Jay Garrick: How DC's First Flash Ran into the Arrowverse

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First created in 1940's Flash Comics #1 by Harry Lampert and Gardner Fox, Jay Garrick is DC Comics' original speedster superhero and the Golden Age Flash. Since his debut, the hero has served as a co-founder of the All-Star Squadron and Justice Society of America while also mentoring younger speedsters like Wally West and Bart Allen during their own turns as successors to the Flash mantle. However, as DC began new publishing initiatives, the character has largely fallen by the wayside in recent years, his current whereabouts in the DC Universe a lingering mystery.

Fortunately for Jay Garrick fans, the superhero's absence from DC's publishing line would coincide with his live-action debut in the Arrowverse as a supporting character on The CW's The Flash. With the mystery of the Justice Society's role in the greater DCU playing a large role in the current comic book crossover event Doomsday Clock and The Flash returning on the air this month from a brief hiatus, here's an overview of Jay Garrick from the comic books to his role on the DCTV series.

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College student Jay Garrick developed super-speed after accidentally inhaling heavy water vapors at the lab he worked at, awakening a latent metahuman gene that connected Jay to the Speed Force. Modifying his father's old World War I helmet to resemble helmet of Mercury, the Roman god of speed, Jay began using his new abilities to fight crime as the original Flash. As the United States entered World War II, the Flash would found and serve alongside the Justice Society of America and All-Star Squadron, with his close friend Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern.

The team would go into an early retirement in the 1950s after being accused of collaborating with Communists during the Red Scare, though Jay Garrick would team up with the Silver Age Flash Barry Allen in 1961's The Flash #123 when the younger speedster accidentally found himself on Jay's alternate Earth. While his aging was slowed by his connection to the Speed Force, he emerged from retirement and serve as a mentor of sorts to the new Flash Wally West after Jay's Earth was merged with Earth-1 during Crisis on Infinite Earths. After defeating Parallax and Extant during Zero Hour, Jay helped relaunch the JSA with co-founders Alan and Ted Grant, Wildcat, with the new team combining the World War II-era heroes with a new generation of crime-fighters.



Following the reality-altering events of Flashpoint, the Justice Society, including Jay Garrick, were relegated back to Earth-2. This younger incarnation of Jay receives his powers directly from the dying god Mercury, the last Greco-Roman deity to fall during Earth-2's war with Darkseid. Taking on the mantle of the Flash, the speedster forms an impromptu team with this world's versions of Alan Scott and Hawkgirl.

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During the DC Rebirth era, the JSA remain missing from New Earth with Lois Lane attempting to discover their whereabouts after Doctor Manhattan tampered with reality. When Barry first regains his memories of the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe by coming into contact with Wally, he catches a glimpse of Jay's helmet instilling a sense of hope in him. Later, while Barry and Batman fight Reverse-Flash and accidentally get transported to the Flashpoint Universe, Jay briefly reappears to guide Barry and Bruce back to New Earth after the Cosmic Treadmill breaks. While Barry is unable to remember Jay's identity, he hopes that the mysterious speedster will find the one who grounds him and draw him back to reality someday.


The Flash and Jay Garrick

After his existence is teased in the Season 1 finale of The Flash, Jay Garrick makes his apparent debut in Season 2 of The CW series from an alternate Earth. By the Season 2 finale, it is revealed that this speedster is actually Hunter Zolomon, the villainous speedster Zoom who had imprisoned the true Jay Garrick while impersonating him on Earth-1. Hailing from Earth-3 the true Jay is a doppelgänger for Barry's father Henry Allen and returns to his world after being freed by Team Flash.

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Following Zoom's defeat, Jay serves as a mentor figure to Barry, warning him on the consequences of altering the timeline and assisting Team Flash in their subsequent fight with the speedster Savitar. Trapped in the Speed Force for a time, Jay is rescued by Barry and Vibe, returning to Earth-3 until one last team-up with the Barry and Jesse Quick convinces Jay to retire from his superhero career and train the next generation of superheroes to replace him. With the alternate worlds of the Arrowverse getting ready to collide in the upcoming "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover later this year, Jay's retirement might not last for long.

Jay Garrick has been absent from the DCU for some time but fans got the chance to see the character make his live-action debut in the interim. With the television incarnation now retired, hopefully the Golden Age superhero will make his return in a big way as Doomsday Clock teases the revival of Justice Society by the end of the comic book crossover.

Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, The Flash stars Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanaugh, Jesse L. Martin, Danielle Nicolet, Hartley Sawyer and Jessica Parker Kennedy.

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