DC’s The Flash will finally be released on June 23rd, 2023 after many delays – but the official tie-in comic answers a question fans have been asking even before the movie began filming: if Zack Snyder’s Justice League is canon to the DCEU. 2017’s Justice League was quite controversial to DC fans for many production issues, and these controversies didn’t die down when Snyder’s own version (in the so-called “Snyderverse”) was released in 2021. Now, The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 finally grants DC fans an answer.
The story behind the development of Justice League is well-known by fans and casual cinema audiences alike: Zack Snyder left the film after the tragic suicide of his daughter, after which Warner Bros. hired writer-director Joss Whedon to oversee numerous reshoots and finish the film. The final product was tonally inconsistent, with numerous plot holes owing to the rushed development and the studio’s insistence on a two-hour runtime and a 2017 release date. When Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released on HBOMax in 2021, fans saw that many subplots were cut, including a crucially important scene in which the Flash runs back in time, saving the entire team and the world from destruction.
The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1, written by Kenny Porter with art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, depicts Barry Allen fighting the classic Flash villain Girder; the enemy is far too powerful for Barry to attack with his regular tactics, and despairs in the face of overwhelming odds. Batman, fighting next to Flash, remains him that he was indispensable during the events of Justice League: “You went toe-to-toe with the worst the universe had to offer and saved this planet. You rushed here to save lives knowing you could lose this fight. Failures don’t do that – brave men do.” Batman may not know it, but he just confirmed the canonicity of Zack Snyder’s Justice League for all readers.
The Flash certainly did not fight “the worst the universe had to offer” in the 2017 theatrical cut and absolutely did not save the planet – that was the doing of Barry Allen in the 2021 version. Flash was mostly absent from the final battle in the theatrical cut, running away from Steppenwolf to save civilians along with Superman. The statement is admittedly vague, but Batman wouldn’t have said it if he was referring to Flash saving one truck with a Russian family as opposed to the entire world.
The series has only just begun and only the writers know for sure if more Justice League callbacks will appear in future issues. For now, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is officially part of the DCEU. But considering the Flash film will adapt the reality-altering events of the 2011 series Flashpoint, the future is not set in stone.