Iris West Allen
Iris West as seen in The Flash (vol. 3) #1 (June 2010). Art by Francis Manapul
|First appearance||Showcase #4 (September–October 1956)|
|Created by||Robert Kanigher (script)
Carmine Infantino, Joe Kubert (art)
|Full name||Iris Ann Russell West Allen|
|Place of origin||Central City|
|Team affiliations||Galaxy Broadcasting System
Central City Picture News
Iris West Allen is a character who appears in various DC Comics publications. She is the wife of the second Flash, Barry Allen, the aunt of the third Flash, Wally West, and the grandmother of the fourth Flash, Bart Allen. Iris West-Allen first appears in Showcase #4 (September–October 1956).
Fictional character biography
In her first appearance, Iris is a reporter for the Picture News, based in Central City, and the girlfriend of Barry Allen, who is secretly the Flash. Unaware of his secret, Iris often chides Barry for his frequently being late. Eventually, she learns that Barry is not only the city's heroic speedster, but her nephew, Wally West, is Kid Flash. In Flash #165 (November 1966), she marries Barry, discovering on their wedding night that Barry is the Flash (through Barry talking in his sleep). During this time, the couple discovers that Iris was born in the 30th Century (circa 2945 AD), and had been sent back to the present shortly before "Earth-East" attacked "Earth-West," when Central City was a self-contained city. After years as a prominent presence in the Flash's life and Central City, she is killed by Professor Zoom during a costume party. Zoom vibrated his hand into her head, solidifying it just enough to kill her. Years later, Barry killed Zoom while trying to prevent him from murdering Barry Allen's new fiancee, Fiona Webb.
Iris did not stay dead for long. As Iris' biological parents, the Russells (with the help of a future Flash, John Fox), sent the then-infant Iris to the past, where she was adopted by Ira West, her "death" caused a paradox that was resolved after the Russells placed her consciousness into a new body. Barry is reunited with Iris in her time, and they are able to spend a month together. However, the couple knows if Barry returns to the past, he will die in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. During their time together, they conceive the Tornado Twins, Don and Dawn. Don marries the descendant of Professor Zoom, Meloni Thawne, hoping to end the feud between the two families. They have a son, Bart, whose powers manifest at an early age and cause him to age at an accelerated rate. Dawn marries Jeven Ognats of Aarok and has a daughter, Jenni. Her powers eventually manifest when she witnesses her father being tortured, and she becomes XS of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Don and Dawn die saving 30th Century Earth from an invasion by the Dominators. Iris takes Bart to the past to enlist the aid of her nephew (by then, Wally had taken the mantle of the Flash) in saving her grandson. After Bart's accelerated aging slows down, he takes the name of Impulse. Not much is known about her after that, but Iris volunteers to take care of the Weather Wizard's orphaned son. Wally West later names his daughter Iris in honor of his aunt.
One Year Later
A mysterious hooded figure enlists the help of Zoom to attack Bart while he confronts Captain Cold, and later reveals herself as Iris. Her plan is to somehow put her grandson, who, by then, had taken up the Flash mantle, out of commission for a week to protect him from a future she is determined to change. Unfortunately, a weakened Bart is killed by the Rogues, thanks to an elaborate plan by his clone "brother" Inertia.
In Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #1, Iris is seen tearfully looking over photographs of her late husband, when a disembodied voice calls her name. Barry returns to life in DC Universe #0 and Final Crisis #2. Iris spends some time as part of a Darkseid-resistance cell operating out of the Hall of Justice. Other members include Black Lightning, Green Arrow, the Ray, Linda Park and her two children. In Final Crisis #4, Iris is shown to have been corrupted by the Anti-Life Equation; Barry is able to break its hold over her by kissing her and enveloping her in the Speed Force. Iris starts crying at the sight of Barry, who reassures her everything will be okay.
After the return of her husband, Iris is shown fully returning to her life alongside the rest of the Flash family. Still overjoyed by the return of Barry, she does not get much time to spend with him, as Barry is still mentally scarred from his deathly ordeal and staunchly refuses to stop and enjoy even a moment of "normal" life. She is also shown to be much younger than she previously had appeared, later implied by the resurrected Professor Zoom that Iris's currently youthful appearance is a side effect of close contact to her husband's Speed Force since Final Crisis. She resumes her career as a crime reporter at Central City.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Iris is not married to Barry, but they still know each other because of their respective occupations. It is hinted that Iris has a romantic attraction to Barry. She is accidentally trapped in the Speed Force by Turbine, but is freed by Barry's alter-ego. Later issues confirm that she is in love with Barry. Barry does not yet reciprocate Iris's affections, though he hints at it when he's forced to take on the role of the Black Racer and goes to Iris for help. 
In the Flashpoint miniseries (an event prior to the New 52 relaunch, when an alternate timeline was created by the Flash), Iris West is unmarried and in a relationship with someone called "John" at the Central City Citizen, where she works. Later Iris is seen with her nephew and cameraman, Wally West, covering a battle between Citizen Cold and Mister Freeze. Iris was invited to dinner by Citizen Cold. When she asks him for an interview, he is interrupted by his emergency calls. Later, Citizen Cold is injured during his battle with the Rogues and while collapsing in his car, confronts Iris. Iris then brings him to her home. After he recovers, he gives her a key to his penthouse, and an offer to join him when he leaves Central City. When Citizen Cold returns home, Iris learns from Pied Piper, that Citizen Cold is a criminal and murdered her nephew. Citizen Cold attacks Pied Piper, but Iris uses one of his own weapons to freeze him in a block of ice, just as he had Wally. Afterwards, Iris visits her nephew's grave along with her husband John.
In other media
- Iris West made her first live-action and media appearance as a guest star in the two-hour pilot episode of The Flash 1990 series played by actress Paula Marshall. Here, she is portrayed as Barry's girlfriend, just as she is in the comics, but unlike her comic book version, she's a computer graphics artist, and not a reporter. She's also 9 years younger than Barry because of Paula Marshall's age. Iris was present with Barry and the rest of his family to celebrate the birthday of his older brother Jay Allen (named after Jay Garrick the original Flash) in this version. While they dated Barry was transformed into the Flash by accident when he went to the lab at the Central City Police Department one night which gave him his speed-powers. As soon as they heard the news Iris and Barry's family rushed to the hospital but found to their relief that Barry was OK. Barry didn't tell Iris the accident gave him super-speed since he was still learning how to deal with the whole situation and couldn't make it to the opening night of Iris's art gallery because of it, even though she was hoping he could make it as her career as an artist was just starting to pick up with her first gallery show. Later on Barry and Iris broke up because when Barry told her that he wanted to get married, she refused and told him that their relationship was moving too fast and that she wasn't ready for that kind of commitment. After that, even though they still loved each other, Iris made the decision to move to France to make a new start in life for herself. Iris wasn't seen again after that, but she did send a letter from Paris to Barry soon after in the 2nd episode "Out of Control". Barry's friend and co-worker Julio Mendez picked it up and read it to Barry which said that Iris was having a good time in France and was settling into her new home. But Barry didn't want to see it anymore, and to help him move on from Iris, Julio decided to burn the letter so as not to trouble him any further. Iris can also be seen in a family picture that she and Barry all took together during his brother's birthday party in the pilot episode during episode 3 "Watching the Detectives" which Barry still keeps in his apartment.
- Iris West appears in Young Justice voiced by Nicole Dubuc. In "Downtime," she and Barry are shown attending Jay Garrick's birthday party with Wally West. In "Failsafe," Iris was reporting on an alien invasion before being killed. The entire situation is later revealed to be part of Martian Manhunter's mind-training exercise. During "Coldhearted" Iris gives a shout out to Wally on the news as a birthday present before reporting school closings. She later reports Queen Perdita's death on the news. In the episode "Bloodlines," she is revealed to be pregnant with twins. Her time-traveling grandson Bart tells her that her unborn son will grow up to be his father.
- Iris West appears in The Flash, portrayed by Candice Patton. This version of Iris is portrayed as African-American due to Patton's ethnicity. Iris is Detective Joe West's daughter and Barry Allen's childhood friend who grew up with him after his mother was murdered and his father wrongfully convicted; however, Barry has always had stronger feelings for Iris, which she seems unaware of, seemingly believing that he only sees her as a best friend or a sister. In the present day, she dates Detective Eddie Thawne, Joe's partner, and is a journalist with an interest in the "The Flash" or "Red Streak", unaware Barry is The Flash. She was first mentioned in the Arrow episode "The Man Under the Hood" as regularly visiting Barry in his coma. Barry later confesses his feelings to Iris putting her in a conflicted situation. In "Out of Time" Iris confesses she also has feelings for Barry and the two kiss, before Barry reveals himself to be the Flash in order to stop an incoming tsunami created by the Weather Wizard, who has Joe hostage. The revelation shocks her, but at the end of the episode Barry accidentally travels back in time to a day ago, preventing the conflict as well as negating their confessions, leaving Barry's relationship with Iris in jeopardy as he tries to act on Iris's future confession without taking into account the fact that she only came to this revelation due to the fear of imminent death. Iris continues investigating the particle accelerator incident while Barry reveals his identity to Eddie to get his help in stopping the Reverse Flash (though Eddie cannot tell Iris as Joe believes that would put her in danger). This strains their relationship as Iris wants to know what Eddie is keeping from her (though Eddie later tells her that he's working with the Flash instead of his identity). Barry discovers that in the future the Reverse Flash came from, he married Iris, as he read an article in which he disappeared that was written by "Iris West-Allen". Eddie plans to propose to Iris, but does not get Joe's blessing as he believes that it would be a mistake as he believes she still loves Barry. Later when Eddie is about to pull out the ring, he is kidnapped by the Reverse-Flash, but before the villain kills Iris, Flash comes and saves her. When Flash promises to rescue Eddie, Iris touches his hand and feels a shock, the same shock she felt when she tried to touch Barry's hand when he was in a coma, making her find out that Barry is the Flash. She is angry at Barry and her father for keeping the secret from her, but proves to be a valuable asset to the team when they faced Gorilla Grodd. Eddie breaks up with Iris after learning from the Reverse-Flash that Iris marries Barry and tells her, but after Martin Stein explains that Eddie is an anomaly in time Eddie chooses to get back with Iris and disregard what Eobard told him about his destiny. Later, Eddie kills himself to prevent Reverse-Flash from existing, leaving Iris devastated.
In Season 2, Iris has come to peace with what's happened to Eddie and is a more involved member of Team Flash, to the point where she uses her contact with Barry to stop a group of criminals that led a real-estate scam. In the beginning of the season she convinces Barry to attend a ceremony honoring him to give Central City someone they can hope. Iris' life becomes more complicated when her mother, Francine, shows up in Central City. Joe lied to Iris that she was a good person who died tragically but didn't want Iris to find out that her mother was a drug addict who left at an early age, which Iris forgives him for. She tells her mother she doesn't want anything to do with her for her actions. Later she talks to her again after Francine reveals she has MacGregor's Syndrome and is dying, but Iris still harbors the same attitude and is angered after finding out that Francine had a son eight months after she left Joe, and thus has a brother she never knew about. Not wanting Joe to find out he had a son that he never got to raise, she decides to keep it a secret as she convinces her mother to leave Central City. The show runners have confirmed that Iris' long lost brother is Wally West (as opposed to the comics where Wally was her nephew). Eventually she does reveal the truth to Joe after confiding with Barry first, and meets Wally shortly after.
Her Earth-2 counterpart was introduced in "Welcome to Earth-2." She is a cop in this universe rather than her father, who went on to become a singer at a nightclub, and is married to the Earth-2 Barry. Joe and Barry have a strained relationship as Joe claims she became a cop to help pay for Barry's phD, but she said she wasn't interested in working for the newspaper and wanted to become a cop like her grandfather. When the Earth-1 versions of Barry and Cisco visit, Barry disguises himself as his Earth-2 counterpart which leads to Killer Frost and Deathstorm crashing the nightclub where he, Iris, and Joe are. Joe is killed by Deathstorm, leading Iris to track down the two villains with her partner, Floyd Lawton and the Earth-1 Cisco Ramon. They are saved by the Flash, but he is kidnapped by Zoom.
- Iris West first animated appearance was in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier voiced by Vicki Lewis. Here, she is also portrayed as the girlfriend of Barry Allen and having deduced his identity too.
- Iris West next appears in the animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox voiced by Jennifer Hale. In an alternate timeline created accidentally by Flash/Barry Allen, she is no longer married to Barry and instead got married to and had a child with someone else. In contrast with the comic book source material, Barry's marriage to Iris is restored in the film's conclusion based on the story.
- In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Iris is mentioned by the Regime Flash who trying to rationalize Superman's increasingly cruel behavior says: "Yeah...I asked myself, 'What if what happened to Lois happened to Iris?'".
Justice League Novel/Flash: Stop Motion
Iris Allen is featured in the Justice League novel Flash: Stop Motion written by Mark Shultz. The novel explains that Iris and her deceased husband Barry Allen raised Wally West after his parents died. Years later Wally now has to defend his aunt Iris from a mysterious form-altering creature called the Superluminoid that can travel faster than the speed of light. The Superluminoid soon begins a murder spree throughout the U.S. that Wally is not fast enough curtail. Wally later discovers that both he and his aunt Iris possess the 'metagene' which triggered Wally's transformation into a speedster following a lab accident. The novel indicates that Iris' metagene lay dormant, but under the right circumstances like Wally's accident, Iris could also become a speedster. Coincidentally, Iris' deceased husband, the original Flash, Barry Allen also possessed the metagene enabling him to become super fast.
The antagonist of the story, the Superluminoid, is revealed to be a creature developed from Iris' own metagene by various experiments, with its method of superspeed essentially crushing alternate timelines. In order to stop it, Wally receives important advice from an entity that is later revealed to be an alternate version of Iris from a reality where she was exposed to a particular set of events that triggered her metagene, this entity temporarily boosting Wally's powers to allow him to subdue the Superluminoid.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Iris Allen", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 10, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- Flash #275 (July 1979), Flash #283 (March 1980).
- Jimenez, Phil (2008), "The Flash", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 124–127, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Flash #324 (August 1983).
- Flash #350 (October 1985)
- As depicted in Crisis in Infinite Earths #8 (November 1985)
- Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #10
- Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13
- The Flash: Rebirth #1 (April 2009)
- The Flash vol. 3, #1 (April 2010)
- The Flash #1
- The Flash #7
- Justice League: Darkseid War - The Flash #1
- Flashpoint #5 (August 2011)
- Flashpoint #1 (June 2011)
- Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1 (June 2011)
- Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2 (July 2011)
- Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #3 (August 2011)
- Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #3 (August 2011)
- Burlingame, Russ. "The Flash: Wally West's Relationship to Iris Confirmed". comicbook.com. comicbook.com.
- The Flash: Stop Motion by Mark Schultz ISBN 0-7434-1713-5