The Flash

The "Barry Allen" Flash, killed off in 1985, might soon be resurrected in the DC comic book universe. Meanwhile, Batman could be dying.

Flash — a faster-than-light superhero — has been gone almost 23 years. But it appears DC has plans to bring him back this spring.

The new "DC Universe: Zero" comic ends with the phrase "Let there be lightning" and pictures a compact bolt of lighting, which was part of Flash's insignia.

The Legion of Superheroes, set in the 31st century, is trying to conjure up someone who's dead. Could that be Barry Allen? If so, will he remain in the future?

Barry Allen, replaced soon after his demise by a younger cousin, Bart, died in DC's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" (Issue No. 8) in the fall of 1985. He perished saving the known universe from disintegration by an antimatter cannon that the villainous Anti-Monitor was preparing to fire.

This story, titled "A Flash of the Lightning," set up the final confrontation with DC's heroes and the Anti-Monitor.

Meanwhile, references to "Batman R.I.P." are appearing in DC Comics. Does that mean DC will swap one hero for another? In the "Final Crisis" (Issue No. 3) due out in July, Batman is reported missing.

It could be a new "Black Glove" villain who does Batman in. Or, maybe he doesn't really die at all — maybe he just falls in love, marries and retires, giving the cowl to Dick Grayson. The new story in Bruce Wayne's life began in Batman No. 676, which came out May 14.

You can bet the the Dark Knight won't be dead (or retired) for long. With another major motion picture premiering this summer, Batman is one of DC's hottest properties. Sooner, or later, he will return to life.