The Flash runs knee-deep into the DC television universe tonight in a collision course with Arrow and the rest of Starling City’s protectors. But while this is the televised Flash’s first super-powered partnership, his comic book counterpart has courted numerous team-ups over the years. He’s just so easy to get along with, you know? In all seriousness however, it is the Flash’s optimism that brings out the best in all of his teammates. Or at the very least, he always plays a solid straight man to whatever baggage-carrying co-star he’s found himself with. In honor of The Flash’s crossover with Arrow, we present the Scarlet Speedster’s best team-ups to come before. Fire up the cosmic treadmill.
Flash and Flashpoint Batman
Where: "Flashpoint #1-#5"
When Barry Allen is thrust into an alternate Universe where the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes aren't exactly themselves, he seeks the help of Batman. Because Batman obviously knows everything. But this isn’t your typical Dark Knight. In this universe, Thomas Wayne is under the cowl. Or rather, a murderous, perpetually-brooding Thomas Wayne is. This Batman’s so dour, he makes Bruce Wayne look like Captain Carrot. Fortunately, this Gran Torino Batman provides a perfect foil for Barry as the contrasting darkness to Flash’s light. While Batman has the resources and intellect to pull the world out of Armageddon, Barry has the optimism to pull him out of the cave and actually get things done. Batman and Flash play off of each other perfectly, forcing the respective teammate think beyond their polarized perspectives and do what is necessary for the world.
Flash and Wonder Woman
Where: Justice League of America #20
In this one-and-done adventure between Wally West Flash and Wonder Woman, the unlikely duo must stop Queen Bee and her new army of bee drones. While the honey-laced adventure is serviceable, it’s really just a means to explore The Scarlet Speedster and Amazonian Princess’s unique relationship. Despite being Justice League equals, Wally still views Wonder Woman through the lens of horndog fanboy at Comic Con. At one point, he fights the urge to blush when seeing Diana in her bikini uniform. It’s a unique vantage point to see, as Wonder Woman’s god-like status makes Flash confront his own effectiveness as a superhero. In the end, Wonder Woman shows Wally as long as he keeps doing his duty and—you know—answer his Justice League distress calls every once in a while, he’ll always be a fine superhero. The story is only half the fun however, as artist extraordinaire Ethan Van Sciver provides some great pencil work.
Barry Allen Flash and Hal Jordan Green Lantern
Where: "Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave And The Bold #1-#6"
In this Silver Age throwback miniseries, Barry Allen and Hal Jordan unite for series of six adventures across a simpler, kinder DC Universe. Cocky, headstrong Hal Jordan is every bit the opposite to Barry’s humble, responsible, and straight-laced persona. Yet somehow, these conflicting personalities manage to mesh like any great buddy-cop characters. The secret? Barry and Hal meld together because of their differences, not in spite of them. It’s like an intergalactic game of good cop/bad cop. It’s also interesting to see Mark Waid, who wrote the definitive take on Wally West as The Flash, tackle the far more confident and systematic Barry Allen. That doesn’t mean Barry reads like a piece of cardboard, however. His earnestness is endearing and—you guessed—it, inspiring, putting us right alongside Hal in wishing we could push through the world so honestly and happily as Barry.
Animated Flash and Batman
Where: "Batman: Gotham Adventures #25"
Leave it to Batman to show the Fastest Man Alive that he isn’t the quickest man on his feet. This vintage DC Animated Universe tale takes an immature Wally West to Gotham City, where he enlists Batman’s help in tracking down a computer hacker. It’s important to remember that the DCAU Flash is still a bit of a rookie, and to be honest, kind of an ass. But, he’s an ass with enormous potential, which Batman helps him realize. Initially, the brazen Flash sees the team-up as more of a competition, an attempt to show The Dark Knight that his super speed makes him the best hero around. Batman proves this theory wrong, because he’s Batman. But by watching The Dark Knight take the reins, Wally discovers the true nature of a hero, along with the enormous potential hidden beneath his pompous attitude. As Batman puts it, Barry could very well save the world save. Easy there, Nostradamus. The Flash usually can’t save the world without killing himself in the process.
The Flash And The Blue Lantern Corp.
Where: "Blackest Night," "Blackest Night: The Flash #3"
So, there was that time Barry Allen temporarily joined the Blue Lantern Corp. During the Blackest Night event, when all of DC’s deceased characters did there best interpretation of The Walking Dead, the galaxys’ variously-colored Corps. deputized Earth’s inhabitants with temporary power rings. It was the next best thing to getting plastic rings with the purchase of crumby Black Night tie-ins. Anyway, the Blue Lantern Corp. chose Barry for his the innate hope that he possessed. And then, as the Blue Lanterns love to say, All Was Well. With the Blue Power Ring amplifying Barry’s optimism to unseen levels, Barry became a guiding light for the rest of the DC Universe to follow. As to why Barry didn’t use the ring to fly, instead of run, at superspeed, only Geoff Johns will know, but the story beat otherwise provided a fresh look at The Flash. Plus, Blue Lantern Flash proved that despite what the Nineties may tell us, a superhero can still look god in an electric blue uniform.