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Scarlet Speedster: The Flash

The Flash incarnations, art by Ethan Van Sciver

The Flash is the name of several characters published under DC Comics. The original Flash initially appeared in Flash Comics # 1 and was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert. Nicknamed the “Scarlet Speedster,” Flash incarnations have the ability to run, move, and think exceptionally fast. Flash also had superhuman reflexes that seemingly violate some laws of physics.

The Flashes

There are four notable ‘Scarlet Speedster’ in the DC Universe. These include Jay Garrick from the Golden Age, Barry Allen from the Silver Age, Wally from the Bronze Age, and Bart Allen from the Modern Age. However, these four were not the only superhumans who have carried the mantle of Flash. Aside from these four renowned Flashes of different ages, there have been many other individuals in the history of comics that were named “The Flash.” Some of them include Jace Allen, Sela Allen, Kryad, John Fox, The Tornado Twins, Blaine Allen, Jesse Chambers, and Bizzaro Flash.

The Four Notable Flashes

The Flash is one of the most famous superheroes that DC Comics had released. In contrast to most superheroes, over the years, many ‘speedster’ heroes have assumed the identity of The Flash – either because of reboots or even continuous deaths. Although several others used the name Flash, some of them lived in the future, while others were in other parallel universes.

Jay Garrick

Jay Garrick, art by Alex Ross

Jay Garrick was the first person in the DC universe to become the Flash, on Flash Comics # 1, released in January 1940.

Jay Garrick was a student, who unintentionally inhaled strong water vaporsafter taking a break in his lab where he studied. As a result, he discovered that he could run at rapid speed and had equally quick reflexes.Jay initially used his powers to be a football star player and to get a girlfriend. However, subsequently, he used his new-found powers to fight crime and make it a better place in the world.

 Barry Allen

Barry Allen, art by Alex Ross

Barry Allen was an assistant scientist from the Central City Police Department in the Division of Criminal and Forensic Science. Barry was known to be very slow, deliberate, and often late. However, after a freak lightning bolt hit a nearby shelf one night in his lab and doused him with unnamed chemicals, Barry found out that he could now run very quickly.With this, he made a set of red costume with a lightning bolt logo, named himself Flash, and became a crime-fighter active in Central City.

Wallace Rudolph “Wally” West

Wally as Kid Flash, art by Howard Porter

Wallace Rudolph “Wally” West was first introduced in The Flash #110 in 1959. Wally is the nephew of Barry Allen, who obtained his superpowers at the age of ten. During West’s visit to his uncle’s laboratory, the same accident that gave Allen his powers had happened to West. After bathing in an electrically-charged chemical, West now possessed the same capabilities as Allen.

Now with the same powers as his uncle, West took a copy of his uncle’s outfit and became a young, criminal fighter named ‘Kid Flash.’ After the events in which Barry Allen was murdered in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally became the fastest man alive.

Bartholomew Henry “Bart” Allen II

Bart Allen on issue #92

Bartholomew Henry Allen II is a fictional hero released by the DC Comics. His character was created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo in 1959 and debuted in The Flash issue #92. He first appeared as ‘Impulse’ and subsequently took the named Kid Flash. Bart then became the second ‘Kid Flash,’ as well as the fourth known ‘Flash.’

Bart Allen is the grandson of Barry Allen and his wife, Iris. He was initially born in the 30th century and belonged to a long series of heroes and villains. However, this origin was later on revised.On his latest origin revision, Bart Allen was born with an extremely quick metabolism, which caused him to age rapidly. He was thus brought up in a virtual reality machine until Iris sent Bart back in time to get help from Wally West, the then-current Flash. Bart’s aging slowed down with Wally’s aid, taking the name ‘Impulse.’ However, Bart changed his costume and took the mantle of ‘Kid Flash’ after being shot in his knee by Deathstroke.

Superpowers and Abilities

Every Flash can move, think, and react at light speed and with superhuman endurance that enables them to run unbelievably far away. Some versions, particularly later, can vibrate so quickly that they are able to pass through the walls in a process known as ‘quantum tunneling.’ Furthermore, speedsters can heal faster than an average human. They also had an invisible aura that protects their body against air friction.

Flashes and other super speedsters are also able to talk to each other at a fast pace. It often takes place in private talks in front of people. Sometimes, speed talk can also be observed when a Flash gets so excited that his words sound jumpy. Moreover, Flash has the ability to change his vocal cords’ vibration so that he can change the sounds of his voice.

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