"Slip": Barry Allen has finally been cleared to go back to work in the crime lab at the Central City Police Department, but on the way to his first day back, he spots a kid spray painting a nearby building - flying in the face of all the efforts thus far to rebuild'
- I had a chance to save you, so I had to try. To let you die... it'd be no different from killing you myself. I won't take a life. Not for any reason. Not ever.
Synopsis for "Slip"
Barry Allen has finally been cleared to go back to work in the crime lab at the Central City Police Department, but on the way to his first day back, he spots a kid spray painting a nearby building - flying in the face of all the efforts thus far to rebuild the city. Angrily, he accosts the kid, only to have a stripe of paint sprayed across his clean shirt and tie. What's worse is that the kid has sprayed an anti-Flash symbol on the wall. Of course, Barry catches up to the kid and gets him in his grip long enough for some beat-cops to arrive and take over. Despite his victory, Barry can't help but feel that it was really a loss.
When he finally gets to the office - in a new shirt and tie - Barry takes coffee with Patty Spivot when she mentions that she has a longing for an interesting fruit called níspero that she'd had during her investigation in Guatemala. Obligingly, Barry ditches his hot coffee and makes a quick run down to South America, and returns with the fruit - but by then, his coffee's gone cold.
In addition to cold coffee, Barry is in trouble with Dir. David Singh, who would have liked to have seen Barry fifteen minutes early. Grumpily, Singh shoves a softball case into Barry's hands, explaining that a man named Ernest Flake has escaped from Iron Heights, and he was caught two days later trying to cross the border to Canada. However, detectives found a body that appears to fit Flake's modus operandi, and so it's up to Barry to take a DNA sample and close out the case.
As he leaves the station, Barry spots Iris West arguing with the booking officer, who wants nothing to do with her after he took heat for helping her with previous journalistic investigations. Barry greets her and learns that her reason for coming is personal. She has come to pick up her nephew, who was arrested earlier that day. As she says this, Wally West - the same boy Barry had caught that morning - is paraded out, and Iris rushes over to him. The boy pretends that he and Barry don't know each other, and Iris sends him to wait while she finishes her talk with Barry. She explains that Wally is her older brother Rudy's son; abandoned to his mother - who disappeared when the Crime Syndicate attacked. She is concerned that without a father figure, Wally idolized her uncle Daniel, and still blames the Flash for putting Daniel in prison. She hopes that she can convince Barry to act as a positive role-model in his life.
Twenty years from now, Wally West is dead, and Iris is dealing with a spine injury after both were in a car accident. She catches The Flash standing at Wally's grave in the middle of the night and warns that only creeps are in cemeteries at this hour - that and people who feel so guilty that they can't help it. Barry blames himself for Wally's death and Iris' injury. If he'd been faster, he could have been there to stop it all. Angrily, Iris warns him to stop talking about blame. She was there. She was behind the wheel of the car. She made her peace with her role in the accident - Barry should too. In any event, she can't imagine why he would care. It was she who raised Wally as her own when he had no one. As far as the Flash was concerned, Wally was just an innocent. After all this time, Barry finally has to admit the truth. The Flash is Barry Allen, and he had loved Wally like he was his own son.
She is surprised, but he explains that whatever she thinks, it doesn't matter. He will fix what went wrong in the way that only the Flash can. Angrily, Iris warns him that idiot notions like that are what made her brother Daniel go bad. Even if he succeeded, Barry wouldn't come back the same man. Sadly, Barry responds that he won't be coming back, and speeds off with Iris begging him to stop.
Now, Barry visits Flake in Iron Heights, and the crook is surprised to hear that he's under suspicion of murder. Wyatt Hill had been packed in snow inside his apartment - but what was strangest was that the moisture from his body had been drained. He had been mummified. As the supervillain "Mogul", Flake had used a device to create snow out of thin air, and ski away from the police. That device pulls moisture from around him. Humans are mostly water, and using that weapon against a man would have exactly the effect that it had on Mr. Hill. Flake insists that he didn't kill anyone and that he had tried to escape to Canada because the Syndicate's methods scared him. He explains that his weapon was never meant to be a weapon. He had designed it for a year-round artificial ski slope, but when the development went under, he decided to use it for robberies. When he was caught, the police confiscated it, and he hasn't seen it since. Barry suspects the story is true and explains that he has to take a DNA sample all the same - and if he happens to be able to disprove the case against Flake - all the better.
Twenty years from now, Grodd remains ruler of Gorilla City, feasting on the brains of one who lost to him in battle. He can smell Barry's presence, and gleefully, he mocks Barry's wasted life, using the Speed Force for heroics. He has used it to enrich himself, popping over to the 25th Century to kill Eobard Thawne and eat his brain, which he currently feasts on. In doing so, he gains all of Thawne's brilliance.
Barry responds that the Speed Force is broken, and he knows Grodd senses it. Daniel West's attempts to travel through time fractured it initially, and his and Grodd's attempts have only served to make things worse. Smirking, Grodd reminds that after he consumed Daniel's brain, he gained the ability go back in time and rescue the libraries of antiquity. He is now the preserver of all history's knowledge as well. Barry challenges him to the death, and Grodd scoffs, reminding that their clashes always seem to end with Barry running away before he is killed, or running away because he won't kill. Barry is determined, though, explaining that he should never have allowed the Speed Force's power to spread to Grodd or Daniel.
Now, David Singh is stressing out over the number of cases that Capt. Frye has opened - four hundred and sixty-seven. Frye explains that they need to let the people know that they've restored order. If they are filing reports, it means that they trust the police force to keep them safe. On his way out of David's office, Darryl runs into Barry, warning him to tread lightly if he intends to pry an ostensibly open-and-shut case wide open. Naturally, when Singh hears Barry's report, he warns that Barry must close the case, or end up back in the records room.
Later, Patty reminds Barry that David is under pressure to solve all of these cases - because the moment the people start to raise an outcry about the number of unsolved ones, City Hall is going to throw him under the bus. Barry swallows his anger, for now, and duty calls when James Forrest warns of a robbery in progress.
At the Dearbon Gallery, Barry arrives in time to catch the thieves red-handed - but not unprepared. They blast him with weapons that emit ultrasonic vibrations which throw off his ability to control his speed. They hint that they have a benefactor who provided them with the weapons for just this purpose. Stumbling, Barry warns that even if he can't control his power, he can still use it, and creates a chaotic whirlwind that knocks everyone back. Once free of the beams, Barry regains his composure enough to catch each of the airborne paintings before a single one is damaged. Unfortunately, now his hands are full, and the thieves are free to train their weapons on him again - even if it risks destroying the paintings they hoped to steal. After all, the paintings were never their only target.
In the future, Barry and Grodd leap at each other, but the gorilla is stronger, no matter how fast Barry is.
Now Barry manages to pin the thieves' leader up against the wall, but his men are just as eager to shoot Barry at the risk of hitting their leader as they would be otherwise. Fortunately, Barry can outrun their bullets, and he launches his hostage into the gunmen, bowling them over. Finally, after subduing all of them, he confiscates their weapons and demands to know who provided them with them. The leader won't talk, but he wonders why he was saved from being shot. Barry explains that if he has the chance to save a life, he will always take it. Letting someone die at the hands of others is no different from killing them himself. He will never take a life.
Twenty years from now, Barry's mind has changed. While pinned by Grodd, he phases through his enemy, and plants a micro-bomb into his ear. Within ten seconds, the gorilla's head explodes. Standing over Grodd's corpse, Barry explains that if all of this works out, none of this will have to happen. He is going to run back in time, and kill himself.
Appearing in "Slip"
- Central City Police Department
- Iris West
- Iris West (Future) (First full appearance)
- Wally West (First appearance)
- Grodd (Future) (Only appearance; dies)
- Eobard Thawne (Future) (Brain only)
- Daniel West (Future) (Mentioned only)
- Rudy West (Mentioned only)
- Wally West (Future) (Mentioned only)
- This issue is reprinted in The Flash: Out of Time.