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Quote1 Hey, Kid. Name's The Flash, nice to meet ya. Quote2
-- Barry Allen src

Barry Allen is The Flash, the fastest man alive. Using his super-speed powers, he taps into the Speed Force and becomes a costumed crime-fighter. His position is a legacy in the Flash Family, successor to the original Jay Garrick and predecessor to Wally West. He is a founding member of the Justice League of America.

Origins

Main article: Flash Origins

Barry Allen and a twin brother were born two weeks late, to Henry and Nora Allen in the small midwestern town of Fallville, Iowa. The brother was pronounced stillborn by Dr. Gilmore. However, in actuality, he had been born healthy, but given to another family, the Thawnes, whose child had died during birth. The lateness of Barry's birth only foreshadowed his bad habit of always being late. Barry grew up reading the adventures of his favorite superhero, Jay Garrick, the original Flash and acted many of his hero's adventures out with his friend and future actress, Daphne Dean.

When he was a child, his mother was killed and his father was convicted of the crime. The drive to prove his father was innocent gave Barry a strong belief in justice.

In high school, Barry had a reputation for being slow and easy-going. On his first date, he went to a carnival. His date had wanted to put a little motion in his life, and they went on the roller-coaster first thing. Because of this, he developed a fear of roller-coasters, a fear that he didn't get rid of until much later in his life.

Barry loved chemistry from an early age, and that helped his skills as a farmer. He won first place in the Fallville County Fair Agricultural Competition, a prize which included a scholarship to Sun City University. He graduated in three years with a major in organic chemistry and a minor in criminology.

While a senior, Barry helped the authorities apprehend a bank robber, and he was offered a job as a police scientist for the Central City Police Department Scientific Detection Bureau. Eager to be in the sister city of his childhood hero's home, Keystone City, he accepted the offer.

After moving to Central City and getting an apartment with a laboratory in the back, Barry began dating Picture News reporter Iris West, whom he met while examining an apparent murder that she was reporting. She was charmed by his honesty and stability.

That night during an electrical storm, Barry returned to an experiment after a short break. All of a sudden, a bolt of lightning streaked through a window, shattered a chemical cabinet and covered Barry in the electrified chemicals. Dazed, he decided to return home in a taxi. However, the taxi started to pull away without noticing him. Barry sprinted after it, only to run straight past it as if it had been standing still. He decided to sit down and recollect his thoughts at a diner. A passing waitress accidentally spilled the items of her tray onto Barry, who amazingly caught them all in mid-air and returns them to the tray. The next day, Barry saved Iris from a stray bullet. There was no question about it: the freak accident had somehow given Barry superhuman speed!

The Flash

Deciding to use his powers to help humanity, Barry designed a special costume. He used a special cold cast polyester he developed in college, which could be molded into miniature outfits from liquid material, that, when submerged 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.[1] The first villain he faced was the Turtle Man.

Justice League

As the Flash, Barry later became a founding member of the Justice League of America, where he befriended Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, with whom he had many adventures both with and without the Justice League. Later still, he discovered that Jay Garrick was real, and became friends with him as well.

Kid Flash

During one summer, Iris's nephew Wally came to visit her in Central City. He was an incredible Flash fan, and he knew his aunt's boyfriend was a "friend" of the Flash, so a meeting was arranged. The Flash offered to answer all of Wally's questions, so Wally asked how the Flash had gained his powers of super-speed. The Flash explained the events of what had happened, causing Wally to wish out loud that something like that would happen to him. It just so happened that Barry had set up the chemical cabinet in his lab just as it had been during that fateful night, and there was a thunderstorm on the afternoon of Wally's visit. All of a sudden, almost in answer to Wally's wish, the freak accident that gave Barry his powers repeated itself, this time covering Wally in electrically-charged chemicals. Now possessing the same powers as the Flash, Wally at first donned a smaller-sized copy of Barry Allen's Flash costume, with the Picture News dubbing the young crime fighter 'Kid Flash' in a headline. Wally's original costume was later transformed into a new yellow and red design with which the Flash had been toying, following an accident with a matter-transforming machine. As Kid Flash, Wally wore this costume for many years until he outgrew his teenage appellation and became the new Flash, exchanging it for the outfit originally worn by Barry.

Marriage

Eventually, Barry proposed to Iris on a Ferris wheel at the fair. She accepted, and they were married, in spite of the efforts of Professor Zoom, who attempted to foil the ceremony. Barry hid his identity from Iris for a year, although she had known the entire time because he had spoken in his sleep on their honeymoon. He was worried that the accident had made him less human and that they would not be able to have children. However, after performing many tests that first year, he determined that they still could, and he revealed his secret.

However, it was not long before Professor Zoom took Iris's life at a masquerade party. Barry chased him into the timestream and left him there.

Trial of the Flash

Barry met and began to date another woman, Fiona Webb. However, on the day they were supposed to be married, Zoom showed up again, claiming that he would once again kill the wife of the Flash. Barry chased him across the world and failed to show up for his own wedding. In the end, Zoom was about to kill Fiona, but Barry unwittingly killed him. The Flash was charged with manslaughter and had to face a long trial.

Barry's face was disfigured severely in a battle with Big Sir. He went to Gorilla City to have his face repaired. Since Barry Allen had supposedly been missing, he decided to have it reconstructed into a completely new face, so that he could keep his secret identity dead.

Retirement

Later, Barry was brought to the 30th century, where Iris was from and had been reborn. For about a month, they lived in happiness and thanks to great advances in reconstructive surgery that had been made in this era, Barry's original features were restored. Iris would later have twins, Don and Dawn Allen.

Barry made a stop in time during his trip to the future and met up with Wally West in a battle against Professor Zoom. There were two Zooms at the time and they each took one. Barry fared much better than Wally and sent his Zoom through the timestream. It is unclear what happened to him, but he does end up in the 30th century.[2]

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Death of the Flash

Death of the Flash
The Crisis on Infinite Earths brought Barry out of retirement. The 30th Century was beginning to fall apart: natural disasters were occurring despite the technology that had been created to stop them, and reality itself was fraying. Flash returned to the 20th century to warn his fellow heroes. Just as he started to warn Batman, he was pulled into the Antimatter Universe by the Anti-Monitor, where he was mentally tortured by the Psycho-Pirate. Finally, he used the Psycho-Pirate to turn all of the Anti-Monitor's servants, the Thunderers, against him. This gave him enough time to destroy the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon by running around it and destroying the outer casing. He ran so incredibly fast that he entered the Speed Force forever.[3]

Afterlife

There are several differing accounts on what happened to Barry following his death. He has been shown to transform into electricity as he goes back in time, eventually becoming the lightning bolt that first struck him and gave him his powers.[4]

There was an extra-dimensional amnesiac character who later showed up in the Marvel Universe, implied to be Barry and remembering his name as something like Buried Alien.[5] He later adopted the alias Fastforward.[6]

The Terminal Velocity storyline introduces the concept of the Speed Force, portrayed as a sort of Valhalla for speedsters. Barry is shown to have joined the ranks of legendary speedster heroes throughout time in death.[7] This still allows him to become the lightning bolt that struck him in the chemical accident.[8]

Oliver Queen later met Barry when he visited an aspect of Heaven following his own resurrection in Quiver. Hal Jordan and Jason Todd were also seen, as Barry gave Oliver advice on the afterlife.[9]

The Witch Thessaly also encounters him at the Dead Legends Cafe. In death, he is portrayed as an amnesiac who doesn't even remember his own name, but still, maintains some of his heroic characteristics.[10]

Identity Crisis

Main article: Identity Crisis

In a flashback, it is revealed that Barry was part of a conspiracy where Zatanna brainwashed Doctor Light, and mind wiped Batman's memory of the event. He was also the one who decided to do so, not wanting an instance like when Professor Zoom killed Iris to happen again.[11]

Infinite Crisis

Main article: Infinite Crisis
Barry Allen's soul appeared from the Speed Force, along with Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, to help his grandson Bart deal with [Kal-El (Earth-Prime)

Romantic Relationships

  • Daphne Dean
  • Iris West: Easily one of Barry's greatest love interests, due to their marriage prior to the time alteration by Flashpoint. Their marriage proved beneficial to Barry, giving him his first sidekick and nephew through marriage, Wally West, the first Kid Flash. They loved each other greatly. They started dating and eventually married. When Professor Zoom killed Iris, is apparently decreased Barry's carefulness due to his anger and killed Zoom. He exiled himself to the 30th century, and started a peaceful life together with Iris, having Twins. After Flashpoint, they are not married, and their relationship seems to go to the degree of platonic love, as they are very good friends due to their respective jobs.
  • Fiona Webb: Barry dated Fiona for a while in the post-Flashpoint timeline, but ended up breaking up with her.

Powers

  • Speed Force Generation: Barry Allen is the very source and creator of the Speed Force, and generates it with every step he takes. For this very reason, he is unaffected if any other speedster tries to steal or drain his speed. Barry has shown that he cannot be stopped by any force if he absorbs the Speed Force.
    • Superhuman Speed: Barry has the potential to be the fastest of the Flashes, and is arguably one of the fastest beings in all of existence. He is fast enough to easily outpace Superman, as well as break any dimensional barrier and even enter the Speed Force itself,[12] and is one of the few people to have ever escaped from it.
    • Superhuman Reflexes: Barry possesses reflexes far greater than a normal human being. This allows him to easily react to danger and events, and perceive the world in slow motion.[13]
    • Superhuman Stamina: Barry's body can handle the stress of moving at superhuman speeds for extended periods of time without getting tired or weak.[14]
    • Superhuman Agility: Barry's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to superhuman levels. This allows him to easily make sharp turns and leap far distances while moving at superhuman speed.[14]
    • Speed Force Aura: The Speed Force manifests an aura around the speedster and whatever they are carrying, protecting them from adverse effects of their speed, such a friction with the air, airborne particulate matter, kinetic impacts, G-Force and the like.
      • Superhuman Durability: Barry is capable of resisting tremendous kinetic impact forces that could easily crush or kill a human, without suffering any serious external or internal injuries, making him much more durable than any human.
    • Accelerated Healing: Like all conduits of the Speed Force, Barry is capable of regenerating from injuries much faster than any normal human.
    • Dimensional Travel: Barry is capable of breaking the dimensional barrier with his speed to traverse between dimensions, to enter the Speed Force at will.[12]
    • Electrokinesis: As the generator of the Speed Force, Barry is the very source of the electrical Speed Force energy that all speedsters generate. This Speed Force lightning emanates off of him, especially when moving at super-speed.[15]
    • Enhanced Mental Process: Barry's mental capacities are greatly enhanced by the Speed Force, allowing him to think at the speed of light and perceive events that last less than an attosecond.[17] He is also capable of reading at superhuman rates, accumulating mass amounts of knowledge in seconds. However, unlike his grandson, the knowledge does not stay in his memory very long and disappears after a short time.
    • Enhanced Senses: The Speed Force grants Barry enhanced senses that allow him to perceive the world at a rate attuned to his reaction speed.
    • Flight: Barry can achieve aerial locomotion either by creating cyclones or spinning his body like a propeller. Like his nephew Wally, Barry's capable of running in the frictionless vacuum of space/time or even from beyond the life barrier without need of a solid surface to run along.[18][19]
      • Interstellar Travel: One of the most advanced ways Speed Force users fly is by directing one's own atomic-molecular motion in the direction one wishes to travel in, e.i. syncing his vibrational frequency with those of ultra-light waves to traverse planetary distances with ease.[20]
    • Molecular Acceleration: Barry can vibrate his own molecular structure at varying degrees for a number of purposes, by adjusting to different frequencies.
      • Phasing: By vibrating his molecules on an atomic level, and by doing so at just the right frequency, Barry can allow himself to become momentarily intangible, and phase through objects such as walls.
    • Time-Travel: Barry is capable of using his speed to break the time barrier, allowing him to travel throughout various point in time.[21]
      • Reality Alteration: By preventing events in the past while time-traveling, Barry can unintentionally alter the present reality. This was displayed when Barry traveled back in time and saved his mother from being killed, and accidentally altered the entire universe, creating the Flashpoint timeline.[21]
    • Vortex Creations: By rotating his arms at super speed or running in a circular motion, Barry can manipulate the airflow around him to create strong vortexes of wind.[13]

Abilities

Equipment

  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
  • For a brief time it was implied that the post-Crisis' Barry Allen's origin was a time loop where he becomes the very lightning bolt that struck him and gave him his powers.[22]
  • To protect their secret identities, Wally West has recalled that Barry insisted they be late for everything. He mentions not having seen the beginning of a movie for ten years.[23]
  • On the 1976 DC Comics Calendar, his birthday was listed as March 19th. In The Life Story of the Flash (1997), it was made May 13th.
  • As a hobby, Barry liked to research trivia and would occasionally recite them to other people; dubbing them "Flash Facts".
  • Among all of the detectives in the super hero community, Batman appreciated Barry Allen's optimistic outlook; a man who saw his work as protecting the innocent, instead of damning the guilty.
  • Barry Allen supports the death penalty.[24]

Related


Footnotes

  1. The Flash #128
  2. The Flash #224-The Flash #225
  3. Crisis on Infinite Earths #8
  4. Secret Origins (Volume 2) Annual #2
  5. Quasar #17
  6. Quasar #58
  7. Flash (Volume 2) #195-100
  8. JLA Incarnations #5
  9. Green Arrow (Volume 3) #7-8
  10. Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad #3
  11. Identity Crisis: #2
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Rebirth_3
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Rebirth_2
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Rebirth_1
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Rebirth_4
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Final_Crisis_4
  17. Superman #709
  18. The Flash #218
  19. Super-Team Family #15
  20. The Flash #197
  21. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Flashpoint_5
  22. Secret Origins Annual (Volume 2) #2
  23. Flash (Volume 2) #30
  24. Flash (Volume 2) #219



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