This month kicks off DC Comics‘ Flashpoint event, so who better than to lead us off into March than The Flash himself, Barry Allen! Comic Booked is proud to present The Flash as our Character of the Month for March 2011! Since his triumphant return to comics the silver age hero has been racing all throughout the DC Universe fighting for justice! Barry is the second man to bear the mantle of The Flash, with the first being his boyhood hero Jay Garrick.
Barry Allen is widely considered to be the first silver-age
superhero. He was created by writers Robert Kanigher
and John Broome
, as well as penciler Carmine Infantino
; first appearing in Showcase
#4 in 1956. After years as the scarlet speedster, Barry was killed during the 1985 DC comics event Crisis on Infinite Earths
, making him one of the first major superheroes to be killed in comics. He remained dead for 23 years until his revival in 2008’s Final Crisis
Barry Allen, The Flash
Barry’s story starts off like many superheroes, with the loss of his parents as a young age. Barry’s mother was mysteriously murdered when he was only eleven years old, leading to the conviction of his father (who later died in prison). Barry believed that his father was innocent and became obsessed with solving the heinous crime to clear his fathers name. He went on to study forensic science with the hope of solving his mother’s murder case and to hopefully prevent others from having to face similar problems. Eventually Barry became a forensic police scientist in Central City.
Barry was known for two things in life- his terrible habit for lateness, and his love of comic books. Unbeknownst to him, everything was about to change. While working late one night, a lightning bolt struck and shattered a case of chemicals in Allen’s lab, spilling them all over him. Initially thinking that the world had slowed down, Allen soon after realized that he could now move extremely fast! Barry could not only move at superspeeds, but he could vibrate his molecules to phase through solid objects and render himself almost invisible! Quickly comparing his newfound powers with those of his favorite comic book character Jay Garrick, he decided to follow in Garrick’s footsteps by becoming a masked crime fighter; even going as far as to use Garrick’s superhero name- The Flash. Barry created a costume of his own and treated it with a special chemical that would allow it to shrink to fit inside of a ring so he could always carry it with him to change at a moments notice.
For the most part, Barry lived a good life. He was good at what he did as a superhero and as a scientist, leading to him being well respected and liked in both aspects of his life. Barry was one of the founding members of the Justice League of America
, alongside Green Lantern Hal Jordan
, Black Canary
and the Martian Manhunter
. He eventually married his longtime girlfriend Iris West, who was the aunt to Barry’s sidekick Wally West
( the original Kid Flash
) and in due course the mother of his twin children, Don and Dawn Allen.
Barry Allen, The Flash
Adventures On Earth-Two
One day, while showing off his abilities during a charity event, Barry accidentally vibrated his body into another reality entirely! He quickly discovered that he was in ’Keystone City’ after stopping a masked villain. He immediately recognized the villain and the city itself from the comic books he was so fond of, which lead him to believe that if both Keystone City and it’s villains were real, then his hero and idol, Jay Garrick, must also be real. After finding Jay, the duo deduced that the comic book creator, Gardner Fox
, must have been subconsciously tapping into this reality. This discovery brought all of the golden age comics into the new silver age continuity, changing the entire history of the DC Universe. Barry and Jay worked together to save Keystone city before Barry returned to his proper reality. Jay would retire after this, allowing Barry to take over as the Flash.
In the early 1980’s, Barry’s life took a turn for the worst. The love of his life, Iris, is murdered by Professor Zoom
; a speedster super villain from the 25th century that had long been jealous of Allen. Years later Zoom would try to the same trick all over again as Barry was preparing to marry another woman. Allen manages to stop him, but ends up breaking Zoom’s neck; killing him in the process and effectively stopping him once and for all.
Soon after, Allen is put on trial for the murder of Professor Zoom and found guilty by the jury. The Flash flees the trial when he is warned by a juror (who claims to be possessed by a mind from the future) that the jury was actually brainwashed by the Reverse Flash (Professor Zoom) into this verdict. Barry knows the Reverse Flash is dead and realizes that the only way to find the answers he needs to clear his name is to travel into the future. He is attacked by the Abra Kadabra (who is disguised as the Reverse Flash) outside of his trail, who is quickly defeated. Barry then traverses into the future where he is reunited with his dead wife Iris; whose spirit was drawn to the 30th century and given a new body. It is later revealed that it was actually Iris’s mind that possessed the mind of the juror that warned him in the first place. Barry decides to retire and spend his life in the 30th century with Iris, where they could live happily ever after… for now.
The Crisis On Infinite Earths
Not long after ‘retiring’ from his life as a superhero, Barry noticed that something was amiss in the 30th century where he was living with his wife Iris. Natural disasters were happening all over the globe despite the technology that had been created to stop them. It appeared that reality itself was starting to fray and warp, so Barry did what he had to do; he traveled back to the 20th century to warn his fellow heroes.
viewed Barry as one of the biggest threats to his plans, as Barry is one of the few beings that can travel between dimensions without any assistance. The Anti-Monitor had Psycho-Pirate
torture Barry, but Barry ultimately turned the tables by making Psycho-Pirate turn all of the Anti-Monitor’s servants against him. The sudden distraction gave Barry just enough time to destroy the Anti-Monitor’s anti-matter cannon, but Barry paid the ultimate price. He ran so incredibly fast that he entered the speed force itself, with his body being consumed by the anti-matter weapon. All the remained was his costume and his ring, which was later found by Wally West. West was so inspired by Allen that he took up the mantle of the Flash himself in Allen’s stead.
Barry's Costume Ring
Resurrection and Rebirth
After a long absence, Barry is seen running from the Black Flash through a time tunnel created by Metron
’s Time Chair at the end of Final Crisis #2. He was running to save the New God Orion
from a radion bullet that had been fired backwards through time. Both Wally West and Jay Garrick had seen Barry and ran to help him but the trio ultimately failed to save Orion. By the time they had stopped running, time around Earth was altered and it was already weeks after Darkseid
’s forces had taken over the planet. After reuniting with his wife Iris, Barry explains that an unknown force had brought him back, and that he believed he was brought back to stop Darkseid. Ultimately, Barry and Wally led the Black Flash
right to Darkseid himself, which helped turn the tides enough that they managed to defeat Darkseid.
After his resurrection Barry spent some time learning about the things he had missed in his ‘lost years’. He reveals to old friend Hal Jordan that he doesn’t feel that he was supposed to come back, and that it feels like the Speed Force is trying to pull him back in. Barry refuses to partake in any of the many parades or celebrations being held in honor of his return, not because he is unappreciative, but because he feels that the world has a more important need for him elsewhere.
As he runs off, he thinks deeply about his life and why he has come back. His thinking time is cut short when he runs into the evil super-speedster Savitar
. He chases after Savitar, but as soon as he catches him the villain begins to decay into a pile of dust. As Savitar is dying, he manages to get out one final cryptic message- “You were the beginning, Allen… and you’re the end”. At this exact moment in time, every hero that was tied to the Speed Force in any way suddenly experienced a painful blast of energy.
Barry races off to tell Wally what has happened, only to find out about the sudden speed-seizure everyone else had experienced. The two of them head off to Fallville, Iowa to investigate a strange and mysterious lightning storm that may somehow be connected to the events. It is there that they discover the charred remains of the Black Flash, uncertain of what had actually happened to him. They are attacked by Lady Flash, who immediately decays into dust as soon as Barry touches her; just like Savitar. Wally then watches in shock as Barry’s costume starts turning black, making Barry into a new Black Flash before Lady Flash can even disintegrate entirely.
The Justice League and Justice Society
help to build a containment chamber for Barry. They plan to disconnect Barry from the Speed Force in order to save his life from the black aura that burns through the speed force which has already tainted him. Barry’s wife Iris is brought in to act like a human ‘lightning rod’ and prevent Barry from being reabsorbed back into the Speed Force, but her being there actually causes Barry’s energy field to overload and destroy the containment chamber. Hal Jordan creates a new chamber using his Green Lantern Power Ring and attempts to carry Barry away from the rest of the Flash family. Barry quickly breaks free from the new containment chamber and hit’s the ground running, with his new plan being to spare his friends and family by running directly back into the Speed Force on his own.
The Black Flash
Unsurprisingly, Barry succeeds and escapes the material plan despite Superman
and the Justice League’s best efforts to stop him. As he enters the Speed Force, he witnesses his life events in reverse, starting with the past day or so and following all the way back to the day he was born. Barry surprisingly finds fellow Speedsters Max Mercury
and Johnny Quick
both imprisoned within the Speed Force’s energy. Johnny grabs Barry’s wrist to begs him not to “let it” hurt his daughter, Jesse Quick
, but is killed by Barry’s energy just like Savitar and Lady Flash. Max mercury tries to explain that Barry is not responsible for the death’s of the speedsters, just as the true villain behind their deaths reveals himself; Professor Zoom. The Reverse Flash then goes on to gloat that he has ‘shifted Barry into reverse’.
Zoom, who has been dead for some time, reveals that he will in fact be resurrected soon and that the red energy field the three of them are in is a ‘Negative Speed Force’ that is created by his own kinetic energy. Reverse Flash’s red kinetic energy is slowly tainting the normal Speed Force like a cancer. He had transformed himself into a new kind of speedster, using this negative energy to contaminate Barry and the others. Before Barry could retaliate against him, Professor Zoom fades away.
Max Mercury reveals to Barry that much like Professor Zoom created the Negative Speed Force, it was Barry Allen himself that created the regular Speed Force. The Speed Force is “the kinetic wall between the present and the time barrier. It’s an electrical energy that exists in every dimension, every universe and every area. It touches every part of reality. It contains knowledge of every place and time. The Speed Force is the all encompassing Flash Fact”. Barry convinces Max Mercury to come back out of the Speed Force with him as they make their own escape.
Barry Allen (Center) , Wally West (Right) and Bart Allen (Left)
Upon returning it is revealed that Professor Zoom has been using his Negative Speed Force kinetic energy to travel through time and hurt Barry throughout his life. Unlike the Flash, Professor Zoom could travel throughout time without the use of the cosmic treadmill. It is also revealed that Zoom is responsible for the murder of Barry’s mother, and in turn the cause of Barry’s entire crusade for justice. Zoom had essentially created the very hero he detested.
During the Blackest Night
saga, the dead rose from the grave as members of the Black Lantern Corps
with the help of Nekron
and the power of his Black Lantern Rings. The Black Lantern Rings also attempted to reclaim anyone who had been previously killed and resurrected; including Superman, Green Arrow
, Kid Flash and of course Barry Allen. Barry luckily was able to outrun the black ring, soon to find himself being recruited by another Lantern Corps entirely!
Barry Allen, Blue Lantern
As Blue Lantern
Saint Walker’s ring replicated itself and scanned for a host for hope, it located Barry Allen. The Ring tells him “Barry Allen of Earth, you learned to hold onto hope despite your past. You move forward with faith in tomorrow. You instill that trust in those around you. Despite the odds you never stop. You are truly hope’s messenger. Welcome to the Blue Lantern Corps”. Together Barry, Saint Walker and Wally West managed to save Kid Flash (Bart Allen) from the Black Ring that had infected him; bringing him back to life. Barry joins the other Lantern Corps members in the final attack on Nekron and the Black Lantern Corps. He saves Hal Jordan from the Black Hand
as he shouts “Life Doesn’t give us purpose Black Hand, we give life purpose”, causing him to connect directly with the White Light and transforming him into a White Lantern
. Nekron is soon after defeated, and Barry loses both the White and Blue Power Rings.
Powers & Abilities
- Super Speed-
Barry’s primary super ability is his super speed which he gets from tapping into the speed force, Barry run up to the speed of light at a push but he has been shown that when the situation is needed he can run fast enough to enter the speed force. It appears that Barry can practically run at any speed
- Molecular Level of Control-
The Flash has always possessed the ability to control his speed and angular momentum at the molecular level, and control his molecular interactions to allow his body to pass through any substance. While in an intangible state, the Flash is immune to any airborne viruses and can breathe regularly. He can also vibrate so fast that light does not reflect off him, rendering him invisible to the human eye.
- Human Tornado-
By running in a circle at a certain speed, Barry Allen is able to create a vortex with a variety of affects. One effect is pulling the air away from the center in order to suffocate an enemy. Another effect is levitating whoever and whatever was in the center. Also, able to send anyone or anything into another dimension when running around them. Some other effects are acting as barriers to movement or funnels for toxic gases. Barry Allen can also spin his arms to create directed funnels of hurricane-speed winds that can knock down barriers or reduce the speed of a falling object. When putting out forest fires, what Flash does is create a pocket tornado by running around the perimeter of the area. The updraft lowers the temperature inside the funnel and raises the fire off the ground which takes away its fuel source.
- Speed Force Shielding -
The Flash’s body is surrounded by what he calls his ” Speed Force aura”. This aura protects him and anyone who is running with him or carried by him, from the effects of using his speed. This includes friction and airborne particulate matter. It also protects him from injury from high speed impacts such as punches he delivers and receives from his opponents. With this aura he is able to absorb kinetic energy. He possesses a level of superhuman resistance to injury which at times does extend far past normal physical interactions, as received from normal combat.
- Super Scientist-
Also Barry possesses supercharged brain activity, he is extremely clever and he is skilled as a forensic scientist (often using his intellect in a fight). Barry possesses the ability to alter his perceptions so that falling objects can appear to be standing still and can be caught and moved back to their normal position. He can disarm or jam any number of opponents weapons before they are even aware of his movement and can hurl small projectiles at hypersonic velocities. His ability to alter his own perception of time is so great, that if he wishes, the tick between a second can pass for millions of years. He can even push this ability to the point, that to him, it’s as if the Universe is standing still. It does not truly stand still, it is his own perception of time that seems to stand still, and his body automatically adjusts to his perception, hence, the slower he views the world, the faster his body moves through time to adjust to his perception.
- Costume Ring-
Flash, used this ring to compress and conceal his costume while operating in his civilian identity. By thumbing a small stud on the side, the top of the ring opened, releasing the costume, allowing Barry the ability to change clothes at super-speed.
Thanks to the guys over at Comic Vine
for the info! Don’t forget to check back all month to read more about Barry Allen!
Barry Allen, The Flash