Created by Bob Kanigher & Carmine Infantino
NAME + ALIASES:
Barry Henry Allen
Known Relatives: Iris (wife), Don and Dawn Allen (The Tornado Twins, children), Bart Allen (Impulse, grandson), Jenni Ognats (XS, granddaughter), ?? Thawne (Cobalt Blue, twin brother, deceased) Henry (father), Nora (mother), Eric Russell (father-in-law), Fran Russell (mother-in-law), Prof. Ira West (stepfather-in-law), Wallace West (Flash III, nephew).
Justice League of America
Crisis on Infinite Earths #8
Barry Allen was the second man to gain super-speed powers and fight evil under the name of the Flash. Curiously enough, Barry's story begins at its end. While running at faster-than-light speeds in an effort to destroy the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon, Barry was transformed into a living bolt of lightning and hurled backwards through time. This bolt of lightning struck Barry while he was working on an experiment late one night at the Central City Police Laboratory (in Ohio), and endowed him with phenomenal super-speed powers. (Secret Origins Annual #2)
Shortly after he realized the nature of his new powers, he was called upon to save his fiancée, Iris West, from a group of terrorists that were holding her for ransom. Barry managed to save Iris from a collapsing building, disarm the terrorists, and put out a fire, all so quickly that no one even realized he was there. Having been a lifelong fan of the original Flash, Jay Garrick, Barry decided to put his new powers to good use as the new Flash. In his first public case, he brought the super-slow thief known as the Turtle to justice. (Showcase #4)
Soon, the Flash found himself busy fending off a veritable flood of Rogues, including such notables as Captain Cold, Heat Wave, the Trickster, Gorilla Grodd, Captain Boomerang, the Golden Glider, Professor Zoom, and many more. He also gained an ally when Iris West's nephew Wally became Kid Flash. Barry took some time off from his regular battles with the "Flash's Rogues' Gallery" to help found the Justice League of America. (JLA: Year One #2, Secret Origins #32) The Flash was the most enthusiastic proponent of the idea, and he served as its first chairman. Very shortly after the JLA was founded, Barry married his longtime sweetheart, Iris. Strangely, Barry revealed his secret identity to Iris on their wedding night in his sleep. (Flash #165)
Iris did not tell Barry she knew he was the Flash until sometime later. Just one year after their marriage, however, Iris was slain by the murderous Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash. (Flash #275; 7.79) When Barry fell in love once again and made plans to be married a second time a few months later, Zoom emerged once more and nearly succeeded in an attempt on the life of the Flash's new fiancée, Fiona Webb. During this second encounter, Zoom was accidentally killed by the Flash, (#234) who was later arrested and put through a lengthy murder trial. (#340) In the end, of course, the Flash was acquitted; and just after his trial concluded, he disappeared from the public eye. It turned out that his original wife, Iris West, was alive after all and living in the 30th century, where the Flash went to join her. (#350)
A short time later, though, Barry returned to the present to aid the heroes who gathered to battle the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis. Sadly, Barry laid down his life for the universe during this, his final battle. (Crisis #8) As he moved faster and faster in an attempt to destroy the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon, the Flash was transformed into a living bolt of lightning and moved backwards through time, where he became the very lightning bolt that had originally given him his powers. (Secret Origins Annual #2)
Wally West immediately took over Barry's mantle, and like his predecessor. West has been greatly inspired by his uncle's legacy and most agreed that he has surpassed Allen as the all-time greatest speedster. Not to worry, Barry would have been proud, not jealous.
The Flash was one of those rarities in life a truly good and honest man. Barry was cooperative, caring, and fiercely dedicated to his noble ideals. He was also remarkably creative in using his super-speed powers. No matter what kind of strange death traps his foes imprisoned him in, or what kind of criminal plots they concocted, Barry always managed to find some way to win.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
Showcase #4, 8, 13-14
Flash Comics/The Flash v.1, 350 issues (1940-49, 1959-85)
The Flash v.2, current (1987-)
The Flash: The Life Story of Barry Allen, graphic novel (199)
Flash and Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold, 6-issue limited series (1999-2000)
... and others too numerous to list.