Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the original super-speedster: The Golden Age Flash
Appearances in Heroclix: The Flash, DC 10th, Arkham Asylum, Legacy, Hypertime
First Appearance: Flash Comics #1
Team Affiliations: Justice Society of America, All-Star Squadron, Justice League
Disclaimer: This article is about the classic/golden age Jay Garrick. Even though it’s likely that the New 52 version will appear in the Flash set, we’ll give him his own entry.
Jason Peter Garrick is a college student prior to 1938 who accidentally inhales heavy water vapors after falling asleep in his laboratory after hours of working. When he awakens, he finds that he can run at super human speed and has similarly fast reflexes. After a brief career as a college football star, he dons a red shirt with a lightning bolt and a stylized metal helmet with wings and begins to fight crime as the Flash. The helmet belonged to Jay’s father, Joseph, who fought during World War I. Jay would keep his identity secret without the use of a mask by constantly “vibrating” his features, making him hard to recognize or clearly photograph.
The Flash soon became one of the best-known of the Golden Age of superheroes. He was a founding member of the Justice Society of America and served as its first chairman. In 1951, the JSA was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee for possible Communist sympathies and asked to reveal their identities, which was later revealed to be partly orchestrated by Per Degaton. The JSA declined, and Garrick, who recently married his longtime girlfriend Joan, retired from superhero life.
Garrick emerged from retirement in 1961 to meet the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, from a parallel world. Garrick’s world was dubbed Earth-Two, while Allen’s was Earth-One. On Earth-One, Jay had even had his own comic book which inspired Barry’s superhero identity. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, all the parallel worlds are merged into one, and Keystone City becomes the twin city across the river from Allen’s Central City.
In the early 21st century, many of Garrick’s JSA cohorts have retired or died, but Garrick remains active with the latest incarnation of the group. He is physically about 50 years old thanks to the effects of several accidental anti-aging treatments, but his chronological age is closer to 90. He is one of the few surviving members of the Justice Society of America after Zero Hour.
Jay and his wife Joan gain guardianship of Bart Allen after Max Mercury’s disappearance. During the events of Infinite Crisis Jay states that the Speed Force is gone after many speedsters, living and dead, wrestle Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force and disappear. Jay is left behind when he reaches his speed limit and cannot follow. Bart Allen returns, aged several years with the entire Speed Force absorbed into his body. Jay claims that without access to the Speed Force, his own power is less than before: he can only run close to the speed of sound. He also states that as the Speed Force is no longer retarding his aging, his speed is diminishing with time. After Bart leaves Keystone City for Los Angeles, Jay once again becomes the city’s sole guardian.