In 1956, Barry Allen became the Flash, the world’s first superhero. In addition to fighting crime, he helped his nation abroad, cutting the cold war short and pushing the communists out of Vietnam by 1963. Then he took a bullet aimed at President John F. Kennedy. Paralyzed from the neck down, but with the fastest mind on earth, he founded the high-tech research firm Allen Industries.
By 1988, Allen Industries and Vandal Savage’s Immortality, Inc. had begun manned exploration of Mars, where they found evidence of a lost civilization. Ten years later, an archaeological dig led by Wally West uncovered a pronged rod in the Cydonia region. Shortly after Wally touched it, it began vibrating, and a lightning storm appeared above the site, striking Wally and leaving him comatose... but twitching at hyper-speed. He was taken to “Van” for treatment, but died.
A dig member stole the artifact and teleported back to Earth, triggering both a federal investigation and a private one by detective Ralph Dibny. A mysterious figure revealed himself to Dibny as the last surviving Martian. He explained that the artifact was a key designed to open the gates of heaven by linking to a field of accelerated energy. When the flashpoint was opened, all life on Mars was wiped out in moments.
Wally’s death, however, was short-lived. Savage had cloned him to study his speed, and one of the clones had remnants of his memories...and escaped. He went on a confused super-speed rampage through Central City, picking up a costume from the Flash-Space Museum along the way. Barry lured “Wally” to a teleport platform, and from there to a deep-space probe where he couldn’t do any damage. While there, he found a way to siphon Wally’s excess speed, shocking his system back to normal.
Savage killed the Martian, then sought out his old friend. The immortal had long ago succumbed to boredom, but preferred to make a grand gesture rather than simply fade away: by opening the flashpoint, he would take the entire world with him into heaven.
A federal sharpshooter watched the confrontation between Vandal Savage and Barry Allen. Savage admitted to firing a fourth bullet in Dallas, crippling Barry so that he could befriend him and study his speed. Barry tried to talk him out of it, but he triggered the flashpoint at the same moment the gunman fired, and Barry had to play his trump card.
His contact with Wally had cured his paralysis, but he was still too slow to save Van. Instead he raced to intercept the flashpoint’s energy, each contact making him faster, circling the globe to save the world until he returned to the artifact, taking it with him as he entered the flashpoint himself.Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Flashpoint (3 issues, December 1999–February 2000), Pat McGreal
- Flashpoint #1 (December 1999) - Norm Breyfogle
Vandal Savage’s plant in Allen Industries, the one who stole the artifact, is James Jesse. Immortality, Inc. also employs Leonard Snart as a cryogenics and cloning expert. During his rampage, Wally crashes into Linda Park’s house, and she later helps him piece his life back together.
The Flash’s influence was wide-ranging: ending the cold war and short-circuiting the Vietnam War garnered Kennedy enough popularity that he was re-elected time and time again. It’s not clear whether the 22nd Amendment was repealed, or whether it had simply never been passed in this reality. In either case, Kennedy was still President in 1999, his aging slowed by treatments from Immortality, Inc.
Barry’s dreams are also a recurring device in the story. Through his own connection to the flashpoint (i.e. the speed force), he has visions of other worlds, particularly the mainstream DCU. When Ralph tells him about the Martian, he begins to wonder, because his dreams have included the Martian Manhunter. At the end, after entering the flashpoint, he is greeted by visions of the Justice League, a younger Iris, and a younger Wally.