Where to Start Reading Flash Comics

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

May 20, 2019


With a library of over 20,000 issues, even the Fastest Man Alive would need time to sort through all the comics on DC Universe. And if you’ve ever been curious about the Flash, you’ve come to the right place to begin your reading journey. Whether you’re addicted to the current live-action TV show or you grew up watching John Wesley Shipp’s live-action portrayal, we have the right comic for you, which you can read at your own speed. Ready to sprint into Flash fandom? On your mark, get set...go!



“Flash of Two Worlds!”


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THE STORY: Barry Allen teams up with Jay Garrick, the original Flash, introduced in the Golden Age of comics, in this groundbreaking 1961 tale by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino that introduced the idea of a multiverse to DC. When the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, finds himself mysteriously transported to Earth-Two, he meets Jay, and the two join forces to save Keystone City from three villains: the fiendish Fiddler, Shade, and Thinker. This comic was not only an important turning point for the Flash’s legacy, but for the entire DC Universe as a whole. The multiverse became a popular storytelling tool for decades to come and has even made its way into the "Arrowverse" family of shows.


FOR FANS OF: The current TV Flash, dimension-hopping adventures, and classic Silver Age fun... Designer supreme Infantino's art on this title is some of the era's best, and this particular issue features one of his most iconic Flash covers.


WHAT’S NEXT: Check out Secret Origins (1986) #50 to find out how this story was updated for Post-Crisis continuity. The go back and read the rest of Barry's early adventures -- all of which are illustrated by the amazing Carmine Infantino and usually written by the equally talented John Broome -- starting with his first appearance in 1956's Showcase #4 and continuing through Showcase #8, #13, and #14, and The Flash #105 on. 


WHERE TO FIND IT: The Flash #123


BONUS: If this story gives you a hunger for more Jay Garrick, check him out in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster.



“The Trial of the Flash”


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THE STORY: While Barry Allen had it good for most of the Silver Age of comics, things didn't go quite so well for him in the Bronze Age. When the Reverse-Flash threatened to kill Barry’s fiancée the same way he had previously murdered his wife Iris West, the Scarlet Speedster inadvertently took the villain’s life in a desperate attempt to save the woman he loves. In this story, the Flash must answer for his crime in a court of law. This is a fight Barry can’t win by running or punching, and the odds are stacked against him. Fans of the current The Flash television series will recognize Cecile Horton, who plays a very important role in this storyline as Flash’s defense attorney. This tale was the grand finale of The Flash title, before Barry disappeared in 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths event. It also featured some of the last illustrations Carmine Infantino ever did of his signature character.


FOR FANS OF: Courtroom dramas, mysteries, and admirers of Cecile Horton from CW’s The Flash.


WHAT’S NEXT: To find out what happens to Barry next, read the Earth-shattering Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series.


WHERE TO FIND IT: The Flash (1959) #340-350



“Born to Run”


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THE STORY: Revisit the early years of Wally West and learn how a 10-year-old boy became a sidekick to the Fastest Man Alive in the character's Modern Age (or post-Crisis on Infinite Earths) origin story. While visiting his Aunt Iris for the summer, all of Wally’s dreams come true -- as a strange set of circumstances recreates the Flash's origin, granting the young boy super-speed! Wally adopts the name Kid Flash, but he soon finds that superhero life isn’t all wisecracks and fun as he’s forced to deal with failure, the potential loss of his powers, and family drama... This tale kicked off Mark Waid’s legendary run on the second volume of The Flash, a creative renaissance for the character, in which Barry's mantle was carried by Wally.


FOR FANS OF: If you loved Wally West’s journey as Kid Flash on the Young Justice animated series, then this story will give you a deeper understanding of the character.


WHAT’S NEXT: This storyline sets up a mystery about an unknown relative who once gave young Wally words of encouragement. Check out the shocking resolution to that mystery in The Flash (1987) #0. Then read Wally's early adventures as the Flash, starting with 1987's The Flash #1.


WHERE TO FIND IT: The Flash (1987) #62-65


 BONUS: Wally West as Kid Flash takes center stage in the Young Justice episode “Coldhearted.” And is the Flash for the entire run of TV's Justice League and Justice League Unlimited



“The Return of Barry Allen”


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THE STORY: Years after disappearing in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry Allen shows up on Wally’s doorstep alive and well. But while everyone is thrilled to have Barry back, something about him Wally and Barry attempt to continue their Flash careers as a team, but tensions rise when the two try to share their responsibilities. As the story races towards its emotional climax, Wally West faces off against Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash in one of the greatest speedster battles in comic history. In this 1993 tale of family and heartbreak, writer Mark Waid honors the legacy of Barry Allen while propelling Wally West towards his destiny.


FOR FANS OF: Generational team-ups, mysteries, and lovers of the Reverse-Flash.


WHAT’S NEXT: At the end of this story Wally learns his long-thought-dead Aunt Iris is still alive. Wally reunites with Iris and receives some answers to his lingering questions as the story continues in The Flash #92.


WHERE TO FIND IT: Flash (1987) #74-79


BONUS: Hardcore fans will love 1990's The Flash television series, featuring John Wesley Shipp as a version of Barry Allen's Scarlet Speedster that uses some elements of the Wally West Flash. Every episode of this fan-favorite live-action series is available to stream right here on DC Universe!



“Terminal Velocity”


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THE STORY: It’s the Flash family vs the Kobra Cult as writer Mark Waid’s legendary run on the character reaches a critical turning point. This story gave Wally West, as well as readers, their first lesson about the Speed Force, and how it powers Wally and all of his speedster allies. The Speed Force is one of Waid’s biggest contributions to the Flash mythos, and impacted the character for years to come. This story leaves the Flash with a greater understanding of his powers, and finds him using the Speed Force to become faster than ever.


FOR FANS OF: If you’re an avid viewer of TV's current The Flash, and you want to learn more about the Speed Force, this storyline is a great crash course. Fans of Bart Allen will also have a great time reading some of his earliest appearances.

WHAT’S NEXT: After this storyline concluded, Mark Waid launched a title chronicling Bart Allen’s solo adventures -- Impulse.


WHERE TO FIND IT: The Flash #95-100


BONUS: For more Bart Allen/Impulse, check out the the Young Justice comic book and season 2 of the animated Young Justice (in which he's introduced in the episode “Bloodlines”).



“The Dastardly Death of the Rogues”


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THE STORY: After years away, Barry Allen returns to Central City and is ready to get back to business. But Barry soon finds himself under fire when a group of time travelers known as the Renegades accuse the Flash of murdering the Mirror Monarch. The resulting manhunt leads to a free-for-all, as the modern-day Rogues join the fight against their future counterparts, and the Flash learns he may be the killer after all. This thrilling story is written by DC superstar Geoff Johns, and features some of the most dynamic work from artist Francis Manapul.


FOR FANS OF: Viewers of the CW series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will enjoy reading about Flash’s Rogues functioning as time cops try to prevent a catastrophic anachronism.


WHAT’S NEXT: This story plants the seeds for Flashpoint, the next big Flash storyline that rocked the DC Universe for years to come.


WHERE TO FIND IT: The Flash (2010) #1-6


BONUS: For more fun with the Flash’s Rogues, check out the Justice League Unlimited episode “Flash and Substance.” Then read Geoff Johns' entire run on The Flash, from issue #164 to #225. And don't forget to read 2009's The Flash: Rebirth, in which Johns restored Barry Allen to his role as the principal Flash. 



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