Flash first appeared in 1940. The comic’s creation is credited to the writer Gardner Fox in a joint effort with artist Harry Lampert. Since, there have been three incarnations. All of them have super speed as their defining character in addition to other abilities like superhuman reflexes and the capability to violate certain laws of physics. To be protected from air friction as he runs, The Flash has an invisible aura around him. To date, there have been four characters who have ascended to the becomes their time’s flash. These are Jay Garrick who was first, Barry Allen who appeared in the silver age, Wally West who was Barry Allen’s and Bart Allen. They are nicknamed The Scarlet Speedster, The Crimson Comet, The Blur and The Streak in respective order.
Flash has appeared in three ages namely the golden age, the silver age and the modern age. As is obvious, Jay Garrick appeared in the golden age and the very first one. He acquired his abilities after inhaling hard water vapors although the origin of his powers is altered later in a re-introduction where he gains his abilities after being exposed to heavy water. In the silver age of comic books, Barry Allen became the new Flash. He got his abilities after he was bathed in chemicals. This happened after the shelf they were placed in was struck by lightning. When his new abilities became apparent to him, he adopted the Flash title after reading a comic which featured Jay Garrick.
Barry Allen became the first superhero to crossover between two worlds to meet his predecessor. In an issue entitled Flash of two Worlds, Barry Allen crosses over to meet Jay Garrick and following the event, the two superheroes become good friends. After this first crossover, there were several others by members who belonged to the Justice League of America. This is a team of superheroes formed in the Silver age. Allen’s adventures ended in 1985 when he died heroically in an issue entitled Crisis on Infinite Earths #8.
In the modern age, we have Wally West being introduced as the third Flash. However, he is not entirely new as he had appeared in issue No. 110 of December 1959 as Kid Flash. West who is Barry Allen’s nephew acquired his powers and abilities in a fashion similar to his uncle’s. He ascended to the mantle of Flash after the death of his uncle. Most of the issues which featured the Wally West begun with the catch phrase; “My name is Wally West. I am the fastest man alive.”
Another notable character is John Fox who is expected to carry the mantle of flash in the future. In order to defeat a radioactive villain called Mota who surfaces in the 27th century, he was sent back in time to get the assistance of Garrick, Allen or West. The Flash has raced against Superman who is another popular superhero several times. Sometimes races between superman and the Flash were to merely to determine who is faster while other times, they were combining efforts to eliminate a threat. They tied most times when they run to compete but eventually, The Flash proves that he is indeed “the fastest man alive”.