When he was a child, Barry Allen’s mother was killed, and his father was blamed for the crime. He knew, deep down, that his father could not have committed the act. This created an interest in justice for Barry that would carry through to his adulthood and chosen career. He became a forensic scientist and worked to investigate crimes for the police force of Central City, but he always kept the death of his mother at the back of his mind. One night, while working in the lab, a lightning storm hit. A bolt crashed through a window, striking and launching him into a cocktail of chemicals. This freak accident gave Barry a body and mind that could move near the speed of light. He used these abilities to protect the Gem Cities of Central and Keystone, becoming the Flash, the Fastest Man Alive!
The Flash was a founding member of the Justice League and fought villains as varied as Gorilla Grodd, the Trickster, and Captain Cold. He took on Wally West, nephew of his love, Iris West, as his partner when he manifested super speed of his own.
He married Iris West, and the two began to build a life together. However, she was killed by Eobard Thawne aka Professor Zoom, another being with super speed akin to the Flash’s. He chased him down, eventually losing him in the time stream. When Flash found Zoom again, he accidentally killed him in battle. He used his speed powers to time travel to the 30th Century to escape the pain of his time period. There, he found a reborn Iris. The two restarted their life together, and Barry Allen retired as the Flash. The two even had kids, named Don and Dawn.
When the multiverse began to collapse in the event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry was forced to leave retirement, as the 30th Century was beginning to collapse. He was instrumental in stopping the being known as the Anti-Monitor from consuming all of creation by destroying one of his machines. The act, however, took Barry’s life. His being was sucked into the Speed Force, the otherworldly dimension from which his powers originated. Wally West, his protégé, took on the mantle of the Flash in his stead.
Barry was able to make contact with living speedsters at various points, and he finally broke free of the Speed Force during Darkseid’s invasion of Earth known as the Final Crisis.
He soon discovered that the murder of his mother was perpetrated by Professor Zoom, whom is in reality a distant descendant of Barry’s named Eobard Thawne. Thawne was so frustrated with the legacy his ancestor left that he dedicated his life to tormenting him in the past (our present).
After this, during a moment of weakness, Barry runs back into the past to prevent the murder of his mother. This causes a butterfly effect that wreaks havoc on the time stream and the Earth itself. This event is known as Flashpoint. In the apocalyptic version of the world that was created, the Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and their respective nations of Atlantis and Themyscira are locked in a war that is threatening to consume the Earth. Flash, along with Batman (who was Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father), Cyborg, Captain Thunder (this world’s Shazam), and a severely weakened Superman unite to fix the broken time stream. Thomas Wayne kills Zoom, whose memory of the old world was still intact. He also gives Barry a letter to deliver to his son after the world reformed, a promise that Barry keeps. Barry Allen returned to the past and prevented himself from interfering with his mother’s murder.
The restructured time stream that resulted is the “New 52” DC Universe.
Since then the Flash’s story becomes a bit tamer and very reminiscent of old tales. He faced down a new foe in Daniel West, a new Reverse Flash bent on killing his abusive father in the past. He has at last absolved his dad of the crime of killing his mother by revealing that it was Eobard Thawne (who was reborn in the new world). He also gained a new protégé in the form of a “different” nephew of Iris (who is no longer Barry’s wife or lover) named Wally West.
In the most recent comics, Barry has reconnected with the Wally West of the previous DC Universe. Wally informed him that someone else has damaged the time stream. This mystery perpetrator has stolen 10 years from their lives which has altered the personalities and destinies of the heroes of Earth. What Barry and Wally will do to repair this remains to be seen.
Barry Allen is my favorite DC Hero, hands down. I love his optimism, his dedication, and his paradoxical easygoing yet overstressed nature. He also has a good sense of humor. He maintains this calm natural state for those who observe him, yet he is constantly trying to accomplish as much good for the benefit of others as possible. He has goals and aspirations for his city and the world that even he, with his near-light speed, cannot accomplish. Despite this, he never stops trying, he never stops running, and he never gives up. He is a hero who loves being a hero, and he always thinks of others before himself. These are the reasons why the Flash is my absolute favorite DC Superhero.
And that’s all for now, folks! That’s my Top 10 Favorite DC Superheroes.
Until next time, remember to keep reading comics!