Ever since the Flash kickstarted the Silver Age, he's been tearing through comics with a yellow-and-red streak. Although there are numerous super-heroes with super speed, Flash reigns supreme — over Marvel's Quicksilver, and even DC's flagship Superman who also has superspeed. In recent years, writer Geoff Johns has fully embraced the diverse assortment of Flash characters created over time into a cohesive family of characters both friend and foe that are memorable to most any comic fans.
But if you don't know that, where do you start? We can help. Here's five Flash books that serve as an ideal introduction to the Scarlet Speedster's life — or lives, when you count the numerous people who have taken on the 'Flash' moniker. With Flashpoint bearing down on us and Warner Bros. hoping to do a Flash film in the next few years, now is the time to get up to speed on DC's speedster.
The Flash Archives, Vol. 1: Although the Flash was introduced years before, it wasn't until the relaunch of the title in 1956 that the Flash really gained traction. The creation of Robert Kanigher, John Broome and Carmine Infantino, the new Barry Allen/Flash kickstarted the Silver Age and paved the way for the 2nd generation of super-heroes — including Marvel's string of hits. The Flash Archives Vol. 1 collects the earliest adventures of Barry Allen as the Flash, and really fleshes out his rogue's gallery as well as the early motivations that still show through today on the comics page.
The Flash Omnibus by Geoff Johns: Geoff Johns has risen to the top tier of DC's creators in the 21st century, and he owes it all to The Flash. This omnibus collects Johns' first stories on the character way back when he was an unknown in 2000. This collects not only his inaugural "Wonderland" arc but also the epic "Blood Will Run" arc that saw Johns and Scott Kolins really get up to speed. It also shows Flash's Rogues in a deadly new light that became the new standard for Captain Cold and Co.
The Flash: Terminal Velocity: This late-90s storyarc tells the definitive origin of the Flash — not the character's origin, but of their powers thesmevles. The Speed Force is revealed as part-Green Lantern battery and part Star Wars' The Force, granting a select few the power to run at the speed of light — but not without its downside. But the story isn't just sci-fi, as Mark Waid and Salvador Larroca mix super-powers with romance between Wally and his wife who he sees in a vision dying in his future. This story became the high-water mark for modern Flash stories until Geoff Johns came onto the title, and remains one of the defining stories for the character over time.
The Flash: Human Race: This is part of one of the most over-looked runs in Flash history — Grant Morrison and Mark Millar do The Flash. This is years before Millar and Morrison became industry heavyweights, but shows alot of verve and skill with a "Contest of Champions" style race pitting the greatest speedsters in the universe (this means aliens!) against one another with their home planets on the line.
The Flash: Greatest Stories Ever Told: Although this collection is a few years out of date, it is true to its name in collecting some of the greatest standalone stories in Flash's history. There's no rose-tinted glasses here: stand-outs here include: "1968's "The Flash — Fact or Fiction?" which shows the speedster transported to the real world — our world — and sees himself starring in a comic; and "Out of TIme", which shows a young Wally West as Flash who tries to amp up his powers with catastrophic results. Take note, there are a couple stories here that also appear in some of our other selections today, but don't let that chase you away — this book is a must-read.