The Legacy Of Barry Allen

By: Henry Hanks, Contributor     @hankstv /

My name is Barry Allen and I'm the fastest man alive.

Many fans of the CW TV series "The Flash," which just began its fourth season, will easily recognize that line as leading off many an episode, as spoken by actor Grant Gustin. 

But it has a long history in DC Comics, and the best known Flash himself, Mr. Allen, is responsible for kicking off the Silver Age of comics in 1956 when he was introduced in "Showcase" #4.

It was the granddaddy of reboots, something we see all the time now in film and TV. The original Flash Jay Garrick (now played on TV by John Wesley Shipp, who portrayed Barry in a shortlived 1990 TV series) was replaced by this new everyman, who just so happened to be gifted with the power of super-speed. This also eventually led to the establishment of the many "earths" concept in DC Comics.

Barry gave us the colorful Rogues Gallery, from Mirror Master to Captain Boomerang to the devious Reverse Flash. 

Barry was a beloved character for nearly 30 years before sacrificing himself in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in 1985. 

Barry took his place alongside Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy, Bucky Barnes (and later Jason Todd) as one of those comic book characters who was dead and would stay dead... for a few decades anyway (and one out of five ain't bad). 

Barry came back in 2008's "Final Crisis," just a few years before returning to television. 

Soon we'll see Barry finally make it to the big screen (and not just in a cameo) in "Justice League," with a slightly more humorous take on the character by actor Ezra Miller. 

That's right, comic book geeks will soon be able to debate their favorite Flash just like their favorite Batman. What a time to be alive!