Your Flash Fact for today comes from JLA #89, with words by Joe Kelly and art by Doug Mahnke. For context, Fernus the Burning has sent a nuclear bomb into North Korean airspace. The city of Chongjin is about to catch a bad one… but the JLA is on the way. More specifically, The Fastest Man Alive.
There’s a lot to like about this two page scene. I think my favorite touch is that the gold on Flash’s outfit glows and smokes different from the red. It’s just really cool, and fits with the red and gold blur that he gives off when he’s speeding. The cracked and glowing ground is also good, as is his speed lines on the first page.
Flash running these folks to 35 miles out is a good idea. That should be far enough away that you aren’t blinded by the blast, though some eye damage is definitely probably, and you’re also out of range of the deadliest radiation.
To be fair, though, him having done this in .00001 microseconds puts him so far beyond the speed of light as to be utterly ridiculous. Wally traveled 70 miles, round trip, at least 250,000 times. That’s the equivalent of 17,500,000 miles, also known as a hair over 3/4 of the way from the Earth to the sun. He ran a total of 17,500,000 miles in one hundred-thousandth of a microsecond. Multiply that by one hundred thousand to get the distance he can run in one second, and then that by sixty by the distance he can run in one minute, and then that by sixty again to get his mph. I got 6,300,000,000,000,000,000,000mph. 6.3 sextillion miles per. That’s 34,054,054,054,054,054 times the speed of light. And that’s if I lowball it and say he always carried two people at once.
That’s a little suspension of disbelief stretching, but I still love this scene. It’s a great show of what Flash can do, and also of how to keep your mind open when you’re reading superhero comics. People are going to do impossible things. Spider-Man would rip whole chunks out of buildings, Superman would suck all the oxygen out of your lungs when he zooms by, and Batman would get shot in the face and die. Comic physics let them get away with these things. You’ve got to keep an open mind. Is Flash overpowered? Probably, but if we can get scenes like this, I’m all for it. I bet that before I explained how fast he was going, 90% of you thought, “Wow, that’s cool!”
That’s tights’n’fights. That’s the Flash.
Flash is awesome. That’s a Flash Fact.