The Flash has always been one of DC Comics’ more popular characters. With a long-running comic series as well as several appearances in various other forms of media, The Flash has successfully solidified his place in pop culture. Part of what makes him so successful as a character though, is the role he plays in his own comics. Stories like Flashpoint, Flash vs The Rogues, and Geoff Johns’ Flash: Rebirth are constantly being adapted or borrowed from, as they are some of the most widely acclaimed Flash stories out there. However, being such an old character, The Flash still has plenty of great stories that go unnoticed or unappreciated. In that regard, here is our list of the 10 most underrated Flash stories that every DC fan should read.
10 Out Of Time
While DC’s New 52 line had its fair share of good and bad, one arc that was definitely overlooked was The Flash: Out of Time story that took place between issues #30-35. This story saw a futuristic version of Barry Allen come to the past to kill the younger version of himself. The Future Barry sees the damage he has done to the speed force as well as all the destruction he has caused over the years, leading him to the conclusion that he must die in order to save the future.
This story provided an excellent look at Barry’s mentality and how it would come to shift as he realizes more of his own flaws. This story would also see a futuristic version of Wallace West appear in a very slick silver and red Flash outfit. Though some aspects of the story may seem a bit far-fetched, most Flash stories are to some degree. Yet, that doesn’t stop it from being a very enjoyable Flash story.
9 Earth 2
DC’s most recent Earth 2 series launched as part of the New 52 and featured updated versions of many golden age heroes. Of course, one of these heroes has to be Jay Garrick, the original Flash. While the series itself would eventually become very complicated to follow, the early days were full of stellar character development and interactions.
The series mostly follows Jay Garrick and Alan Scott as they come to unintentionally form the team that would become the Justice Society. While the appearance of his costume left a lot to be desired, it was still great to see Jay in this manner. Any fan of the golden age or its heroes should be sure to check out what DC’s Earth 2 series has to offer.
No author has done more to reinvent The Flash than Geoff Johns. Ever since Johns first joined the title, he began building a very long story that lasted all the way up to Rogue War. However, for everything Johns did for the character, Ignition is one of those stories that tends to get lost in the mix of Johns’ other greats.
Ignition follows Wally West after his memory of being The Flash is wiped along with everyone else’s. This means that Wally’s hometown becomes vulnerable to attacks from several villains that only the Flash can stop. Even though Johns has written far better stories for the Scarlet Speedster, Ignition still has a lot to offer fans and fits in very well with the larger story that he was building.
7 The Flash, The Fastest Man Alive: Lightning In A Bottle
Bart Allen is best known for his time as Impulse. As the grandson to Barry Allen, Bart had actually come to operate as the Flash himself for a time. After being artificially aged up four years and without any powers, an accident would reconnect him to the speed force. This same accident would also cause several problems for Bart as he assumes the role of The Flash.
While few stories ever feature Bart in the role, it is still nice to see how he lives up to the Flash legacy. Even though the run is short-lived, It is still very interesting to see Bart grow as a character in this manner. Lightning in a Bottle is definitely a story that many people may not know, but should definitely check out.
6 The Wild Wests
Wally West had quite the long run as the Flash. He was even able to get married and have his own children, something very few superheroes get to accomplish. Jai and Iris West are the twins of Wally and Linda who come to have their own unique set of powers. In The Flash: The Wild Wests, readers get to see exactly what the superhero family dynamic can be.
While it is certainly not one of the more exciting and important Flash stories out there, The Wild Wests still offers a fantastic and fun take on the immediate Flash family. If you’re looking for a Flash story that offers a more unique take on the character, The Wild Wests would be a great one for you.
5 Perfect Storm
After taking over the title following the launch of DC: Rebirth, Joshua Williamson has managed to completely reinvent certain aspects of the character. However, between the stories like Lightning Strikes Twice and Flash War, stories like Perfect Storm can easily appear as lesser stories. Perfect Storm features the return of Gorilla Grodd as he attempts to siphon the speed force from every speedster he can get his hands on.
This story offers a very unique take on the classic Flash villain, as he has made himself a whole new kind of threat. While Grodd just aims to save his own life, all of his attacks towards the Flash family can’t help but feel very personal. Furthermore, this arc features many other speedsters, both friend and foe. Despite not being one of Williamson’s best arcs, Perfect Storm still has a lot to offer for any fan of the Flash.
4 DC Rebirth/Titans Rebirth
Speaking of DC: Rebirth, the entire event was initially launched as a Flash story. The phenomenal one-shot that kicked off DC’s current lineup of books followed Wally West as he attempted to break out of his Speed Force prison and into a timeline that had forgotten him. Once free, Wally would make his way back to his original teammates and reform the team, Titans.
Both the Rebirth One-Shot and the Titans series focus a great deal on Wally and what it means to have him back in the world. While Titans definitely takes the time to focus on other characters, Wally remains the central focus of the book all the way up until he is admitted to Sanctuary. Any fan of Wally or his time as the Flash should be sure to check out his role in Titans, as it delivers a great, classic feel.
3 Return Of Barry Allen
Shortly after his death in Crisis On Infinite Earths, DC launched The Return of Barry Allen by Mark Waid. Being the world of comics, it is understandable that Barry would eventually return to the land of the living, despite Wally’s short time in the Flash suit. To avoid any major spoilers, Barry’s return comes with its fair share of troubles and deception, spelling trouble that Wally must now figure out as The Fash.
The Return of Barry Allen serves as a great means of passing the torch from one iconic speedster to another. It really puts a lot of emphasis on Wally being the best choice to take up the mantle following Barry’s untimely demise.
2 Rogue War
Of all the stories featuring the Flash’s most intriguing villainous team, Rouge War is definitely one that readers won’t want to pass up on. Serving as the conclusion to Geoff John’s original run on The Flash, Wally must find a way to put down the war between the new team of Rogues and the old one.
This story expertly crafts the plot and juggles a large cast very well. It also is an interesting take on Wally as he must find a unique way to settle this conflict. For fans of the Flash and The Rogues alike, Rogue War is one for the ages.
1 The Dastardly Death Of The Rogues
For everything Geoff Johns did for The Flash, The Dastardly Death of The Rogues is very easy to miss. Following his Flash: Rebirth series that brought back Barry Allen and redefined much of the Flash mythos, Flashpoint didn’t take long to hit the shelves. The Dastardly Death of The Rogues is a short story that takes place between the two.
What makes it so intriguing is that it shows readers just how nice it is to have Barry back. He struggles to find his place in this new world and rebuild much of his old life all while juggling his duties as The Flash. Nothing particularly defining happens in the story, but it still functions as a great character piece that simply celebrates the character of Barry Allen. Any fan of Johns Flash stories must be sure to not exclude The Dastardly Death of The Rogues.