Henry Allen

Henry AllenAt the beginning of the trailer of The Flash, when Barry Allen watches helpess as his mother is killed, we also get a quick glimpse at his father, Henry, portrayed by the 1990s Barry John Wesley Shipp. In the show, he’ll be arrested for his wife’s homicide, a crime he didn’t commit, and the will to discharge him will lead Barry to join the police. Henry already appeared in the first The Flash tv series, in a much older version portrayed by M. Emmet Walsh: this time, he was a retired sergeant of Central City Police Department who lived a tranquil life with his charitable wife. His teachings and example had inspired both his sons, Barry and Jay, to enter police. Now, while the first live action version of the character is quite different from the original, the second is surely closer, at least for what we know of him right now. Let’s see together who Henry is in the comics.

As always, there are two different versions of the character, even if they share a small part of their biography. In the first one, Henry Allen was born and raised in Fallville, a small town in Iowa. When he grew up, he abandoned his birthplace for some years in order to study medicine, and came back to Fallville as Dr. Allen, new physician in town. During his youth he met Nora Thompson, a girl he fell in love with, and who soon became his wife. Nora gave him a son, Barry, who Henry raised following the principles and values of honesty and compassion he firmly believed in; when Barry left Fallville to move to Central City, Henry kept working for some years, until, after three decades of medical service, he retired to private life with Nora. The two got old together, and nothing particular happened in their tranquil henryallencomics1life, until they got involved in a car accident, caused by a biker named Jack Morgan. Henry’s heart stopped, but Jack was able to reanimate him. Unfortunately, during the small period he had stayed dead, the ghost of Roscoe Dillon, better known as the villain The Top, had possessed his body, and Henry’s spirit was unable to come back. Roscoe took his place at his comatose wife’s side, and he also was the one to listen when Barry confessed his parents he was actually The Flash. The Top teamed up with Golden Glider, his former lover, to try and switch body with Barry, but The Flash managed to deceive him by feigning death, and when Dillon’s spirit came out of Henry’s body, the doctor’s spirit was able to take back his rightful place. Back to his body and life, Henry could take care of his still recovering wife, and was able to tell Barry how proud he was for his heroic deeds. During the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Henry and Nora saw their son die in an attempt to save all realities: overwhelmed by grief, they slowly let themselves die, and they were buried next to their heroical son soon after his demise.

The new version of Henry Allen was pretty much the same until a certain point, apart for some details. He was born in Fallville, Iowa, and became the town doctor; he married Nora Thompson, and set up house with her. When Nora got pregnant, Henry had her been followed by another local doctor, Gilmore, despite not trusting the man too much. Nora was pregnant with twins, and the night she was about to deliver the babies, Henry drove her to Gilmore’s office despite the storm. Gilmore was drunk, and unadvertently killed Malcolm Thawne, another couple’s newborn; he decided to give the Thawnes one of the Allens’ twins, and henryallencomics2to tell his colleague and his wife that one of the children had been stillborn. Henry and Nora brought back home only one of their babies, and they called him Barry, while they buried the other, who wasn’t their own. Barry grew up and left home for Central City, he became The Flash (unbeknownst to his parents) and got a lot of powerful enemies. One of these was Professor Zoom, who possessed a super speed equal to the hero’s: in order to get revenge on his hated enemy, Zoom went back in time and killed Nora, framing Henry for the murder. The police, with no evidence of somebody ever breaking in the house, arrested the doctor, while little Barry couldn’t do anything but to watch helplessy. Despite all the evidence, Barry kept believing in his father’s innocence, and decided he would have become a police detective in order to prove his father had never harmed his mother. In the meanwhile, Henry’s body was reacting badly to the life condition in prison, and after some years, he got ill and died in jail, still regarded as Nora Allen’s killer. Only a couple of years later, Barry became The Flash, and learnt the truth about Zoom and his mother, blaming himself for not being able to save his father.

Henry Allen is essentially a good man, deeply committed to his duty as a doctor, and to his role as a family father. A loving husband for Nora, Henry is also the moral guidance for his son Barry, and he’s the one who has taught him all the values Barry would risk his life for. Honest and compassionate, Henry is the man whose role Barry grew up to fill in.

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3 Comments

  1. […] in mind: to solve the mystery surrounding the death of his mother Nora and to clean his father Henry from all accusations. Feeling that there wouldn’t have been place in Barry’s life for […]

  2. […] paradox of the previous lines). In the first one, Nora Thompson was a small-town girl who married Henry Allen, the town’s doctor. Now Nora Allen, the girl lived at his husband’s side during his […]

  3. […] of every single one, sticking to my personal favourite 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 […]


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