The Flash was the fastest man alive. A young and popular superhero from Central City, the Flash was a founding member of the Justice League. Apart from his vast speed powers, Wally's most significant qualities were his approachability and his down-to-earth, quintessentially human nature — qualities that many said made him the "heart of the Justice League".
In his civilian life, Wally West worked as a forensic scientist with the Central City Police Department.
The precise circumstances of the incident in which Wally West gained his powers have never been fully revealed. It appears that Wally was the subject of a freak accident in which lightning struck a rack of chemicals in a laboratory; somehow this combination endowed Wally with the fantastic speed powers for which he would become renowned.
Adopting the costumed identity of the Flash, Wally fought to protect the people of Central City from all threats, particularly those of the criminal variety. One such criminal was the extortionist Mark Mardon, who would later become known as the Weather Wizard. A variety of costumed villains, most employing high-tech equipment, would arise to challenge the Flash; a by-no-means complete list would include Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, the Mirror Master, the Trickster, the Turtle-Man, Abra Kadabra, Dr. Alchemy, Mr. Element, the Top, the Pied Piper, and Grodd.
In addition to dealing with the threat posed by his impressive "Rogues' Gallery", the Flash also devoted his time and energies to public service and charitable activities. One significant charity event was the Flash's celebrated race with Superman, a challenge intended to determine which of the two heroes was truly worthy of the title, "The Fastest Man Alive."
Along with Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman, The Flash was one of the heroes summoned to aid Superman, Batman, and J'onn J'onnz in defeating the Imperium invasion. In the aftermath of that conflict, Superman suggested that the seven heroes band together to form the Justice League. The Flash, appropriately enough, was the first to agree to Superman's idea.
Wally served with distinction through the early phase of the Justice League's existence, although his sometimes brash and impulsive nature tended to clash with his teammate's personalities. At one point, the Flash went so far as to sign a lucrative endorsement deal hawking Lightspeed Energy Bars — a move whose motives of personal gain met with a certain disapproval from the other Leaguers.
During the Thanagarian invasion, Flash was reluctant to reveal his real name to the group, but Batman was already aware of it. He helped J'onn and Batman retake the Watchtower, but was ejected in an escape pod after Batman announced that he was driving the tower into the Hyperspace Bypass generator. Though he was hostile to Hawkgirl when she appeared in the Batcave, Flash was her strongest advocate in the debate to keep her in the League, and was the only one to offer her any sort of goodbye other than Green Lantern. After the League expanded, the Flash devoted more of his time to protecting Central City, instead of participating in League activities on a full-time basis. Nonetheless, Flash still sat alongside his fellow founding members in providing oversight to the new, larger Justice League, and was involved in many of the League's large-scale operations.
In perhaps his most significant act as a Justice Leaguer, the Flash played a vital role in battling the combined Luthor/Brainiac entity. With the other six original members incapacitated, the Flash took on the hybrid alone, pushing his speed powers to their limit and tapping into the Speed Force to separate the villains and end the threat. Flash was very nearly pulled into the speed force, but was rescued by his teammates. The incident left Flash with the disturbing possibility that traveling that fast again might mean he would never come back.
Flash eventually came to be so well-regarded by the people of Central City that a Flash Appreciation Day was held in his honor. The day's main event was the dedication of the Flash Museum, a shrine to the speedster's exploits. Even an attempt by members of the Rogues' Gallery to kill the Flash, in which the new museum was all but wrecked, was unable to mar the occasion.
On a later occasion, Flash accidentally switched brains with Lex Luthor and ended up trying to impersonate Lex Luthor, and not doing a very good job either. He was eventually switched back to normal, however.
During Darkseid's final invasion of Earth, Flash was among the heroes who fought against him. He fought at Paris with John Stewart and Giganta. After the fight and the disappearance of Lex Luthor and Darkseid, the Flash received a kiss from Giganta and he was later seen chasing after the remaining members of the Legion of Doom along with all the other heroes.
As a young hero, Wally West was given to immaturity and impetuousness. The Flash would frequently meet even the gravest threats with a flippant remark (often showing a certain underestimation of the true danger of the situation), and he was somewhat given to flirtatious behavior around members of the opposite sex (much to Hawkgirl's annoyance).
Wally's heroism and bravery were beyond question, of course, and he brought a laid-back, down-to-earth quality to the Justice League. He was in many ways the most idealistic member of the League, and his friendliness and compassion were the glue that held the disparate team of heroes together. These qualities are best illustrated by events in the alternate universe of the Justice Lords, in which the Flash's death transformed the League from heroes to tyrants.
These qualities also lie at the heart of the Flash's great popularity in Central City. The Flash is on a first-name basis with many of the city's residents, and it is evident that he genuinely cares for the people he protects.
Powers & Abilities
The Flash had the ability to move and react at incredible speeds, many orders of magnitude greater than those of ordinary humans. He could run at velocities approaching that of light itself. Simply put, he was the fastest man alive.
The Flash found many other applications for his superspeed. One was the ability to generate whirlwinds by rotating his arms at an incredible rate or by running in circles. These whirlwinds could be used to buffet opponents, or perhaps to cushion the impact of falling people or objects; Flash could even use such a whirlwind to propel himself through the air briefly.
The Flash also had the ability to vibrate his molecules at tremendous speed, allowing him to pass unharmed through solid objects. The unstable resonance created by these vibrations would frequently cause objects to shatter or explode, however, and for that reason Flash seldom if ever used this ability.
Because of the sheer speed and momentum his body generated, Flash could produce results similar to that of a metahuman who possessed enhanced strength. Since his body was naturally protected from most of the effects of his speed, the ultra-fast punches and movements of Wally's limbs could produce devastating impacts that could stun or injure otherwise stronger or more powerful beings such as Superman or Brainiac.
One side-effect of the Flash's powers was a hyper-accelerated metabolism, which caused him to be almost constantly hungry.
The Flash used little in the way of specialized equipment. His costume could be compressed to a tiny fraction of its ordinary size, allowing it to be stored in a hidden compartment within a specially-designed ring. Wally could therefore carry his costume with him at all times, allowing him to respond instantly to any unexpected situation that might require his attention. Wally kept a number of spare costume rings in a drawer in his apartment.
Legacy of the Flash?
In DC Comics continuity, Wallace "Wally" West is the third person to take up the mantle of the "Flash." In the DCAU, there is possible evidence of at least two: Jay Garrick (whose helmet appears in the Flash Museum) and Wally West, the current bearer of the name.
However, it is implied that previous to his career as the Flash, Wally West was known as Kid Flash. Since "Kid Flash" of comics lore was originally the young sidekick of Barry Allen's "Flash," the appearance of Kid Flash's costume along with his appearance on Teen Titans raises the question of where Wally West fits in the Flash legacy. Accoring to the DCAU, it was the Wally West Flash who first appeared as a guest hero on Superman:TAS and later joined the Justice League. It is possible that the Jay Garrick "Flash" did indeed exist prior to Wally's career. If Jay's career according the DCAU timeline is shifted to the late 20th Century, it can be theorized that Wally West was Jay Garrick's "Kid Flash," not Allen's.
Still, in DC comics, Wally West's most notable occupation was that of a police mechanic; Barry Allen was a police chemist. Since Wally West's DCAU occupation is that of a police scientist, it is possible that the characters have simply been merged, with Barry Allen never existing in the DCAU at all, despite a possible vague reference to an uncle in "Flash and Substance" (in the comics, Barry is Wally's uncle). A similar event occurred when Kyle Rayner appeared as Green Lantern in Superman: TAS, with the basic appearance of Hal Jordan rather than the more modern Rayner/Lantern of DC Comics continuity. Much like Barry Allen, a small reference was made to Jordan in the Green Lantern debut episode "In Brightest Day..."
Appearances and References
|Members of the Justice League|
|Batman • The Flash • The Green Lantern • Hawkgirl • J'onn J'onzz • Superman • Wonder Woman|
|Aquaman • The Atom • Atom-Smasher • Aztek • B'wana Beast • Black Canary • Blue Devil • Booster Gold • Captain Atom • Captain Marvel • Commander Steel • The Creeper • The Crimson Avenger • Crimson Fox • Dove • Dr. Fate • Dr. Light • Dr. Mid-Nite • Elongated Man • Etrigan • Fire • Green Arrow • Gypsy • Hawk • Hourman • Huntress • Ice • Long Shadow • Metamorpho • Mr. Terrific • Nemesis • Obsidian • Orion • Plastic Man • Question • The Ray • Red Tornado • Rocket Red • Sand • Shining Knight • Speedy • Stargirl • Starman • Steel • S.T.R.I.P.E. • Supergirl • Johnny Thunder • Thunderbolt • Vibe • Vigilante • Vixen • Waverider • Wildcat • Zatanna|