Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I didn't actually get what happened in issue #3 of the flash in the new 52's in the part where he's over analyzing the situation and he just froze, letting the bullet hit him in the head.

In issue #4 he's still alive, explaining that his instincts kicked in, but what does this mean?
Did he vibrate unconsciously, so the bullet went through him? Where did the blood come from then? Why didn't the clones check if he was really dead?

I re-read it a few times and couldn't find how to answer those questions without making something up.

Note: I'm not that familiar with The Flash in general and his history (in other older comics), so perhaps there's a canonical answer I don't know.

2 Answers 2


In the Flash comic title of the late 80's and 90's, Wally West was the featured "Flash" (makes sense, since at the time, Barry Allen was dead). The "New 52" Flash is Barry Allen once again. Presumably this is the source of the previous poster's "the new guy who is the old guy" comment.

At any rate (a little speedster pun...), in an issue from the 90's series, Wally West was sitting in a movie theater watching a film when, all of a sudden, time just stopped for everyone except him. He has no idea what is happening until he gets up and find a bullet suspended in mid-air that had been touching the back of his head! This is the first example I recall of The Flash's superspeed kicking in on "reflex".

I like to think that the writers of the current Flash series were somehow paying homage to that awesome panel sequence from the 90's. Assuming that this Barry Allen is as fast as the old Wally West (who was previously regarded as the fastest of the Flashes), it is safe to assume that he did indeed instinctively dodge the bullet in issue #3 such that it only grazed him on the way in and/or on the riccochet. Hence, lots of blood. (Even minor head wounds produce lots of blood.)

To answer the very last part of the question, "why didn't the clones check to see if he was really dead," you just need to put yourself in the same position. You just shot someone in the HEAD. That person is now lying on the ground with blood pouring out from his HEAD! Why would you think that person might even possibly still be alive?


I'll start with a caveat; I haven't read comics much for years, and mostly read Marvel when I did...

That being said, I seems to me that he's developed a reflex over the years to respond to surprise by moving. It could be as simple as jump 3 or 4 feet then back, or simply several feet in the opposite direction from where he feels the sensation, or whatever.. but unless he consciously suppresses it ('cause he's expecting the sensation), pain triggers an automatic 'twitch' for him. With something like a bullet, this could still result in blood loss and a superficial wound, especially if it was moving at high speed and he was very distracted, and/or his movement options were limited. Possibly even unconsciousness could occur. Given that head wounds tend to bleed like anything, he could easily appear to have been killed.

There are other example; Kitty Pryde of the X-Men (marvel) leaps to mind; she trained herself to automatically 'phase' when surprised.

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