The Flash

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"So you see, I became the super-fast Flash on my Earth much as you became The Flash on yours!"

"I'm Wally West. Good thing. I'm the fastest man alive."

The speedster.

Not to be confused with Macromedia Adobe Flash animation, or with The Saviour of the Universe (ah-ah!), this is the Super Speed hero of The DCU, whose legacy stretches from The Golden Age of Comic Books to today.

The Jay Garrick Era

The Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, was, if not the first, then the most well known early single-power Superhero. Earlier heroes were either Superman-style characters with many different abilities, or Batman-style human vigilantes. Jay did one thing, and he did it well: run fast.

Jay was otherwise a fairly standard Golden Age hero. His Super-Hero Origin involved a Freak Lab Accident involving "hard water fumes".[1] (Later issues retconnned this to "heavy water vapor".) He fought a mix of racketeers, saboteurs, normal criminals with a gimmick, and super-powered villains, while keeping up his Secret Identity as a college student, and his relationship to his girlfriend, Joan Williams. (In a pleasant variation from the norm, Joan was in on his secret from the beginning.)

As the Golden Age came to an end, Jay left with it, eventually edged out of his own book by a trio of Plucky Comic Relief characters known as The Three Dimwits.

The Barry Allen Era

The Silver Age of Comic Books could be said to begin when its Flash, Barry Allen, arrived on the scene. In the fourth issue of Showcase, a try-out series for new concepts, DC Comics brought back the idea of the Flash, but gave him a new costume, origin, and secret identity, creating the first Superhero Legacy Character. Sales took off, and not long thereafter, he gained his own series, picking up the numbering where the original Flash had left off.

Barry was a police scientist, one of the precursors to CSI-style forensics. On a dark and stormy night, he was working late in the lab. Just as he was standing against a rack of multicolored chemicals, a lightning bolt flew through the window, striking the chemicals and causing them to spill all over Barry, leaving him soaked but unharmed. As he left the lab, he found himself running at super-speed to catch up with a cab, and the Flash was born.

The Flash created many of the features of the Silver Age DCU. In 1961, the story "Flash Of Two Worlds" was published. It featured Barry accidentally crossing the "vibration barrier" between dimensions, and ending up in a world he dubbed "Earth-2", where Jay Garrick still lived, having retired from superheroing after marrying Joan. Thus, the first seeds of the Infinite Earths were planted. He was also a founding member of the Justice League of America.

Along the way, he developed an impressive Rogues Gallery of enemies who commanded incredible technology that always works through a particular theme. For example, Captain Cold had advanced freezing weapons, Heat Wave's fired extreme heat, Mirror Master's mirror based technology could do a myriad of things and Weather Wizard could control weather itself. Yet, for all this powerful tech, it's a running joke that the vast majority of the gallery were really unambitious with it, considering they were content to merely commit simple robberies with them. Gorilla Grodd with his bigger fish, er... bananas, to fry, was an exception, as were Professor Zoom, Cobalt Blue, and Abra Kadabra.

A few years into his tenure, Barry picked up Kid Sidekick Wally West. Wally, the nephew of Barry's fiancee and eventual wife Iris, was visiting Barry at the lab when, suddenly, the Freak Lab Accident repeated itself, showering Wally in electrified chemicals and giving him the same powers. Barry dubbed him "Kid Flash" and let him in on the secret, taking him along on his adventures.

Barry's career lasted into The Bronze Age of Comic Books, and took on the flavor of the era. Professor Zoom, Barry's Evil Counterpart, killed Iris. Barry grieved, but fell in love again, with Fiona Webb; however, on their wedding day, Zoom attacked again, and after a pitched battle, Barry snapped his neck just before he was about to kill Fiona. This led into the "Trial of Barry Allen" arc; at the end, Barry was acquitted, it was revealed that Iris had been born in the future and saved by Applied Phlebotinum, and they moved there together, giving the series a Happily Ever After ending. (Well, unless you're Fiona.)

Unfortunately, happy endings don't last long in comics, and soon, Barry returned, warning the heroes of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He was kidnapped by the Anti-Monitor, the Crisis Big Bad, but sacrificed himself in order to save the universe from the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon, running so fast that he disappeared from reality itself.

Now, not long before, Wally West had developed a disease that would kill him if he used his powers. During Crisis, he was cured by an energy blast, and after angsting about it for a while, decided to carry on Barry's legacy by becoming the new Flash, which led into the rebooted Flash series.

The Wally West Era

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The early issues showed Wally as someone who was young, irresponsible, and not quite ready for the role of an A-list Superhero. He was egotistical and womanizing, though it was obvious that he used this to cover up emotional problems. This was the version that the DCAU Flash was based on.

As the series went on, Wally matured. His speed, which had been limited to about the speed of sound after Crisis, started increasing. He became good friends with the woman who would later be his steady love interest, reporter Linda Park. Subverting There Are No Therapists, he actually got therapy. His Secret Identity went public.

Then Mark Waid came on the series, and things really took off.

Wally was increasingly linked to the Flash legacy, and it to him. He started fighting Barry's old villains. Jay popped up more often. Iris returned from the future, with a new speedster in tow; Bart Allen, AKA Impulse, Barry's grandson, who had inherited his speed, but had no sense of personal danger or responsibility after being raised in virtual reality (He originally could not slow down and could only interact with a world that worked at computer speeds; he was later taught to shift gears). Barry seemed to return, but it was really a complex delusion of a time-traveling Professor Zoom.

Finally, the thing that would forever after define the Flash legacy showed up: the Speed Force. After a trip through time, Wally began to transform into energy. Max Mercury, a Golden Age speedster, showed up, explaining that Wally had touched a quasi-mystical dimension, "beyond the speed of light", that was the source of all speedsters' powers. Max became The Obi-Wan to Wally and later, to Bart. Wally was eventually sucked in, but managed to come out the other side due to the power of his love for Linda.

About this time, other speedsters became regular guest stars, often en masse, forming Wally's "Cyclone Rangers" or "The Academy of Speed", including Wally, Jay, Bart, Max Mercury, and Jesse Quick.

Bart spun off into his own, light-hearted series, Impulse. Meanwhile, Wally and Linda got ready to tie the knot. As had become de rigeur for a Flash wedding, something horrible happened, with Linda kidnapped by Abra Kadabra and apparently erased from existence. Without The Power of Love to anchor him, Wally apparently disappeared into the Speed Force.

He was replaced by a Darker and Edgier Flash; a mysterious figure who was trusted by the few people who knew his identity (initially he never took his mask off on panel). "Dark Flash" was eventually revealed as an Alternate Universe Wally from a world in which Linda had been killed. Eventually, the "real" Wally and Linda returned, Linda having been trapped in Dark Flash's universe and The Power of Love having brought Wally there.

After Waid left the book, Geoff Johns took it in a new direction; Linda's unborn twins were killed by Wally's Evil Counterpart, the new Zoom, and Wally subsequently got the Spectre to wipe everyone's memory of the Flash's secret identity, including his own. Gradually, first Wally then other heroes, then Linda learned the truth. Eventually Wally was able to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and use Zoom's own Time Travel powers to restore the twins. Bart, meanwhile, moved from Impulse to the new Kid Flash in the pages of Teen Titans

In the Crisis Crossover Infinite Crisis, Wally attempted to trap Superboy-Prime in the Speed Force, and took Linda and the twins to a peaceful planet the Flashes had been visiting since Jay's time.

The Bart Allen Era

In the wake of Infinite Crisis, the Speed Force was apparently inaccessible. One Year Later, Bart Allen managed to connect to it again, and became the Flash. He had a brief career before being killed by a team-up of all the Flash's rogues, under the orders of his Evil Twin, Inertia.

The Wally West Era again

Wally West and Mark Waid both returned to the book. The twins had a Plot-Relevant Age-Up, and Wally and Linda were teaching them how to use their (erratic and only vaguely speed-related) powers. Meanwhile, Jay remained a mentor and was one of the leaders of the Justice Society of America.

Barry and Bart Return

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Barry Allen returned from the Speed Force during Final Crisis. The cause of his return and his place in the DCU are being explored in the miniseries The Flash: Rebirth, written by Geoff Johns. Bart came back from the dead and got plot-relevant de-aged in Legion Of 3 Worlds.

As of the end of Blackest Night, the DC Universe was left with the unprecedented scenario of all four Flashes alive and well. Whilst the fandom hoped the writers would take full advantage, the opportunity was never capitalised on, with the Flash series focusing on Barry & barely featuring Wally, Bart or Jay during the 12 issues of the series. And then Flashpoint happened.

Post-Flashpoint/The New 52

Flashpoint saw Barry waking up in a radically different world, and without his powers due to the Speed Force never being created. As the story went on, Barry managed to recreate the Speed Force & teamed up with this world's Batman to restore the damage to the timeline. In the final issue of the story, Zoom reveals that it was Barry, not him, who caused the alterations to the timeline by trying to stop the murder of Barry's mother at his hand.

However, thanks to three timelines merging, not everything is the same - Whilst Barry is still the Flash, he's no longer married to Iris & is now in a relationship with Patty Spivot; and whilst Kid Flash is still around & Bart is still in the suit, it's unclear if he's still related to Barry (As of this writing, the two haven't interacted). However, Wally's time as Kid Flash & the Flash has been erased from history, and it's unclear what his status is. As for Jay Garrick, the event also re-established Earth-2, making Jay once again Barry's Alternate Universe counterpart.

In Other Media

In TV, Barry Allen got his own series in the 1990s on The Flash; he got another one in the 2010s when it spun off of Arrow. He also appeared in Superfriends. Wally showed up as the Flash in Justice League (after an un-named Flash made a guest appearance on Superman: The Animated Series), and as Kid Flash in Teen Titans. Bart appeared in Smallville, as the Flash in his first appearance and as Impulse in his later ones. Wally will be appearing in the upcoming Justice League of America movie, with a Flash movie positioned as a Spin-Off. Jay Garrick appeared for the first time in animation in Batman: The Brave And The Bold, and for the first time in live-action in a cameo in the ninth season of Smallville. Wally is Flash in the DC Super Friends short. Barry appears as Flash in Justice League: The New Frontier and Justice League Doom, though in the latter, he is, confusingly, played by Wally's DCAU voice actor, and alongside the rest of that canon's actors.

The only time all four Flashes have been on-screen together is Young Justice, during Bart's introduction in season two's "Bloodlines."

For one of the best Flash sites on the Internet, see Flash: Those Who Ride The Lightning.

Other versions

Tangent Comics Flash was a young girl called Lia Nelson who was composed of light.

A re-imagining of the Flash exists in the Just Imagine series. This version of the Flash is a college girl called Mary Maxwell who gains super speed after her father attempts to save her from a life-threatening disease that slowly drained her energy, by injecting her with hummingbird DNA.

DC even has two Funny Animal versions of the Flash:

  • The first was the Terrific Whatzit, a Golden Age comics character who's a turtle. TW had a power set similar to Johnny Quick's (super-speed, some flight and super-strength), and wore a costume similar to Jay Garrick's. Later stories showed he lived on the parallel world of Earth-C, and was the uncle of the Zoo Crew's speedster Fastback.
  • The second was the Crash, a member of the JLA (Just'a Lotta Animals) of Earth-C-Minus. The Crash was his world's version of the Flash (the Silver Age version), and thus had the same costume and powers as the Flash. In a variation on Barry Allen's backstory as well as the story "The Flash of Two Worlds," it's revealed that the Crash as a child had read his world's "fictional" comics about (Earth-C's) Terrific Whatzit.

The Flash provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Iris West, the half-Asian daughter of Wally and Linda Park-West, has recently taken over as the new Impulse.
    • In the alternate-reality series Kingdom Come, she'd also become the new Kid Flash (though was not at that time identified as Asian).
  • And I Must Scream: In a move that seems very unlike the easy-going Wally West we've come to know, he subjects Inertia (clone of Bart, a reverse-Impulse, if you will) to an eternal punishment. Rather than simply outright killing him, he uses the Speed Force to slow Inertia down physically to such a degree, that the simple act of blinking would take him hundreds of years. To make the punishment worse, Inertia could still think and see in real time, frozen in the middle of a sprint, and forced to stare endlessly at images of Bart Allen, whom he had previously killed. Wally describes it as being "forced to stare, with eyes that take a hundred years to blink... at the ghost of the man he could never be."
    • To be fair, Inertia did orchestrate the death of Wally's cousin, who he did care about greatly even if their usual interactions implied otherwise. Basically Berserk Button + Beware the Nice Ones.
    • To be even more fair it's because their usual action implied otherwise that what Wally did to Inertia seems so messed up.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Common reoccuring villains, Kobra and Gorilla Grodd.
    • There was also a Silver Age villain called The Turtle.
  • Anime Hair: The character marker for Bart. Such voluminous hair simply cannot go unmentioned or unnoticed, and yet very few of his non-superhero friends drew the connection! (If they did, they didn't say anything.) It's so large that you can actually pull or pick up the poor kid by his hair alone, if you're strong enough. He's quite protective of it, too.
  • Artistic License: Geography. If the Mississippi River divides Central and Keystone City, Keystone should be in Illinois, not Kansas.
    • It's supposed to be the Missouri River, but a lot of writers get it wrong.
  • Battle Tops: The weapon of choice for The Top, a villain.
  • Big Eater: Bart will eat anything and everything that won't hurt him, and maybe some things that would. Unless it's raw seafood.
    • Before the introduction of the Speed Force, speedsters had to consume huge amounts of food to keep their metabolisms in check. Nowadays, they don't, but many writers tend to forget this.
      • Lampshaded when Wally orders a gigantic burger and Linda points out that he doesn't have to eat like that anymore: "I don't have to; I want to".
  • Blessed with Suck: Many of the more modern Rogues have this, in all varieties.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Winky, Blinky, and Noddy ("The Three Dimwits"), for Jay Garrick.
  • Captain Superhero: Some of the Rogues Gallery.
  • Catch Phrase: Barry, and sometimes Wally, have "Flash fact", said before or after explaining some Techno Babble (or geniue scientific) reason why they can use superspeed to defeat an enemy.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Simply because he's so damn fast. At one point after he's brought back to life, Green Arrow goes around collecting valuable possessions of his from their hiding spots and notes that the Flash gave all the Justice Leaguers special rings that could hold their costumes for swift changing, but also that he was the only one who could use it.
  • Character Shilling: The authors admitted as much for Barry Allen upon his return. Since the current fans didn't know him anymore, they had the other characters all talk about how great he was during his reintroduction.
  • Chemistry Can Do Anything
  • Coming Out Story: There's something WAFF about how Pied Piper came out to Wally. Especially when Wally tried to play it cool and act like he knew the whole time.
  • Cruel Mercy
  • The Dark Age of Comic Books: Mark Waid's run was highly popular for defying much of the trends of the Dark Age, being relatively lighthearted yet very emotional. The spinoff Impulse bucked the trends even more.
  • Dead Guy, Junior: Barry and Bart share the same full name[2], but it's hardly ever mentioned except in profiles or when Bart's in really big trouble.
    • Wally named his son and daughter after the Golden Age Flash and his aunt, respectively.
  • Death Is Cheap: Barry was the most well known aversion in comic book history (23+ years)...and then Didio DC Editorial resurrected him in 2008. Permanently, apparently. This has caused quite a backlash among fans.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Great Gazoo Mopee, a "tenth-class Heavenly helpmate" who was introduced in the 1960s as being responsible for the lightning bolt that gave Barry his powers. Mopee was swiftly sent to Canon Discontinuity.
  • Disposable Superhero Maker
  • Due to the Dead
  • End of Series Awareness: This cover.
  • Enemy Civil War: Rogue War.
  • Evil Counterpart: The many Reverse-Flashes:
    • Jay has The Rival (a human) and the Golden Age Reverse-Flash (a rarely-seen robot).
    • Barry has Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne).
    • Wally has Zoom (Hunter Zolomon).
    • Bart has Inertia.
    • Jesse Quick has Lady Savitar.
    • Max Mercury has Savitar (the Savitars are only sometimes included in the "Reverse-Flashes").
  • Executive Meddling: When Titans and Young Justice was merged to create the 2003 Teen Titans revival, Bart was renamed "Kid Flash" and given a personality transplant, removing his ADD-driven, humor-based personality to turn him into a brooding teenager who kept wanting to be taken seriously.
    • He's been acting more like his old self since his resurrection, though.
    • Previously, Wally's Crisis-era depowering fits with the general trend to bring top-level heroics down to less fantastic levels.
  • Eyes of Gold: A quirk of the Thawne bloodline, though not unique.
    • Again, another character marker for Bart (who is part of said bloodline); that's why his goggles are the same yellow shade, to hide his eye color (although that hair should've busted his identity right then and there...). Unlike most examples, it serves to enhance his idealistic personality, and Meloni's nickname for him - "Sunshine" - sums it up best.
  • Feuding Families: Flash family and the Cobalt Blue line. Bart's a scion of both - and quite possibly the reason for said feud going wildly out of control - which brings me to this quote:

Professor Zoom: You have no idea what kind of storm you created for my family. Your very existence disgusts me.

  • Freeze Ray: Captain Cold
  • Friendly Enemy/Go-Karting with Bowser: Bart & Wally with Captain Cold and most of the Rogues.
  • Fun Personified: Bart as Impulse
    • And now Bart again once more, unless Johns is using him as the fanbase's avatar.
  • The Gimmick: Just about all of the Rogues Gallery.
  • Green Lantern Ring: The Speed Force grants Flash-type speedsters an amazing amount of powers...
    • Photographic Memory: only Bart has the true, "permanent" form; the others can only retain it temporarily.
    • Healing Factor: Barry is nigh-unkillable at the peak of his powers, being able to remain conscious and deliberately reassemble himself molecule by molecule even if he's been disintegrated. In other words, he has "complete control over his molecules," as mentioned every third comic or so back in The Silver Age of Comic Books, and is thus capable of reversing pretty much any sort of attempte to induce Power Incontinence on him. Considering the things he can undo with this power, mere regeneration is simple.
    • Super Strength
      • Infinite Mass Punch: explained by the Theory of Relativity
      • Though a literal infinite mass punch is only possible for them due to the Speed Force and their aura's allowing them to ignore inertia and any nitpicky "Laws of Physics" that would get in the way.
      • In The Silver Age of Comic Books, Barry Allen occasionally karate-chopped his way through concrete and steel with a single blow. Being able to move his hand at near-light speed made it pretty easy; what was amazing was that the impact didn't shatter his own bones.
    • Speed Lend/Steal (from The Other Wiki): Perhaps his most versatile new power; because the Speed Force governed all motion, Wally could rob objects of their kinetic energy, motion, or momentum - for example, bullets in flight or turning a supervillain into a statue - and use the energy to accelerate himself even faster. He could similarly lend speed to inanimate objects or allies, enabling them to temporarily travel nearly as fast as himself. Bart Allen's future self is shown to also have this ability in the Teen Titans "Titans Tomorrow" story arc.
      • Speed control: if you think you can move that fast, you can.
    • Hammerspace Constructs
    • Shield
    • Flight (Johnny and Jesse Quick only)
      • DCAU!Flash tried that in the Justice League Unlimited episode "I Am Legion". Good enough to not die from a high altitude fall, but maneuverability is less than stellar. Wally also used a similar method once in the regular comics to save a flight attendant who had -- again -- fallen from a plane.
      • An ability Bart would do anything to get. One would wonder why when his current abilities are much more useful; probably representative of his free-spirited personality.
    • ESP
    • Speed scouts: Impulse gained the ability to create Speed Force clones of himself in the Dark Tomorrow story arc (#73-75); they have his personality, and he also absorbs their memories once they're done. One of them was killed during the Our Worlds at War crossover, and the psychic backlash sent him into a coma; he was eventually forced to use them again during World Without Young Justice. This ability is apparently now forgotten since we don't see it after that, or Bart is still reluctant to use them.
      • No, I'm sure it was editorial forgetfulness, because he was quite willing to use them up until the end of his series, however short that time may have been.
    • Negate Anti-Life Equation ...somehow
    • Self-molecular control; generally used for intangibility and phasing
      • The most dangerous use? Literal disintegration. As in, atoms scattered all over with no hope of reassembling them. Both Bart and Wally have threatened to use this, but haven't actually done so.
    • Oh yeah, and using itself as a inter-dimensional prison.
  • Grin of Audacity: Worn often, at least by the DCAU version, who really enjoys his work and is an all-around merry fellow.
  • Heel Face Turn: The Flash was one of the first comics to attempt this seriously, and at some point, almost every Silver Age Rogue had attempted to go legit, to varying degrees of success. This was Retconned to be the work of the Top, however, who gleefully undid it all during the Rogue War. It's implied that two of the Rogues, Pied Piper and the Trickster, legitimately went straight, though Top's meddling blinded Trickster to the fact that being on the right side of the law didn't mean he was in the right.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Common in the Flash mythos.
    • Barry Allen's classic sacrifice in Crisis on Infinite Earths. It even stuck for a while.
    • Wally West almost kills himself attempting to pull Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force, but certainly managed to finish off his tenure as the mainline Flash save for a brief interlude between Bart and Barry.
    • Jenni Ognats, Bart's cousin and Barry's other grandchild, was heavily insinuated by the Time Trapper in the Legends of the Dead Earth annuals to be destined to eventually follow Barry's example and sacrifice her own life to save the universe during a future crisis. Of course that was two or three reboots ago, now.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: They all have one, and three out of the four are paired with a Green Lantern. Jay and Alan Scott, Barry and Hal Jordan, and Wally and Kyle Rayner are all Flash/Green Lantern Life Partners. Bart has Tim Drake. Wally is also closely linked to Dick Grayson, who was the best man at his wedding.
    • They also play these relationships for all the comedic value they can get, Barry and Green Arrow have a sort of rivalry over Hal, as do Bart and Superboy over Tim.
    • When she meets Kyle Rayner for the first time, Jenni Ognats mentions the enduring Flash-Lantern partnership and uses it as an excuse to flirt him up.
  • Hot Mom: they must have really good anti-aging cosmetics in the 30th century if Iris really looks that young in Rebirth...
    • One of Bart's friends immediately develops a crush on Meloni on first sight:

Carol: Charmed, I'm sure. Say hello, Preston.
Preston: (complete with hearts over his head) Hhhaaaa...

  • An Ice Suit: Captain Cold.
  • Impossibly Compact Folding: The Flash's ring holds his entire outfit inside.
  • In the Blood (subversions below)
    • Bart happily embraces his Allen side and completely rejects the Thawne legacy (he's a descendant of the first Zoom), and shows zero angst over it. Zoom does not take kindly to this at all.

Professor Zoom: Your mother may be a Thawne, but your father was an Allen. Your blood is polluted.
Bart: Look on the bright side, Professor Plum. We're only half related!

    • Meloni (Bart's mother) is the "black sheep" of her family; as someone on Comicbloc said, He [Zoom] didn't factor on Meloni not being a bitch though.
  • Instant Forensics: Barry Allen's speed is often used to justify this.
  • Japanese Ranguage: The Trope Namer, believe it or not.
  • Kid Sidekick: Kid Flash; Impulse was a subversion of this until Didio struck and he was turned into a pod person.
  • Legacy Character: and legacy characters for legacy characters of legacy characters...
    • CANON RULE 63 IMPULSE (look at Bart's face; it practically screams "I'm sorry, what?!")
      • Iris (younger one, Wally's daughter) is a Bart fangirl, if you were wondering.
  • The Lifestream: the Speed Force is often portrayed as this
  • Living Memory: Barry Allen, via Time Travel!
  • Mundane Utility: Well, if you had super-speed, you'd probably use it to get the shopping done too.
  • Myth Arc: "The Flash is to time what Green Lantern is to space", says Geoff Johns. If you read through all of the current GL run so far, you'll see what I mean; he's trying to do the same thing here, starting with Rebirth.
  • Name's the Same: On the hero side, we have:
    • The Flash
    • The Flash
    • Kid Flash/The Flash
    • Impulse/Kid Flash/The Flash
    • Kid Flash/Impulse
    • And on the villain side, we have:
    • Reverse-Flash
    • Reverse-Flash/Professor Zoom
    • Zoom/Reverse-Flash
    • Inertia/Kid Zoom
    • Half the Rogues, though they make it a rule to never have two members with the same title.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Much of the Flash's Rogues Gallery is like this...most of the time.
  • Not So Harmless: Eobard Thawne aka Professor Zoom has both his superpowers and his Ax Craziness ramped up considerably in The Flash: Rebirth.
  • Older and Wiser: Max Mercury and Jay take this role in regards to the other speedsters
  • Personality Powers: subverted with Jay and Barry, who are generally slow and methodical, played mostly straight with Wally, and taken right to the extreme with Impulse!Bart, who'd just run blindly into everything.
    • Barry, since coming back to life, has been significantly more like Bart and Wally, which is noted by Hal Jordan during Blackest Night.
  • Plot Tumor: The Speed Force has so many applications and created so many allies and threats to the Flash that it has quickly become central to the Flash mythos.
  • Power Degeneration: Wally's powers were killing him for awhile, bringing his powers down to more reasonable levels. You know, not exceeding the mass of the universe while running, stuff like that.
  • Rainbow Motif: Rainbow Raider.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: A fun and useful application of Super Speed powers. The best example probably being in Justice League Unlimited where Wally slams all the Brainiac out of Lex Luthor.
  • Required Secondary Powers: All the Flashes have an invisible aura around their bodies that protects them from air friction, inertia, etc, as they move at high speed. And that's just the beginning. look at what they can do with the Speed Force, and try to figure out how their powers work
  • Rogues Gallery: The main Rogues Gallery actually call themselves that. In some continuities, they even have dental.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: At "A hairs breadth short of the speed of light", Flash saves a population of 532,000 from a nuclear explosion by carrying them one or two at a time to a hill 35 miles away and does this all in 0.00001 microseconds. If you do the math, the result is much faster than the speed of light.
    • Thirteen trillion times, to be precise.
      • Relativistic time dilation, meaning his speed relative to us could have been many times the speed of light? No? Worth a shot.
        • Er... no. The speed of light is a hard constant. Two beams of light approaching each other will see each other going at the speed of light (abet shifted in the spectrum). Sticking with "he's going faster than the speed of light" is actually just a lot simpler.
          • As the Flash approaches the speed of light, his seconds would get shorte
  • Screwed by the Network: The 1990s TV series, which aired for only one season on CBS and had its time slot constantly changed before it was canned.
    • For example, at one point, this hour long drama was moved to air at 8:30 PM. To avoid competing with The Cosby Show and The Simpsons, as it had been.
  • Second Coming: In an episode of the TV series, Barry Allen is accidentally thrust 10 years into a future where Central City has been taken over by his brother's killer, Nicholas Pike, and where an underground group of citizens were waiting for the Flash to return in order to set things right.
  • Serial Killer: Murmur, one of the unashamedly murderous rogues, hates the sound of speech and goes about cutting peoples' tongues out including his own.
  • Shout-Out: Marvel had a nice Shout Out with "Buried Alien".
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: (Wally is possibly the most successful example, with his run lasting for over 20 years)
  • Snap to the Side: His rouges gallery pretty much has to learn this to avoid whiplash.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Bart gets a great deal of his mannerisms and appearance from his mother, right down to the crazy hairstyle!
  • Super Reflexes: They all have them, as an obvious requirement to traveling that fast. They also tend to lose them whenever the writers want a Flash to do something like, say, get stabbed by Deathstroke.
  • Super Family Team: The Garricks.
  • Super Speed (obviously)
    • Flash-type speedsters are the fastest beings in the universe, full stop. Of course, running at superluminal speed doesn't come without risks; the faster you run, the higher the chance there is at being absorbed by/merging with the Speed Force, which is why they tend to keep to "normal" supersonic speeds (~Mach 10 or so).
  • Taking Over the Town: This was Blacksmith's plan for taking over Central and Keystone Cities. She had Murmur and Mirror Master attack radio stations and reprogram their antennas to broadcast a mirror shield around the twin cities to prevent anyone from coming in or getting out.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Iris finds out about Barry's dual identity this way on their wedding night, but keeps it to herself until Barry finally decides to 'fess up on their first anniversary.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Because of the whole time-travel schtick and Bart's ancestry.
  • Wham! Episode: The Blitz storyline, which had two years of continuity behind it, leading to Wally's personal Big Bad, a disturbingly easy aversion of Infant Immortality, and arguably the most shocking Face Heel Turn since Terra in Teen Titans. Johns apparently remembered that an Unpleasable Fanbase sent death threats to the people involved in Terra's turn (despite it being planned from her introduction), and laid out every piece of evidence given out as proof that this was always coming. The introduction comic ends with Wally's close friend, Hunter Zolomon, realizes that he's also capable of moving at superspeed. This, coupled with his irrational belief that Wally wasn't being heroic enough, led him to scratch away a paper with his name on it, leaving only the name "Zoom".
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Rogues have their very own tailor, Paul Gambi.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Averted when Captain Cold faces his sister's murderer, who co-opted Cold's freeze guns as Chillblaine. Chillblaine tries to start the fight off with a witty pun, but Cold's there for vengeance.

Notes

  1. Real world scientific research at the time had found that laboratory animals would, while exposed to some of the compounds present in hard water, have measurably faster metabolisms. Probably to eliminate those unpleasant chemicals from their bodies.
  2. Bartholomew Henry Allen