The Flash

Cover of The Flash #123 (September 1961).
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Bi-Monthly: #105-113; #217-232
Eight times a year: #114-157; #212-216; #233-256
Nine times a year: #158-211
Monthly: #257-350
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Publication date (vol. 1)
February–March 1959 - October 1985
(vol. 2)
June 1987 - March 2006 and October 2007 - February 2009
(vol. 3)
June 2010 - July 2011
(vol. 4)
November 2011 - present
Number of issues (vol. 1)
246 (#105-350) and 1 Annual
(vol. 2)
249 (#1-247 plus issues numbered 0 and 1,000,000) and 13 Annuals
(vol. 3)
(vol. 4)
28 (#1–24 plus issues numbered 0 and 23.1 through 23.3) and 2 Annuals (as of December 2013 cover date)
Main character(s) (vol. 1, 3, and 4)
Flash (Barry Allen)
(vol. 2)
Flash (Wally West)
Creative team
Creator(s) John Broome
Carmine Infantino

The Flash is an ongoing comic book series featuring the DC Comics superhero of the same name. The character's first incarnation, Jay Garrick, first appeared in Flash Comics #1. When the Silver Age Flash Barry Allen was introduced, that character took over Flash Comics numbering and the series was retitled as The Flash.

Although the Flash is a mainstay in the DC Comics stable, the series has been canceled and rebooted several times. The first series featuring Barry Allen was canceled at issue #350 in the event of the character's death in the universe altering event Crisis on Infinite Earths. When Wally West succeeded Allen as the Flash, a new series began with new numbering in June 1987. That series was briefly canceled in 2006 in the wake of the Infinite Crisis event, but was restarted with its original numbering in 2007, only to be canceled again in 2008 in the wake of Barry Allen's return in Final Crisis and The Flash: Rebirth. The series was revived for a third volume by writer Geoff Johns and artist Francis Manapul after the completion of the Blackest Night event in 2010. A fourth volume was launched in 2011 as part of The New 52.

Publication history

Volume 1 (1959–1985)

Volume 1 starred Barry Allen as the Flash and the series assumed the numbering of the original Flash Comics with issue #105 (March 1959) written by John Broome and drawn by Carmine Infantino.[1] Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "The Flash" was a streamlined, modernized version of much that had gone before, but done with such care and flair that the character seemed new to a new generation of fans.[2] The Broome and Infantino collaboration saw the introduction of several supervillains many of whom became part of the Rogues. The Mirror Master first appeared in issue #105[1] and the following issue saw the debuts of Gorilla Grodd and the Pied Piper.[3] Captain Boomerang first challenged the Flash in issue #117 (December 1960)[4] and the 64th century villain Abra Kadabra was introduced in issue #128 (May 1962).[5] Another villain from the future, Professor Zoom first appeared in issue #139 (September 1963).[6]

Kid Flash and the Elongated Man were respectively introduced in issues #110 and 112 as allies of the Flash.[7] One of the most notable issues of this era was issue #123 (September 1961), which featured the story titled "Flash of Two Worlds".[8] In it, Allen meets his inspiration Jay Garrick, after accidentally being transported to a parallel universe where Garrick existed. In this previous continuity, Garrick and the other characters of the Golden Age only existed as comics characters in the mainline shared universe.[9] This brought about a new concept in the formative stage of what would become the DC Universe, and gave birth to the current conceptualization featuring it as a multiverse.[8]

Barry Allen married his longtime love interest Iris West in issue #165 (November 1966).[10] Infantino's last issue was #174 (November 1967) and the next issue saw Ross Andru become the new artist of the series as well as featuring the second race between the Flash and Superman, two characters known for their super-speed powers.[11]

The series presented Metafictional stories featuring comics creators appearing within the Flash's adventures such as the "Flash — Fact Or Fiction" in issue #179 in which the Flash finds himself on "Earth Prime". He contacts the "one man on Earth who might believe his fantastic story and give him the money he needs. The editor of that Flash comic mag !" Julius Schwartz helps the Flash build a cosmic treadmill so that he can return home.[12] Several years later, the series' longtime writer Cary Bates wrote himself into the story in issue #228.[13] Four months after the cancellation of his own title, Green Lantern began a backup feature in The Flash #217 (Aug.-Sept. 1972) and appeared in most issues through The Flash #246 (Jan. 1977) until his own solo series was revived.[14] Schwartz, who had edited the title since 1959, left the series as of issue #269 (January 1979).[15]

Bates wrote The Flash #275 (July 1979) wherein the title character's wife, Iris West Allen was killed.[16] Doctor Fate was featured in a series of back-up stories in The Flash from #306 (Feb. 1982) to #313 (Sept. 1982) written by Martin Pasko and drawn by Keith Giffen.[17] A major shakeup occurred in the title in the mid-1980s. The Flash inadvertently kills his wife's murderer, the Reverse-Flash, in The Flash #324 (Aug. 1983).[18] This led to an extended storyline titled "The Trial of the Flash" in which the hero must face the repercussions of his actions. Bates became the editor as well as the writer of The Flash title during this time and oversaw it until its cancellation in 1985.[19] "The Trial of the Flash" was collected in a volume of the Showcase Presents series in 2011.[20]

Shortly before Barry Allen's death in Crisis on Infinite Earths, the series was cancelled with issue #350 (October 1985). In the final issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally West, previously known as Allen's sidekick Kid Flash, stated his intent to take up his uncle's mantle as the Flash.[21]

Volume 2 (1987–2008)

Cover for Flash vol. 2 #1 (June 1987). Art by Jackson Guice and Larry Mahlstedt.

Featuring Wally West as the main character, the Flash mostly operated out of Keystone City. The second series was launched by writer Mike Baron and artist Jackson Guice in June 1987.[22] Featuring long runs most notably by writers Mark Waid and Geoff Johns, the second volume originally went in a different direction from the series starring Barry Allen by making Wally West more flawed. This Flash could not constantly maintain his super-speed because of his hypermetabolism, and would consume gargantuan amounts of food in order to continue operating at top speed. This metabolic limitation would later be continued into Barry Allen's character for the brief television series The Flash that ran in 1990.

Mark Waid's tenure on the title in the 1990s brought back more traditional Flash aspects from Barry Allen's era by reforming the Rogues, some of which were new incarnations of old characters, and bringing more of a sci-fi/fantasy aspect that had been lost in Flash titles since Allen's departure. Waid made Wally West much more powerful in an attempt to take him out of Barry Allen and Jay Garrick's shadows. Waid and artist Mike Wieringo introduced Impulse in issue #92 (July 1994).[23] Wally West married Linda Park in issue #142 (October 1998).[24]

When writer Geoff Johns stepped aboard with issue #164 (September 2000), he refocused the character on some of the Silver Age aspects by spending single issues on building the psychology of the various Rogues.[25][26] Johns created Zoom, the third of the Reverse-Flashes, and fleshed out the environmental character of Keystone City in an attempt to make it unique in comparison to other fictional DC cities such as Metropolis or Gotham City.[27]

In the wake of the "One Year Later" event and Wally West's disappearance in Infinite Crisis, DC canceled The Flash vol. 2 in favor of a new series starring Bart Allen as the Flash. The new series ran only 13 issues and ended with Bart's death.[28] Mark Waid returned to the title briefly in 2007 to bring about the return of Wally West but the series was canceled again in late 2008 with the return of Barry Allen in the event series Final Crisis.[29][30] Spinning out of Final Crisis, writer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver created The Flash: Rebirth, a 6-issue mini-series bringing Barry Allen back to a leading role in the DC Universe as the primary Flash.[31][32] Barry Allen is also an integral character in the crossover event Blackest Night, and had a self-titled limited series tying into the main event.[33]

Volume 3 (2010–2011)

Variant incentive cover for The Flash vol. 3, #1 (June 2010).
Art by Tony Harris.


On September 8, 2009, DC Comics announced that after the completion of The Flash: Rebirth and Blackest Night, Geoff Johns would return to writing a new Flash ongoing series with artist Francis Manapul in 2010.[34] In January 2010, DC Comics announced that the series' opening arc would be launched under the banner of Brightest Day, a line-wide aftermath story to the crossover "Blackest Night".[35] In April 2010, DC released The Flash: Secret Files and Origins 2010 one-shot, setting the stage for the status quo of the new series. It was followed one week later with the release of The Flash vol. 3, #1.


The new Flash series begins after the completion of Blackest Night and starts in line with Brightest Day. After the events of The Flash: Rebirth, Barry Allen is reintegrating himself into life in Central City. Under the cover of having been in the witness protection program, Allen returns to the Central City Police Department's crime lab and returns to the streets as the Flash. While readjusting to life as the Flash, a man appears out of thin air in the costume of the Mirror Master, and promptly dies on the street.

When Barry arrives on the scene and investigates the body, he sees that the man is neither the original Mirror Master Sam Scudder nor the current Rogue, Evan McCulloch. Hearing of another portal appearing, Barry transforms into the Flash and runs to investigate. When he arrives, a group of people in costumes similar to the Rogues appear and tell Barry that they are a crew from the 25th century, and that he is under arrest for murdering the "Mirror Monarch." Barry tells the crew that he has not killed anyone, to which their apparent leader, "Commander Cold", tells him, "Not yet. But you will."[36]

An adventure then erupts where Flash must try to stop these apparent murders while simultaneously clearing his name with the Renegades. After his success, an electrical disturbance erupts in front of a bar and a mysterious figure on a motorcycle emerges only to take off through the streets of Central City stating that he needs to find fuel, and also Barry Allen. The Flash confronts the person on a dock who reveals himself to be "Hot Pursuit:" a Barry Allen of a parallel Earth. Hot Pursuit's motorcycle converts itself into a police baton and he uses it to prove that the Flash is the generator of the Speed Force. Barry uses the equipment in the crime lab to examine a hair he took off of Hot Pursuit's helmet and confirms that he is genetically identical to him, and is then interrupted by Patty Spivot. The two head to another crime scene where a thirty-one-year-old man was drastically aged, and Barry finds a large single tire mark nearby. The police then find a young boy hiding away in a shipping container who may be a witness.

Iris West Allen then calls Barry home where she, Jay Garrick, Wally West, and Bart Allen who are all troubled by the way that he has been isolating himself from everyone. Bart believes that Barry dislikes him and runs off until he is attacked by Hot Pursuit. Barry arrives but is too late, Hot Pursuit discharges electricity at Bart with his baton and is engulfed in lightning. At the station, the young boy meets Patty and reveals that he had stolen the years from the others in an attempt to make himself younger and transforms into the Reverse Flash.[37]

Flash and Hot Pursuit begin to fight while the Reverse-Flash explains that he has discovered new powers granted to him by the Speed Force and how he was able to consume the memories of his victims prepares to do the same to the same to Patty. Barry confronts Patty who thinks she should leave but Barry tells her that with her help can do a lot of good until they are interrupted by Iris. Iris tells him that all the memories of his past have caused him to isolate himself from everyone and that his family will stand by him. Barry visits his mother's grave in memory of her birthday while some where else the Reverse Flash says "It changes, It all changes." and a lighting bolt strikes from the skies, leading directly into the first issue of Flashpoint and concluding this series.[38]

On June 1, 2011, it was announced that all series taking place within the shared DC Universe would be either canceled or relaunched with new #1 issues, after a new continuity was created in the wake of the Flashpoint event. The Flash was no exception, and the first issue of the new series was released on September 28, 2011.

Volume 4 (2011-Current)

DC Comics relaunched The Flash with issue #1 in September 2011, with writing and art chores handled by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato as part of DC's company-wide title relaunch, The New 52.[39] As with all of the books associated with the DC relaunch, Barry Allen appears to be about five years younger than the previous incarnation of the character. Superheroes at large have appeared only in the past five years, and are viewed with at best, suspicion, and at worst, outright hostility. In this new continuity, Barry's marriage to Iris West never took place, and he is instead in a relationship with longtime co-worker Patty Spivot. In this new series, the Flash draws deeper into the Speed Force, enhancing his mental abilities while still trying to get a full grasp on his powers, which he doesn't yet exert total control over.

As revealed in issue #0 of the current series, Barry Allen's father was placed in prison for the murder of his mother. While the evidence seems to indicate his father's guilt, Barry makes proving his father's innocence a priority. The murder occurred shortly after Barry returned victorious from a school spelling bee, and Barry placed the trophy he won on his mother's grave in her memory. Barry is also part of the main cast of the relaunched Justice League series, making his debut in the series' second issue.

Collected editions


  1. 1.0 1.1 Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "In March 1959, The Flash was back, care of writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino. The series continued the numbering from Flash Comics and gave Barry Allen his own title. Issue #105 also debuted the Mirror Master." 
  2. Daniels, Les (1995). "Flashback The Return of the Super Hero". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch. p. 117. ISBN 0821220764. 
  3. Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 94: "Two popular villains debuted in The Flash #106...'Menace of the Super-Gorilla' saw Barry Allen battle Gorilla Grodd...[and] in 'The Pied Piper of Peril', Hartley Rathaway...hired himself out to criminals as the Pied Piper and became Allen's nemesis."
  4. McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 101: "Writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino kept even the Flash off-balance when they introduced George 'Digger' Harkness and his hand-held rebounding weaponry."
  5. McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 105: "A failed stage magician from the 64th century, Abra Kadabra debuted in this story by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino."
  6. McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 109: "This issue saw 25th century criminal Eobard Thawne use his era's advanced science on an old Flash costume. The suit gave Thawne reverse super-speed."
  7. McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 100: "Editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome, and artist Carmine Infantino introduced the Elongated Man, a stretchable super-sleuth."
  8. 8.0 8.1 McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 103: "This classic Silver Age story resurrected the Golden Age Flash and provided a foundation for the Multiverse from which he and the Silver Age Flash would hail."
  9. Fox, Gardner (w), Infantino, Carmine (p), Giella, Joe (i). "Flash of Two Worlds!" The Flash 123 (September 1961)
  10. McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 119: "Barry Allen and iris West's wedding day...was {DC's} most anticipated...Writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino were the team behind the nuptials in the story 'One Bridegroom Too Many!'"
  11. Bridwell, E. Nelson (w), Andru, Ross (p), Esposito, Mike (i). "The Race to the End of the Universe" The Flash 175 (December 1967)
  12. McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 130: "Trapped on 'Earth-Prime', the Flash knew only one man could possibly help him: DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz."
  13. Bates, Cary (w), Novick, Irv (p), Blaisdell, Tex (i). "The Day I Saved the Life of the Flash" The Flash 228 (July–August 1974)
  14. Greenberger, Robert (May 2013). "Green Lantern The Emerald Backups". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (64): 3–9. 
  15. Julius Schwartz' run on The Flash at the Grand Comics Database
  16. McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 182: "Life for the Fastest Man Alive screeched to a halt after writer Cary Bates and artist Alex Saviuk played 'The Last Dance' for the Flash's wife, Iris West Allen."
  17. Riley, Shannon E. (May 2013). "A Matter of (Dr.) Fate Martin Pasko and Keith Giffen Discuss Their Magical Flash Backup Series". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (64): 64–68. 
  18. Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 203: "Written by Cary Bates, with art by Flash legend Carmine Infantino, the story saw...[the Flash] accidentally break the Reverse-Flash's neck."
  19. Cary Bates (editor, DC Comics) at the Grand Comics Database
  20. Bates, Cary (2011). Showcase Presents: Trial of the Flash. DC Comics. pp. 592. ISBN 1-4012-3182-9. 
  21. Wolfman, Marv (w), Pérez, George (p), Ordway, Jerry (i). "Final Crisis" Crisis on Infinite Earths 12 (March 1986)
  22. Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 228: "Written by Mike Baron, with art by Jackson Guice, the Flash's new adventures began with his twentieth birthday party."
  23. Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 265: "The brainchild of writer Mark Waid and artist Mike Wieringo, Impulse burst onto the scene at quite a pace. Young Bart Allen, the grandson of the Silver aAge Flash, Barry Allen, was raised in a future timeline."
  24. Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 285: "Wally West was going to marry his longtime love interest Linda Park...thanks to writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, and artist Pop Mhan."
  25. Johns, Geoff (w), Unzueta, Angel (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Lightning in a Bottle" The Flash v2, 164 (September 2000)
  26. Johns, Geoff (w), Snejbjerg, Peter (p), Snejbjerg, Peter (i). "Rogue Profile: Heat Wave" The Flash v2, 218 (March 2005)
  27. Johns, Geoff (w), Kolins, Scott (p), Hazlewood, Doug (i). "Rogue Profile: Zoom" The Flash v2, 197 (June 2003)
  28. Guggenheim, Marc (w), Daniel, Tony (p), Glapion, Jonathan; Alquiza, Marlo; Daniel, Tony (i). "Full Throttle: Conclusion" The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive 13 (August 2007)
  29. Burnett, Alan (w), Barberi, Carlo; Calafiore, Jim; Coelho, Andre (p), Eguren, Jacob; Geraci, Drew; Coelho, Andre (i). "This Was Your Life, Wally West, Part Four: Incubation" The Flash v2, 247 (February 2009)
  30. Morrison, Grant (w), Jones, J. G. (p), Jones, J. G. (i). "Ticket to Bludhaven" Final Crisis 2 (August 2008)
  31. Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 337: "Writer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver...joined forces again to relaunch Barry Allen as the Flash."
  32. John, Geoff (w), Van Sciver, Ethan (p), Van Sciver, Ethan (i). "Lightning Strikes Twice" The Flash: Rebirth 1 (June 2009)
  33. Johns, Geoff (w), Kolins, Scott (p), Kolins, Scott (i). "This is the Flash" Blackest Night: The Flash 1 (February 2010)
  34. Segura, Alex (September 8, 2009). "The Dastardly Death of the Rogues!". The Source. DC Comics. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012. "Writer Geoff Johns would be writing a new ongoing FLASH series? One thing we didn't mention was the name of his artistic collaborator. Johns will be teaming up with none other than superstar artist Francis Manapul to chronicle the adventures of the Scarlet Speedster next year." 
  35. Segura, Alex (January 11, 2010). "DCU in 2010: More on Brightest Day: The Flash". The Source. DC Comics. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  36. Johns, Geoff (w), Manapul, Francis (p), Manapul, Francis (i). The Flash v3, 1 (June 2010)
  37. Johns, Geoff (w), Kolins, Scott (p), Kolins, Scott (i). "Case Two: The Road to Flashpoint, Part Three" The Flash v3, 11 (Late June 2011)
  38. Johns, Geoff (w), Kolins, Scott; Manapul, Francis (p), Kolins, Scott; Manapul, Francis (i). "Case Two: The Road to Flashpoint, Part Four" The Flash v3, 12 (July 2011)
  39. "DC Comics Solicitations for September, 2011". Comic Book Resources. June 13, 2011. 

External links

(Appears in flashback and main story)

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