Real Name: Bartholomew "Barry" Henry Allen
Occupation: Adventurer, Forensic Scientist
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no known criminal record.
Other Aliases: Black Flash, Parallax, Comet,
Place of Birth: Fallville, Iowa
Marital Status: Married
Known Relatives: Henry (father), Nora (mother), Malcolm Thawne (brother, alias Professor Zoom), Iris Allen (wife), Donald ("Don," son), Dawn (daughter), Bart (grandson, alias Impulse), Jenni Ognats (granddaughter), Wally West (nephew, alias Kid Flash)
Group Affiliation: Justice League of America, The Flash Family, former member of the Blue Lantern Corps
Base Of Operations: Central City, Missouri
First Appearance: Showcase #4
History: Barry Allen was one of two sons born to Henry and Nora Allen in the small Midwestern town of Fallville, Iowa. Barry's brother was pronounced stillborn at birth, but, in actuality, this was a ruse for an unscrupulous physician to market the twin in an illegal adoption ring. The other Allen infant had been born healthy, but he was given to another family, the Thawnes, whose child had died during birth and was used to replace Barry's twin brother. The Allens never had any knowledge of the truth of the incident for several years.
In his youth, Barry grew up reading the fictionalized adventures of many World War Two era heroes, particularly that of Jay Garrick, the original Flash. The stories gave him an instinct of right and wrong and a compulsion to follow the law. After the murder of his mother, Henry Allen was blamed and nearly convicted. Barry became driven to prove his father was innocent, further grounding his strong belief in justice. In high school, Barry had a reputation for being slow and easy-going. He also had a high aptitude for science and chemistry which helped his skills as a farmer, but it also helped him win first place in the Fallville County Fair Agricultural Competition, a prize which included an scholarship to Sun City University. He graduated in three years with a major in organic chemistry and a minor in criminology.
While in college, 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. In the Forties, Central City had been the sister city of Keystone City, the hometown of Jay Garrick. Barry considered the connection to his childhood hero an omen to get closer to his boyhood hero and took the job, eventually excelling in the ranks to become chief scientist to the Central City Police Department. Barry soon met Picture News reporter Iris West while she was reporting on a murder and they began dating. Late one night as Barry was waiting on forensic results as his crime lab, a powerful storm struck Central City, and a chance lightning bolt struck a metal shelf of chemicals, altering their properties and splashing Barry who the chemicals altered as well. Barry was stunned and surprised that he was not seriously hurt, but he soon discovered that the chemicals had altered and accelerated all of his body's natural tendencies. He could run at incredible speeds and his reflexes had been increased above human levels.
After saving Iris from a stray bullet, Barry realized he could use his new powers for the greater good. He created a secret identity as the Flash, basing himself on the original wartime Flash but with an entirely new costume. He used a special cold cast polyester suit he had developed in college, which could be molded into miniature outfits from liquid material and could be hidden. In his position at the police department, he was always privy to police files and activities and could appear at the scene as the Flash, capture the criminals and then rush back to his position at the lab. The Flash soon developed a certain rogues gallery of villains including Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Grodd, Captain Boomerang, The Weather Wizard, Dr. Alchemy and Professor Zoom, who turned out to be Malcolm Thawne, Barry's long lost brother, although neither of them knew it at it the time.
The Flash became a founding member of the Justice League of America. He became fast friends with Green Lantern with whom he had many adventures both with and without the Justice League. He also became friends with the Batman and would regularly discuss criminal psychology with him to compare their foes. He soon met Jay Garrick and the members of the wartime Justice Society of America who at times joined the Justice League of America on missions. Eventually, Barry met a teenager named Wally West, who was a nephew of Iris and a fan of the Flash. In a eerie coincidence, a similar storm to the one that had given Barry his powers also gave Wally incredible speed powers. Barry revealed his identity to Wally and became his mentor as well. Calling himself Kid Flash, Wally followed the Flash on several Justice League adventures and became a founding member of the Teen Titans.
Eventually, Barry and Iris got married. Professor Zoom who had deduced the Flash's secret identity attempted to foil the ceremony but failed to do so. Barry hid his identity from Iris for a year, although she had known the entire time because of Barry's tendency to talk in his sleep on their honeymoon. He became 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 willingly revealed his secret. Rather than allow Barry to have a happy life, Zoom murdered Iris and Barry in his grief pursued Zoom to have his revenge. Using their speed powers, the Flash pursued Zoom to kill him, but their speed powers allowed them to break the time space barrier into warp space. Trapped in Limbo, Barry realized he could not take another life and abandoned Zoom there instead.
Returning back to Earth, the Flash continued fighting crime and having adventures. He soon met and began to romance another woman, Fiona Webb, and planned to marry again. However, Zoom figured out how to escape Limbo and re-enter the time-stream. Realizing Barry was about to get married again, Zoom swore he would once again kill the wife of the Flash. Barry pursued him across the world but failed to show up for his own wedding. Fiona refused to marry Barry as a result. Zoom still planned to kill Fiona, but the Flash finally confronted him and unwittingly killed him as a result. The Flash was eventually charged with manslaughter, and adhering to his own belief of justice, Barry as the Flash had to face a long trial.
However, during a battle with Big Sir, Barry's face was severely disfigured severely. Unable to see regular doctors because of his dual identity, he went traveled to the hidden civilization of 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. He soon discovered that Iris was a native of an alternate future of the 30th Century native to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Although, she had died in his time, she still lived in the future and he stayed in the 30th Century to romance her and finally marry her. Freed of the evil of Professor Zoom, Barry retired his Flash identity and with Iris had twins named Don and Dawn Allen.
The Flash was eventually brought out of retirement during the Crisis of Infinite Earths. The Justice League of America joined by the heroes of Earth fought on the side of the Monitor to battle his counterpart, the Anti-Monitor in the Anti-Matter Universe, who wanted to destroy the universe and remake it in his own image. In doing so, several alternate Earths were destroyed and several heroes from multiple eras in time came together. The Anti-Monitor plucked Professor Zoom, now calling himself the Reverse Flash, to face the Flash once more. The Crisis had devastating effects across time and space, and the Flash returned to the 20th Century to warn the Justice League. Pulled into the Anti-Matter Universe by the Anti-Monitor, the Flash was mentally tortured by the Psycho-Pirate, but he instead used the Psycho-Pirate to turn all of the Anti-Monitor's servants, the Thunderers, against him. This distraction gave the Flash enough time to destroy the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon, but in doing so, he gave his life; his body and spirit becoming energy that traveled back in time and became the lightning bolt that gave his younger self his powers. The universe was restored, but several of the denizens who lost their native alternate realities in the event found their lives recreated on mainstream Earth. Several mainstream individuals found their lives slightly altered by the effects of the Crisis. To honor Barry, Wally took his costume and replaced him as the third Flash.
Despite his death, Barry Allen appeared in spirit form with Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, to help his grandson, Bart Allen, deal with Superboy, the denizen of one of the alternate Earths destroyed during the Crisis. His apparition is seen a few more times by Wally West and Jay Garrick who discovered an alternate future of Earth ruled by Darkseid. Jay eventually found Barry alive in the Thirtieth Century where he had retired with Iris and convinced him to prevent this alternate reality from occurring. However, in doing so, it is uncertain whether they actually destroyed that future or just restored the timeline. Barry was welcomed back home by his family and friends in the Twentieth Century, but he became increasingly distracted and uneasy over the new timeline. He went to the Flash Museum in Central City to catch up on what he had missed and was reunited with Hal Jordan, who had formerly been the Green Lantern and had died and returned in separate events. Barry discussed his unease over his return with Hal, and how he felt that he did not need to come back to being the Flash. Remaining loyal to his original vow to protect the innocent, Barry decided to continue his identity as the Flash.
After realizing that his powers also retarded his ability to age, Professor Zoom, who had sent a subliminal pulse into the Speed Force to draw back what was left of Barry's self-awareness. He was also able to conjure his own negative Speed Force to contaminate Barry and other heroes who drew their power from it. However, the Flash soon realized that he himself had created the Speed Force himself. He joined forces with Jay Garrick, Johnny Quick and Max Mercury to chase Zoom through time and capture him, binding and trapping him within a device designed to sever his connection to the negative Speed Force. Regaining some assurance with this victory, Barry was re-admitted as the Flash to the Justice League,
Following his possession by Nekron into the Black Flash during the Blackest Night events, the Flash became a deputy for the Blue Lantern Corps and briefly fought Impulse, his own grandson. He became quite skilled with his ring in creating energy constructs based on his imagination, possibly because of his understanding on how Green Lantern's ring worked, and used it against the Black Lantern versions of Professor Zoom and Solovar.
Nekron and the Black Lantern Corps were eventually opposed and defeated by Green Lantern, and the Flash began a search for his friend and JLA member, Green Arrow, who had murdered the villain, Prometheus, in cold blood. With Green Lantern and the Black Canary by his side, the Flash informed Green Arrow's son, Connor Hawke, about the murder. Angered at that reveal, Green Arrow placed an electrical charge in his quiver that electrocuted the Flash when he tried to take it from him. Due to his speed powers, the Flash revived soon after, but Green Arrow was stripped of his costume and equipment which were passed on to Connor.
Barry Allen has since returned to Central City. Under the cover of having
been in witness protection, Allen returned to the Central City Police Department
crime lab and is back as the Flash. By now, the statute of arrest for the
original murder of Professor Zoom had expired. Further, the villain's return has
seemingly restored the Flash's honor and credibility to the public. The Flash is
considered one of the most recognized heroes on Earth.
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 195 lbs
Strength Level: The Flash possesses the normal human strength level of a man of his size, height and build who engages in extensive regular exercises.
Known Superhuman Powers: The Flash possesses the superhuman capacity to run at great speeds. His entire body is oriented towards the rigors of high-speed running. His cardio-vascular and respiratory systems are several times more efficient than human. However, instead of being sustained by the biochemical product of foodstuffs, he is powered by a vaguely defined extra-dimensional energy force which he refers to as the Speed Force. The exact origin and definition of this force is unknown, but it appears to exist as a ultimate measure of velocity representing the dimensional barrier traversed upon breaking the speed of light (187,272 miles per hour); at this state, the Flash can potentially be at every point of the Earth in 1/60 of a second. In addition to existing as a power source, it also exists as another plane of existence and can be entered and exited by those who know how to tap into it. The Flash is possibly one of the most fastest men in existence, unlike Superman or Quicksilver, who, although they seem to rival the Flash in terms of speed, do not tap into the Speed Force.
Even with the Speed Force powering him, all of the Flash's normal human perimeters have been enhanced to tolerate the rigors of moving at incredible speeds. His joints are more smoother and lubricate more efficiently. His tendons have the tensile strength of spring steel. His bones have become hard enough to withstand the forces of hitting the ground at more than 100 miles an hour, and his practical reaction time is more than five times greater than normal. His body also functions quicker than normal; his healing factor, reflexes and mental capacity at least five times faster. He can burn off poisons to his metabolism before they can take effect in his body. His brain processes information at a level commensurate with the level of a computer, enabling him to perceive his surrounds while at high velocities and perceive objects vibrating at frequencies beyond normal human vision, such as energy fields and laser emissions. The Flash's lachrymose is more viscous that normal, this preventing rapid evaporation and replenishment of surface fluids on his eyes under the influence of high wind velocity to occlude his vision. Furthermore, when he is at speeds approaching the speed of light, the Speed Force he generates creates an invisible aura that protects his clothing and anything else around him from harm.
Although the Flash is capable of breaking the speed of light, he generally moves at speeds of 80 to 100 miles an hour to avoid the destructive forces of the wind created in his wake from moving at great speed. Due to his constant bolstering from the Speed Force, he can run constantly almost indefinitely without fatigue or harmful effects. It has recently been revealed that the creation of the Speed Force is linked to the force of nature that caused the creation of Flash's power. He is not only connected to the Speed Force, but is the very source of it, generating it the more he uses his powers and enabling him to power other similarly-powered speedsters. The Speed Force also tends to affect others living in proximity to the Flash and its recipients, such as slowing down the aging factor of the Flash and those around him as well. Although the Flash is chronologically in the twilight of middle age, he has the vigor and stamina of a man half his age. With to this direct access to the Speed Force, the Flash can out run any other speedster connected to it.
The Flash can focus his his powers of acceleration into various feats. He can seemingly pluck objects out of thin air by moving at speeds faster than eyes can register and elude machine gun and laser fire. He can create hurricane force winds and cyclone effects by pouring his jet stream into a single path. With a decent approach to gain momentum, he can accelerate up the side of a structure with a 90-degree inclination (such as a building) for around 300-500 feet before gravity overtakes him. He can also seemingly run across a body of water for 1000 feet before he starts to sink, but for crossing larger bodies of water, he has to build up to the Speed Force at which point he disappears from view and then reemerges upon reaching land again.
The Flash has complete and total control of the molecules of his body. Due to his link with the Speed Force, he can vibrate them into an intangible state and pass through solid objects, but he can only do so for brief moments of time in order to breath regularly. He can also vibrate his molecules to match other frequencies, enabling him to move through time, space and other dimensions. However, some dimensions and alternate Earths are not linked to the Speed Force, and while Wally West was ineffective in one such reality, it would take Barry several minutes to conjure enough force in such a reality until he could fully engage his powers.
The Flash can also use his powers to simulate superhuman strength, striking his blows at such force that he can send his rivals flying backward from the impact into unconsciousness. His fighting style involves using every facet of his speed and reflexes to use as much of his body as a weapon at all times.
Abilities: The Flash is a skilled forensic scientist trained in forensics and criminal psychology.
Paraphernalia: The Flash wears a costume constructed with special elastic polymers of his own design which when submersed in a special liquid, became sensitive to hydrogen, expanding on contact with the hydrogen in the air. A charge from a battery-powered ring on his finger can cause the fabric to release the extra hydrogen and shrink his costume into the ring. He has since revised the process, making the fabric sensitive to nitrogen instead. His costume also includes a police scanner in the ear phones of his mask and positive-enforced treads to prevent slipping.
Comments: Green Lantern was played by Ron Hasse in "Legend of the Super-Heroes" in 1976 and by John Wesley Shipp on the CBS 1990s TV-series "The Flash." Due to several instances of contradiction in the series, the events of the series likely exists in another alternate reality than mainstream Earth.
Although the Flash was originally introduced during DC Comic's "Earth-One" era of publication, his history and existence following the events of the 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 could be considered apocryphal.
Clarifications: The Flash is not to be confused with:
Last updated: 08/15/11
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