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When Did the Speed Force First Show Up In the Comics?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
When Did the Speed Force First Show Up In the Comics?

In “When We First Met”, we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, “Avengers Assemble!” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

Reader Trevor R. wanted to know when the Speed Force specifically debuted in the DC Comics comic book universe.

Now, first off, there had been a character named Johnny Quick who debuted in 1941 who gained super speed through accessing a special formula by saying it out loud (“3X2(9YZ)4A”). So that, inherently, suggests the idea of tapping into some sort of speed force, right?

In the famous “Return of Barry Allen” storyline, Barry Allen seemingly returned from the dead and Wally West and the other speedsters (the original Flash plus Johnny Quick and a new mysterious old speedster named Max Mercury) try to stop him, but Wally is not fast enough.

So he talks to Johnny about the formula in Flash #78…

And Max gives him a zen approach to his speed…

However, after Wally defeated “Barry,” he pretty much wrote Max’s theories off. That was until he needed a little extra speed in Flash #91 (by Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo and Jose Marzan Jr.) and he recited Johnny’s formula and suddenly the world seemed to freeze around him. Max was able to catch up to him and explain that he had just tapped into a “Speed Force” (the term is used for the first time!)…

Soon after that, Wally explicitly goes into the Speed Force during Zero Hour in Flash #0 (by Waid, Wieringo and Marzan Jr.)…

And the Speed Force has been a solid aspect of the Flash mythos ever since, and obviously the TV series is expanding its presence even further.

So there ya go, Trevor! If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book first that you would like to see featured, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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