The Flash is so fast that it seems like he’s everywhere at once, from DC Comics to the CW drama to the upcoming Justice League movie. With so much Flash in so many places, there are many facts about this scarlet speedster that viewers may be unaware of. Due to the article in front of his name—the Flash—it’s easy for casual fans to forget about just how many scarlet speedsters there have been. Not counting the usual comics chicanery of alternate dimensions and non-canonical Elseworlds stories, there have been four characters to go by the name. The original was Jay Garrick, a college student who inhaled gases from hard water experiments and became a living embodiment of the speed god Mercury.
Five years later, DC Comics introduced the arguably more iconic Flash, Barry Allen. Barry ditched the helmeted look of Garrick for the more familiar full body suit after lightning struck some chemicals that he was working on during his career as a police scientist. The third Flash, Wally West, was originally introduced as Allen’s sidekick, which seemed like a natural solution after West also encountered lightning and chemicals, resulting in super speed. After Barry died trying to save the universe, Wally became the full-time Flash until the introduction of Bart Allen—Barry’s grandson, who inexplicably hails from the 30th century.
After his tenure as a hero named Impulse and then a sidekick stint as Kid Flash, Bart became the Flash. Overall, Barry has been the most iconic, and he served as the Flash after DC reset their continuity with their New 52 brand of comics. Barry is also the speedster currently gracing the CW’s The Flash TV series.