In the New 52 era, Barry Allen met Iris West during Zero Year, an event that deepened the Flash’s connection to Batman.
At first glance, Batman and The Flash have very little in common. The Dark Knight Detective is a completely different type of hero than the Scarlet Speedster. Still, if it weren’t for a Batman story, Barry Allen would never have met the love of his life, Iris West, in the New 52 era.
In New 52, Barry and Iris meet for the first time during the “Zero Year” event, during Batman’s first year in Gotham. In 2014 The flash # 25, by Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato and Chris Sprouse, a young Barry Allen, fresh out of the police academy, came to help the citizens of Gotham. The Riddler had cut off all power in the city, putting Gotham in a state of emergency. Barry was helping Harvey Bullock and his partner, Spencer Thompson, track the sale of a dangerous drug called Icarus. In the first victim scene, Barry met Iris West, a Gotham Gazette intern.
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Barry and Iris were the only ones who wanted to investigate the suspicious destruction of the Gotham City Free Clinic. During their investigation, Barry and Iris connected. The couple discovered that they were both from Central City and appeared to share a mutual attraction.
However, before anything could emerge from this connection, Barry and Iris discovered that Detective Thompson was the one distributing Icarus. In the battle that followed, Barry was drugged and nearly died. Fortunately, Iris saved him, while Bullock arrived to stop Thompson. Before Barry left for Central City, he met with Iris for the last time and they shared a goodbye kiss.
This meeting is very different from Barry and Iris’ first meeting in the post-crisis DC Universe. In Flash: Rebirth # 2, by Geoff Johns and Ethan van Sciver, a flashback revealed Barry’s initial encounter with Iris. After the crisis, Barry and Iris met when they were in their respective careers.
When Barry met Iris, he was already an accomplished forensic scientist, testifying in a case against Sam Scudders. Iris was a reporter for the Central City Citizen. Barry even became The Flash the night he met Iris, so neither of them actually met during their most formative years. During “Zero Year”, however, Barry and Iris were quite young and inexperienced.
Meeting each other at a time of relative immaturity, Barry and Iris had a chance to meet each other before fully developing. The duo also had the opportunity to work together, which certainly brought them closer together. Barry wasn’t even The Flash at this point, so he got to work with Iris as two ordinary citizens trying to do good in the world. These common interests forged a bond between Barry and Iris.
“Zero Year” also talked about the growing connection between Batman and The Flash. During the New 52 era, The Dark Knight and The Scarlet Speedster shared some key moments together. This all started in Flash point # 5, by Johns and Andy Kubert, when Barry delivered a letter to Bruce from his father. When Bruce read the letter, it was a moving moment that brought the two heroes closer than before. Later, stories like “Zero Year” occasionally brought Batman and The Flash together, showing their similarities.
During “Rebirth”, Batman and Flash were bonded over their mutual knack for detective work. The two heroes collaborated during the story of “The Button” on bat Man # 21-22, and The flash # 21-22, by Tom King, Joshua Williamson, Jason Fabok and Howard Porter, not to mention “The Last Cold Case” in bat Man # 64-65 and The flash # 64-65, by Williamson, Guillem March and Rafa Sandoval. “Zero Year” highlighted their shared interest in the investigation, ever since Barry came to Gotham as a cop.
Flash’s participation in “Zero Year” generally demonstrated Batman’s influence on the DCU, especially during New 52. Crossovers, such as “Night of the Owls” and “Death of the Family” had previously involved other titles. However, “Zero Year” went beyond the Bat-Family, showing how this massive event impacted other heroes throughout the DCU. Superman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern were some other heroes who were affected by “Zero Year” early in their respective careers. Overall, “Zero Year” gave heroes like The Flash a setting for some defining moments in their younger days.
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