The first Flash is Jay Garrick, a hero of the Gold Age who gained his super-speed from prolonged exposure to radioactive "hard water" as a student in college. Known for his astonishingly slow speed on the football field, Garrick was working in an on-campus research lab to separate the components of "hard water" when he bumped into the table. As the chemicals crashed to the floor, Garrick scurried to try to clean the mess but the fumes were so powerful that he fell unconscious in the process. Upon discovering his body, Garrick's professor rushed him to the hospital where he spent weeks between life and death. Eventually though, Garrick woke up and realized that his body, mind, mouth, and everything about him could suddenly move at the speed of light! After some football hi-jinks, Garrick found his true calling and used his powers to fight crime in his hometown of Keystone City.
As a kid, Barry had a love of superheroes with his favorite being Jay Garrick, The Flash. While working late one night at the Police lab, a bolt of lightning came through the open window; striking a chemical rack nearby. The chemicals exploded, splashing Barry.When he stood he found himself unharmed but incorrectly found that time had slowed down when in reality he was moving at super speed. Inspired by Jay Garrick, he decided to use his new found powers for good; becoming The Flash in honor of Jay Garrick.
While with his uncle Barry Allen in his "office" a bolt of lightning came through the window much like the on the night Barry received his powers. He became the Kid-Flash, sidekick to Barry Allen AKA The Flash. After the death of his uncle Barry in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally stepped up and took on the mantle becoming the third Flash.
Jesse Chambers was the daughter of Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, unlike the other Flashes she had her powers from birth and learned to access the speed force by using her father;s spirit. She called herself Jesse quick and became a member of the Justice Society of America, she later became The Flash and currently operating under the name Liberty Belle.
Bart Allen was a descendant of Barry Allen from the 31st century, as with Jesse he was born with his powers suffered from a hyper-metabolism and aged at an alarming rate. Along with his grandmother, Iris West he traveled to the past and met with Barry who stabilized Bart's metabolism and stop his aging at 14 years old.
Created in January 1940, Jay Garrick was the product of a collaboration between Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert. His first appearance actually came in his own book, Flash Comics.
Barry was created in October of 1956 by Robert Kanigher and John Broome in Showcase issue number 4. Carmine Infantino provided the pencils for this first appearance with Joe Kubert on ink duties. The creation of Barry Allen brought about the Silver Age of comics, turning superheroes from stale to fresh and changing the market forever.
Wally was created in 1959 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Kid Flash was part of DC's attempts to bring in younger readers. Much like Robin had done for Batman, DC hoped Kid Flash would make kids more interested in buying the Flash title. The move was a great success and Wally would continue to appear regularly in DC Comics to this day.
Bart first appeared in full in Flash volume 2 issue 92 in July of 1994, having previously appeared briefly at the end of issue 91. He was created by writer Mark Waid and artist Mike Wieringo.
Jay Garrick is the first Flash, becoming the Flash while in college when he was exposed to radioactive "hard water". Soon after becoming the Flash, he became a founding member of the Justice Society of America, becoming Chairman.Over the years he became Chairman several times and is still currently with the team. He now takes more of a mentor and father figure role. During the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis, Jay, Alan Scott, and Ted Grant formed a new JSA team with the newest legacy heroes like Rick Tyler and Mr. America. He has formed an especially close relationship with the newest speedster of Keystone City, Bart Allen.
The second Flash is Barry Allen was a forensic scientist for the Central City Police Department, with a well known habit for lateness. Despite his perpetual tardiness, his detective skills though have been said to rival that of Bruce Wayne's. He lived in Central City and had a steady girlfriend named Iris West (later Iris Allen West). He also had a love of comic books, his favorite hero being the Flash ( Jay Garrick). One night, while working late, lightning struck the chemicals on the rack next to where he was working. They exploded over Barry who was knocked over. As he stood up he realized that he was unharmed. After clearing up, Barry went about his business, but it is not long before he discovered the world around seemed to have slowed. More accurately, he had become much faster! Realizing he had become just like his hero Jay Garrick, Barry decided to follow in his foot steps and become a hero. He discovers that not only is he fast, but he can also vibrate his molecules, rendering him almost invisible and allowing him to phase through solid objects. He also created a costume and treated it with a special chemical that shrank it so that it can fit inside a ring, allowing him to have it with him ready so that he can change in a moment.
A string of tragedies hit Barry, including the murder of Iris at he hands of Professor Zoom. In his grief, Barry actually killed Zoom, which prompted him to leave to go to the future with Iris, who had actually survived her apparent death. Later though, he returned to the present and he sacrificed his life to stop the Anti-Monitor and save all of existence in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. His sacrifice helped define him as a hero and gave him what many consider to be the greatest legacy in comics. This legacy would go on to haunt Wally during his years as the Flash, although Barry visited Wally occasionally using the cosmic treadmill.
The third Flash was Wally West. Wally was different from the other Flashes before him because of one key factor, he was a child. When Wally was just a boy, he visited his Aunt Iris in Central City so that he could possibly meet the Flash, who was secretly his aunt's fiance, Barry Allen. Wally was at the time the president of the Flash Fan Club in his home town of Blue Valley, so when he met Barry and was told he could meet the Flash by just walking through a set of doors to his "Office", he was more than excited. It was then that the Flash told Wally how he had received his powers, only for another lightning bolt to crash through the window and endow Wally with the same powers as his hero! He would quickly become Kid Flash, originally wearing a smaller version of Barry's costume until eventually receiving one unique to him. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the death of Barry Allen; Wally took on the mantle of the Flash. Like Barry and Jay before him, he encountered a new reverse-flash, this time Hunter Zolomon who became Zoom to become Wally's greatest foe so that he could become the greatest hero.
Jesse Chambers is the daughter of the Golden Age heroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, she was born in Queens, New York. Jesse was never really torn up over her parents divorce, as she was very young. While growing up she was closer to her father and eventually learned how to access the speed force using his mantra. Jesse took the identity of Jesse Quick and became an honorary member of the Justice Society of America, due to her father’s honorary membership. After her dad's death she joined to the Titans and she developed some relationships with Dick Grayson, Grant Emerson, Donna Troy and Argent. She also discovered that her mom was getting married with a younger man. When that man, Phillip, was murdered the Titans discovered that Jesse was having an affair with him. Jesse and her mom stopped talking to each other after that incident. Jesse lost her powers in a fight with Zoom, and Bart Allen would take up the mantle. When Jesse recovered her, she joined the JSA as the New Liberty Belle and married Rick Tyler. Currently she's Jesse Quick again and is a member of the JLA.
Born to Don Allen and Meloni Thawne, the fourth Flash, Bart Allen, actually hails from the future, unlike the other Flashes before him. In his time, the 31st Century, Bart's father and aunt Dawn were killed by the Dominators when they took over the planet. They then captured Bart but luckily he was saved before any harm could come to him. Being born with super-speed, Bart suffered from a hyper-metabolism and aged at an exponentially increasing rate. Traveling with his grandmother, Iris West, Bart went to the past and met Wally West, the third Flash, who was able to help stabilize Bart's metabolism and stop his aging at roughly 14 years old. Bart would become the Flash when Jesse Chambers lost her powers, but not for long. He would die at the hands of his Rogues, in a plan orchestrated by Bart's evil twin inertia.
Major Story Arcs
Infinite Crisis and One Year Later
When Alexander Luthor and Superboy-Prime took it upon themselves to bring about the Infinite Crisis, the Flashes were some of the first on the scene. During a fight between Superboy and Superboy-Prime, Jay, Wally, and Bart took it upon themselves to eliminate Superboy-Prime from the equation, racing to create a gate into the Speed Force. As Jay fell behind, Wally and Bart ran into the Speed Force with Prime in tow. Before vanishing though, Wally appeared before Linda, who was with the twins at the time. Wally told Linda that he was going to go for a while and he was sorry, but Linda told him that wherever he goes, his family goes with him, so Wally, Linda, and the twins disappeared into the Speed Force.
When the crisis was over, Bart explained to Jay that he had spent years in an unknown dimension where he grew older. Bart confirmed that the Speed Force was destroyed and that he had used up the residual speed locked in his body fighting in Metropolis. He gave Barry's costume to Jay and said that Jay was once again the fastest man alive.
After the events of One Year Later, Bart took up to moniker of the Flash and the world kept moving. It wasn't long before the Justice League and the Justice Society had a nice, old fashioned team-up, but when the Legion of Superheroes appeared trying to catch lightning in order to bring somebody back, Wally and his family were brought back to the present. However, Jai and Iris suffered from an extreme case of hyper-metabolism during their time away and had aged significantly, to the point where the two now had to bodies of an 8 and 10, respectively.
The Return of Barry Allen
After being dead for some time, Barry Allen suddenly reemerged during the Final Crisis event. Seen chasing after a deathly bullet, Allen raced to stop Darkseid from taking over the world.
Following Final Crisis, Barry dealt with the realization that the world had moved on without him and had even become much faster than before. Questioning his speed dominance, Barry refused to slow down, fearful that he may be absorbed back into the Speed Force. It was soon revealed that Barry's unnerved attitude was due to Professor Zoom generating a Negative Speed Force. It was also revealed that Professor Zoom, not his father, was the culprit who murdered his mother. Barry and the rest of the Flash Family did battle with him and defeated him. Also during this battle, Flash rescued Max Mercury from the Speed Force.
During this time it is also shown that Barry has returned to his old police lab job in Central City.
Having learned valuable lessons from his showdown with Reverse-Flash, Barry Allen once again begins to operate as the Flash. Before he could even begin, Blackest Night occurred and gripped the entire universe's attention. Flash found himself among the premier defenses Earth had alongside Green Lantern, Mera, and Atom. As part of earth's defense Barry proved invaluable as one of the first to warn the Justice League of the exact nature of the Black Lantern threat. He, along with Wally West and Bart Allen even attempted to free the Guardians of Oa and turn the tide of battle, but were foiled by Scar. Later, Barry was made a deputy Blue Lantern during Blackest Night to successfully combat the Black Lanterns and free Bart from his Black Lantern fate. During this series, Barry even becomes a member of the White Lantern Corps along with fellow resurrected heroes. Through cooperation with these fellow heroes, Flash aided in defeated Nekron and restoring the world to it's normal balance.
Barry has since returned to Central City and re-begun his crime fighting efforts. Barry has recently solved the death of Mirror Monarch, who is a crime fighting cop from the future with the same technology of Mirror Master. Barry discovered that the Mirror Monarch was murdered by his partner, The Top. The Top killed The Mirror Monarch to protect himself from being kicked off a police force from the future.
For More Information: Flashpoint
In Road to Flashpoint a man arrives from the future in Central City, looking like a cop. Barry catches him, and the man claims to be Barry Allen.
Flashpoint will revolve around Barry Allen waking up and everything has changed, because time has been broken.
Powers And Abilities
All of the various Flash incarnations share a few powers common to all of them. These include the ability to move at superhuman speed, increased reaction time, incredible stamina allowing, him to run long distances without tiring, the ability to think at a superhuman rate to match his movements, wounds heal at a superhuman rate, ignoring certain laws physics such as friction and other laws related to movement. The Flash is also able to vibrate incredibly fast allowing to accomplish such feats as melting through ice.
All of The Flashs' powers are connected to a source known as the Speed Force. The Speed Force allows them survive and perform amazing feats whiling traveling at incredible speeds. The Speed Force has also allowed various Flash's to accomplish time travel and manipulation. The Speed Force also grants a large variety of other abilities.
Two Flashes appear in Kingdom Come, set in an alternate future time line. The Spectre shows Norman McCay KeyStone City, which he describes as a utopia, where a scarlet blur rights wrongs no matter how insignificant. This version of Flash is constantly moving and only ever seen as a blur of red with a helmet similar to Mercury's like Jay Garrick used to wear, although a true identity is never revealed for this Flash, so it is unclear which of the it might be. In a constant state of movement, Spectre describes him saying, "He lives between the ticks of a second. He is the Flash" Another aspect of this constant speed is that countless strata of reality are open to him. This allowed him to reach through Spectre's powers and pull McCay into their dimension allowing them to see him.
A girl is also seen calling herself Kid Flash, and she is revealed in the Trade Paperback's notes to be Wally West's daughter, presumably Iris West. She is part of Batman's small faction group determined to give control back to humanity.
The Flash TV Series
The Flash TV series was a live action show which ran on CBS between 1990-1991. It starred John Wesley Shipp as the hero and co-starred Amanda Pays as the lead roles. The show was created by the writing team of Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo. Danny Elfman composed the main title theme. The show ran along with some of the story lines of the silver age comics, but several other aspects were taken from the Wally West Flash comics including the limitations of his powers and high metabolism.
The pilot episode includes an accident in which Barry Allen’s (John Wesley Shipp), a Central City police forensic scientist, laboratory is struck by lightning bathing Allen in electrified chemicals. With the help of S.T.A.R Labs scientist Tina McGee Allen soon discovers that he has a super charged metabolism giving him super human speed given to him as a result of the accident. Tina modifies a red S.T.A.R Labs deep sea diving suit which can withstand massive amounts of pressure. Barry Allen’s first act as the Flash is to avenge the murder of his brother Jay, a Central city Motor cycle officer, an homage to the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick.
The series continued with The Flash taking on mainly human foes like mob bosses, gangsters and corrupt officials. Later in the series, several of The Flash’s more colorful super villains appeared; The most well know being The Trickster, played by Mark Hamill, (who would later go on to voice The Trickster again in Justice League Unlimited) and his sidekick Prank, played by Corinne Bohrer. Captain Cold, played by Michael Champion and Mirror Master, played by David Cassidy also were featured in their own episode.
Due to falling ratings the show was canceled after only one season.
Superman: The Animated Series
This is the first animated series showing Wally West as the current Flash. In an episode called "Speed Demons" Superman and The Flash both take part in a race around the world for charity, unawares that they are generating energy for the evil Weather Wizard. At first the Flash is perceived as cocky and selfish, but Superman later finds that behind this Flash is as heroic as any, in his own way. The Flash was voiced by Charlie Schlatter.
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited
This animated series also features Wally West as The Flash (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum). He is one of the seven founding members of the Justice League. This incarnation of Wally is very similar to the one that appeared in Superman: The Animated Series, a flippant and almost adolescent hero often annoying some of the more serious League members. Wally in many cases provides comic relief, although in some instances he is seen complaining of his inability to shake his persona as “teenage sidekick”. Flash's super high metabolism provides running gags through out the series. Flash’s endorsement of the “Lightspeed” candy bar play homage to that fact as Flash is seen in several occasions eating the bars, which have also been known to have an image of The Flash.
Flash is featured heavily in the episode "Divided We Fall," in which he manages to take down Lex Luthor fused with Brainiac by building up enough speed running around the world to crash into the villain with a near infinite mass punch. As a result pushing his speed in this manner, Flash is called into the Speed Force, nearly leaving this plane of existence, but he is pulled out by the other Leaguers.
Others such episode include, "Flash and Substance,” where several rogues from The Flash Rogues Gallery make an appearance to try and destroy Flash on “Flash Appreciation Day” the main battle between them takes place in a museum dedicated to The Flash. “The Great Brain Robbery” where The Flash switches bodies with Lex Luthor and also “I Am Legion” where Flash is shown to have feelings for Fire are also important to Flashes DCAU continuity.
Although named Wally West he had the origin of Barry Allen with the wisecracking personality of Bart Allen.
Teen Titans Go!
Kid Flash appears in the Teen Titans animated series voiced by Michael Rosenbaum. Although The Flash’s true identity is never given in this series it would be implied that he is Wally West as Rosenbaum voiced Wally West as The Flash in Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. To further back this up the character has many similar traits as Wally West if not the same, like his laid back attitude to work and his flirtatious nature. One of the only notable differences between him an his comic book counter part are his green eyes, in the comics Wally West has bright blue eyes.
Kid Flash first appears in the episode “Light speed”, where Kid Flash is seen ruining the H.I.V.E Five’s evil robbery of a museum . Kid Flash begins to flirt with the groups leader Jinx and tries to get her to try to turn away from evil, but his words are ignored. The H.I.V.E. soon capture Kid Flash and keep him prisoner in cage. When Jinx is interrogating him she asks him whom he is working with, when he states, “I work alone these days” which would imply he was working with The Flash. Kid Flash escapes, demonstrating some of his powers, including the ability to vibrate his molecules through walls and create wind vortexes using his hands. Jinx and Kid Flash would later have a romantic relationship.
Kid Flash also appears in the episodes “Calling All Titans” in a screen shot of all the Titans. It also transpires that Kid Flash has a communicator and the Titans have been in contact with him. In “Titans Together” Kid Flash is also seen with Jinx, now a member of the Titans, trying to infiltrate The Brotherhood of Evil’s base.
Flash (Bart Allen) first appears in the fourth season - episode five - "Run". In the episode it becomes clear early on that Bart is a common thief who uses his ability to run at super speed (faster than Clark Kent himself), stealing whatever he desires. When Clark breaks into his apartment however he finds fake identities with the names, Jay Garrick, Wally West and Barry Allen. After some confrontation and Bart's capture by Lex, he seems to reform his thieving ways. Unlike Clark however, Bart is seen as embracing the powers he has been given. The episode ends with Clark asking Bart to stay, and Bart replies only if Clark can catch him (of course Clark failed.)
The two have a run-in again in the sixth season - episode eleven - "Justice". In this episode Bart saves Chloe who believes it to be Clark. Bart seems to have grown even faster than he previously was and now makes a mockery of Clark. Bart tries to be accepted by Clark as an "amigo" but Clark rebuffs him as he is still filled with mistrust for the former thief. We soon discover that Bart is stealing information from Lex's 33.1 facilities for his comrade, Oliver Queen, and Lex is on to him. And soon after Bart is outsmarted and captured by Lex who remembers Bart, and seeks revenge. Bart is then kept in a specially designed cage that will fry him if he stops for even a millisecond, Lex turns it on because of Bart's defiance towards him. So Bart is forced to run for perhaps hours. Clark finally saves him by the time he is slowing from exhaustion and has been suffering a nosebleed for some time already. After this, Bart is returned to his joking, hungry self (as he needs plenty of calories to keep him going). He then departs with the rest of his team, under the codename Impulse, working to stop Lex Luthor's activity around the globe.
Justice League: The New Frontier
The Flash, in this case Barry Allen, appears in the Justice League: The New Frontier. He is voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. In the beginning of the movie he battles Captain Cold, voiced by Arnold Taylor, in Las Vegas. He is persecuted by the government, and considers retiring from being a superhero. In the end he joins the other heroes in combatting and defeating the Centre.
On the animated show The Batman, Barry Allen was introduced as the Flash in episode 57, entitled "A Mirror Darkly". He appeared teaming up with Batman to take down Mirror Master. Barry later appeared again with the rest of the Justice League in the series finale, "Lost Heroes". Here he helped protect the world from an alien invasion and battled a robotic counterpart.
Batman the Brave and the Bold
Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West (as Kid Flash) all appear in a couple of the Batman the Brave and the Bold episodes. Jay Garrick first appears in the teaser of Trials of the Demon and later again in The Golden Age of Justice, Barry Allen has a cameo in Sidekicks Assemble and then all three of them appear in Requiem of a Speedster.
Kid Flash is a main character in Young Justice. Kid Flash is Wally West, who is 15 years old (while in the comics it is Bart Allen on Young Justice). Barry Allen, as the Flash, also appears, as Wally's mentor.
Jay Garrick also appears later in the show, in Downtime", as a retired superhero from the 1940's, when Wally and his parents along with Barry and Iris and Jay's wife Joan are throwing a party for Jay's birthday.