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The Flash: Will the Real Flash Please Stand Up?

The Flash: Will the Real Flash Please Stand Up?

By Ashley V. Robinson Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

The #DCTV Couch Club is a team of DC fans dedicated to exploring the shared universe of The CW’s Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Look for new Couch Club posts here on after every new episode!

“Monster” introduced viewers to the third version of Harrison Wells in three seasons—H.R.! Okay, technically, we met him in “New Rogues” —last week’s episode—but this was the first full episode where we had a chance to get a real sense of what H.R. Wells is all about. He’s the goofy idea man standing in stark contrast to his Earth-2 counterpart, Harry. So far it seems like Earth-19 (where H.R. hails from), is the most fun Earth in the CW Multiverse!

Taking a cue from the appearance of H.R., I wanted to examine some of the different Flashes throughout the DC Comics multiverse. Let’s start out with the really easy one—Earth 2. Fans of The Flash television show know that the Flash of Earth-2 is Jason (Jay), Garrick. Jay Garrick was the very first man to call himself the Flash in comics publication history. Famously, Jay Garrick served as a member of the Justice Society of America, filling the speedster role that is integral to any DC team. During the Silver Age of comics the Justice Society of America were moved over to Earth-2 to share adventures and crossovers with members of the Justice League of America based on Earth-1 in yearly events that appeared in Annual publications.

In July 2012, writer James Robinson and artist Nicola Scott reimagined classic Earth-2 characters in an eponymously titled series and readers got a whole new version of Jay Garrick. He got a new costume, de-aged from his elder statesman role to a young man, who was granted speed powers by the dying God, Mercury. This Jay Garrick is a member of the super team Wonders of the World and a close ally of Hawkgirl.

…there may be something there for my Legends of Tomorrow fans to think about!

In Supergirl Season 1, Barry Allen jokes about a world populated entirely by villains. Well, I am here to let you know that this world exists in the DC Multiverse and it is Earth-3! Earth-3 is home to the Crime Syndicate, the malicious counterparts to the Justice League of America and, yes, there is a bad guy speedster there too! Thankfully, he is none of the Flashes that viewers know and love from The Flash on television. On Earth-3, Johnny Quick goes by his birth name and possesses superhuman speed. Johnny has done battle with Jay Garrick in the past and he walked away the victor.

Earth-9 was created in 2011 along with the beginning of the New 52 continuity and—like Earth 1—it has more than one Flash! Earth-9 is based on Tangent Comics (seriously, peep these out, they’re AH-mazing!), and has a female Flash named Lia Nelson who, in addition to being a speedster, is a famous actress and fashion model. Lia is an important member of the Earth-9 Secret Six. There was even a time when Lia Nelson and Wally West met and worked alongside each other.

Earth-22 might have the most speedsters in the entire DC Multiverse. This reality is based on Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ 1996 miniseries, KINGDOM COME. All of the DC Comics characters that readers know are elderly—many have gone into retirement—and since their glory days, a new wave of super-powered heroes have arisen and altered the world’s landscape. Wally West is the Flash of Earth-22 (although he is wearing what we would traditionally think of as being Jay Garrick’s classic costume). During his tenure as the Flash, Wally was unable to stop running and is seen throughout the series in perpetual motion.

Earth-22 also has a Kid Flash on it and she is a badass lady speedster—Iris West II. Yes, my West/Allen shippers, your dreams have come true on Earth-22. Barry and Iris have a daughter and she is a super hero! Iris even gets her own miniseries called THE KINGDOM: KID FLASH where you can find out all about her adventures. I will let you know, however, that Iris West II knows Rip Hunter and he plays an important part in her speedster career.

This is not a complete list of all the Flashes that have ever Flashed through the pages of DC Comics. I elected to highlight the vast diversity that can be found wearing the Flash lightning bolt. But if you’re curious about some of the other Earths in the DC Multiverse, I suggest checking out this interactive map that was created for Grant Morrison’s THE MULTIVERSITY—there are dozens to explore. Not only does this mean there is a ton of possibilities for a plethora of speedsters to populate The Flash TV show for years and years to come—or other worlds for Barry and Team Flash to visit one adventure at a time—but it drives home the idea that anyone (regardless of any qualifiers), is capable of being the Flash!

Ashley V. Robinson covers The Flash as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.