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[Cobalt Blue - Flash 144]
Real Name: Malcolm Thawne
Known Relatives: Henry and Nora Allen (biological parents), Barry Allen (twin brother), Hugo and Charlene Thawne (adoptive parents).
Occupation: Criminal
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
First Appearance: (As Cobalt Blue) Speed Force #1, November 1997
See Also: The Cobalt Blue Legacy, Ross Malverk, Professor Zoom

One stormy night in Fallville, Iowa, two couples burst in upon the same doctor ready to deliver babies. Nora Allen was carrying twins, and Charlene Thawne one child—but the drunken doctor accidentally strangled the Thawne’s child. Attempting to make up for the mistake, he handed one of the Allen’s children to the Thawnes, convincing the Allens that one of the twins had been stillborn. The child kept by the Allens, Barry, would later become the second Flash.

[Original Costume - Flash 144]

Meanwhile, the other child was raised as Malcolm Thawne by two con artists with a gift of power: a blue flame which could steal pain from another. They would use it to heal someone for a few days and then pawn off a fake salve before breezing out of town. They treated Malcolm like dirt, accentuated by their knowledge that he wasn’t theirs. Eventually the outcast, suffering Malcolm left home, tracked down his origins, and discovered the horrible truth—in a rage, he killed the doctor who had switched him. Years later he tracked down his twin, but found a dilemma: Malcolm had become a criminal, and Barry a cop. Fascination gave way to envy, and envy to hate, until he finally learned the secrets of the blue flame from his adoptive grandmother, learning it could steal anything you wanted strongly enough. His grandmother left him with a prophecy: A thousand years will the blue flame burn, granting your fondest wish... consuming not one Flash, but two...before at last claiming the life of your greatest enemy: Barry Allen!

[Jay Garrick Possessed! - Flash 149]

The flame now contained in a blue gem, Malcolm took the name Cobalt Blue and set out to make the prophecy true, first with a failed attack on Barry Allen and his then-sidekick (Speed Force #1, 1997), then years later an attack on the new Flash, Wally West. This latter attack set into motion a plan in which he used the original Flash, Jay Garrick, to directly attack Barry Allen in the 30th century, where he was defeated, his disembodied spirit and rage destroyed by Wally.

My earlier speculation is preserved on the Allen Evil Twin page. I came pretty close on several areas, but the jury’s still out on whether Malcolm was also Ross Malverk.

Next: The Cobalt Blue Legacy

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Primary Sources

  • “Nature vs. Nurture” - The Flash (second series) #144 (January 1999), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • The Life Story of the Flash (1997), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • “Burning Secrets” - Speed Force #1 (November 1997), Mark Waid
  • “Will You Believe Me When I’m Dead?” - The Flash (original series) #290 (October 1980), Cary Bates


  • Current Costume: Flash (second series) #144 (January 1999) - Pop Mhan and Chris Ivy
  • Original Costume: Flash (second series) #144 (January 1999) - Pop Mhan and Chris Ivy
  • Jay Garrick Possessed: Flash (second series) #148 (May 1999) - Paul Pelletier and Vince Russell

Origin Tales

  • “Nature vs. Nurture” - The Flash (second series) #144 (January 1999), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn


  • Flash Secret Files #2 (November 1999)
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)

Possible Silver-Age Flash Appearance

See entry on Ross Malverk.

Significant Appearances

  • Speed Force #1 (1997): “Burning Secrets,” Mark Waid
  • Flash #143 (December 1998): “Like Wildfire,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #144 (January 1999): “Nature vs. Nurture,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #145–150 (February–July 1999): “Chain Lightning,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn

Related Commentary

The Flash Companion The Flash Companion
Preview at Speed Force
Order at TwoMorrows