Flashpoint, Warner Bros’ standalone Flash film won’t be showing until at least 2020. But there’s a lot of films and shows to keep us busy while waiting for the main event. For those who are relatively new to comics and DC in general, here’s a short profile of the Scarlet Speedster.
Who is the Flash?
The Flash is “the fastest man alive”. He uses the ‘Speed Force’ to move and save innocent people and can also travel through time and space through his extraordinary abilities. He is also known as the Scarlet Speedster because of his red uniform.
The original Flash (Jay Garrick) appeared in Flash Comics #1 1940. He was first among the many generations of Flashes and super speedsters. The character was created by Gardner Fox. The second and most popular incarnation of The Flash (Barry Allen) appeared in Showcase #4 in October 1956.
The original Flash was Jason “Jay” Garrick, was from Earth-2. He was a popular college athlete from Keystone City who discovers that he possesses super-speed abilities after inhaling hard vapors during a laboratory experiment. He uses these new powers to fight crime and protect the citizens of the city. He was also a founding member of The Justice Society of America. During the Second World War, Garrick’s enemies vibrated Keystone City using a resonator, placing its citizens in suspended animation and causing him to disappear. He eventually returned, retired and passed the mantle of the Flash on Barry Allen.
Barry Allen is the longest-standing and most popular incarnation of the Flash. He actually used to read about Garrick before becoming The Flash himself. As a child, he saw his mother get killed, and his father wrongfully accused as the perpetrator. After the harrowing incidents in his life, Allen vowed to solve the mystery of his mother’s death and acquit his father. He earned degrees in Chemistry and Criminology from Sun University before becoming a forensic scientist in Central City. Allen comes from New Earth.
Allen gains his powers after a lightning bolt strike caused chemical containers to explode and bathe him in electrically-charged chemicals. After discovering his powers, Allen designs a suit and dedicates his life to crime-fighting. He is also one of the founding members of The Justice League of America. In the comics, Allen dies during the Crisis of the Infinite Earths, a catastrophic event that ruined parallel universes.
Allen is powered by the Speed Force, an energy field that gives speedsters their abilities. He can run so fast that breaks between dimensions such as time and space. He also possesses superhuman reflexes, agility,and enhanced cognitive thinking. His stamina and ability to accelerate healing retain his energy as he goes against villains. He can also generate light energy through electrokinesis and can fly by spinning his body as fast as he can, like a propeller. Lastly, Allen can vibrate his body at microscopic levels using molecular acceleration.
DC Extended Universe
The Flash is portrayed by Ezra Miller in DC’s Extended Universe. Though he was formally introduced in the Justice League film last year, he already appeared in a couple of other films, namely Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad.
The Flash was first portrayed on the tube by Rod Haase in Legends of the Superheroes in 1979. The first Flash television series starring John Wesley Shipp came out in 1990 but only lasted one season before getting canceled. A new Flash series starring Grant Gustin debuted on the CW last October 2014, which continues to garner high television ratings. The Flash on CW is currently in its fourth season.
(Cover photo courtesy of DC)