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5 comics to read after you watched The Flash

The Flash is now out in movie theaters, but much of the interest surrounding the DC film is for the return of Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight. The actor’s turn as Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 film has grown to legendary status within pop culture fandom over the past few decades. Now, Keaton’s Batman has a chance to tangle with other DC characters outside of his domain in Gotham City for the first time.

At the core of this explosive and thrilling adventure is a thematic concoction of grief, regret, and the consequences of living in the past. Barry Allen has been gifted with a marvelous ability, one that has enabled him to save the world from Steppenwolf alongside the Justice League. But unlike the colorful cut-outs of superheroes that emerged in the middle of the 20th Century, Barry as the Flash is shown to be far more human than a typical champion among humankind. His grief leads him to use his power in an act of self-service as he travels back in time to save his mom from certain death when he was still a young boy — a choice many of us would never really blame him for. Still, the consequences of an altered timeline and, subsequently, reality are egregious. There’s plenty of influence that went into the making of this film from the lore contained within the pages of DC comics. If you can’t get enough of The Flash after the credits roll, then we’ve got some recommended reading in mind for you.

Flashpoint (2011)

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The core of The Flash is founded on the basic theme of Flashpoint. This graphic novel also depicts the consequences of a timeline that Barry altered in a bid to save his mother’s life by traveling into the past. Only what follows this event is wholly different than what you saw on screen. Sure, the world is drastically different, but the filmmakers didn’t take any of the content from the book verbatim.

With a new premise following Barry’s timeline-altering mistake, you can now discover a world of murderous DC heroes. In this new reality, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are tearing the world apart while engaged in their own personal war with each other. And Batman isn’t the Caped Crusader we’re all familiar with. He has no qualms about dropping criminals off of a roof or putting a bullet in their skulls. Superman is a frail, sun-deprived alien experiment. In this reality, the Kents never found baby Kal-El upon his crash landing on Earth. A government-funded research group did. It’s a dark and dreary world and true superheroes are spread thin. However, this is one graphic novel worth visiting if you’re a fan of the characters and the themes of time travel.

Batman ’89 (2022)

Comic cover for Sam Hamm's series Batman '89
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Originally a digital publication, you can now acquire the first 12 chapters in the series as a collected edition graphic novel entitled Batman ’89. Written by the screenwriter of the original film, Sam Hamm, this series follows the adventures of Tim Burton’s iteration of the character. Have you ever watched the film and simply wanted to know what else Keaton’s Batman was up to? Well, now’s your chance.

The Flash depicts the character as one who has led a full career, not just one encompassing the events of two films. This graphic novel will touch on elements from the film and depict villains from Burton’s version of the Batman mythos including Two-Face. No, this isn’t Joel Schumacher’s version of the villain, so get Batman Forever and Batman & Robin out of your head. Just like in The Flash, those two films aren’t considered canon. This is Billy Dee Williams’ take on the character. We never saw his Harvey Dent turn into Two-Face on screen, so now’s your chance!

The Flash: Rebirth (2009-2010)

Graphic novel cover for Geoff John's The Flash: Rebirth
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There was a time when heavy hitters in the DC pantheon like Hal Jordan of Green Lantern fame and Barry Allen (aka the Flash), were seemingly killed or removed from the existing continuity. Other heroes would take their mantle for a period until their eventual return. Hal Jordan returned in Green Lantern: Rebirth (2005). After seemingly being killed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths event in the mid-80s, Wally West became the Flash of note for over two decades. In 2009, Barry Allen returned with The Flash: Rebirth. Apparently, he had never perished but was stuck inside the speed force. Written by Geoff Johns for a new generation, fans young and old once again became reacquainted with Barry Allen as the Flash.

This six-issue collected edition is a great jumping-off point for any fan of the film who wants to dive into the lore behind Barry Allen and his superhero alter-ego. As a hero, Barry Allen has been through his fair share of turmoil. This book acts as a great introduction to the man behind the speedster’s cowl.

The Flash No. 139-141 (1998)

Cover of The Flash issue #141 by Mark Millar
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The film features a villainous entity known as Dark Flash. While the correlation is not a one-to-one comparison with any particular comic book counterpart, the Black Flash is the closest inspiration. These three issues written by comic book writer extraordinaire Mark Millar in 1987 represent the terror and might of the Black Flash who acts as the epitome of death for speedsters.

The narrative suggests that through investigation, a black blur was following Barry Allen, Savitar, and other speedsters who had previously died moments before their death. Of course, we know Barry’s death was later retconned. But because speedsters could outrun anything, death included, the Black Flash became the Speed Force’s method of controlling the fastest people alive. Wally West demonstrates just how capable of a speedster he really is when confronting this specter of death that has taken someone very close to him. He races to the ends of the Earth, quite literally, in an extreme bid to stave off death.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (2022)

Graphic Novel cover of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow by Tom King
Image used with permission by copyright holder

With Kara Zor-El’s debut on the big screen, some fans might leave the theater wanting to know more about this formidable Kryptonian. Most know her as Superman’s cousin, But that reference can almost feel a tad reductive by itself when understanding just how powerful and accomplished she is on her own. That’s exactly what this eight-issue collection sets out to prove.

While on an interstellar vacation for her birthday seeking out the brightest red sun to rejuvenate, Kara is sought out by a young alien girl named Ruthye who asks the Kryptonian to aid her in eliminating her father’s murderer. After initially rejecting the girl due to the nature of the request and Supergirl’s status as a superhero who never aims to kill, the Woman of Tomorrow accepts after meeting the very same culprit who nearly kills her canine compadre, Krypto. What ensues is a perilous adventure that gets more grandiose and emotional with every turn of the page. It’s a worthy read for any fan seeking out a killer Supergirl story. And, as luck would have it, this happens to be the very story James Gunn and Peter Safran have regarded as the basis of the future Supergirl film. So, you’ll be ahead of the game!

Editors' Recommendations

Christopher Hinton
Chris is a passionate and creative writer whose abiding fondness for cinema, video games, television, novels, and comic books…
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