After Batman, another iconic DC character appears in casualgamer‘s request: The Flash. In a recent interview, Ed Boon confirmed that the Flash appearing in Injustice: Gods Among Us will be Barry Allen, the second and most famous one. He first appeared on screen in the infamous tv-special Legends of the Superheroes, portrayed by Rod Haase, a very camp Flash with a curious red pajamas. The most popular, and so far the most faithful to the original version of the character, is the one portrayed by John Wesley Shipp in the short-lived tv series The Flash; better to ignore the young, ravenous and unemployed Barry portrayed by Kenny Johnston in the awful Justice League of America pilot. Let’s see who the fastest man alive is in the comics.
Just as the majority of DC characters, also The Flash’ origins have been changed and retold more than once during the years. Once again, I’ll try to speak a little bit of every single one, sticking to my personal favorite as the main line. Barry was born the son of Henry and Nora Allen, and named Bartholomew Henry. He had a twin brother, Malcolm, who was declared stillborn but in reality given to the Thawnes, a couple who had lost their biological son during birth. Barry was born two weeks late, and that was just the beginning of a very bad habit that would have accompanied him for most of his life. He grew up reading the adventures of his favorite superhero, the Flash from the Golden Age, Jay Garrick, and most of his childhood games had him pretending he was his hero. The innocence of his first years vanished the moment Nora was killed, and Henry was arrested for the crime: Barry, distraught for his mother’s death, refused to believe that his father was guilty, and promised himself he would have become a cop to prove him to be innocent; the tragedy also gave him a strong sense of justice and trust in truth. In the following years, Barry took up his father’s activity as a farmer in Fallville, Iowa, and managed to unite his job to his passion, chemistry: with his skills and knowledge of amateur chemist, he won Fallville County Fair Agricultural Competition, claiming the first prize, a scholarship to Sun City University. With the winnings, Barry could attend University, and a few years later he got degrees in both Organic Chemistry and Criminology. During his senior year, he used his skills to track down and apprehend a bank robber, and someone in Central City Police Department was so impressed that offered him a job as police scientist. Happy to work in police, satisfying his thirst for justice, and also to live in Central City, the sister city of The Flash’ Keystone City, Barry agreed.
In his very first days in Central City, Barry Allen met Iris West, a reporter for Picture News: she was investigating a case of apparent murder, and the two worked on it together. She was fascinated by Barry’s honesty and responsibility, and he was charmed by her energy and intelligence: the two got along well together, and started dating. A night Barry was working on an important experiment, something unexpected happened: a bolt of lightning hit the lab, covering the scientist with electrified chemicals. Barry was lucky to be alive, and decided to come back home. He noticed something was changed the moment he ran faster than the taxi he was chasing, and, the morning after, he even saved Iris from a stray bullet, following its movements as it was slow as a piece of paper. In some ways, the incident had granted him with superhuman speed. Without a doubt on how to use his newfound powers, Barry decided to become a superhero, arriving to the point of calling himself The Flash, as a homage to Jay Garrick. He developed a special costume, made with a cold cast polyester he invented during his university years: the costume, reacting to hydrogen, could shrink to very small dimensions, small enough to be put in a ring; this way, Barry could become The Flash, and then Barry Allen again, in a matter of seconds. The Flash made his official debut as Central City’s protector while facing the bank robber Turtle Man, the slowest man on Earth, an imitator of Jay Garrick’s nemesis The Turtle. From that first, not so memorable appearance, Flash became one of Earth’s mightiest and most famous heroes, being one of the founding members of the Justice League of America. In the following years, Barry married Iris, and The Flash created a real legacy, a Flash Family, which collected many super-speedsters.
Barry Allen is a brilliant scientist and inventor, and his strong sense of justice and his intellect and intuition make him also a remarkable detective. As The Flash, he’s the fastest man alive, and his speed can match and surpass the light’s one. Barry discovered that he gains his speed from the so-called Speed Force, an extra-dimensional energy that allows him to move fastest than anything or anyone, thus phasing through solid objects, traveling between dimensions and even in time. Also his healing capabilities, perceptions and reflexes are highly accelerated, his aging process being the only thing slowed in him. Discovering many new ways of applying his powers during the years, The Flash is one of Earth’s most powerful, and luckily most heroic, beings on our planet.