I recently received an email saying, “Your Iris West-Allen bio gave me a headache!” asking me to explain how she survived her death. I intend to rewrite the entry at some point, but for now, here’s a more detailed explanation of her death defiance and time travel.
Iris was born in the 30th century, and her parents were afraid a mounting war would wipe out the entire region. They were experimenting with time travel, and they decided to send their infant daughter back in time. (The writers of this story—Flash #203, 1971—acknowledged it was a deliberate reference to Superman’s origin.) A later story (Flash 80-Page Giant #1, 1998) had future Flash John Fox help her parents with a key piece of theory that was blocking them.
Professor Zoom killed Iris in Flash #275 (1979), though at first it was blamed on madman Clive Yorkin (who turned out to be a very confused witness). Eventually Barry met Fiona Webb, they decided to get married, and Zoom escaped, threatening to kill Fiona on their wedding day. There was an all-out race, Zoom repeatedly taunting him before heading back to Central City. Barry finally caught up with him as he raced towards Fiona, and grabbed him in a choke hold. Zoom was stopped just a few feet away from her, but the choke hold had killed him, and the Flash went on trial for manslaughter.
As far as Cary Bates (writer on the Flash during this period) was concerned, someone dying before they were born was a paradox and would cause instabilities in time. In Iris’ case, it meant her real parents (who survived the war) were able to use cutting-edge 30th-century science to reach back in time to the moment of her death, grab her “life force,” and transplant it into a new body. (In the original story they found a woman who had just died and termed it a “psychic transplant,” although it was later revised to say that they grew a cloned body for her.) In the case of Zoom it meant that history was unstable where his death was concerned. 30th-Century history recorded that the Flash was acquitted, but they were finding indications that history might have been altered.
So the last few issues of Barry’s series were basically a struggle between a time-travelling Iris (who took over the body of one of the jurors, Quantum Leap-style) and Abra Kadabra, each trying to ensure a different outcome of the trial. Kadabra hinted he was attempting the ultimate magic trick: to cheat fate by tricking the Flash into leaving the 20th Century before he had a chance to get killed. Ultimately Iris won, gaining the acquittal verdict, but Barry chose to leave the present anyway to be with her.Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.