The Flash: Why He Should No Longer Be Called the Scarlet Speedster
“Just gotta go faster than the speed of light, far beyond the speed of light. You gotta break the rule, Barry—and you gotta do it now.” - Barry Allen (Zack Snyder’s Justice League)
Ever since his introduction into the DC Comics universe some five and a half decades or so ago, The Flash has undoubtedly become a household name through his speedily gained popularity among the elite superhero figures in pop culture. Whether it be Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, or Bart Allen, it is safe to assume that each iteration of the character has been well-received by comic book fans around the globe.
The flaw in The Flash’s character design
That being said, as much of an icon that The Flash is today, we would be remiss if we did not point out a very pronounced flaw in the character’s design that has caused sincere confusion among the more casual fans of the character. This, of course, relates to the nickname often associated with The Flash: the Scarlet Speedster.
Do not get us wrong: we love the name, but it has become increasingly difficult to ignore how very quickly general audiences can misconstrue the title in regards to The Flash’s superpower. You see, unlike a particular “silver” counterpart from another well-established comic book publisher that is often compared to The Flash, the differences between both superheroes far outweigh their similarities. True, both characters utilize speed as their superpowers, but that is essentially where their resemblances end.
Why The Flash is more than just another speedster
What truly makes The Flash a far more unique (and far more powerful) superhero than his “quick” equivalent on the sunnier side of the comic book publishing world is in how the Scarlet Speedster employs his gift of speed. As opposed to being yet another character who can run fast as his primary ability (even Superman can do that), a new element was introduced into The Flash mythos in the 1990s by writer Mark Waid to elevate the character to new heights. It was called the Speed Force.
The Flash, seen here tapping into the Speed Force in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
This is the part where things get exciting for us: with the power of the Speed Force at his fingertips, The Flash is no longer relegated to the category of “superheroes that run fast”; rather, he now has the ability to affect the very fabric of time itself. This is simply because as the Scarlet Speedster enters the Speed Force, no longer is he moving speedily across the surface of the Earth, but in actuality, The Flash is moving either forward or backward through time, thereby making him a time traveler, one who possesses a skill that is unequivocally far more powerful than any other regular speedster could hope to achieve.
Should The Flash be given a different nickname?
Therefore, it is due to this fact alone that there needs to be a serious reconsideration of The Flash’s nickname. On the one hand, we would be foolish to claim that tweaking his title to the Scarlet Time-Traveller rolls off the tongue nicely, but on the other, we genuinely believe that it is high time the character be conferred with a brand new title that would reflect the sheer scale of The Flash’s ability. After all, we would not want such a powerful character being confused with other less impressive ones now, would we?
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