Barry Allen and Iris West have a complicated relationship, but there is something romantic about all the madness. It can even be seen as a testament to the strength of Iris and Barry’s love. Their romance has been able to withstand time, space and continuity chaos. As we prepare to see another iteration of their love story in The Flash this summer, let’s take a look at some of the things that made their comic book romance exciting, deranged, hilarious and yes, heartwarming.

Their early relationship was very inconsistent and undefined.

Barry and Iris had a hard time defining their early relationship. During the early days of Barry’s career as the Flash, he and Iris would typically refer to one another as boyfriend and girlfriend. In 1961’s The Flash #121, their relationship seems to be serious enough that Iris is wondering why Barry hasn’t proposed yet. So, they’re boyfriend and girlfriend, case closed?

Well, the waters got muddied when Iris’ father Ira West (sorry Jesse L. Martin fans) came to visit in 1963’s The Flash #134. Professor West demands to know what Barry’s intentions are with his daughter.

“Iris and I are just good friends,” Barry says. And no, this isn’t Barry misreading their relationship, because Iris echoes his thoughts at the end of the issue. “Dad knows now that Barry and I are just good friends,” Iris says.

What about all that boyfriend and girlfriend talk in the previous issues? What about the proposal Iris was waiting for? Well, it gets even crazier. Beginning in 1962’s The Flash #139, the narration refers to Iris as Barry’s fiancée. No, you didn’t miss an issue. The only explanation we can come up with is that Barry has been messing with the timeline again.

Iris dumped Barry at the altar then tried to marry the Flash.

Iris and Barry’s wedding day came in 1966’s The Flash #161, but due to some superhero drama, the groom was five hours late. Infuriated, Iris dumped Barry at the altar. Barry tried to win her back, but Iris was insistent that he had blown his final chance. Taking things a step further, Iris informed Barry that she was now in love with the Flash and would be asking him to marry her. (It goes without saying that Iris was unaware of Barry’s double identity at this time.)

Heartbroken, Barry suited up as the Flash, realizing it was the only way to be with Iris. Barry didn’t realize until it was too late that Iris had watched him suit up. Before the two of them could talk, a group of criminals entered the room, forcing Flash to use his super speed to take them out. To recap, Iris saw Barry put on the Flash costume and use his super speed. The secret is out, right?

Wrong, because Iris chalked the whole thing up to hypnosis.

“That uniform!” she exclaims. “It really did something to you! Do you know it hypnotized me into thinking that I actually saw you move as fast as the Flash?”

It’s weird, because Iris is usually a good reporter, but the grand gesture is enough for Iris and Barry to get back together. By the way, this isn’t even the strangest part of the issue. In the same story, the Flash’s costume comes to life, sheds a tear and talks. Seriously, check out this comic.

Barry took his sweet time telling Iris his secret identity.

We’re not sure what’s more embarrassing, how long it took Barry to tell Iris his secret identity, or how she actually found out. It all started in 1965’s The Flash #156, when a group of aliens revealed Barry’s secret identity to the entire world. Iris was shocked and didn’t like that Barry had pulled the wool over her eyes for years but it’s okay because once the crisis with the aliens was resolved, Barry decided to go back in time to make everyone forget his identity BECAUSE THAT’S HIS SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING.

At least he asked Iris for her permission before he did it, since it would erase her knowledge too.

“We’ll be married someday, and then I’ll know your secret!” Iris declares. “You won’t keep it from me after that, will you?”

“Iris, that’s a promise!” Barry quickly responds. “Our wedding will be Flash-revealing day.” And with that, Barry turns back time, restoring his secret identity.

In 1966’s The Flash #165, Barry and Iris get married, but the promised identity reveal doesn’t happen. As Barry drives Iris to their honeymoon, he ponders what he should do. He would continue to contemplate the decision for the next year, which is an insane amount of time to lie to your spouse.

In fact, it gets so bad that Jay Garrick and his wife Joan stage an intervention in 1967’s The Flash #173. The intervention works, and Barry agrees to tell Iris his secret identity IN A MONTH (because he hasn’t put it off long enough). In The Flash #174, Barry finally tells Iris the truth as an anniversary present. To his surprise, Iris has a secret of her own—she’s known for the past year!

Iris goes on to explain that Barry talks in his sleep, and each night he confessed his secret identity. Barry then congratulates himself for keeping his wedding day promise after all, but we think his logic is a bit flimsy.

Barry and Iris have an insane age difference.

1971’s The Flash #203 is titled “The Flash’s Wife is a Two-Timer,” which means it’s bound to have some crazy revelations about Iris. In this story, Iris finds a locket from when she was a baby and is surprised to find that it contains a secret recording. The recording reveals that her birth name is Iris Russell and she was born in the year 2945. Iris’ birth parents had sent her to the 20th century to avoid a nuclear holocaust.

This news throws Barry and Iris for a loop. They eventually go to the 30th century, where she sees the aftermath of the nuclear attack. Society had survived and Iris was able to meet her birth parents for the first time. In fact, for a while Barry and Iris would regularly time-travel to the 30th century to meet her parents for dinner.

By the way, this wasn’t some obscure story that was ignored afterwards. Iris West’s status as a 30th century refugee was an important part of her backstory up until the New 52. The whole thing is wild, but it makes perfect sense. With the way Barry loves messing with the timeline, it’s no wonder he married a woman who is literally a timeline anomaly.

Iris is a horrible secret keeper.

Iris and Barry’s marriage hit a new snag in The Flash #204 when Iris gained a mysterious new superpower. Whenever someone wore a disguise, Iris was not only able to see through it, but would be compelled to shout out the truth. (“You’ve heard of compulsive liars? It seems to me that Iris has become a compulsive truth-teller,” Flash explains.)

Things start out well, with Iris using the new ability to capture criminals. Unfortunately, she’s not able to control her powers, which puts the Justice League in an uncomfortable spot. Unable to physically stop herself, Iris yells out the entire Justice League’s real identities to a crowded courtroom. Luckily Barry is able to use his superspeed to manipulate the soundwaves.

Still, the League isn’t happy about this. Flash and Iris eventually learn that her powers come from her 30th century locket, so they wisely lock it up before it could do any more damage.

These are just a few of the crazy trials Iris and Barry have faced. There’s also the time Iris came back from the dead as a juror in Barry’s murder trial, the biography Iris wrote about their life together, or their latest attempt to get married again. It’s insane, but there is something sweet about it. Iris and Barry’s love has endured through multiple timeline changes (thanks, Barry), super-villain assaults and magic lockets. The DC multiverse is full of so many variables, but the Flash and Iris are eternal.

Just don’t ask them to define their relationship.

The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen and Kiersey Clemons as Iris West, is in theaters June 16th. Visit our official Flash hub for more news, interviews and videos about the Flash!

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.