The Flash

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The Flash (previously also Blitzmann , Zack , Blitz or Roter Blitz in German-speaking countries ) is an American comic series from DC Comics . There have been several superheroes with this name since its inception in 1940 .

History of the Flash

Jay Garrick

The first Flash is Jay Garrick. During his studies, he experimented with hard water (in later versions it became heavy water ). When he fell asleep one night while doing his experiments, he came into contact with this very water. The connection meant that Jay can now move at an incredible speed. He made the famous flash tricks like catching bullets out of the air.

Jay wears a winged helmet and winged boots. Its appearance is reminiscent of Mercury or Hermes . It originally came from Earth-2 , but after the parallel earth crisis it became part of what was then the "regular" Earth of the DC Universe. He is a founding member of the JSA .

Jay Garrick first appeared in January 1940, following on from the successes of Superman (1938) and Batman (1939). The figure was penned by Gardner Fox and drawn by Harry Lampert .

Setting and new beginning

Flash aka Jay Garrick last appeared in 1949 when superhero comics fell dramatically in popularity. By 1955, all of DC's superhero titles had been discontinued except Superman , Batman, and Wonder Woman . The rebirth of Flash - and with it the beginning of a new comic era - began with the title Showcase # 4 in October 1956. Showcase was used by DC to try out new superheroes. They wanted to try the Flash again, but, according to editor Julius 'Julie' Schwartz : “I insisted that the new Flash should have no relation to the original, except for the name. All other elements should be different. Everything ... also, and above all: his origin. "

Lightning was a good symbol of speed; so it was decided to let lightning strike a chemistry lab to create the new flash. The first cover and the costume came from the draftsman Carmine Infantino.

The resurrection of Flash heralded the so-called Silver Age of Comics . The next figure to be introduced at Showcase was the - also new - Green Lantern , both founding members of the Justice League of America, which was soon to emerge .

Barry Allen

Extras disguised as Green Lantern (left) and The Flash (right) in the Warner Bros. Movie World theme park (2009)

The second bearer of the name was the forensic scientist Barry Allen , who came to his supernatural ability through a laboratory accident. From his first appearance in Showcase # 4 in October 1956 to the parallel earth crisis , he worked in Central City and protected it from crime. Barry could reach the speed of light, which made him invisible if necessary or let him walk over water and air molecules. Over time, this also gave him the ability to control his own body molecules to such an extent that he could walk through walls using body vibration. He developed the cosmic treadmill that allowed him and Wally to perform time travel.

Allen was married to Iris Allen, nee West, who was killed by Professor Zoom. Despite his skill, he was notoriously unpunctual as the show's running gag . He hid his bright red and yellow dress compressed in a finger ring - which was only possible after a costume change.

Barry Allen died in the crisis of the parallel earth (Original: Crisis on Infinite Earths ), but returned to the Final Crisis back from the Speed Force and has been next to Wally West as Flash active while Bart Allen now rejuvenated teenagers again as Kid Flash occurs . When Barry got back from the Speedforce, he was younger and faster than the adult Flash Wally West again.

Flash and the multiverse

The figure of Flash is linked to the concept of the multiverse in DC in a number of ways : On the one hand, Flash was the first figure of whom there was a 'different version' in the 50s than in the 40s. In 1961 Barry Allen and Jay Garrick met in The Flash # 123, as a consequence DC introduced the concept of the multiverse: The then current incarnation of the DC superheroes populated Earth-1 , and those from the 1940s Earth-2 . After all, Flash also played an essential role in the end of this multiverse in the crisis of the parallel earths.

Wally West

The third bearer of the name is Wally West , more precisely Wallace Rudolph West . He is the nephew of Iris West . He had an accident similar to Barry and became the first Kid Flash . His costume was clearly related to Barry's costume, but it was yellow. He was a member of the Teen Titans . Since Barry Allen's death, however, he has taken over his costume and is a member of the Justice League .

Wally has the same skills as Barry. He is able not only to reach the speed of light, but also to surpass it, and has already won the direct comparison with Superman .

Bart Allen

Bartholemew Henry "Bart" Allen II called himself earlier pulse (ger .: pulses), later Kid Flash and subsequently the fourth red flash. He made his first appearance as the Kid Flash companion of Wally West in 2003 in Teen Titans Vol. 3 # 4 and in 2006 he was in The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive # 2 to the successor to Wally West and thus to the Red Flash.

Bart is the grandson of Barry Allen . He is the son of Don Allen , Barry's son, and Meloni Thawne , daughter of the President of the Earth (31st century) - he was born in the 31st century. His accelerated metabolism causes him to age rapidly, so that by the age of two he has a twelve-year-old body. To protect him, he is raised in a virtual reality that keeps up with his own passage of time. When it becomes clear that this won't help either, his grandmother Iris Allen sends him back to the present, where the reigning Red Lightning Wally West is organizing a race around the world. By forcing Bart into extreme speed for the first time, Wally succeeds in bringing Bart's hypermetabolism to a normal level. Since Bart has spent most of his life in a virtual world, he is inexperienced, cannot assess dangers and acts without thinking. So Wally West can't cope with his nephew (2nd degree) Bart and places him in the care of Max Mercury , who trains him in both his role as an impulse and how to cope with daily life as a superfast hero. As revealed in Impulse # 50, Batman involuntarily put his name on him - it was meant as a warning, not a compliment.

Fan in Kid Flash costume for cosplay (2009)

When Bart after Infinite Crisis to year from a teen to a twentysomething aged, he took the place of the third Red Lightning ' Wally West one, which at this point in the so-called Speed Force was stuck.

He died a short time later, murdered by the Rogues (Pied Piper, Trickster, Mirror Master, Captain Cold, Heatwave, Weather Wizard) led by his old adversary Ratio (Inertia). However, after the events of the Final Crisis (see Final Crisis: Legion of the Three Worlds ) he is back in the DC Universe a year later .

Kid Flash

Both Wally West (as partner of Flash II / Barry Allen) and Bart Allen (as partner of Flash III / Wally West) were Kid Flash and wore a flash costume with "swapped" colors, i.e. H. mainly in yellow. Because of their age, both were members of the existing Teen Titans and both later became The Flash themselves .

Powers and abilities

All Flash incarnations can move at superhuman speeds, especially running. In addition, they can also think superhumanly quickly, which makes them largely immune to telepathic influence and the reading of their thoughts, since suitably competent people cannot follow their thoughts. They are also able to communicate superhumanely with other superhumanly fast beings (e.g. with Superman or with each other), which enables them to speak to one another without being overheard even in the presence of others. Later incarnations can also make their bodies vibrate in such a way that they can walk through walls and travel between different dimensions (which in the DC Multiverse are separated from one another by their different vibrational frequencies).

Fastest Flash

Which of the Flash incarnations is the fastest has not yet been conclusively clarified. In the course of the Final Crisis , however, Jay Garrick states that he could not keep up with Barry Allen and Wally West and as the latter run away from the Black Racer , Wally has all the trouble to keep up with Barry, which contradicts previous representations and performances. It remains unclear where Bart joins.

Race against Superman

In 1967 (in Superman # 199) the first Superman vs Flash race took place to see who was the fastest man in the world. It went around the world three times and ended in a draw for a charity commissioned by the UN . Several other races followed, which also always ended in a draw due to external influences. Only in Adventures of Superman # 463 is a decision made in which Superman is defeated. This is initially explained by the fact that Superman is not used to running at such high speeds for long periods of time, since he usually flies and Flash is therefore more practiced in running. Later, after the Final Crisis in Flash: Rebirth # 3, it is revealed that Flash is actually significantly faster than Superman. Flash states that the close results of the previous races only came about because they were for a good cause and should therefore be exciting. It is similar in episode 4.05 Flash! of the Smallville series , in which an incarnation of the Flash occurs. At the end of the episode, Flash and Clark / Superman race against each other, whereby Clark is initially just behind, when he tries to catch up and seems to succeed, Flash turns around, runs backwards in front of Clark / Superman, waves, turns again forward and disappears unreachable on the horizon.


Gorilla Grodd

Gorilla Grodd is a villain first introduced in The Flash # 106 (1959).

Gorilla Grodd is hit by an extraterrestrial energy beam that increases its intelligence and mental abilities many times over. Through this beam he learns the ability of telepathy and mind control.

Since he sees people as inferior creatures, he pursues the goal of world domination.

His personality is always shown differently, so in the cartoon series he is usually a criminal genius, while in some comics he even becomes barbaric. His abilities change too: if he mastered mind control in many comics, he was almost invulnerable in others. Likewise, the way in which he comes to these skills changes, for example he uses a helmet for mind control in some cartoon series and otherwise does not actually have telepathic skills. In the many modern comics, he is also an ogre whose intelligence is increased by eating brains. In a comic, he even wants to seize the abilities of the Flash by devouring his brain. Grodd's state of mind was temporarily reduced to that of an ordinary gorilla, but he regained his former intelligence from the demon Neron in exchange for his soul.

In the TV series The Flash , Grodd is the result of genetic research before being kidnapped and raised by Barry Allen / Flash's archenemy Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawn). In this version, Grodd communicates exclusively through telepathy or by using his abilities to take over people's bodies in order to speak with their voices. After being banished to another dimension by Flash and his friends, he ends up in Gorilla City, a city populated by intelligent, telepathic gorillas. When Flash accidentally travels to this dimension with his friends in a later episode, Grodd encourages Barry to fight against Solovar, the leader of the gorillas, because he wants to enslave humanity. After defeating Solovar, Barry realized that Grodd, not Solovar, threatened the people and only used Barry to become ruler of the gorillas himself. His subsequent invasion of Central City is eventually prevented by Flash and Solovar. Solovar first tries to kill Grodd, but Barry can change his mind, so that Grodd ends up as a prisoner.

Rainbow Raider

Rainbow Raider , alias Roy G. Bivolo, is a villain who is first introduced in The Flash # 286 (author: C. Bates; illustrator: D. Heck) from June 1980.

In its debut story, the Rainbow Raider is presented as a professional criminal who, with the help of special glasses, can create solid beams of light that shimmer in rainbow colors, which he uses as a tool to carry out daring thieves' tours. He can use these rays either as a weapon by "shooting" them at his opponents, or to create rainbow-like bridges of light on which he floats through the sky like a magic carpet. In addition, the Rainbow Raider can influence the state of mind of other people by irradiating them with rays of light in certain colors. It later becomes known that Bivolo has been color-blind since he was born and was therefore unable to gain a foothold in his dream job as an artist. His father, a brilliant scientist, then built the aforementioned wonder glasses to remedy the son's plight. He uses the unusual tool primarily to rob art galleries, which he resents for having previously refused to exhibit his works.

As a result, the Rainbow Raider repeatedly clashes with the Flash, which consequently thwarted its raids. The raider is later accepted into the rogues, the "club" of the Flash villains. Bivolo - whose name is based on the acronym Roy G. Biv (ROYGBIV) (a paraphrase for the English names of the colors of the rainbow ) - is finally murdered by the villain Blacksmith .


The Rogues (sometimes also Rogues Gallery ) are an amalgamation of several opponents of the Flash, who often try to harm it - individually or in a group. The composition and size of the group often changes, but the main ones are Captain Boomerang (aka George "Digger" Harkness), Captain Cold (aka Leonard "Len" Snart), Heatwave (aka Mick Rory), Mirror Master (aka Samuel "Sam “Scudder or Evan McCulloch), Pied Piper (alias Hartley Rathaway), Trickster (alias Giovanni Giuseppe / James Jesse or Axel Walker) and Weather Wizard (alias Mark Mardon) are members.

Trickster I

James Jesse, an acrobat, was extremely afraid of heights and designed universal shoes to be successful. He enjoyed his inventive spirit and later abused it to become the most dangerous trickster .

In the feature film series Flash - The Red Lightning , Jesse (played by Mark Hamill ) was a psychopath with numerous personalities in the episode "Beauty and the Magician", who chases after the policewoman Megan Lockhard, whom he himself thought was his sidekick "Prank" . He took their dislike for the work of Flash, which is why he tried to kill him in his identity as a trickster. In the episode "Devilish Fool's Game" he met a toy saleswoman who was obsessed with him and voluntarily assumed the identity of "Prank." Together they brainwashed the Flash, which made him as crazy as the trickster, and posed with his Help the judge, attorney, and prosecutor who were involved in Trickster's trial before a mock court with the Trickster as judge. After Megan brought the Flash to their senses, the trickster escaped in a car, pushing Prank out of the car, only to be later stopped by Flash himself. Eventually he ended up in the madhouse.

He appeared for the first time in the episode "The Return of the Trickster" in the series The Flash . He was played here again by Hamill. Although the series is basically not a sequel, but rather a remake of "Flash - the Red Lightning", old photos from the old series were used. Years ago the trickster had terrified the city here until he was locked away. He was visited in his cell by Barry Allen and his foster father, Joe, when a copycat roamed the town. Annoyed that it was being copied, Jesse sent them to his old hiding place (same as in the old series), but where they found only empty rooms because the new trickster had stolen the equipment. Jesse was later freed by Walker, who had been following Jesse's instructions the entire time, and they took Barry's father hostage. A joint attempt by the two tricksters to poison all the guests of an honor gala in order to extort their fortune was prevented by Barry. In a later episode of the second season, Jesse and Captain Cold, aka Leonard Snart, were freed from the Weather Wizard because he wanted to forge an alliance with them against the Flash. While the trickster enthusiastically participated, Cold turned away, since the Wizard's plan was not profitable, and instead warned Barry. When the Trickster and the Weather Wizard tried to detonate the city with the help of bombs hidden in packages that the Trickster disguised as Santa Claus had distributed around the city, Flash's friends transported them to another dimension via a portal. During the third season, which takes place in another dimension, an alternate version of the trickster appeared briefly in an episode, which was also played by Hamill and, presumably as a reference to the Joker , for whose synchronization Hamill is also known, purple-dyed hair would have.

Trickster II

As a child, Axel Walker was taught by his father that he could either be the trickiest or the trickster in life. Axel took this lesson to heart, stole the equipment of the first trickster, and became the second trickster.

In the series The Flash , Walker terrorizes the city of Central City with equipment from the original trickster James Jesse and announces his deeds via video blog . However, it later turns out that he was only obeying Jesse's orders the whole time he freed him from prison. Jesse reveals to Walker that he is his father (a reference to Luke Skywalker , one of the most famous roles in Hamill). While Jesse later reappeared on the series, the second trickster made his only appearance here.

The Flash in other media

In 1990, CBS broadcast the live series Flash - The Red Lightning , which was discontinued after a season with 22 episodes. The main role of Barry Allen / Flash was played by John Wesley Shipp . This was followed by direct-to-videos ( The Flash II: Revenge of the Trickster (1991) and The Flash III: Deadly Nightshade (1992)). These, however, were only combinations of 2 parts of the series, not independent film adaptations.

John Wesley Shipp was the first actor to portray the character of "Red Lightning" in a real-life version. In the new edition of the 2014 series, he also played Henry Allen, the father of Barry Allen. Towards the end of the second season, Shipp also took on the role of Jay Garrick, who is the flash of a parallel earth. Shipp is also the first actor to portray this red lightning in a real-life film.

In the television series Smallville , the teenage Clark Kent meets the boy Bartholemew "Bart" Allen. Bart has a number of fake IDs in the names of Jay Garrick , Barry Allen and Wally West , so that it is not entirely clear in the episode which incarnation of the Flash is supposed to be represented. Clark challenges Bart to a race that Bart easily wins by a large margin. Even before the race starts, there is a reference to the Justice League when Bart tells Clark that he's going around the world looking for other extraordinary people and they could open a club or something. In the sixth season he reappears on the side of the DC heroes Green Arrow , Aquaman and Cyborg (in the comics also members of the Justice League at times). The character is based on Bart Allen alias Kid Flash (grandson of Barry Allen ) from the comic series Impulse .

In the film Catch Me If You Can , Frank W. Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio , uses the code name Barry Allen as an impostor and cheat.

In the animated film The Incredibles , a child-like version of The Flash appears: The ten-year-old son of the family, Robert "Flash" Parr, is superhumanly fast.

In the series The Big Bang Theory , Sheldon Cooper often wears T-shirts with a Flash print and often disguises himself as Flash.

The Arrow series (season 2, episode 9) shows the creation of Flash as a result of the laboratory accident, which leads to the start of the spin-off.

Since February 10, 2015 ProSieben has been broadcasting the series The Flash with Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, which also begins with the accident in the laboratory and is the spin-off from Arrow . As the series progresses, Jay Garrick and Wally West will also be incorporated into the plot. For example, John Wesley Shipp plays Jay Garrick in the series , who actually comes from Earth-2 due to the multiverse . Wally West , who later becomes Kid Flash, is portrayed in the series by Keiynan Lonsdale .

Ezra Miller was hired as Barry Allen / Flash for the theatrical adaptations of the DC Universe and thus Flash's first theatrical appearance. Flash had three appearances so far (as of December 2017):

In the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice , Flash can be seen stopping a kiosk robbery against Barry Allen.

In the Suicide Squad that followed this film , Flash can be seen again briefly, this time stopping an attack by Captain Boomerang.

In Justice League , Flash is seen for the first time in a larger role as a member of the Justice League.

In the German-speaking area


In Germany, various publishers have distributed DC Comics over the years. Flash ran under different German names at the various publishers (similar to other superheroes, e.g. Green Lantern ):

  • In the sixties at Top Comics as a Blitzmann .
  • In the sixties also Zack , in the seventies and eighties with Ehapa as red lightning .
  • From the nineties at Dino or Panini as Flash .

Publications (selection)

  • DC Archive Edition # 8 - The Flash (Volume I), Joe Kubert, Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino, u. a., ISBN 3-89748-343-2
  • DC Museum Edition # 10 - Flash # 123, Flash of Two Worlds, Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, Joe Giella
  • Superman vs. Flash - The Greatest Races of All Time, Jim Shooter, Denny O'Neil, etc. a., ISBN 3-86607-087-X

Individual evidence

  1. Preface to DC Archive Edition # 8, Flash I, Paul Kupperbert
  2. Pro 7: The Flash , accessed February 14, 2015.
  3. ^ IMDB: The Flash , accessed February 14, 2015