The Flash is still several months away from its premiere, but excitement for the show has never been higher. Many were able to get an early viewing of the pilot at San Diego Comic-Con, and the overall consensus is that it will be one of the best new shows of the season. It’s understandable. Spinning off of Arrow, The Flash will be more typical superhero fare compared to the realistic and gritty world of its predecessor. And honestly, of all the superpowers to feature, super speed is one of the coolest!
Yes, as almost anyone who’s ever heard of the character knows, The Flash uses his super speed to protect the innocent. However, while being able to run fast is a spectacular power, it isn’t the only thing he can do with his speed. As the series goes on, Barry will learn how to use his powers in more unconventional methods against the forces of evil. Below are the five things we want to see Barry Allen accomplish with his powers during the series run (pun fully intended).
5. Speed Force Aura
The reason The Flash doesn’t burn up instantly when he starts running at superhuman speed is because of his Speed Force aura. It’s a protective barrier that absorbs kinetic energy and protects hims and anyone he’s only from the effects of friction and other dangers. As a result, it also gives Flash a degree of resistance so that if he happens to crash while running, he won’t die (although he’ll probably have a killer headache later).
There’s no way for Barry to “accomplish” using this aura since it’s a passive ability. It’s always protecting him whether he’s thinking about it or not. However, it would be cool to see him discover the aura. Perhaps while running across the city, he suddenly realizes that he should be burning up at speeds like this. Or, he’ll be carrying a civilian away from danger and realizes that whatever is protecting him has spread to that person. It’s not the coolest of side abilities to demonstrate, but without it, Flash’s superhero career wouldn’t last very long.
Kitty Pyde isn’t the only comic book character who can walk through walls. As a byproduct of his speed, Barry Allen is capable of vibrating his molecules at an atomic level, allowing him to pass through solid objects. He can also use this ability on other objects as well, such as when he was able to phase a crashing commercial airliner through a bridge in the New 52’s The Flash #3. However, if Barry vibrates at the wrong frequency, whatever he passes through will explode, so correct calculations are key. Barry’s phasing also renders him invisible to the human eye.
Barry may be saving people “in a flash” around Central City, but if he comes across a criminal hideout or needs to save people in a locked building, running around won’t accomplish much. The show needs to eventually introduce his phasing abilities, while also including its limitations. For instance, the larger an object is that he phases, the more tired he becomes. Regardless, once Flash learns to vibrate his molecules, it will make stopping criminals and saving innocents a whole lot easier.
3. Enhanced Intelligence
Flash’s speed isn’t just limited to physical activity. One of the overlooked benefits of Flash’s abilities is being able to think at superhuman speeds. Barry can read a book in seconds, and although the information doesn’t stay in his head forever, he retains it just long enough to utilize it. However, these mental powers extend beyond mere knowledge. When concentrating hard enough, Barry can achieve a type of precognition and witness multiple outcomes to an event in seconds. He can see one action leading to another action and so on until it leads to the final outcome. By using this precognition, he can determine the consequences of each of his actions for a certain event and deduce which is the right path to take. The downside to this is that while Barry’s mind is working in overdrive, he’s oblivious to the real word, meaning his body is in danger. In the first New 52 story arc, Barry nearly died after he was weighing his options against fighting Mob Rule.
We’ve heard Weather Wizard say in the pilot teaser that he needs to start thinking big. Well, Barry will need to start thinking big at some point. After years of keeping people safe, he’ll come to the conclusion that he isn’t using his powers to their fullest potential. He’ll speed up his mind to foresee consequences of an event and implement the correct action. However, much like the comics, Barry will depend too heavily on this precognition and nearly get himself killed. From that point forward, he’ll maintain a balance between using his super speed off the cuff and using it to predict future events.
2. Vortex Creation
Flash’s abilities allow him to do many spectacular things, but there’s one thing he can’t do that many of his Justice League comrades can: fly. Yes, he may be the fastest character in the DC Universe (and probably all of comic books), but if he’s somehow tossed from a building or aircraft, he’s out of luck…well, almost.
Remember, the Flash is the fastest man alive, but that speed isn’t limited to just his legs. If he rotates his arms fast enough, he can generate to create a vortex-like force. When applied downward, this achieves flight similar to a helicopter, and Flash can control his descent. Sure, he doesn’t have the same degree of control as Superman and Wonder Woman do with their flying, but for Flash, it’s primarily to make sure he doesn’t go splat! This tornado force isn’t only handy for saving his life, though. Much like Red Tornado’s wind blasts, Flash can use these arm tornados to propel people and objects back, so it’s useful offensively as well.
We’ve seen Flash do this many times in the comics (most recently in The Flash #26), and in other media as well (Justice League Unlimited, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox), so it only seems fitting that Barry Allen use this move in the new TV show. It stands to reason that eventually he’ll fight someone above ground level, and unless the writers decide to kill off Barry by having him hit the pavement (worst series ending ever!), he’ll need a way to slow his descent. Plus, these vortexes make putting out fires a whole lot easier, which will come in handy against Heatwave.
1. Time Travel
Time travel is an important element of Flash’s mythos. After all, when you’re able to run faster than the speed of light, adventures to the past or future are bound to occur every so often. With Rick Cosnett starring as Eddie Thawne and Reverse-Flash confirmed to appear (though we already deduced this from the yellow blur-force from the trailer), time travel is all but guaranteed to play an important role in the series. However, how Barry will learn about his time traveling abilities has not been revealed. Personally, I would like him to discover this accidentally. While fighting one of the Rogues, he happens to run faster than he ever has before and ends up hundreds of years into the future. After his adventure, he discovers a machine in the Flash museum (foreshadowing the museum’s creation near the end of the series) that allows Barry to precisely travel back to the present. That’s right, people: it’s the cosmic treadmill.
After he makes it back to the present, he’ll work with S.T.A.R. Labs their own cosmic treadmill. It would be a scaled-down version of the future one, but it would allow Barry to harness his speed to travel through time to specific periods. Due to the butterfly effect, most of Barry’s adventures need to occur in the future. If Barry does too much in the past, he could cause damage to the present. However, eventually the need to stop his mother from being killed will prove too great, and Barry will travel back in time to save her. At this point in the series, he’ll be able to effectively control where he ends up in time without the cosmic treadmill’s help. This would be their adaptation of Flashpoint. Barry saves his mother, but the present has become so degraded (including weird versions of his friends and enemies) that Barry needs to go back to change things back to the way they were, and I mean EXACTLY the way they were. No need to pull a New 52 in this show.
Or, they could take a cue Flash: Rebirth. While fighting Professor Zoom at some point, Barry follows Zoom back to the moment his mother was killed. After all, we saw some red in that yellow blur that killed Nora. However, despite his best efforts, the murder happens anyway. Continuing their battle, Barry and Zoom end up at the night of the particle accelerator explosion, and moving so fast, they become the lightning bolt that strikes Barry in his lab. Think about it. When Barry got his powers, the chemicals in his lab were rising in the air. The night his mom died, the water in his fish tank rose in the air. Maybe the two events are connected.
As you can tell, I think about time travel a lot.