A daring rescue by Flash wasn’t just a stunning display of his powers, it was the perfect rebuttal against the boys’ most shocking scene.
DC Glow refuted one of the darkest moments of The boys—the airplane scene. By pushing its powers beyond their limits, the Scarlet Speedster saved a falling plane and showed what heroism really is.
Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson The boys is a story known for its harsh criticism of the superhero genre. Set in a universe where the superhumans known as the Supes are the product of a big corporation. In fact, these heroes are a far cry from the lofty figures traditionally seen in most comics. The most popular hero of The boys is the thinly veiled parody of Superman, Homelander, who leads an equally transparent pastiche of the Justice League known as The Seven. In a moment that showed just how ineffective the team is, The Seven botches a plane rescue on 9/11 and causes the deaths of thousands in the resulting crash.
While The Boys’ airplane scene is mired in nihilism, The Flash has taken a more optimistic route. In Lightning #3 by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, a mysterious power surge has plunged Central City into pitch black. If the power outage wasn’t bad enough, a plane is heading straight for a collision with a bridge and Barry Allen’s Flash is the only one who can stop it. Barry uses his speed to launch himself off the ground and into the plane. In doing so, he details the incredible things his connection to the Speed Force allows him to achieve. Barry remembers how he accidentally learned to pass through solid matter after drinking espresso. With that in mind, the Flash connects to the plane and vibrates the plane’s molecules so much that the plane completely crosses a bridge and lands safely in the water.
It should be noted that this particular problem of the flash was released in 2011, barely three years after the The boys’ The 21st issue featured his infamous airplane scene. That’s not to say this scene was meant to be a direct response to Ennis and Robertson’s grim rescue attempt. However, interestingly, Barry was able to save a plane solo as he The boys’ The flash parody, Mister Marathon, proves terribly out of his league when it comes to saving the day.
The boys is a dark parody of the superhero genre that portrays heroes as cowards at best and downright cruel at worst. The boys’ The scene of the plane crash served to show how well a group of non-professionals could handle a crisis situation. But the heroes of the DC Universe are far more experienced and willing to lay down their lives to protect those in need. Flash probably had no idea if he was capable of extending his phasing technique to an entire plane, but he gave it a shot anyway. Whereas The boys’ ridiculed the idea of a speedster’s ineffectiveness in saving an aircraft, the Flash’s success reinforces the idea that for a hero there is always a way to save the day.
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