The Flash possesses the power to move at Class 3000 speed, and can attain velocities equal to that of the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). His super-human endurance enables him to run great distances without tiring. He has an aura of unknown physical properties which protects him from the rigors of motion at super-speed.
Chemistry * Physics * Quantum Mechanics
Chronal Physics * Criminology * Detective
The Justice League of America
Police Scientist Barry Allen was working late in his laboratory on the night of a thunderstorm when a random lightening bolt struck both him and the cabinet of chemicals in front of which he was standing.
The lightening smashed some of the containers of chemicals, which spilled over Allen. Allen was unharmed, but discovered that the accident had given him super-speed. Inspired by the adventures of the original Flash, Allen decided to use his super-powers to fight crime as the new Flash. (An account alleging that the accident that gave Allen his powers was actually staged by a being named Mopee is entirely incorrect.)
The Flash quickly became a celebrated hero. He accumulated a number of colorful adversaries who became known as the Flash's "Rogues' Gallery," and he became a founding member of the Justice League of America. The Flash gained an occasional partner when his girlfriend Iris West's nephew Wally fell victim to the same accident that granted Allen his own powers. Wally too gained the power of super-speed and became known as Kid Flash. The Flash also played a key role in the first recorded adventures of the Elongated Man. In addition, the Flash made the first recorded journey from his own Earth to the parallel world of Earth-2, where he met Jay Garrick, the original Flash. These two Flashes subsequently played a key role in the adventure that led to the revival of the Justice Society of America.
Just before Allen was to marry his long-time fiancee Iris West, he was imprisoned by his arch-foe Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash, who also possessed the power to move at super-speed, and who came from the 25th century. Zoom used his advanced science to give himself (temporarily, as it turned out) Barry Allen's physical appearance. Knowing his foe's dual identity, Zoom intended to take over the roles of both the Flash and Barry Allen, and even to marry Iris himself. However, the real Flash broke free of Zoom's trap, defeated Zoom, and, as Allen, married Iris.
After the wedding, Iris learned that her husband was the Flash. Much later, Iris and the Flash discovered that she had been born in the 30th Century and sent back to the 20th Century as an infant. Years after her wedding, Zoom returned and demanded that Iris forsake the Flash for him. When Iris refused, Zoom murdered her. After a battle with the Flash, Zoom became lost in the time stream.
Barry Allen eventually fell in love with a young woman named Fiona Webb, but on the day he was to marry her, Zoom returned again. Zoom was intent on murdering Fiona, and in saving her life, the Flash accidentally broke Zoom's neck. As a result the Flash was arrested and put on trial for second-degree murder. The prosecution contended that the Flash had intended to kill Zoom and could have stopped him in less fatal ways. The Flash's defense attorney, Cecile Horton, argued that the Flash the best he knew how on the spur of the moment to save Fiona's life, and that the killing was unintentional. Meanwhile, Barry Allen had "disappeared" and was eventually presumed dead. Fiona Webb had suffered a nervous breakdown when Allen vanished just before their wedding and Zoom nearly killed her, and the Flash learned that Barry's reappearance could cause a relapse. Hence, the Flash decided to let Allen stay "dead," and even had surgeons in Gorilla City give him a new face after his own was severely injured.
Unknown to the Flash, Iris was still alive in the 30th Century. Her parents knew about her "death" at Zoom's hands fro their studies of the past, and used advanced technology to perform a "psychic transplant." Hence, Zoom killed Iris's original body, but her spirit was transplanted into the body of a deceased 25-year-old 30th Century woman, thereby reanimating that body. Iris's parents realized that the Reverse-Flash's death five centuries before his birth should never have happened, and was causing disruptions in the time stream. Since his death should not have taken place when it did, neither should the Flash be punished for killing him, even apart from the question of his legal innocence or guilt. So Iris's parents sent her spirit back in time to rectify the damage to the time stream by preventing the Flash from being convicted. She took possession of the body of Mason Newbury, one of the jurors in the Flash's trial. As Newbury, she convinced the other jurors that the Flash was innocent.
However, another of the Flash's foes, Abra Kadabra, came from his future era and impersonated the Reverse-Flash. He took control of the jurors' minds and forced them to declare the Flash guilty. He also tried to kill six of the Flash's other foes -- the Mirror Master, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, the Trickster, the Weather Wizard, and the Rainbow Raider -- out of spite, since they had never associated with him. The Flash, Iris as Newbury, and the six criminals finally confronted Kadabra in a far future time period to which they had all travelled and, working together, defeated him. Newbury, released from his possession, and the six criminals returned to their own time period, but the Flash decided to remain in the 30th Century with his beloved Iris. Evidence was sent back to the Flash's own time that resulted in the clearing of his name of all charges.