Flashback to 1995. In the midst of Terminal Velocity, Wally West has announced his “heir” to the Flash identity: Jesse Quick. Two issues later, the following appears in the letters column: “A girl? A girl? You can’t replace the Flash with a girl.... This is the equivalent of replacing Wonder Woman with a man and calling him Wonder Guy.” I read this, and I think, “Why not?” After all, the name isn’t “Flash-Man.” And we’d seen Christina as “Lady Flash” a few years earlier.
Back to the present. I consider Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kid Flash from Kingdom Come and John Byrne’s Flash IV from Generations II—each the future daughter of a Flash wearing a variation on Wally’s Kid Flash costume. Remembering that both the Tangent and Just Imagine Flashes are women, I wonder again: why not? And so I present, in order of appearance: the Ladies of the Lightning!
A secretary at State University, who while reading aloud a sheet of equations accidentally spoke the formula used by Johnny Quick. After melting the typewriter, she eagerly began exploring her powers, working with the more famous speedster to collect escaped animals. Johnny, disliking the competition, tried to discourage her, but nothing dimmed her enthusiasm until she came face-to-face with her phobia: mice! Johnny retyped the list before she could learn which formula had given her speed for a day.
Adventure #181 (1952): “Joanie Swift, Queen of Speed!”
A scientist from the other-dimensional world of Alkomar, Doralla tested a space ship and found herself on Earth, where everyone seemed frozen in place. She met the second Flash, who showed her how to slow herself down to match Earth’s speed. Unfortunately, a side-effect of this caused explosions when near water, and she had to return to her own world without fully exploring ours.
Flash #145, 157 (1964–1965): “The Girl from the Super-Fast Dimension”
Patty Spivot never actually gained super-speed, but came close. The lab assistant for Barry Allen was in front of a shelf of chemicals when it was struck by lightning. In the split-second it took her boss to get her out of the way, he imagined a scenario in which she gained super-speed as he had, but the dozens of newer chemicals caused deadly side-effects.
Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular (1977): “How to Prevent a Flash”
Member of Soviet speedster team Blue Trinity, altered by scientists to produce Russia’s answer to the Flash.
After the collapse of the program, she was hired/captured by Vandal Savage, who dubbed her Lady Flash
before she finally broke his hold. Emotionally unstable, she eventually fell in with Savitar and later Kobra.
Daughter of Golden Age heroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, Jesse grew up surrounded by super-heroes and—with her father’s speed and mother’s strength—naturally became one. She has taken on the identity of the new Liberty Belle as a member of the Justice Society.
XS: Jenni Ognats (future)
Granddaughter of Barry Allen, Jenni fights injustice with the 30th Century’s Legion of Super-Heroes.
Kid Flash: Iris West II (alternate/future)
Daughter of Wally West, Iris always wanted to be the next Flash, despite her father pinning his hopes on her slacker brother Barry. In the aftermath of the Kansas tragedy and the Gog crisis, she finally came into her own.
Flash: Carrie Allen (alternate)
Dawn Allen (future)
Daughter of Barry Allen, Dawn and her brother both inherited super-speed but tried to live a normal life. When they fought injustice, it was in the guise of twin tornadoes.
Sela Allen (future)
After being attacked by the 23rd Century’s Cobalt Blue, Sela Allen was launched into the speed force in the hope that it would revitalize her drained nervous system. Instead, she found she could project an image of herself into the world, able to lend speed but otherwise unable to physically interact.
Green Lightning (imaginary)
Future descendant of both Wally West and Kyle Rayner, she inherited super-speed from one family and the Green Lantern ring from the other. A mental block forces her to alternate daily between which power she can use. Green Lightning was eventually revealed to be a fictional creation of Kyle Rayner’s subconscious mind, given reality by his ring.
Flash: Lia Nelson (Tangent Comics)
Child of two astronauts on a long-term mission, Lia was born a being of light. Already a celebrity, she became a super-hero as well.
Flash: Mary Maxwell (Just Imagine Stan Lee...)
Student injected with hummingbird DNA by her father after a green mist drained all her energy. Inspired by the comic books she read, and seeking to avenger her father’s death, she became the super-hero: the Flash!
Eliza Harmon grew up in Impulse’s hometown of Manchester, Alabama. She volunteered for Lex Luthor’s Everyman Project, begging to be a speedster. Luthor, considering her a loose cannon, arranged for her to be the team’s first casualty and martyr.
Lady Flash (alternate)
On Earth-33, the world is ruled by magicians. Among them is Lady Flash, keeper of the speed force, who can manipulate kinetic energy.
Flash of Earth-11 (alternate)
Earth-11 is similar to the mainstream DCU, with all the genders reversed. So the big three are Superwoman, Batwoman, and Wonderman, and the Flash is a (so far unnamed) woman.
Flash: Linda Park (alternate)
Daughter of Wally West, Iris’s unstable connection to the speed force caused accelerated aging and power changes. As a child she briefly had super-speed, but it only stabilized when she reached adolescence. Now restored to a physical age of 10 or 12, it seems likely she will develop speed as she grows up.
See also: Iris West II (Kingdom Come)
Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Joanie Swift: Adventure #181 (October 1952) reprinted in World’s Finest #198 (November 1970) - Paul Norris
- Doralla Kon: Flash #145 (June 1964) reprinted in Flash #229 (October 1974) - Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella
- Ms. Flash: Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular (1977) reprinted in The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told - Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin
- Bebek: Who’s Who Update ’88 #3 (October 1988) - Greg LaRocque and ____ Letterio
- Christina: Flash (second series) #50 (May 1991) - Greg LaRocque and José Marzan, Jr.
- Jesse Quick: Flash (second series) #98 (February 1995) - Salvador LaRocca and José Marzan, Jr.
- XS Jenni Ognats: Impulse #9 (December 1995) - Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher
- Kid Flash Iris West II: Flash 80-Page Giant #2 (April 1999) - Ron Lim & José Marzan, Jr.
- Flash Carrie Allen: Superman & Batman: Generations 2 #3 (December 2001) - John Byrne
- Sela Allen: The Flash (second series) #146 (March 1999) - Steve Lightle
- Dawn Allen: Flash (second series) #114 (June 1996) - Oscar Jimenez and José Marzan, Jr.
- Green Lightning: Green Lantern and Adam Strange #1 (October 2000) - Rodolfo Damaggio & Kevin Nowlan
- Flash Lia Nelson: DC Comics Website - Gary Frank and Cam Smith
- Flash Mary Maxwell: Just Imagine Stan Lee’s The Flash (November 2001) - Kevin Maguire and Karl Story
- Trajectory: 52 #21 (September 27, 2006) - Keith Giffen, Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson
- Lady Flash, Conjuror: Countdown to Adventure #3 (December 2007) - Farizio Fiorentino
- Earth-11 Flash: Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman (February 2008) - Kalman Andrasofszky & Norm Rapmund
- Flash: Linda Park: Lord Havok and the Extremists #3 (February 2008) - Mark Robinson & Rob Hunter or Mark McKenna
- Iris West II: Flash v.2 #241 (August 2008) - Freddie Williams II