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[Ms. Flash]
Real Name: Patty Spivot
Base of Operations: Central City, Missouri
Occupation: Police Scientist / Lab Assistant
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
First Appearance: DC Special Series #1: Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular (1977)
See Also: Patty Spivot

Patty Spivot, lab assistant to Barry Allen was in front of a shelf of chemicals when it was struck by lightning. In the split-second it took her boss to get her out of the way, he imagined a scenario in which she gained super-speed as he had. She took on the identity of Ms. Flash, trying to prove her worth to her namesake by fixing calamities around town. Unfortunately, in addition to the chemicals that had given Barry his speed, dozens of newer chemicals produced deadly side effects. Uncontrollable vibrations prematurely set off detonators at a construction site. Running across water produced a toxic gas. Finally, radiation started destroying the city around her.

All of this went through the Flash’s mind, and he quickly pulled her out of the way of the lightning and chemicals, preventing the scenario from happening.

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Art

  • DC Special Series #1: Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular (1977) - Irv Novick & Frank McLaughlin


  • DC Special Series #1: Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular (1977): “How to Prevent a Flash,” Cary Bates


“How to Prevent a Flash” is similar to a Johnny Quick story, “Joanie Swift, Queen of Speed!” (1952) and an earlier Flash story, “The Girl From the Super-Fast Dimension!” (1964).

In each case, the male protagonist comes into conflict with a woman who has gained the same powers and wants to help out, but causes trouble instead. The sexist trope gets buried over time, but doesn't disappear until the 1990s: In the 50s, Johnny Quick flat-out doesn't want the competition from a woman, and solves his “problem” with another sexist trope. The Flash’s motive in the 60s and 70s is allegedly caution, but it’s a condescending caution that he never applies to male speedsters, and presenting every female speedster over the course of several decades as dangerous or incompetent is conspicuous.

Thankfully this type of story had played out by the 1990s, as first Lady Flash and later Jesse Quick became the Flash’s allies without objections from the hero or the authors.

Related Commentary

The Flash Companion The Flash Companion
Preview at Speed Force
Order at TwoMorrows