So if you're worried about confusing Inertia with Impulse or Johnny Quick with Jesse Quick, here's a guide to all the most important DC speeders, because you never know who'll show up in Central City next.
Though he wasn't the first to take up the name of The Flash - that honor goes to Jay Garrick - Barry is the most iconic speedster. Played by Grant Gustin on the CW series, Barry gained his powers after being stuck by lightning. In the comics, Barry remained the Fastest Man Alive until his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. He was eventually brought back to life and also has a pair of speedster kids, Dawn and Don Allen.
Bart Allen, a descendant of Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne from the 30th century, acted as Wally West's sidekick. Born with his grandfather's speed, Bart aged at hyperspeed. He was later captured by Earthgov scientists and raised in a virtual reality environment in order for his mind to age as fast as his body. His grandmother Iris West managed to take Bart away and bring him to the 20th century so that Wally West could help mentor him. Bart then adopted the name Impulse, which matched his impulsive nature. However, he eventually matured into a real hero and even briefly took on the Flash mantel.
Thaddeus Thawne is a speedster clone of Bart Allen created by 30th century President Thawne, who was out for revenge against the Allen family. Inertia was sent back in time as Reverse-Impulse to replace Bart. When that failed, Inertia began a plan to steal the speed of other speedsters to become the next Fastest Man Alive. He also went on to briefly be a part of the Rogues, which featured Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, the Trickster and Heat Wave. But after his manipulation of the Rogues was exposed, the group turned against Inertia and killed him.
Jenni Ognats, the granddaughter of Barry Allen, discovered her speed after seeing her father tortured by the alien race the Dominators. Once she learned to control her speed, she became the hero XS and good friends with her cousin Impulse.
The first Flash gained his powers from inhaling vapors in a college laboratory. He went on to become a founding member of Justice Society of America. Teddy Sears plays Jay on the CW drama.
The Rival is a main nemesis of Jay Garrick. Dr. Edward Clariss was a professor at Jay's college who was obsessed with recreating the formula that gave Jay his powers. When his claims were rejected by the scientific community, Clariss became a criminal only to discover the effects of his potion were temporary.
A 19th century US Cavalry scout, Max Mercury gained his powers after a dying Native American shaman gave him the power of speed. Max Mercury then began traveling through time in an attempt to understand the Speed Force.
A supersonic jet pilot, Savitar gained his abilities when his experimental plane was struck by lightning. In addition to speed, Savitar was able to sap the speed of others, though Wally West was immune to this. Savitar abilities gained him a group of cult followers who became known as the Thunderbolt Agents.
After Wally gained his powers, the Flash (Barry Allen) began mentoring him, but told Wally to keep this a secret from Iris West. Known as Kid Flash, Wally rose to fame as a member of the Teen Titans. But after Barry's death, Wally decided to take over the role of the Flash. Though in the comics Wally is the nephew of Iris West, the CW re-imagined him as Iris' younger brother, played by Keiynan Lonsdale.
Zoom is Wally West's greatest foe. Born Hunter Zolomon, Zoom was once a criminologist who befriended Wally. However, once Hunter was paralyzed by Gorilla Grodd and Wally refused to heal him, Hunter stole Wally's Cosmic Treadmill and accidentally shifted his own connection to time. That means that Zoom isn't a real speedster, but he can freeze time and move between moments. He also doesn't see himself as a villain. In Zoom's mind, by putting obstacles in the Flash's way, he is helping Wally improve and become a better hero. Zoom is the main villain of The Flash's second season, where he is facing off against Barry Allen and not Wally West.
Black Flash is an incarnation of death who appears whenever speedster heroes die or have near-death experiences. Black Flash came for Wally West, but instead took Wally's girlfriend Linda Park (played byMalese Jow on the show) into the Speed Force. When Black Flash came for Wally again, Wally was able to defeat it by racing it to the end of time where death had no power. At different points, both Barry Allen and Reverse-Flash became the Black Flash.
Also known as Professor Zoom, Reverse-Flash is the central nemesis of Barry Allen. Born Eobard Thawne, he grew up as a huge fan of the Flash, but was driven insane after he traveled back in time to meet Barry Allen only to discover he would eventually become the Flash's greatest enemy. Matt Letscher and Tom Cavanagh play Eobard Thawne in The Flash. And though Reverse-Flash was killed in Season 1, he reappeared in Season 2 thanks to a time travel loophole.
Eliza Harmon, aka Trajectory, was a short-lived character who was given speedster powers through Lex Luthor's Everyman Project. However, the only way that she could then move at regular speed was with the aid of a special drug. Allison Paige will make her debut as Trajectory in the 16th episode of The Flash's second season.
Johnny Quick is a citizen of Earth-3, a world featuring the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, a group of villainous counterparts of the Justice League. So while Johnny Quick may be as fast as Barry Allen, he is the moral opposite. In one version of Johnny Quick, he even gained his powers from "speed juice," a drug made from the blood of his predecessor.
Jesse Chambers, aka Jesse Quick, is the daughter of the hero - not the Earth-3 villain - Johnny Quick and Liberty Bell. She devoted her life to studying past superheroes before finally becoming one herself. She worked closely with Wally West, but begrudged Wally for the way he used her to help Bart Allen become the next Flash, rather than herself. Violett Beane plays her on The Flash, but her abilities have yet to be introduced.
Which speedsters do you want to see on The Flash?
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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