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"Dude, the bad guys went down, and nobody got hurt. You know what I call that? A really good day."[3]

The Flash, real name Wally West, is commonly known as the "Fastest Man Alive", was a young and popular superhero from Central City and 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.[4]


Adopting the costumed identity of the Flash, Wally fought to protect the people of Central City from various threats, particularly those of the criminal variety. One such criminal was the extortionist Mark Mardon, who would later become known as the Weather Wizard.[1] A variety of costumed villains, most employing high-tech equipment, would arise to challenge the Flash. Among these villains were 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, "Fastest Man Alive"[1]

Along with Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman, Flash was one of the heroes summoned to aid Superman, Batman, and J'onn J'onzz in defeating the Imperium invasion. In the aftermath of that conflict, Superman suggested that the seven heroes band together to form the Justice League. Flash, appropriately enough, was the first to agree to Superman's proposal.[5]

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.[6]

During the Thanagarian invasion, before finding out their real intentions along with the rest of the league, Flash was annoyed by the fact that Hawkgirl had a fiancé who was "big and strong and ridiculously good looking", and he felt ticked off when Talak asked him to hold a sheep. Later, when the Thanagarians began hunting the League after their escape, Flash was reluctant to reveal his real name to the group, but Batman was already aware of it. He paired off with John Stewart when the League split up to make their way to Wayne Manor, in Gotham City. Later when Hawkgirl appeared to the rest of the League in the Batcave, Flash shared the group's hostility towards their former ally.[7]

Flash assisted J'onn and Batman in retaking the Watchtower, but was ejected in an escape pod after Batman announced that he was going to direct the Watchtower into the Hyperspace Bypass generator. Despite his earlier bitterness, Flash was Hawkgirl's strongest advocate in the debate to keep her in the League in the wake of the invasion. He was also the only one to offer her any sort of goodbye, other than Green Lantern.[7]

After the Justice League expanded, 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 other operations. For example, he assisted Big Barda and Mr. Miracle in freeing the latter's mentor, Oberon, while preventing a takeover of Apokolips that would have eventually led the planet to become a threat to Earth once again.[8]


Perhaps Flash's most significant act as a Justice League member was the vital role he played in combating the combined Lex Luthor and Brainiac. With the other six Founders incapacitated, Flash took on the hybrid alone. In desperation, he pushed his powers to their limit, running as fast as he could around the world numerous times and tapping into the Speed Force in order to separate and defeat the two villains. As a result, Flash was very nearly pulled into the Speed Force, but was rescued by the teamwork of his teammates. The incident left Flash with the disturbing possibility that traveling that fast again might mean he would never come back.[9]

Flash later teamed up with Hawkgirl, Fire, whom he had a crush on at the time, and the elder Blackhawks member Chuck Sirianni to fight Lex Luthor, Dr. Polaris, and The Key.[10]

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. Several of his Rogues – Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, the Trickster, and Mirror Master – attempted to kill Flash, but were stopped by Flash, Batman, and Orion. Even though the new museum was all but wrecked, the occasion still turned out to be a "good day", according to Flash.[3]

On a later occasion, Flash accidentally switched brains with Lex Luthor and was forced to try to impersonate the villain. His attempts did not go well, but thanks to the assistance of his fellow League members, Flash was eventually switched back to normal.[2]

During Darkseid's final invasion of Earth, Flash was among the heroes who stood against him. He fought in Paris with Green Lantern and Giganta. After the battle and the disappearance of Lex Luthor and Darkseid, the Flash received a kiss from Giganta. He was last seen chasing after the remaining members of the Legion of Doom along with all the other members of the Justice League.[11]


"Slacker! Child! Clown! We have no place among the world's greatest heroes".
"Says you! I've got a seat at the big conference table. I'm gonna paint my logo on it!
Android Replica Flash and Flash[9]


As a young hero, Wally West was given to immaturity and impetuousness. Flash would frequently meet even the gravest threats with a flippant remark, often showing a certain underestimation of the true danger of the situation. He was also somewhat given to flirtatious behavior around members of the opposite sex that annoyed teammates, particularly Hawkgirl.

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 League's most idealistic member, and his friendliness and compassion were the "glue" that held the disparate team of heroes together. These qualities were best illustrated by events in the alternate universe of the Justice Lords, in which Flash's murder transformed the League from heroes to tyrants.[12]

These qualities also laid at the heart of Flash's great popularity in Central City. Flash was 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.[3]

Powers and abilities

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 truly was the "fastest man alive".

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 briefly propel himself through the air.[10]

Flash also had the ability to vibrate his molecules at tremendous speed, allowing him to pass unharmed through solid objects, such as through solid ice.[1] The unstable resonance created by these vibrations would frequently cause objects to shatter or explode, such as when he defeated the Android Replica Flash.[9] Because of that destructive capability, Flash used this ability only sparingly. Flash is also able to manipulate his heart rate, fooling Justice Lord Batman into thinking his heart stopped beating.[12]

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. He could also throw objects at extremely high speeds, as he was able to hold off the likes of Justice Lord Superman simply by throwing rocks.[12] There are, in fact, many other instances that show the devastating impact of a projectile thrown by the Flash.

The true potential of Flash's power can be seen when his body was taken over by Luthor who then procceeded to systematically take down Elongated Man, Ice, Wildcat, Stargirl, Starman, Booster Gold and even Captain Atom all apparently almost instantly and with minimum effort. Luthor also alluded to a particularly distubing ability of the Flash: by vibrating his fingers against a person's head, he could literally destroy their brain using the powerful vibrations.[2]

One side-effect of the Flash's powers was a hyper-accelerated metabolism, which caused him to be almost constantly hungry to the point that he considers an armful of hotdogs a "small snack".


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. He could therefore carry his costume with him at all times, allowing him to respond instantly to any unexpected situation that might require his attention. Flash kept a number of spare costume rings in a drawer in his apartment.

Background information

Legacy of the Flash?

In DC Comics continuity, Wallace "Wally" West is the third person to take up the mantle of the "Flash". Jay Garrick was the first, Barry Allen the second, and Bart Allen was (albeit briefly) the fourth.

A legacy for the Flash in the DCAU is hinted at in "Flash and Substance", in the Flash Museum:

  • One of the cases holds a Kid Flash costume. In the comics, Kid Flash was the name Wally used when he was the young sidekick of Barry Allen's "Flash". However, Wally's origin shown via flashback portrays him as an adult, working in his job of being a forensic scientist when he received his powers,[13] and implies that he went straight on to becoming the Flash for his superhero persona; meaning he never would have been Kid Flash in the DCAU and the costume seen in the case was merely a nod to the comics.
  • A helmet resembling Jay Garrick's is on display.
  • Adorning the walls of the Museum building are various logos. There are two distinct logos: Wally's in yellow (as evidenced by the "simplified" lightning bolt), and another Flash logo, in red (this one with the traditional "layered" lightning bolt). The red logo is nearly, if not completely, identical to that of Barry Allen—this is most likely not a reference to Garrick, as he had no real logo, rather a large lightning bolt running up the side of his shirt. As such, the red logo may acknowledge Allen as part of the DCAU continuity, but, as elaborated upon above, this is merely conjecture.

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. A similar event occurred when Kyle Rayner appeared as Green Lantern in Superman: The Animated Series, with the origin story 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.[14]

Appearances and references

Superman: The Animated Series

Justice League

Static Shock

Justice League Unlimited


External links

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