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10 Biggest Flash Failures in DC Comics History

Summary

  • Wally West’s decision to leave the Flash mantle led to Bart Allen’s death and could have been avoided had he stayed.
  • Wally’s refusal to help his friend Hunter Zolomon led to him becoming the evil Zoom instead of finding a better path.
  • Barry Allen’s twisted timeline resulted in him becoming a murderer, throwing his life into chaos.

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The Flash might be the Fastest Man Alive, but even he’s prone to costly failures that have huge impacts on the world around him. Ever since Jay Garrick started it all, the Flash mantle has been shared by numerous heroes in DC’s speedster family. And nearly every one of them has a mistake that haunts them.

Flashes tend to be overconfident thanks to their reality-breaking powers, but they’re just as likely to fail as anyone else. Read on to discover 10 of the greatest mistakes in Flash history.

10 Flash Abandoned Earth and Got Bart Allen Killed

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, Marc Guggenheim, Tony S. Daniel

Bart Allen DC Death

Though Wally West took up the mantle of the Flash after Crisis on Infinite Earths, he abandoned it to leave the DC Universe to live with his family on another Earth. In his place, Bart Allen became the Scarlet Speedster. However, Bart wasn’t ready for the role and a short time into his tenure as the Flash, Bart was killed after Inertia built a device that stole Bart’s speed. When Inertia’s device malfunctioned, Bart was forced to sacrifice his life to save the West Coast from the fallout. Had Wally not left, Bart very likely could have avoided this horrifying experience.

9 Wally West Helped Turn His Friend Hunter Zolomon into an Enemy

The Flash #196, Geoff Johns, Phil Winslade

Flash and Hunter Zolomon

Hunter Zolomon was a criminal profiler and a close friend of Wally. But Hunter’s life was plagued by tragedy, including an attack by Gorilla Grodd that paralyzed Zolomon from the waist down. Hunter begged Wally to help him fix the many tragedies in Zolomon’s life via the Cosmic Treadmill, but Wally refused. But Zolomon used the treadmill anyway and wound up gaining powers that turned him into the evil Zoom. Had Wally found some way of helping his friend cope instead of turning him down, he could have helped Hunter avoid the dark and villainous path he’d wind up on.

8 Barry Allen Became a Murderer in a Twisted Timeline

The Flash, “Out of Time”, Robert Venditti, Brett Booth

Barry Allen might be one of the Justice League’s kindest souls, but terrible circumstances can drive anyone to terrible things. The “Out of Time” story arc of The Flash presented a Barry from a possible future where Wallace West died and his personal life spiraled out of control. To fix things, Flash traveled back in time and stole his past self’s life to fix the future. Unfortunately, this version of Flash was so twisted by his life experiences that he killed a criminal he knew would get off on a technicality, throwing the past Barry’s life into chaos.

7 Jay Garrick Completely Forgot He Had a Speedster Daughter

Stargirl: The Lost Children, Geoff Johns, Todd Nauck

Jay Garrick and his Daughter DC

The Golden Age Flash may be the patriarch of the Flash Family, but when it comes to his own family, the speedster completely forgot. Jay Garrick had a daughter named Judy, who worked by his side as the teenage hero, the Boom. However, Flash had no clue she existed after she was plucked out of the time stream by the interdimensional villain, the Childminder. The Boom was eventually rescued and reunited with her father, which gave Jay his memories of Judy back. But it’s a shock that all this time, Jay had a daughter that he almost didn’t see again.

6 Wally Pushed His Girlfriend into Becoming a Superhero

Teen Titans Spotlight #16, Tony Isabella, Chuck Patton

Flash and Magenta Fight DC

During Wally West’s days as Kid Flash, he dated a young woman named Frances Kane, a metahuman with magnetic powers. Despite her apprehensions, Wally pushed Frances to become a superhero. Unfortunately, she wasn’t prepared for the realities and pressures that came with being a hero and the two broke up a short time later. The stress and anger Frances harbored towards Wally later emerged in a new persona that was angry with Wally West and desired revenge. The two fought sporadically and Wally admitted how much he regretted how he treated Frances. Thankfully, the two were able to make up.

5 Barry Completely Forgot Wally Existed

DC Universe Rebirth #1, Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Phil Jimenez

Barry Forgot Wally DC

The New 52 changed everything for the DC Universe. Relationships were dissolved, personal histories were radically altered, and some characters went missing altogether. Barry Allen, one of the parties responsible for the strange new DCU, was no stranger to this as he completely forgot about Wally West, his longtime sidekick and close friend. Barry did know a Wally during the New 52 (Wallace ‘Ace’ West, that is), but Flash had no clue anything was missing. It wasn’t until Wally was able to break free from the Speed Force that Barry finally remembered him, collapsing in tears over the fact that he had forgotten his partner.

4 Barry Helped Reverse-Flash Gain His Powers

The Flash #139, John Broome, Carmine Infantino

The Reverse-Flash has been plaguing the Flash Family for years, but Barry is actually the reason the future speedster even has powers in the first place. In Reverse-Flash’s first origin story, Eobard Thawne gained powers thanks to a suit that Barry had placed in a time capsule. Thawne studied the suit and managed to replicate Flash’s incredible speed whenever he wore it. This event triggered Reverse-Flash’s long antagonistic history with the Flash. Had Barry Allen never left his suit for Thawne to find, the DC Universe could have avoided one of the deadliest psychopaths from ever gaining super-speed.

3 Zatanna Brainwashed a Rogue at Flash’s Request

The Flash #216, Geoff Johns, Howard Porter

Top Memory Wipe Flash DC

The heroes of the DC Universe crossed a major line in Identity Crisis when it was revealed that the League used Zatanna’s abilities to mind-wipe supervillains on more than one occasion. Barry was particularly guilty of this as he asked Zatanna to change the Top’s personality. Rather than a mind-wipe, Flash asked Zatanna to make Top more heroic, which actually worked for a small period. But this majorly backfired as the Top was driven mad by the guilt of his former crimes. Top even tried to brainwash his fellow Rogues to make them law-abiding as well, all because Barry thought brainwashing was a sound idea.

2 Spectre Wiped the World’s Memory of Flash’s Identity

The Flash #200, Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins

Flash Identity Erase DC

For years, Wally West’s identity as the Flash was public information. But after Zoom attacked Wally and his wife Linda, Wally decided it was time to make a change. He sought the Spectre and asked him to make the world forget that Wally West was the Flash. The Spectre complied and no one, including Wally, knew who the Flash really was. Wally later recalled his identity and the world kept on going. But the fact that Wally went to such lengths to erase his identity is a shock as he’s usually one to deal with the consequences of his actions.

1 Barry Nearly Destroyed the World with Flashpoint

Flashpoint, Geoff Johns, Andy Kubert

In Barry Allen’s attempt to undo his mother’s death, Flash wound up creating a terrifying alternate timeline. The Flashpoint world’s Superman spent most of his life in prison. Bruce Wayne was dead and his parents were the timeline’s Batman and Joker. But all those dire changes paled in comparison to the war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans which sunk most of Europe. While Barry did undo this world, his journey to correct the timeline weakened the DC Universe enough for Doctor Manhattan and the Great Darkness to remove five years’ worth of history, a consequence the DCU is still dealing with.

The Flash Family is a great collection of heroes, but these 10 moments stand out as some of their biggest failures in DC history.

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