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The Flash Vol. 6: The Secret of Barry Allen Paperback – August 1, 2005
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When Wally West learns The Secret of Barry Allen, it turns out to be more than he wanted. After all, the main thing on his mind is why his wife, Linda, has left, apparently a repercussion of the Spectre's attempt to reestablish Wally's secret identity by wiping it from everyone's minds. That also causes problems with the Justice League, who are now wondering why they no longer know who their teammate is. And that's not even mentioning the rogues' gallery of villains plotting to bring the Flash down. The three-part title story involves a crossover with the famous Identity Crisis story line, and the moral/ethical dilemma surrounding what the League did to Doctor Light proves to be only part of the story. Collects Flash issues 207-211 and 213-217. --David Horiuchi
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–In this 10-volume collection, Wally West is once more the fastest man alive. After his wife was attacked, he was granted a secret identity. No one, including West, remembered who the Flash was. Now his memory has returned, and he must learn to accept his very public role as a superhero, as well as the past actions of the previous Flash, his mentor Barry Allen. Illustrated with lively, bright colors and dramatic, splashy pages, this entertaining blend of tortured soul-searching and flippant superhero banter should please the many fans of the Justice League. Readers new to the Flashs recent adventures may catch up with an extensive Character Bios section as well as a brief blurb covering What Has Gone Before.–Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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2. The Secret of Barry Allen
3. Rouge War
If you pick them up all at once, you'll have a good 500 page read ahead of you. And it will be sooooooooo worth it.
As the story opens, Wally's wife Linda has left him to have some time for herself to think about the recent events as the wife of a hero. Meanwhile the Flash has no time to rest as a parade in his honor is interrupted by several members of his rogue's gallery. Now one thing I always loved about the Flash was his colorful and somewhat eccentric lineup of villains. Only Batman can boast a more bizarre group of villains. Plunder, Trickster II, Tarpit, and Abra Kadabra bust up the parade festivities and have Wally helpless until help arrive in the form of Kid Flash and Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash.
Wally eventually goes before the JLA to find out just what happened to their memories of Barry Allen, and who is wearing the mask of the Flash now. Wally walks out on the league, leading to one of those great Superman/Flash races in shades of the Silver Age as Superman demands to know the truth and what the Flash is running from. Secrets are revealed on many levels as Wally soon learns (again apparently) what the JLA began doing to villains such as Dr. Light, essentially using Zatanna's magic to lobotomize them. They took it one step further with The Top, altering his mind to try and turn him good. It works for awhile but soon drives the Top insane. This leads to a climactic battle between The Top, Flash, and Zatanna.
Wally once again must come to grips with what the league did. If you read Identity Crisis you know that Wally was the most outspoken about what some of the JLAers did and how it was kept a secret from other members, specifically Superman and Batman. Geoff Johns delivers a multi-layered plot that works with and expands on the story from Identity Crisis. On top of all this, Flash's Rogues Gallery is dealing with the death of Captain Boomerang and the revelation that he had a son who has now taken up his father's mantle. Add to this that some former members of the Rogues (Pied Piper, Trickster I, and Heatwave) are now working for the FBI and going after their former associates and another subplot involving Zoom and there is a lot packed into this one story. If there is a weakness it's perhaps that Johns is guilty of throwing too much at readers and there are loose ends left unresolved at the books conclusion. That said, it's a strong story and shows how Wally has truly matured (It has been some 20 years since he took over as The Flash). The art of Howard Porter and Livesay is first-rate without trying to be over-powering to the story. A cover gallery featuring the brilliant work of Michael Turner is included.
Reviewed by Tim Janson
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