Years ago, Barry Allen, the second Flash, sacrificed his life to save all reality. Now he's back...but is he the same man he was before?
The Golden Age Flash made his debut in the anthology title Flash Comics #1 in January, 1940, a comic he shared with Hawkman and Johnny Thunder, among others. Science student Jay Garrick accidentally inhaled hard water vapors and somehow acquired super-speed as a result (later retconned to heavy water, but I'm not sure if that makes any more sense). Garrick decided to use his powers to fight crime, and thus The Flash was born. A popular character in his day, Garrick's adventures often had a more humorous tone than some of the other titles out there. In addition to also getting his own solo series, All-Flash Quarterly in the summer of 1941, he was a member of the Justice Society of America (except for the time an editorial mandate banned superheroes with their own solo series from being members.) Flash Comics lasted for 104 issues, an impressive run for a Golden Age title. Unfortunately, superheroes fell out of favor after World War II, and many of their titles were cancelled - Jay Garrick's included.
At the end of The Flash #73, during a Christmas gathering, a surprise guest arrived - Barry Allen is inexplicably back from the dead after his noble sacrifice years ago. As our storyline begins, everyone's glad to have him back, especially Wally, who idolized Barry - even as he wonders what Allen's return means for his own career as the Flash. Allen is quick (no pun intended) to resume his crime-fighting activities by Wally's side, just in time to take on a new crime syndicate called The Combine. To Wally's horror, however, Allen slowly becomes increasingly enraged that his home city has "forgotten" him, and that he's been "replaced" by Wally. This culminates in Allen leaving Wally to die in a Combine death trap (Wally survives, naturally, but barely) and embarking on a vicious rampage of destruction. While Wally is devastated by what's happened to the hero he idolized for most of his life, Jay Garrick assembles two other Golden Age speedsters, Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, try to take down Allen. However, none of them are a match for Barry, who easily thrashes them in combat. When Wally discovers the truth about Allen's resurrection, and his fellow heroes fall, it's up to him to single-handedly save his city...and Barry Allen's reputation.