SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash #49 by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi and Steve Wands, on sale now.
“Flash War” just exploded in a major way; not only in the personal sense between Barry Allen and Wally West, but in the most literal of senses, as the Speed Force has been ripped open unleashing long lost energies into the DC Universe.
It turns out the Speed Force was just one of the fundamental forces of the universe and Hunter Zolomon’s plan has been about unlocking the missing pieces of that puzzle. With the villain known as Zoom more powerful than ever, can the warring Flashes come together and stop him while these new forces run wild throughout the DC Universe?
Need For Speed
The concept of the Speed Force was first introduced by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo in 1994’s The Flash #91. While stopping a robbery on the Keystone-Central bridge, Wally West was forced to use Johnny Quick’s speed formula — 3X2(9YZ)4A — pushing him to a new level of speed where everything around him appeared frozen. Ultimately, it took the advice of the zen master of speed Max Mercury — whose belief in the Speed Force serves as a counterpart to Johnny Quick’s more scientific approach to speed — to help Wally master the Speed Force and break himself free.
Generally, the Speed Force is represented as a separate dimension, part of the DC Multiversal structure. According to the Multiversity Map, the Orrery of Worlds which contains the fifty-two (and counting) universes of the DC Multiverse is encircled by the Speed Force wall, which separates the Orrery of Worlds from the Sphere of the Gods, which contains the Fourth World, Heaven, Hell and The Dreaming. At certain times, speedsters have managed to breach the Speed Force wall and merge with it, which is what happened to Barry Allen during Crisis on Infinite Earths and Bart Allen during Flashpoint.
The Speed Force has become a fundamental part of the DC Universe and the Flash’s background since its creation, so much so that it made it into the Flash television show where it was anthropomorphised into an entity which Barry could converse with and receive advice from. The Speed Force is is as fundamental to the DC Universe as the Emotional Color Spectrum or The Green which connects all life on Earth. Adding similar concepts to the DC Universe is a major step in changing everything we know about how the DCU works and opens limitless possibilities for the future of The Flash family.