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The Flash (Jay Garrick)

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The Flash
Earth Two Vol 1-2 Cover-1 Teaser
General Information
Real name: Jason Peter Garrick
First Appearance: Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)
Created by: Gardner Fox
Harry Lampert
Affiliations: Justice Society of America
All-Star Squadron
Portrayed by: Andy Milder (Voice)
Billy Mitchell


History

Origin

Jason Peter Garrick is a college student prior to 1940 (retconned from 1938) who accidentally inhales hard water vapors after falling asleep in his laboratory where he had been working (later stories would change this to heavy water vapors). As a result, he finds that he can run at superhuman speed and has similarly fast reflexes (retcons imply the inhalation simply activated a latent metagene). After a brief career as a college football star, he dons a red shirt with a lightning bolt and a stylized metal helmet with wings (based on images of the Roman god Mercury) and begins to fight crime as the Flash. The helmet belonged to Jay's father, Joseph, who fought during World War I. He has been seen using the helmet as a weapon/type of shield, as seen in Infinite Crisis. He has also used it to direct a beam of light at Eclipso. His first case involves battling the Faultless Four, a group of blackmailers. In the early stories, it seems to be widely known that Garrick was the Flash. Like the Flashes who followed him, Garrick became a close friend of the Green Lantern of his time, Alan Scott, whom he met through the Justice Society of America.

Justice Society of America

The Flash soon becomes one of the best-known of the Golden Age of superheroes. He is a founding member of the Justice Society of America and serves as its first chairman. He is originally based in New York City however this was later retconned to the fictional Keystone City. He leaves the JSA after issue #6, but returns several years later (issue #24, Spring 1945) and has a distinguished career as a crimefighter during the 1940s. Several pieces of retroactive continuity fill out early Garrick history. A story explaining the retirement of the JSA members, including the Flash, explained that in 1951, the JSA is investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee for possible Communist sympathies and asked to reveal their identities. The JSA decline, and Garrick, who recently married his longtime girlfriend Joan, retired from superheroic life. A trained scientist, he ran an experimental laboratory for several decades. All-Star Squadron Annual #3 states that the JSA fight a being named Ian Karkull who imbues them with energy that retards their aging, allowing Garrick and many others - as well as their girlfriends and sidekicks - to remain active into the late 20th century without infirmity. The 1990s Starman series notes that the Shade prompted Garrick to come out of retirement in the 1950s, but the details of his activities during this time are hazy at best.

Goldenage-flash

Jay Garrick The 1st Flash

Earth-Two

Garrick emerges from retirement in 1961 to meet the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, from a parallel world. Garrick's world is dubbed Earth-Two, while Allen's is Earth-One. The rest of the JSA soon join the Flash, although their activities during the 1960s (other than their annual meeting with Earth-One's Justice League) are unrecorded. That he and Green Lantern (Alan Scott) are good friends is clear, however. Garrick is a key member of the JSA's 1970s adventures (as chronicled in All-Star Comics and Adventure Comics), as well as helping to launch the careers of Infinity Inc. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, all the parallel worlds are merged into one, and Keystone City becomes the twin city across the river from Allen's Central City (an updated story suggests that Keystone in this new continuity was rendered invisible and wiped from the memories of the world for many years through the actions of several supervillains).

21st Century

In the early 21st century, many of Garrick's JSA cohorts have retired or died, but Garrick remains active with the latest incarnation of the group. He is physically about 50 years old thanks to the effects of several accidental anti-aging treatments, but his chronological age is closer to 90. Of the three original JSA members still on the team (along with Alan Scott and Wildcat), Jay takes a more fatherly approach towards his teammates and the DC superhero community in general. After eating lunch with Wally West and Nightwing (Dick Grayson) in one issue of The Flash, Grayson remarks that he "wants to be like (Garrick) when he grows up".

Infinite Crisis and "One Year Later"

Jay and his wife Joan have guardianship of Bart Allen after Max Mercury's disappearance. During the events of Infinite Crisis Jay states that the Speed Force is gone after a battle in which many speedsters, living and dead, wrestle Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force and disappear. Jay is left behind when he reaches his limit and cannot follow. Bart Allen returns, aged several years, and had absorbed the entire Speed Force during his pursuit of the escaped Superboy-Prime. Jay claims that without the Speed Force, his own power is less than before: like Wally West in the Crisis on Infinite Earths aftermath, he can only run close to the speed of sound. He also stated that as the Speed Force is no longer retarding his aging, his speed is diminishing with time. After Bart left Keystone City for Los Angeles, Jay once again is the city's sole guardian. After hearing news of Bart's demise, Jay collapses with grief, consoled by Jesse Chambers. In the Outsiders: One Year Later story arc, a clone of Garrick appears as an antagonist, created by the Brotherhood of Evil. He appears to be in his late 20s or early 30s and is brainwashed into working for a Malinese dictator. The clone is defeated by the combined efforts of the Outsiders. He possesses Jay Garrick's super-speed, but none of his memories or expertise. His unconscious body is placed in the custody of Alan Scott, Checkmate's White King. Jay is continuing his work as a member of the re-formed Justice Society of America, under the leadership of Power Girl. After the death of the Flash, Bart Allen, Jay's full speed returns.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

Speed Force Conduit: Speed Force is a vaguely defined extra-dimensional energy force from which most superspeed-powered heroes draw their powers. The Speed Force serves as the ultimate measure of velocity in the DCU. They are often referred to in terms of barriers: Sound barrier, Light barrier, Time Barrier, Dimensional Barrier, and finally the Speed Force Barrier. While all speedsters are powered by the force, Garrick mainlines the power from the force itself and cannot be cut off from the source, unlike the others. Wally has, on several occasions, sped faster than light and been pulled into and exited the Speed Force by his own volition.

Superhuman Endurance

Superhuman Speed: Jay was born with a Metagene allowing him these abilities. The first Flash was able to speed at multiples of the speed of light. He can run and move their limbs at superhuman speeds. Jay is able to run across the surface of large bodies of water such as oceans. Jay can create wind vortexes by running in circles or rotating his arms and legs. At the height of his abilities, he could time-travel and dimensionally transport unaided, by speeding up and controlling the vibration speed of his molecules. As Jay aged, he began to slow, so now he can only time travel with mechanical aids or with another higher powered speedster. Without the Speed Force, Jay's top speed is around the speed of sound 770 mph. While not as fast as Wally West, with the speed force supplementing him, Jay can top speeds just short of light. After Wally West's return and the speed force Jay can move at these once again. His power allow him to run along the surface of bodies of water and up the sides of buildings.

  • Speed Force Aura: The Flash's body is surrounded by what he calls his "speed force aura". This aura protects him and anyone who is running with him or carried by him, from the effects of using his speed. This includes friction and airborne particulate matter. It may also protect him from injury from high speed impacts such as punches he delivers and receives from his opponents. He does seem to possess some level of superhuman resistance to injury but this does not extend far past normal physical interactions, as received from normal combat.
  • Phasing: The Flash's powers allow him to perform a number of speed-related feats. The Flash has always possessed the ability to control his speed and angular momentum at the molecular level, and control his molecular interactions to allow his body to pass through any substance. There have been only a few superdense materials that the Flash has not been able to penetrate with this power. Certain forcefields also seem to negate this power.
  • Increased Perceptions: The Flash possesses the ability to alter his perceptions so that falling objects can appear to be standing still and can be caught and moved back to their normal position. He can do this so quickly as to have it happen invisibly to the normal human eye. The Flash's reaction time is so increased as to perform feats of speed such as removing the momentum from bullets and fast moving objects thrown at him or at others.
  • Supercharged Brain Activity: Sometimes neglected by Speedsters who only operate at superhuman speeds and never slow down enough to understand their full potential; Speedsters can access superhuman levels in their brains further than processing information. They can test theories, understand difficult equations and run trial and error in their brains at superhuman speeds. Different conduits access this activity in different ways.
  • Sharing the Force: Since his interaction with the Speed Force, he may also lend his speed and angular momentum to another object or person. This may allow others to run alongside with the Flash. He may still allow his molecular structure to pass through object but now after he passes through an object, the object is now supercharged with a chaotic energy, and explodes seconds after his passing through it. If he shares the Speed Force with another meta with superspeed capabilities such as Superman, that metahuman can now exceed the speed of light but does not become aware of the Speed Dimension.
  • Steal the Force: Since his interaction with the Speed Force, he may also lend his speed and angular momentum to another object or person. Now with his control of inertia, he can probably reduce the speed of a falling object directly by applying the speed force in reverse, to leech momentum from the object.
  • Vortex Creations: By running in a circle at a certain speed, Flash is able to create a vortex with a variety of affects. One effect is pulling the air away from the center in order to suffocate an enemy. Another effect is levitating whoever and whatever was in the center. Also, able to send anyone or anything into another dimension when running around them. Some other effects are acting as barriers to movement or funnels for toxic gas's. The Flash also can spin his arms to create directed funnels of hurricane speed air that can knock down barriers or reduce the speed of a falling object. When putting out forest fires, what flash does when he runs around the perimeter is create a pocket tornado. The updraft lowers the temperature inside the funnel and raises the fire off the ground which takes away it's fuel source.

Decelerated Aging: his absorption of coronal energies early in his career, decreased the effectiveness of time and age on his body slightly.

Abilities

  • Chemist: Jay Garrick is a trained chemist.

Strength

  • Jay possesses the strength level of a man his age, size and weight who engages in intensive regular exercise.

Weakness

  • Coming Soon

See Also

Notes

Alternate Versions

  • In the final issue of 52, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-2". As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-Two now called Earth-2 to distinguish the two separate realities. Included in one panel showing is a new counterpart to Jay Garrick among other Justice Society of America characters. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, but is later specifically used in the "Countdown: Arena" series where the new Earth-2 Flash is specifically identified as Jay Garrick and does not allow others to call him "Flash" in the series, opposed to openly using "Jay Garrick". Despite being an almost exact duplicate to the original World War II Garrick, it is shown that the new Earth-2 Garrick is much younger, having no gray hair at all.
  • In the Elseworlds book JSA: The Unholy Three, Jay Garrick is portrayed as a post-WW2 United States intelligence agent stationed in Russia, working under the code-name Mercury. He is instrumental in bringing down the story's rogue Superman.

Trivia

  • Coming Soon

In Other Media

  • In the Justice League episode "Legends", the creators chose to use an analog called The Streak rather than Garrick, who wore a football-style helmet rather than a WWI helmet.
  • Jay's helmet appears in the Flash museum, in the Justice League Unlimited episode, "Flash and Substance."
  • Jay appears in comic book animated form in Justice League Unlimited #12 to help Wally/Flash and the other JL members against Mirror Master.
  • On the 1990s Flash live action TV series, the villain The Trickster paints a statue of Mercury red and yellow as a way to mock the Flash (Barry Allen). The statue resembles Jay Garrick's costume.
  • On Smallville, one of the aliases used by Bart Allen is Jay Garrick.
  • On Smallville Absolute Justice, Jay Garrick's helmet is visible in the meeting room of the The Society headquarters.
  • Also on the Flash live action series, Barry Allen's brother, whose murder in the pilot inspired Flash's career, was named Jay, likely in homage to Jay Garrick. Further, a street sign in that show's Central City showed the name Garrick.
  • The video game Justice League Heroes features an alternate costume choice for The Flash; that of Jay Garrick's.

Justice League: The New Frontier

See: Jay Garrick (Justice League: The New Frontier)

Batman: The Brave and The Bold

See: Jay Garrick (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)

Young Justice

See: Jay Garrick (Young Justice)

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