"Lost Time": Five years from now, The Flash watches as Iris West is carted into the back of an ambulance with a back injury. He tries to help, but Darryl Frye holds him back, warning that they have more work to do.
- What happened to me doesn't matter. What matters is that I could've prevented at least some of this.
Synopsis for "Lost Time"
Five years from now, The Flash watches as Iris West is carted into the back of an ambulance with a back injury. He tries to help, but Darryl Frye holds him back, warning that they have more work to do. A teenage kid was killed in the car accident, and he hasn't been ID'd yet. Coldly, Darryl comments that all of this could have been prevented, if the Flash had arrived sooner.
Now, Barry Allen is awakened from sleeping at his desk at Central City Police Headquarters by his girlfriend Patty, reminding that he's late for his mandatory psychological assessment that will clear him for duty in the crime lab again - as opposed to duty in the records room, where he's been relegated for weeks. He has been having trouble balancing his life as Barry Allen and his life as the Flash, despite his abilities, and consequently, he has been late a few too many times. Impishly, Patty offers him a gift to remedy this: a wristwatch. Barry had missed his last appointment once already, and Patty understands why. The events of the Crime Syndicate's attacks were harrowing, but Patty must admit that her own appointment helped - and if Barry doesn't get moving soon, he won't get his next opportunity to be cleared for duty for weeks.
In the waiting room, Barry spots James Forrest leaving the doctor's office nearly twenty minutes overdue. James remarks that he gave the doctor a talking-to, having more than twenty years of policing under his belt that a few capes couldn't possibly do anything to unhinge.
Barry uncomfortably enters the office of Dr. Rebecca Janus, who immediately begins rattling off what she knows about him from his files. She comments that she has a great many more of these evaluations to perform, and as such, they should stick to recent history. She reminds that if they don't get this over with, any case that Barry touches will be torn about by defense attorneys claiming that he was left mentally unstable by the attack on Central City. Barry responds that he hates seeing his city torn apart, feeling that he should have done more before things got bad. Now, there's so much to repair that he doesn't know where to start. Dr. Janus reminds that blaming himself, and expecting that he could have done more is unrealistic. As she says this, though, Barry is off, speeding through the city trying to help people as the Flash - back before she has even finished her sentence.
Commenting on the attack, Barry remarks that whatever happened to him doesn't matter. What matters is what he could have done, and didn't. Dr. Janus responds that in a world shared with gods, giants and monsters, there is little an average person could do. Again, while she's talking, Barry rushes off, helping citizens rebuild a house, only to hear them shouting back that as much as he'd helped just then, he should have been there when they needed him. Upon his return, Dr. Janus reminds that Barry survived what happened, and now he needs to work past his grief and guilt. He must focus on reestablishing his routines and connecting with others.
Dr. Janus wonders at last why Barry still wants to be on the force. After a moment, he explains that he believes he can make a difference - that he will work harder when the next disaster comes. He can bring criminals to justice and help people. Dr. Janus responds that Barry, at least, isn't crazy - a bonus, given his background. She agrees to clear him for duty, but warns that it is only a provisional reinstatement, and will be required to attend further meetings. As noble as his intentions are, they aren't necessarily healthy. If he pushes himself too hard and too far for too long, he will break.
Barry returns to the records room to clear out his desk and return to the lab, and he is interrupted there by Patty. He notes, with confusion, that the watch she gave him just that day had already fallen two minutes behind.
Twenty years from now, Barry's life has gone off track completely. He has lost so much time, and he has allowed innocents to die. He knows, though, exactly where it all went wrong; exactly when he is needed. Wally West had been killed in a car accident fifteen years ago, and Barry wouldn't be too late to stop it this time.
Appearing in "Lost Time"
- Batman (Future) (First appearance) (In a photograph only)
- Darryl Frye (Future) (First appearance)
- Iris West (Future) (First appearance) (Cameo)
- Justice League (Flashback only)
- Wally West (Future) (Single appearance) (Appears only as a corpse)
- Crime Syndicate (Mentioned only)
- Grodd (Mentioned only)
- This issue is reprinted in The Flash: Out of Time.
- This story is continued in The Flash Annual (Volume 4) #3.
- The Flash Recommended Reading