has not only never dated Iris West, but he’s dating someone else entirely in issue #1! And that someone is…his longtime coworker Patty Spivot!
If that upsets you, sorry about that. But I make no apologies for opening up a traditional storytelling avenue with our hero’s romantic life, something that’s been shut closed for a very long time now. This is no indictment of marriage. I’m a married man and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But in the realm of fiction, I feel strongly that this change to Barry opens up fresh, new creative directions and exciting new storylines.
But don’t fret—Iris West remains an active supporting cast member. And a wonderfully entertaining one, at that! Who else could possibly hit up Barry for anonymous crime-story tips to fill her blog on the Central City Citizen’s website? No one but the go-getter Iris could consume so much caffeine and live to tell about it.
And who knows, maybe someday we’ll have the opportunity to see why Barry and Iris fell in love in the first place. Or maybe not! Stay tuned — I can assure you Barry’s love life will never, ever be boring!
Ugh. It goes on and on.
I’m not saying the book won’t be good. But this attitude in discussing marriage smacks of fratboyism, much like DC Superman Group Editor Matt Idelson saying this Superman doesn’t have a “trophy wife”. I found both off-putting and just taking away from the what DC should be selling right now — that the new Flash will have great stories.
Besides that, I think the idea that being married being a limit to the Flash’s story is silly. He’s a superhero. He’s supposed to be saving the world. They’ve got 20 pages a month to tell those stories in, how much are they going to spend on his private life that it has to be dismantled? And in the case of Barry it’s not like we don’t know the outcome already. Bart Allen, Iris and Barry’s grandson from the future, exists and is in the Teen Titans. This makes the Allen-West marriage a fait accompli. (Though by setting the reset button on it, DC once again confirms that Wally West, who becomes Kid Flash because he is Iris’ nephew, won’t be showing up in this DC Universe for a while. I hope when he does, he socks Barry, who, after all, is responsible for this new Universe for futzing with time in Flashpoint)
But even if the creative team does feel it is important to the story, why does DC, despite the claims to support marriage, feel the need to paint marriage negatively by saying it is a limit to storytelling? Or, as in the Source’s post, “romantic life”? Is romance limited to only the single? These characters are supposed to be superheroes, their private lives are supposed to be counterpoints to that. Good stories can have characters with parents, children or spouses. All they require are good writers. And I’m not saying that all superheroes need to be married or have families. But this trumpeting of bachelorhood as a core part of a book to me seems pandering to a subset of their audience.
With the erasure of the Kent and Allen relationships, we’ve had two major disses of marriage in the new DC. There are still some couples left but I wonder if we’ll see a post from DC that trumpets the marriage of Arthur and Mera in Aquaman? Or Ellen and Buddy Baker in Animal Man? Or should I start worrying about them as well?
A time-traveling DC executive must be in that Flash suit.