The Flash: 100 Greatest Moments
Review by KC Carlson
There have been several DC characters named the Flash (or something similar, like Kid Flash), and so it was about time that DC did one of these books devoted to all things Flash. The Flash: 100 Greatest Moments is the latest in the series of DC Comics history books by Robert Greenberger, after the Justice League, Batman, Super-Villains, and Super Heroines volumes.
Like both Superman and Batman, the Flash first appeared during the Golden Age of Comics (1940 to be exact), but unlike those characters, who have pretty much been Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne for their entire careers, there are many different men who have taken up the super-heroic identity of the Flash over the decades. The three primary ones are Jay Garrick (Golden Age), Barry Allen (Silver Age), and Wally West (also from the Silver Age, as a teenager named Kid Flash, but with stints of his own as the hero named the Flash during periods when Barry Allen was inactive).
Confusing? Sure. But that’s why you need to read this book.
Chronologically, Greatest Moment #1 is Jay Garrick: The First Flash, and Greatest Moment #100 is Wally and Barry defeating Hunter Zolomon. Ironically, this #100 Moment will probably be confusing to anyone who knows little about the Flashes, but if you read the entire book first (leaving this entry for last), you will gain a lot of important DC history along the way.
The book also emphasizes the fact that for much of the Golden Age of Comics, the main DC characters were kept separate from each other —- except for All-Star Comics, the home of the Justice Society of America, where the DC heroes teamed up to battle dozens and dozens of super-villains and other other menaces.
In contrast, the Barry Allen Flash was probably the most social of the the DC super-heroes. (It helps when you can run from Central City to Coast City in the blink of an eye!) Thus, he is a key member of the Justice League of America, the Silver Age descendent of the JSA.
The book is helpfully sub-divided into several different “chapters”, named after key elements of the character’s history, including The Fastest Man Alive, Flash Facts, The Cosmic Treadmill, The Flash Museum. The Rogues, and The Speed Force.
Speaking of the Rogues, they were one of the weirder concepts that found its way into the stories. Despite the fact they were villains, they also liked to hang out with each other while waiting for the iceberg that Captain Cold encased the Flash in to melt. Other Rogues that appeared in the group include Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Pied Piper, Weather Wizard, the Trickster, Captain Boomerang, the Top, Abra Kadabra, Professor Zoom (aka Reverse Flash), and (because it’s DC and they LOVE their giant monkeys) Gorilla Grodd!
The Flash also has a Museum dedicated to him with displays devoted to the frequent Superman/Flash races (mostly for charity purposes). And it’s where the Cosmic Treadmill (used for super-speed time-travel) is hidden away in the basement!
The Flash has long been one of DC’s super-heroic standbys, and he’s gained new attention thanks to his TV show. Given how much DC history has passed by this point, this comprehensive collection of key moments, told in 100 short articles, provides an overview without being overwhelming. (The publisher provided a review copy.)