Flash : The Fastest Man Alive

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." -Michael Jordan
A feature on the Flash. Answers the questions - Who he is? What are his abilities? What are the changes he underwent? Who has portrayed him in Comic Book Movies?

Request made by:

Dude, you should do one on the Flash and all his various versions. The Flash needs love too, lol. We need a Flash movie ASAP. So, ya you should do a look at the Flash next. Thanks, your posts are awsome, keep up the good work.

Great article as usual! Could you do one for the Flash please??

very nice, could you do a flash article

The flash would be cool. Or one on Namor. [@Rodimus9 let me see what I can do about Namor, but I'll probably have to wait until he has a live adaptation before I write a feature about him]

Phew! A lot of request for the Flash, nothing to do but budge. But before we could start, let us teach the non-geeks first our phrase for the day, and that is - "LEGACY CHARACTERS". Ok repeat after me… legacy characters, very good. Writing an article about the Flash is a tough one without tackling first this phrase. What's tough about writing a Flash feature, in contrast with a character like Captain America, even though that there were several others who had gone by that name, it is still pretty clear for us who the real one is and that is Steve Rogers, with the Flash character every generation has a different man under the mask (in other case helmet). That is what Legacy Character is all about, passing the superheroic mantle to the next generation, unfortunately for me, when the older character passes the mantle he does not retire, so we have about four (4) Flashes running about. Which means I should have titled these article - FLASHES - "The Fastest MEN Alive".

Who are the Flashes?
1. Who is Jay Garrick?
Jason Peter Garrick, is the Golden Age Flash, he was a college student who accidentally inhales heavy water vapors after falling asleep in his laboratory that activated a latent metagene that allows him to run at superhuman speed and has similarly fast reflexes. After a brief career as a college football star, he dons a red shirt with a lightning bolt and a stylized metal helmet with wings and begins his career in crime fighting. The helmet belonged to Jay's father, Joseph, who fought during World War I. He has been seen using the helmet as a weapon/type of shield.

2. Who is Barry Allen?
Barry Allen, Silver Age Flash, is a forensic scientist with a reputation for being very slow, deliberate, and frequently late. One night, as he is preparing to leave work, a lightning bolt shatters a case full of chemicals and spills them all over Allen. As a result, Allen finds that he can run extremely fast and has matching reflexes. He dons a set of red tights sporting a lightning bolt, dubs himself the Flash and becomes Central City's resident costumed crimefighter. Central City University professor Ira West designed Allen's costume and the ring which stores it while Allen is in his civilian identity. The ring can eject the compressed clothing when Allen needs it and suck it back in with the aid of a special gas that shrinks the suit.

3. Who is Wally West?
Wally West, Modern Age Flash, got his powers at the young age of ten when he visited Barry Allen, his uncle, in his laboratory. He got doused by the same chemicals his uncle did and gained the same power of super-speed. He first entered the superhero fray as Kid Flash, and after the sacrifice of his uncle took up the mantle of the Flash.

4. Who is Bart Allen?
Bart Allen is Barry Allen's grandson, a teenage speedster and a member of the Flash Family who has gone by several codenames. He was born in the 30th Century, although he returned to the past to continue his family's legacy. Because of his strange origins, he ages at an inconsistent rate. Originally, he took the name Impulse to reflect his impulsive nature, but later changed his alias to Kid Flash when he grew older. There was a brief period when he became The Flash after Infinite Crisis, but he was killed by the Rogues during Full Throttle. Later on, he was resurrected during Final Crisis through his connection to the Speed Force and has returned to his role as Kid Flash since then. (If you were not able to follow that you have a long way in becoming a bona fide geek)

What are their Powers and Abilities?
Note: Due to the nature of comicbooks being an on-going tale, the characters's powers along with their appearance, is in a constant state of flux.

All of the "Flashes" have similar set of powers so I am just going to list them all down here and not duplicate them.

Speed Force Conduit: The Speed Force is a vaguely defined extra-dimensional energy force from which most superspeed-powered heroes draw their powers. The Speed Force serves as the ultimate measure of velocity. They are often referred to in terms of barriers: Sound barrier, Light barrier, Time Barrier, Dimensional Barrier, and finally the Speed Force Barrier.

Superhuman Endurance: Can run at acclerated speeds for long periods of time without tiring or stressing their body. The degree of their endurance is unknown.

Superhuman Speed: The Flashes can run and move their limbs at superhuman speeds. They are able to run across the surface of large bodies of water such as oceans. They can create wind vortexes by running in circles or rotating his arms and legs.

Speed Force Aura: The Flashes's body is surrounded by the "speed force aura". This aura protects them and anyone who is running with them or carried by them, from the effects of using their speed. This includes friction and airborne particulate matter. It may also protect them from injury from high speed impacts such as punches they deliver and receives from their opponents to a certain extent. They seem to possess some level of superhuman resistance to injury, but this does not extend far past normal physical interactions, as received from normal combat.

Phasing: They possessed the ability to control their speed and angular momentum at the molecular level, and control their molecular interactions to allow their body to pass through any substance. There have been only a few superdense materials that the Flashes has not been able to penetrate with this power. Certain force fields also seem to negate this power.

Increased Perceptions: The Flashes possesses the ability to alter their perception to an extent so that falling objects can appear to be standing still and can be caught and moved back to their normal position. They can do this so quickly as to have it happen invisibly to the normal human eye. The Flashes's reaction time is so increased as to perform feats of speed such as removing the momentum from bullets and fast moving objects thrown at them or at others.

Supercharged Brain Activity: The Flashes's mental abilities are also increased in speed, simple computations can be done at lightning speeds.

Sharing the Force: They may allow others to run alongside them. If they share the Speed Force with another metahuman with superspeed capabilities such as Superman, that metahuman can now exceed the speed of light, but does not become aware of the Speed Force.

Steal the Force: They could also steal speed and angular momentum of another object or person to a certain extent.

Vortex Creations: By running in a circle at a certain speed, The Flashes can create a vortex with a variety of affects.

Decelerated Aging: Along with every speedster that draws their powers from the Speed Force, the loved ones of the speedsters will gain eternal youth like Jay's wife and Barry's wife ages have shown.

What are the changes they underwent?
I. Jay Garrick

Jay Garrick pretty much had the same costume throughout his long career, with only slight modifications here and there, as well as artistic interpretation.

II. Barry Allen

In his early appearances Barry designed a special costume made up of special cold cast polyester which could be molded into miniature outfits from liquid material, that, when submersed in a special liquid, became sensitive to hydrogen, expanding on contact with the hydrogen in the air. A charge from a battery-powered ring he wore on his finger caused the fabric to release the extra hydrogen and shrink into the ring. He later revised the process, making the fabric sensitive to nitrogen instead. He called himself the Flash, a tribute to his childhood idol. He briefly considered wearing a costume that would show his face, like Jay had, but decided that it would be best to wear a mask to conceal his true identity. This is pretty much the costume he has worn throughout his career as the Flash.

as Black Flash

During a brief intance is the Flash Rebirth storyline, Barry Allen became the Black Flash.

as a Blue Lantern

On the Blackest Night event, the different color Lantern Corps needed to deputized an individual into their corps. The Blue Lantern Saint Walker gave Barry Allen a ring to become one of the Blue Lanterns.

III. Wally West
as Kid Flash

When a billion-to-one chance of duplicating the accident that gave Barry his powers did happen. Wally became the Kid Flash. Flash gave Wally a costume specially tailored to fit him. The Flash mentored Wally everything he knew about how to use speed to his advantage.

as Flash

Wally then took up the mantle of the Flash after the seeming death/sacrifice of Barry Allen in Crisis on Infinite earth.

Speed Force Suit

Inspired by a dream adventure he had with the JLA, Wally focused the speed energy into a tangible form that wrapped around his body.

Dark Flash

An older and darker Walter West from an alternate dimension was operating for a while in Keystone City (see comics are fun and interesting). Though due to him not being a native of this reality and timeline he is causing instability in Hypertime (nod and fake that you understand), so he had to leave and find his proper place.

Wally-less Flash

In a story line in JLA had their civilian and hero identities physically split into separate beings. The new Flash-minus-Wally had a different outlook on life and decided he didn’t want anyone confusing him with Barry Allen. So, he designed a new red and silver uniform.

Flash Black Ops

Wally was also a member of the Justice League Elite, the Black Ops squad of the JLA. He wore a simple black jumpsuit that echos the discreet nature of the team.

Flash Wally Rebirth

In FLASH: Rebirth miniseries, Wally used his command of the Speed Force to make a new suit that was a stronger distinction from Barry’s, now that his mentor was alive and well again. The design is reminiscent of the design in the Justice League cartoons with a mask covering his nose.

IV. Bart Allen
as Impulse

Bart Allen started his superhero career as Impulse. Due to his "impulsive" nature.

as Kid Flash

In an incident where his kneecap was blown out by Deathstroke and then replaced with an artificial one. Bart during his recovery read every single book in the San Francisco Public Library and reinvented himself as the new Kid Flash. He wore a slightly modified Wally West Kid Flash costume.

as Flash

For a time Bart was trapped in a different dimension were time moved faster. He was only able to escape the dimension using his grandfather's costume. For a while he operated as the Flash in Los Angeles until his demise on the hands of the Rogues.

Return to Kid Flash

(If you did not expect him to return you have much to learn in being a geek my friend). Bart was restored to life by Legionnaires in his teenage self, in the Final Crisis : Legion of 3 worlds.

Who has portrayed the Flash in Comic Book Movies?
1. Rod Haase as Barry Allen (1979)

The Flash first appeared in live media in the live-action special Legends of the Superheroes, he was played by actor Rod Haase. This was a fun take on the character.

2. John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen (1990)

The Flash then appeared in a live action television series on CBS that starred John Wesley Shipp as the Flash. The Flash featured in the series was an amalgamation of the silver-age Flash, Barry Allen, and the modern-age Wally West. The only resemblances between the TV Barry Allen Flash and the comic book Barry Allen Flash were his name, his profession as a forensic scientist, and his love interest Iris (who was very short lived as a love interest in the television series). Most of the elements in the television show were taken directly from the main story line in the first Wally West Flash comic books: The S.T.A.R. Labs researcher Tina McGee, her and her husband's research into speed, her husband's allegedly fatal accident with their speed research, the Flash's ravenous appetite, heat problems (which were mitigated by the TV show Flash suit), and speed limit on the order of the speed of sound were all elements from the main Wally West comic book storyline.

3. Kenny Johnston as Barry Allen (1997)

The Flash was in a CBS live-action pilot called Justice League of America, portrayed by Kenny Johnston. This Flash appeared to be Barry Allen in name only, as he reflected Wally's age, ravenous appetite, and personality.

4. Kyle Gallner as Bart Allen (2004)

Bart Allen appeared in the hit TV show Smallville, though he went by the Impulse code name here.

5. Billy Mitchell as Jay Garrick (2010)

Jay Garrick made a non-speaking short cameo in an episode of Smallville, that featured the Justice Society of America.

sources: http://www.ducksters.com/biography/flash.php : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_(comics) : http://blog.newsarama.com/2011/02/18/agent-of-s-t-y-l-e-flash-fashion-facts-part-one-of-three/ : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_in_other_media

I just find it funny that this generation's Flash, Wally West, is the only one without any live adaptation.

This is the 6th article in my Know Your CBM Character series. Any requests and suggestions for an article for this series write it down in the comment section BELOW.

Note: Any error in the article above, if any, just blame it on my age, humanity and ignorance. Just be sure to check the comment section for the corrections, any error I made will surely be pointed out and corrected by much bigger geeks (because there will always be a bigger geek out there).

-This has been PollMaster inviting you to the geekside.

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