Even if you’re not a big comic book reader, odds are you will have known about The Flash, particularly now he's the star he could call his own hit TV series. Moviegoers will likewise show signs of familiar with The Fastest Man Alive when Ezra Miller plays him in one year from now's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and afterward Justice League in 2017 and his own particular film in 2018.
Introduced in 1956 and created by writers Robert Kanigher and John Broome and penciler Carmine Infantino, forensic scientist Barry Allen received his powers when a freak bolt of lightning stuck the chemicals in his lab and connected him with the Speed Force.
Visually unique and with powers enabling him to travel the speed of light, The Flash is one of most likeable, relatable, and greatest heroes in the DC Universe. However, he’s not the only man to have held the mantle, and with stories involving everything from time travel to stolen children, The Flash is one of the most interesting DC Comics characters too.
Here, you will find twenty of the craziest and most fascinating facts about the Scarlet Speedster. Whether it’s some of the stranger abilities which accompany superspeed or just how fast he really is, these will change how you look at this member of the Justice League.
It’s not just The Flash’s body which moves fast; his mind is also capable of easily outpacing a regular person’s. This helps him to figure out the best plan of attack as he races into battle, but also has an unusual side effect which provides the Scarlet Speedster with a very unique ability.
One of The Flash’s greatest foes is Gorilla Grodd, an intelligent gorilla with the power to control minds. He can’t take over Barry Allen however as his mind simply runs too fast to be read or controlled, giving the hero a distinct advantage. This makes him unique in the Justice League, especially when the likes of Batman and Superman are easily swayed.
So, Barry Allen wasn’t the first Flash, and as it turns out, he was far from the last following his apparent death.
Wally West was originally introduced as Barry’s sidekick, but the youngster aged quite quickly and was soon made Barry’s replacement to fill the void left by the original’s disappearance.
He served as The Flash for years, and depending on a person’s age, is in fact The Flash for some readers. Bart Allen (Barry’s grandson from the 30th Century…don’t ask) also became The Flash, while Wally’s kids also got involved with the family business of speeding at one point. This was all scaled back when Barry returned.
One of the reasons DC Comics found it necessary to reboot their comic books in 2011 was because of how confusing and convoluted the DC Universe had become. This was in part down to constant relaunches used to freshen up their characters, and The Flash was the first example of this.
In a bid to modernize their heroes in the late ’50s, The Flash received a new look and more youthful lead character, and a number of others would soon also get a makeover (Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern for example). This 1956 relaunch ushered in what would become known as the Silver Age of Comics, all thanks to Barry Allen.
The Flash’s abilities obviously revolve around his speed, and while that has its advantages (faster healing for example), it didn’t come with super strength! However, Barry has found clever ways to use his speed to replicate that, including an infinite mass punch which allows him to hit a foe with a blow similar in force to the one felt by the Earth when that meteor struck it and wiped out the dinosaurs.
Oh, and that just so happens to land at the speed of light too. Force aside, if he really pushes himself, the Scarlet Speedster is able to punch someone up to one billion times per second as well.
Now that’s really gotta hurt…
Despite the fact that Barry Allen is named The Fastest Man Alive, comic book fans have spent years bickering over who’s faster; The Flash or Superman. DC Comics ignited the debate over a number of years by setting up races for the two heroes only for them to be called off at the last minute because a super villain attacked or something similar.
However, the question was answered once and for all when Barry completely and easily managed to outpace the Man of Steel. The Speed Force just gives The Flash a clear advantage, and while Supes can nearly keep up with his Justice League ally, he definitely can’t beat him.
DC Comics’ big reboot in 2011 changed a lot, including how many heroes met for the first time. In the case of The Flash and Green Lantern, that was when the two heroes were transported to an alien gladiatorial arena!
During the course of this adventure, The Fastest Man Alive ended up wearing Hal Jordan’s ring and put it to good use (albeit briefly). This makes him one of only a small handful of heroes to have been able to wear a Green Lantern Ring, though Barry did become a member of the Blue Lantern Corps during the Blackest Night event.
That group represent hope, a pretty perfect fit for this particular hero.
One fateful day, Barry Allen decided to travel back in time to stop the Reverse-Flash from murdering his mother. The Speed Force required to do that ended up breaking time though, and the world was left in a devastating state.
Bruce Wayne was killed instead of his parents, Superman spent his life locked in an underground military bunker, and Aquaman and Wonder Woman destroyed continents in their war against each other. When Reverse-Flash was eventually stopped, Barry managed to fix time, but this created a new DC Universe which led to the comic book publisher rebooting all of their titles in 2011’s “The New 52″.
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