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The Top 10 Stories of The Flash
The 10 Greatest Feature Stories of The Flash Ever Told
Born of lightning-entrenched chemicals, gifted with blinding speed known only to his followers and friends, there is one heroic champion -- an undeniable, blurring icon tapping into the all-powerful Speed Force with the ability to travel faster than time itself. In DC Comics, they call him The Fastest Man Alive; in Keystone and Central City, he is dubbed The Scarlet Speedster. And to you and me, he is the eternally crimson superhero emblazoned with the golden bolt: The Flash.
Whether in the guise of Jay Garrick, Wally West, or Barry (or Bart) Allen, the origins of The Flash trace back as far as World War II (Flash Comics #1, Jan 1940); with affiliations into the Justice Society of America, The Justice League, and the Teen Titans, he has ever been a vigilant defender and foundation of justice, righting wrongs across the globe in the nick of time. Be assured; we've watched him run unstoppably for decades.
But now -- just this once -- we must call him to a halt.
Let's take a snapshot; it's time to chronicle and relate The Flash's greatest deeds, his most astonishing, suspenseful and deeply inspiring stories of all time. These are the ones that have followed him across alternate realities and collapsing timelines; captured within strange and instantaneous paradigms, you are about to recount those moments, each more unique and enthralling than the next!
Flash Feature #10: Blood Will Run
Raise your hands if you like The Flash. Kill, if you love him.
Culminating in the emergence of a new enemy using lightning bolt-styled daggers, Wally West is confounded when numerous murders are committed throughout the city. His horror comes to realization when the motive linking the crimes focuses on his past; it turns out the murdered are people he once saved!
Written in the style of a detective story, "Blood Will Run" confronts The Flash with his worst kind of bad guy: a fanatical worshiper leading a cult! Caught in this compelling mystery, he realizes that his super speed is useless without knowledge; he has to figure out their next target. What's their purpose? And to exasperate the problem, Wally's one-time girlfriend, the mentally-unstable, magnetic-powered Magenta has returned.
Think it's just a coincidence? (Say no.) You a correct!
This story, authored by renowned Flash writer, Geoff Johns, introduces us to Cicada, a lightning-struck villain who glorifies the Scarlet Speedster in his own sick, sociopathic way. Near the end, you realize our superhero has achieved a beloved status among the congregation, but as popular as The Flash has become, sometimes his followers can appear -- well -- a bit too enthusiastic.
If you're interested in Blood Will Run, look for The Flash vol. 2 #170-173.
You can read "Blood Will Run" - Flash recommended.
One of the reasons I decided to create this Top 10 list was because a lot of The Flash stories are available for purchase. "Blood Will Run" is no exception, you can find it for purchase at Amazon.com, complete with other reviews.
While I was not a huge fan of the artwork, the "Blood Will Run" storyline was great: take a fanatic worshiper of The Flash and give him the ability to grow a cult, killing everyone the speedster ever saved. Once again, Geoff Johns has proven that he is the premier Flash writer, giving us a great story that shows us a side of super-heroism rarely encountered.
Jay Garrick is known as The Golden Age Flash (from the 1940s). His costume was favorably noted with the Hermes-styled metal hat with wings.
Flash Feature #9: Blitz - Who is...Zoom?
Erupting from Flash vol. 2, issues #197-200, The Blitz saga is a perfect blend of artwork and writing, making it worthy of one of the great Flash adventures as well as a perfect introductory tale for newly curious collector. In this story, Wally West faces an incredible nemesis in the guise of Professor Zoom, The Reverse-Flash. (For many Flash fans, Professor Zoom is a well-known and much loved threat to Wally's mentor, Barry Allen.)
But the problem here is that the super-villain wearing the yellow-threaded costume isn't Professor Zoom at all. It's actually Hunter Zolomon, a Keystone City criminal profiler and once good friend to The Flash; somehow he's become empowered with super speed and bent on crazed vengeance. As the plot unfolds, Hunter takes on the iconic Reverse-Flash costume and names himself Zoom. Throughout, he causes chaos, snapping his fingers to ignite sonic boom explosions and moving so fast that not even Wally can see him.
What really draws readers to Blitz is the plot and how it works with theories of time and DC's Speed Force concept; it thickens as Jay Garrick (The first Flash) and Bart Allen (Impulse) join in, working together to combine their powers in a desperate effort to help Wally match Zoom's speed. Equally fulfilling is the ending, where Wally's existence is given a unique alternate path.
If you're a Flash fan, or want to acquaint yourself with the Scarlet Speedster, Blitz comes highly recommended for the job.
The Flash: Vol. 4 - Blitz is on sale.
One of the reasons I decided to put up a Flash Top 10 tribute was because you can purchase many of them from a local or internet retailer. Blitz is no exception and a link is provided here if you want to pick it up.
While the Blitz story only covers a few issues, this Vol. 4 of The Flash is a solid 8-issue lead up, starting with The Flash #192, all the way to #200. Here, you'll see the full story, where Grodd breaks Zolomon's back, crippling him, and a well-written set of comics that gives you a complete induction if you're new to The Flash.
Flash Feature #8: Ignition - This is what happens when you forget you're a superhero.
Although it's a strong-standing event on its own, the proper spot for Flash's Ignition event belongs right after Blitz, and that's why it will be featured here. (And if you ever manage to read Blitz, you'll know perfectly why.) The only drawback of this saga is that it's more difficult to comprehend until you've read into the middle and later chapters.
Written in the style of a mystery origin, though, Ignition is a fantastic Flash adventure wrapped in a compelling ride of revelation. Every page takes you deeper; you'll wonder what exactly is happening and then - all of a sudden - you'll be unfolding a series of events that explains why Wally doesn't know he's The Flash!
And that's the plot: From page 1, Wally West is a mechanic, working a 9 to 5 in a city that used to be home to the scarlet speedster. For months now, there's been no sign of The Flash; he's AWOL. But he's needed because Captain Cold is on the rampage, murdering people in cold blood.
Flash Ignition covers Flash vol. 2, issues #201-206 and is once again conceptualized by Geoff Johns, who does an awesome job of showing us what happens when The Fastest Man Alive - and everyone else - forget his identity. And don't worry; Wally doesn't figure it out on his own. You'll be glad to know that Batman, the World's Greatest Detective has a hand in the adventure.
The Flash Vol. 5: Ignition
One of the best reasons I liked the story is because of the originality nature it portrayed. Often in the superhero career, the best stories come from the beginning. For example, we really like to see how they get their powers, or when they're learning all the neat things they can do. In Flash's Ignition, that sense of newness hits you again: Wally doesn't know who he is; he has to rediscover that he's The Flash.
This is a graphic novel which encapsulates The Flash, vol. 2 issues 201-206. It's a great way to embed yourself in one of the finest stories ever put out by The Flash with one of his best writers, Geoff Johns.
Flash Feature #7: Rogue War - When bad guys fight bad guys, a good guy can only get stuck in the middle.
With a resounding cast of characters, Rogue War charges full-force into a battle of The Flash's worst super-villains. From issue to issue, it's non-stop, building faster and faster in a way that emulates The Fastest Man Alive.
Living entirely up to its name, Rogue War starts with The Flash, vol. 2, #220 and ends with #225. From the beginning, the anticipation mounts as The Rogues, comprised on Captain Cold, The New Trickster, Boomerang, Weather Wizard and Mirror Master start their crime spree only to be challenged by the New Rogues.
Yes, that's right; formed by the original Trickster, FBI Agent James Jesse, with the magnetic Magenta, Heatwave and The Pied Piper, this group joins forces to take down Captain Cold and his gang. The next few issues are complete with extreme action and never a dull moment.
And if you enjoy lots of super-villains, this storyline and plot won't let you down. Besides the aforementioned bad guys, it gets worse and worse. Heck; The Flash doesn't even really join into the battle until issue #221, and by then, things really go bad as The Top joins in. And then Grodd. And then Girder, Murmur, Plunder and more. By the end of the story, you're wondering who won't show up. (Let me just say here that there's way more to reveal, but I won't spoil it.)
On a side note, don't worry if you're concerned about a flimsy plot; what really makes Rogue War stand out is the ending. Geoff Johns, already proven as one of The Flash's best writers of all time and not surprisingly it all fits well together. Once again, with The Flash, time is the key.
The Flash against all his worst in Rogue War - New Rogue War, Meet Old Rogue War
Rogue War, I have to say, it one of the best Flash stories around. Not only does it manage to neatly introduce all of his best super-villains, but it also manages to weave them into the plot in a reasonable and logical way. It's not just a "throw in" of baddies; it's about bad guys mad at other bad guys. At the end of the day, I'm wondering what kind of genius this Geoffrey Johns is because--I'm telling you--he's really pulled of a heck of a story.
In this graphic novel, you'll get The Flash, vol. 2 issues #220-225 plus some extra issues which nicely lead up to this story. It's well worth the purchase, and if you're new to The Flash, one of the biggest deals here is that it does an incredible job of letting you know who each super-villain in. And if you're a Flash fanatic, by the way, you'll also get the benefit of a surprise ending.
Flash Feature #6: Terminal Velocity - When speed can go no further.
One of the greatest aspects of a Flash comic is that it can really twist your mind. I'm serious; in the span of a couple issues, these writers, especially Geoff Johns who's been in the driver's seat for a good while, can take something simple like super-speed and make it work in a resounding manner you never thought you'd be able to comprehend.
And that's why it's now time to focus on The Speed Force.
Yes, it's been brought up in the other great stories of The Flash, and if you're a real fan of the Speedster, you've known about this elite force of energy for some time. But now, for real, it's time to get into The Speed Force. Because before Flash vol. 2 issue #96, we didn't really have a good concept of what it was.
Well, now you're going to find out. Terminal Velocity is one of the most inspiring and creative greats of Flash history. In Flash vol. 2 #96-100, Wally West encounters a problem, one that's actually plagued his predecessors, including Barry Allen. That's because, for once in his life, he's gone too fast.
The Speed Force, it turns out, is an energy that draws the super fast to a point where they might never come back. It took Barry. It deposited Max Mercury in the future. And it now threatens Wally West to extinction.
Terminal Velocity is an excellent set of comics. Not only are you going to get a full cadre of speedsters like Impulse, Jesse Quick, and Jay Garrick, but you're also going to see them engage Kobra in a plan of world domination. In the interim, Superman, Batman and Robin, Steel, Hawkman, and Green Lantern have to join in. In the end, The Flash becomes a force you've never seen before. And it's all about being too fast.
The Flash: Terminal Velocity - Enter the Speedforce.
And here you go. Something's not right with Wally West; he's finally pushed himself too far, too fast. And now energy is crackling around his body. He's also getting visions of a future..and it's not good. Linda might die; he might disappear forever. What does it all mean? You'll find out all about it in The Flash: Terminal Velocity.
Covering The Flash, Vol. 2 #96-100, you'll be able to quickly hunker down into DC Comic's most favorite Speedster. And this time he's not alone. You'll be able to see Max Mercury, Jesse Quick, Impulse, and more, all while the unfolding elements of the Speed Force carefully reveal themselves.
Flash Feature #5: Dead Heat - Did all the Speedsters lose their speed?
Perhaps you remember, or were a fan of, The Flash story called Blood Will Run. In that exciting plot, Wally West had to deal with a religious cult of Flash-Worshippers and zealots, using the Speed Force to murder important people around him.
Well, let's up-scale this story up a notch; this time, let's make someone else the "god" of speed. And instead of killing people The Flash saved, let's kill all the people with Flash-like powers. Sound good? Good! Now you've entered the brilliant plot behind one of Flash's greatest stories called Dead Heat. Comprised of a cross-over of Flash #108-111 and Impulse #10-11, Wally West has to beat the odds when all the other speedsters lose their powers.
That's right, Johnny and Jesse Quick, Impulse, Jay Garrick - they're all powerless to fight The Flash's newest super-fast opponent, the one who claims he's the god of motion, Savitar. From the onset, this story runs rampant with flashy, blue-clad ninjas called Thunderbolt Agents. Their goal: to kill every other speedster.
And that's the beauty of Dead Heat. Once again, you've got a religious take on super speed, but this time it's almost as if Flash is fighting a true god of speed with numerous fast-running minions. With this exciting tempo, the high-points arrive as the lessons of The Speed Force are carefully laid out; there's only so much energy and Savitar wants it all!
Bring on the heat! - So says Savitar!
Dead Heat is one of those truly great Flash epics surrounding The Speed Force (also called The Speedforce if you're particularly quick) and pitting our favorite Scarlet Speedster against a man who's taken the claim up as the Hindu god of motion. What happens if all the others with super-speed -- save The Flash -- have lost their powers? Why are blue-clad ninjas trying to kill him? All these questions are answered in The Flash: Dead Heat.
The Flash: Dead Heat is a compilation of The Flash #108-111, with a crossover section including Impulse #10-11. And obviously that means you'll not only be seeing a lot of Wally West, but more of his distant, future-relative, Bart Allen. There are also many other numerous appearances -- you'll get the entire speed-daring cast.
Flash Feature #4: The Dastardly Death of The Rogues - Can you be tried for a crime you haven't yet committed?
By now you're completely comfortable with The Flash and the multitude of plots surrounding this extremely fast superhero; one thing that should seem likely is his inevitable interaction with time. How else can you be that fast without affecting it? And if you haven't spotted this, then perhaps it's time to read The Dastardly Death of The Rogues, a recent story occurring after Barry Allen's return from The Speed Force.
A brilliant masterpiece, The Dastardly Death of The Rogues reads well, but does need a primer before you delve into its pages. That's because it takes place during an event called The Brightest Day, a DC Comics crossover that fundamentally affected all their superheroes. So, if you have some extra reading time, you may want to pick up some Brightest Day graphic novels here. They are worth it.
Once you're ready, prepare for blast off. Encompassing The Flash vol. 3 #1-6, The Dastardly Death of The Rogues surrounds the fall of a superhero known as The Mirror Monarch, killed by none other than Barry Allen.
Wait. If you're a Flash fan, your ears might have already perked. Mirror Monarch? You mean Mirror Master, the super-villain of The Rogue Gallery?
Nope. Not him. This corpse comes from the 25th century, where he's a do-gooder and part of a police unit called The Reverse Flash Task Force. Comprised with fellow future-heroes Commander Cold, Weather Warlock, Trixster, Heatstroke, and The Top, The Flash is now a killer for a crime he has yet to commit. Their job: bring our Scarlet Speedster back to the future where he can be tried and convicted.
Avenge The Mirror Monarch - Wait, is this a trap?
You bet is it. Something strange is going on here. Could Barry Allen really be planning to kill another superhero? Naw; it's not likely. You can bet there's a secret manipulative plot under all this.
Covers issues The Flash vol. 3 #1-7 and includes The Reverse Flash Task Force and The current century's Rogues Gallery, which means you'll get the great combat action. The Flash gets thrown into all this and now you've got a great story. Also, if you're a fan of The Brightest Day and Flashpoint, these issues do a good job of getting you ready.
Flash Feature #3: The Return of Barry Allen - Once The Flash, always The Flash
One of the earliest stories that shocked and captured the heart of all Flash fans was the tale encapsulated in The Flash vol. 2, issues #74-79 (and including a crossover of The Green Lantern #40). Today, it's the beloved saga known as The Return of Barry Allen. Considering it was written fairly early during Wally West's role as the new Flash (1993), most of us were startled that Barry was returning to take up his old mantle.
The immediate surprise came in issue #74 when Barry showed up at Jay and Joan Garrick's doorstep, dazed with a loss of memory; he knew he was Barry Allen, but had been disoriented enough to wander around lost for weeks. Wally's first impression was to question reality: was this truly his old mentor? How could this be happening? What happens to him if the original Flash returns?
Like a snowball rolling downhill, the truth escalates dramatically; something is very wrong as Barry leaves Wally to die during one of their missions. This isn't The Flash he adorned so long ago. And while Jay Garrick, Johnnie Quick, Max Mercury, and Hal Jordan (The Green Lantern) work together to stop Barry's shift towards evil, Wally searches, eventually finding a clue that unravels the time-patterned mystery.
As with all Flash super-stories, The Return of Barry Allen contains a huge amount of data concerning current events, but also gives you clues to what's about to come. It really hits you at the end, just as it did most of us in 93'. And if you don't pay close attention, you'll miss it in a flash.
What happens when Barry returns? - Does Wally have a job anymore?
In the Return of Barry Allen, you really have to understand the perspective surrounding him at the time; this happened very shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths, a DC comic book event that did a soft reboot, remaking their entire universe. As it was written, Barry Allen was the virtual and literal martyr of the epic; his death was partially responsible for saving everything. Seeing his return sent fans reeling. They didn't know what to make of it.
The Return of Barry Allen was written by Mark Waid, one of the early, defining writers of the original Flash. This is one of his best works and covers The Flash vol. 2 #74-79. My only disappointment with this graphic novel is that it doesn’t include the crossover issue of The Green Lantern #40 (1993), which has Hal Jordan encountering The Flash.
Flash Feature #2: Rebirth - This time, he's for real.
In DC's Final Crisis series, we heard a rumor that Barry Allen was really returning and we didn't quite understand why or how. Somewhere in the expansive minds of the creators of the DC Universe, though, they dared to bring back the one man, the emblem of martyrdom, who saved us from the Crisis on Infinite Earths. And it all culminated in one of the most spectacular sold-out mini-series of all time, when the original Flash, Barry Allen, came back from the Speed Force in Flash: Rebirth.
Somewhat controversial; that would be an understatement. When Barry reappeared the Flash fans were joining separate camps; you were either a "Barry" Flash fan or a "Wally" one, and it was easy to understand. Since March of 1986, we all thought Barry had died; later, they tricked us with "The Return of Barry Allen", which turned out to be a super-villain hoax.
But now it was real; it really happened.
In Flash: Rebirth, Barry Allen somehow escaped the Speed Force, and yes, it's all part of some evil, mysterious plot perpetrated by one of his greatest enemies of all time. (Most of you will already know who this is.)
If you're looking for a turning point in everything Flash, Rebirth has to be at the top of your list. This is prime Barry Allen meshed with Wally West; it also includes all the top runners, from Max Mercury to Jay Garrick to Bart Allen as Kid Flash. And in the era of a new beginning, Barry has to solve a new crisis; since he has returned his powers are destroying the other speedsters.
With all thing...Rebirth. - Read this unbelievable saga.
Flash: Rebirth has to be in the top 3 of the greatest Flash stories of all time. Fundamentally, it challenges your loyalty to the entire genre of speedsters, asking if you’re truly a Wally West fan or if you’ve been waiting for Barry Allen to return. Not only does it twist everything in knots, daring you to keep up with the incredible plot, but it threatens at any moment to remain your favorite characters from the field of battle.
Flash: Rebirth is a 6 issue mini-series which was released in 2009, after the DC Event called “Final Crisis”. If you’re not up to speed on The Flash before reading his Rebirth Saga, Final Crisis is a pretty good, and lengthy, beginning.
Flash Feature #1: Flashpoint - Where Everything You Know Changed in a Flash!
While there are many different points of contention about where Flash was the greatest, when he was at his best, or whether Barry or Wally was better, there's almost no chance that any story will be make more of a dramatic difference than Flashpoint, whose motto was Where everything you know changed in a flash.
Crossing into a realm of strangeness that affected every DC character on the roster, Flashpoint has now become defined as the endpoint of one era of comic books, and the starting mark for an entirely new series of DC's titles. On August 31, 2011, when the last issue of Flashpoint hit the stands, all their previous comic lines shut down; Batman ended; Superman ended; Green Lantern, over. Instead, DC Comics will be releasing 52 brand-new titles which reboot the universe. The concept is that they wanted to modernize their heroes to fit into the technology and problems surrounding current events.
And it all surrounds Flashpoint, a sinister plot by one of Barry Allen's greatest super-villains. From the start of the first issue, we are awakened that, somehow, our Scarlet Speedster has lost his powers. So what, you say; you've seen this before?
Well, that's nothing. Not only has Barry lost his powers, but now Batman is Thomas, not Bruce, Wayne. Wonder Woman has conquered Western Europe; Aquaman and her are now at war. And Superman? He's a pale shadow, hidden in a subterranean stronghold, never seeing the light of day. In Flashpoint, nothing is good; somehow, evil has taken a strong hold.
Thanks for dropping by! Are you a fan of The Flash? Do you like piecing his storylines together and uncovering the myriad of possible timelines that bring his events together?
And if you'd like to leave a message -- something you've seen or heard -- please feel free contribute. Criticism is always welcome.