REAL NAME: Bartholomew Henry Allen
AFFILIATION: The Justice League
FIRST APPEARANCE: Showcase #4 (1956)
As a young boy, Barry Allen’s mother, Nora, was murdered while Barry was out of the house. Returning home, he found his father was being arrested for the crime, but pleaded innocence. Determined to exonerate his father, Barry began pursuing justice, studying chemistry and criminology. His studies and quest for justice led him to become a Forensic Scientist in Central City, where he began dating reporter Iris West. Known for being slow and laid-back, Barry’s life was forever changed when he was doused in chemicals after a lightning strike burst through the window of his laboratory.
The mixture of lightning and chemicals created the ‘Speed Force’, an extra-dimensional energy that allowed Barry to run at super-speeds, which he would use to stop Iris from being hit by a stray bullet.
Concluding that he must use his powers for good, Barry created a costume that he kept condensed in his ring, and would expand when exposed to certain chemicals. Having always been a fan of comic-books featuring Jay Garrick (the original Flash), Barry decided to take on Jay’s name, as the new Flash – The Fastest Man Alive!
As years went by, The Flash would learn that his speed was just one of many abilities the speed force granted him. Alongside running fast, Barry can also accelerate his healing, generate vortexes and electricity and even travel through time and alternate dimensions.
Alongside Batman and Spider-Man, The Flash has one of the most extensive rogue galleries in all of comic-books, consisting of a horde of crazy and colourful characters, such as the telepathic gorilla Grodd.
His most frequent adversaries are the group known as The Rogues. Generally its line-up consists of the ‘cold-gun’ wielding Captain Cold, the teleporting Mirror Master, the fiery Heat-Wave, the weather-controlling Weather Wizard, the playful Trickster, the hypnotic Pied Piper, the spinning Top and the alternate marksman Captain Boomerang. The Rogues are an unusually close-knit group for super-villains, and opperate under their own moral code – they don’t use drugs, have strict rules for who can join the group, and will only kill if absolutely necessary. Uninterested in world-domination and content to commit simple crimes, the Rogues primarily focus on financial gain by conducting crimes such as bank robberies.
Outside of the Rogues, the Flash’s most hated foes come in the form of the Reverse-Flashes. The original Reverse-Flash (to face Barry), Eobard Thawne, also known as Professor Zoom, is another speedster from the far future, whose hatred of Barry is so intense that he sees himself as an architect of all Barry’s pain – having travelled back in time to attack points in Barry’s life; such as murdering Barry’s mother (and in doing so, putting his enemy on track to become the Flash in the first place). After several of these attack, Barry’s career ended after he killed Zoom, and was put on trial for murder, before escaping to live out his life in the future with Iris.
However, the most dangerous foe Barry has ever faced was the Anti-Monitor; a being so powerful he destroyed entire universes. Pulled out of retirement, Barry sabotaged the Anti-Monitor’s attempt to destroy Earth with an anti-matter cannon by creating a speed vortex, but in the process, was overwhelmed by the power and disintegrates.
The Barry Allen/Flash character was famous for a long time for being one of the few heroes to, more or less, stay dead. In real life, the character remained dead for twenty-three years, before returning to help the heroes of Earth fight Darkseid in the ‘Final Crisis’.
After another conflict with a revived Professor Zoom, at which point he learned the truth about his mother’s death, and helping Green Lantern and other heroes fight off and invasion of Black Lanterns (essentially, ‘Green Lantern’ rings that bring back the dead – super-powered zombies, basically) Barry returned to his old life of costumed heroics. But after a time, he resolved to try something he’d never done before; running back in time to stop Professor Zoom from killing his mother. However, in reviving his mother and returning to the present, Barry discovered that the universe had been altered into an apocalyptic world where Aquaman and Wonder Woman were at war, Superman was conspicuously absent and the role of Batman was filled by Bruce Wayne’s father.
After struggling to regain his powers in this new reality, and facing off against Zoom once more, Barry was forced to stop himself from saving his mother, but in the process, changed the universe once again, as ‘The New 52‘ was born; a world where many of the world’s greatest heroes were younger and less experienced.
Once again facing off against criminals like Grodd, the Reverse-Flash and the Rogues, Barry eventually learned he was not wholly responsible for the universe’s alteration; as he helped his old sidekick, Wally West, escape from the old universe after being trapped in the speed-force.
Now reunited, the Flashes pair their super-hero adventures with helping Batman investigate the cause of the universal alteration.
CURRENTLY APPEARS IN: The Flash, Justice League