Barry Allen was, is and always thought to be (at least until now) the fastest man alive. He taps into the speedforce and becomes someone else, something else (hehe…just kidding). The scarlet speedster has defeated many foes with his speed alone. Darkseid, Brainiac and even an entire pantheon of New Gods have bowed down to the might of Barry Allen aka The Flash and his mastery of the Speed Force. He is a founder member of Justice League of America.
The speed powers are just one of many powers that Flash possess but he is not just a speedster, strictly speaking. He can resist some of the most powerful telepaths, run on water, generate a powerful tornado, heal quickly, create a vacuum, phase through objects, break the sound barrier and deliver a punch as powerful as Superman. In fact, in comics, he has beaten Superman in a race as he can run so fast that he defy gravity and climb massive distances at the shortest possible time.
As the pages of the DC Comic book universe turned over with time, an entire platoon of speedsters emerged to fill in Barry Allen’s shoes. While none could match his speed and expertise as the Fastest Man Alive, looks like we finally have a winner.
Barry Allen is no longer the Fastest Man Alive. That honor belongs to someone else. Can you guess who he is???
Spoiler Alert: The following paragraphs contain MAJOR spoilers for Flash #40. Enter at your own risk!!!
Barry Allen is the very thing that generates the Speed Force. When Barry runs, an extra-dimensional energy is generated that eventually adds up to the Speed Force – the otherworldly energy that gives most of the DC Comics’ speedsters their superhuman speed.
In a recent battle with the telepathic Gorilla Grodd, Barry loses his connection to the speed force and can no longer become the Flash. The Speed Force is like a perpetual motion machine. It’s self-sustaining if the wheel is turned even once. Barry isn’t. He is no longer the Flash. So that means another contender just won the race of the Fastest Man alive.
It is Wally West. Wally West is the new fastest man alive. Flash is the predecessor to the Kid Flash and successor to the original Jay Garrick. His legacy in the Flash family is sealed.
Believe it or not, there are more than one versions of Wally West in the DC universe. The one that is now the Fastest Man Alive is the original Wally West, the one who took over the mantle of the Flash after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry Allen was apparently dead during that period of time. But then that version of Wally West was somehow erased from existence, his persona picked apart from the time stream by some outside force. He was recently reintroduced to the DC Comics Universe.
After New 52, a major rebirth event took place which decided to take DC comics into an uncharted territory, somewhere it has not gone before. Flash Rebirth is one of the many significant events in DC Comics universe. The Pre- New 52 Kid Flash returned after a long time, the classic version of Wally West. The new villain was the Godspeed who is one of the most dangerous adversary ever. Barry Allen had a new partner in CCPD who is struck by the speedforce, he was investigating his brother’s murder which had something to do with the criminal organization called Black Hole.
Here is what Geoff Johns (DC writer cum Executive) said at the time:
“If you look at the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens — it’s kind of a rebirth, right? It goes back to the classic tropes of Star Wars, but it introduces new characters. New threats. It has the spirit of Star Wars, it feels like a Star Wars movie. Probably the first Star Wars movie that’s felt like a Star Wars movie in a long, long time. That’s a perfect example of what I think “Rebirth” is — a celebration, but it doesn’t mean we’re just going backwards. It’s an echo of the past, but looking to the future. That’s what I want to do with this.”
But coming back to the topic. ..We see Wally West again running on the streets of Earth prime with a peculiar new ability. Anyone he touches will have their memories of Wally West (which were also somehow missing from everyone he knew) restored.
Wally reformed the Teen Titans after their previous iteration was disbanded by the Justice League. His memory restoring powers also forced Frankie Kane aka Magenta to regain her memories as the villain Magenta from before the Crisis on Infinite Earths timeline. Wally eventually gets through to her and helps her tackle her evil split persona. They both are then seen looking for an apartment in Keystone City, the sister city of Central City where Barry Allen is the Flash.
Wally is rebuilding his life as a normal guy with a normal life while Barry Allen is fighting the Black Hole in Central City – a group of super secretive and evil scientists who want to exploit the Speed Force for their own ends. One of the side effects of the Black Hole trying to tamper with the Speed Force gave birth to a range of speedsters in Central City. Avery Ho, the Flash of the newly formed Justice League of China, was also one of the victims of the incident.
The second Wally West aka the new Kid Flash was also one of the people caught in the explosion. Very, Kid Flash and Barry Allen then discover that the Black Hole is being led by Gorilla Grodd, who is using his mind control powers to make the scientists find a way to steal Barry Allen’s speed from him.
Grodd is successful in stripping Barry Allen of his speed. As he leaves a now powerless Barry Allen to fall to his death, he is saved by none other than the original Wally West with a high-speed speed-force enhanced leap. Barry declares Grodd hasn’t beaten the Flash yet. As Wally asks Barry for further instructions, Barry gives a surprising reply:
“No, Wally. You don’t understand. I’m… I’m not The Flash of Central City anymore…. you are.”
Grodd now has Barry Allen’s powers. Wally West is now the new Flash. Barry Allen now considers himself retired. With the upcoming Flash War, which will pit every speedster that ever became the Flash anytime within DC Comics against each other, this sure is a twist for the ages.
But the kind of attention and importance given to characters like Grodd and Wally West in comics is just overwhelming as they are totally insignificant as far as ‘The Flash’ TV series is concerned on CW network. Wally West is, in fact, no more part of the show as the writers apparently had nothing more to offer in terms of his character development. Can You beat this?
The fans of Kid Flash are outraged at the step-motherly treatment of the iconic character by the Flash show makers, they feel he deserved more screen time and space. The circumstances that turned Wally West into Kid Flash were a major departure from DC comics and it felt very superficial and convenient.
In Flash season 2, when Prof. Wells was trying to recreate the conditions that existed during the time of particle accelerator explosion in order to restore Flash’s speed powers, but it failed and led to the massive leak of radiation which hit Wally West but he still did not become ‘Kid Flash’. It took magical properties of Philosopher’s stone to turn him into a speedster. But thank god we have comics to see the amazing version of Wally West.
The Flash #40 is just the second part of the larger ‘Perfect Storm’ storyline. So we could see Barry Allen regaining his speed somehow. Just in time for the much anticipated ‘Flash War’ to take place. The writer Joshua Williamson said at Comic-Con:
“Let’s see who’s the best Flash: is it Barry, or is it Wally? It’s me and Howard Porter starting in Flash #46,” Williamson told the audience. “In January, we have an annual coming out that’s a prelude to ‘Flash War,’ but starting in Flash 46, we go into ‘Flash War.'”
Here is the official description of the comic book title:
“PERFECT STORM” part two! Gorilla Grodd is after Central City’s Speed Force, and The Flash is on the run! But the one thing Barry Allen can’t outrun is the truth…and his nemesis knows a terrible secret about the Fastest Man Alive.
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