‘The Flash’: Iris West Proves That Journalists Can Be Heroes Too

Tatiana Hullender
TV The CW DC Arrowverse

In almost every iteration of The Flash – whether it be the comics, animated films like Flashpoint Paradox, or the CW series – you can find Iris West-Allen holding Barry’s world together. Even after Barry’s comic book death in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” she gave Wally West sage advice and rescued her grandson Bart from the government’s clutches in order to keep the Flash family running as long as they can.

During The Flash Season 4, we saw Iris become more of a hero by stepping up as leader of the team and as a fearless journalist. Both of those roles, as well as her new role as a  mother, mean that Iris has an even greater opportunity to be heroic in The Flash Season 5.

Iris West, Ace Reporter

Iris investigating in "Dead or Alive"
Every story needs someone to tell it.

Everyone loves a good Big Bad, but The Flash could benefit from shorter character-driven arcs and more villain-of-the-week scenarios as well. Here is where Iris’ newly reinstated journalism career could kick things off nicely. Just like “Harry and the Harrisons” showed her putting her ear to the ground and compiling information on Devoe, Season 5 could explore Iris on the hunt for new stories to bring to Team Flash’s attention.

Not every villain she unearths needs to be a metahuman, either. Whether it’s by exposing housing scams in “Family of Rogues” or taking down an illegal arms dealer in “Dead or Alive,” Iris has proven that she’s a woman willing to do what it takes to save civilians from human crooks. With 22 or 23 episodes in a season, there’s ample opportunity for her and Barry to team up and fight crime the old-fashioned way — through investigative reporting and forensic science. With Joe West on detective duty and diligent prosecutor Cecile Horton as newly-announced series regular, the writers could weave a short arc that takes its characters through a journey of justice and due process without superpowers.

The Flash can even take Iris’ journalism a step further, leading her to create the publication from her 2024 article. While it seems the only newspaper in town is Central City Picture News, the article from the future clearly reads The Central City Citizen. That title brings to mind how Iris changed her Saved By The Flash byline to say “an anonymous Central City citizen,” doesn’t it? Perhaps Season 5 will see her open her own paper, committed to informing the public of the truth and acting as boss to more than just Team Flash.

Her Voice Is a Weapon

Iris' blog in "The Flash Is Born"
And the pen is mightier than the sword.

Iris West’s day job doesn’t only have to appear in smaller arcs, though, especially if the rumors that next season’s villain is Cicada prove true. This ties in with the theory that Nora’s future (much like Zari’s) is filled with anti-metahuman sentiment, which means that Iris might have to use the power of the press to sway the public’s opinion.

Central City already has an Anti-Metahuman Task Force, and the only powered individuals considered to be heroes work with The Flash. What would happen if the mayor and other branches of the government start creating discriminatory laws against metahumans due to Cicada’s machinations? Joe and Cecile have to follow the rules and regulations of their organizations, while Cisco and Caitlin can’t unmask to save the day. The will of the people might be the only way to prevent escalation, and Iris could be a leading voice of dissent through her blog.

Stories about superheroes and vigilantes fighting against oppression are a staple of the comic book world, but it would be a unique chance for The Flash to tackle a real-life issue while sticking to the fantasy world it prefers. We’ve seen Iris stick up for Barry before when her editor wanted to paint his alter ego in a bad light back in “Trajectory,” but Season 5 could help her become a champion for all metahumans who deserve respect instead of fear.

Super-Powered Motherhood

Nora and Iris in "Therefore She Is"
No time travel or you're grounded.

Nora’s arrival has made Iris a mother overnight, and there’s a steep learning curve when one’s child is a full-grown adult. Not only will she have to deal with a daughter whose childhood she missed out on, but also one who possesses powers she doesn’t. But knowing Iris, she’s more than equipped to rise to the challenge and be one of the best mothers the Arrowverse has ever seen.

How will the future and time travel affect Iris’ arc for Season 5, though? Over the course of Nora’s appearances in Season 4, fans noticed how starstruck she was around Barry and how she avoided Iris. One could guess from this that she has a better relationship with her father than her mother, but what if instead The Flash is borrowing from its comic history and foreshadowing Barry’s death in “Crisis on Infinite Earths?”

After Barry dies in the comics, Iris is left to raise the Tornado Twins alone in a world that despises metahumans. She trains them to keep their powers hidden and simultaneously works to keep the Flash Family from falling apart, protecting her family members when needed. If Nora was raised by a strict Iris who raised her never to time travel, it’s understandable that she wouldn’t want to be caught breaking the rules until absolutely necessary.

If present-day Iris is faced with the prospect of her husband’s death and a family legacy that rests on her shoulders, would she make the same choices as her future self? Thirty years from now, she may be wise enough to counsel against Nora’s desire to save her father and change the past. But today, she may be a little more impulsive and discover a different kind of hero within — the mama bear willing to bend the space-time continuum to keep Barry safe, restore order to their city, and send their daughter home.

The Flash returns to the CW on Tuesdays this fall.

Tatiana Hullender
Lover of comic books and shows about them, I come to Fandom so that I can think too much about my favorite stories with a community of fans as passionate as I am.
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