WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Flash #753, by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Brandon Peterson, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands, on sale now from DC, now available.
Recently in the pages of The Flash, a new villain named Paradox has arrived to Central City, and he has direct ties to the Speed Force and Barry Allen’s superhero origin. Worse still, he is so powerful that he defeated the Flash with ease, leaving him trapped in a prison dimension outside of time and space. However, Barry isn’t without hope just yet. The superhero was able to build himself a Cosmic Treadmill, clad himself in time-armor and head back into the time-stream to escape. However, Barry isn’t going back to the present.
In The Flash #753, Barry Allen travels back to the worst moment of his entire life.
During his battle with Paradox, Barry learned that there was only one super-powered individual who had been able to defeat the supervillain in the 25th century: Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash. Therefore, to defeat this powerful new adversary, Barry has to do the unimaginable and team-up with his worst enemy.
But before he can do that, Barry has to dig deep and show how great of a hero he really is, but standing completely still.
Barry first learned that Eobard Thawne was the one who defeated Paradox thanks to Commander Cold’s files on the 25th century. However, before seeking out the man who killed his mother, Barry wants to double-check the information. Therefore, at the start of The Flash #753, Barry uses the Cosmic Treadmill to travel to Central City in the 25th century, where he confirms that Reverse-Flash really was the one who defeated his powerful new enemy.
With this confirmation, Barry then travels to the one place in space and time where he knows Eobard Thawne is: the night the villain murdered his mother. This night is crucial in the mythology of the Flash. In fact, in 2011, Barry traveled back to this very point in time and stopped Thawne from killing his mother. But while she was saved, this act ended up creating an entirely new, horrific reality known as Flashpoint. To save the world and revert everything back to normal, Barry had to once again travel back in time, and stop himself from saving his mother. This was hard for the character — but it doesn’t compare to what he has to do in The Flash #753.
Hopping back on his Cosmic Treadmill, Barry returns to the night of his mother’s death. This time however, his plan is to meet Thawne and recruit his help in the fight against Paradox. Therefore, this time, Barry must wait outside his house as his worst enemy murders his mother. The near-silent page communicates just how difficult this is for Barry. Standing still a few feet away from his house, Barry must wait and do nothing as Thawne arrives and kills his mother.
This shows that Barry has learned his lesson from Flashpoint. He knows that changing history will result in something far, far worse. But in order to prevent something truly terrible from happening, Barry has to let events play out as they should. It’s heartbreaking for him, but it’s something that needs to done, and it keeps something much worse from happening as a result.
It takes everything there is inside of him to remain place, but Barry is able to pull it off. When Thawne runs out of the house, Barry is furious, but he knows why he’s here — it’s not to beat Thawne, or to save his mother. At this moment, the Flash’s only business with Thawne concerns Paradox.
The Flash is a character defined by his speed, and his heroic acts have nearly always been driven by his superpowers. But this time, the Flash had to stop completely to save the day.
In The Flash #753, Barry Allen's mission to find Eobard Thawne leads him to perform a great heroic act by standing completely still.