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The Flash Family Has a Secret Every Villain Would KILL For

The Flash is considered the Fastest Man Alive, but does the source of his speed also hold the secret to eternal youth for those he cares about?

The Flash and the "Flash Family" have had a long history in DC Comics, with different incarnations of the characters spanning decades. But one of their greatest abilities doesn't just affect themselves... but their loved ones, too.

As comic fans know, DC speedsters draw their powers from a mystical energy known as the Speed Force. The Force also grants its users a plethora of other Flash powers, like giving their speed to other speedsters, travelling through time, and even serving as a final resting place for all speedsters (an afterlife where Barry Allen resided for years before eventually escaping). While the Speed Force seemingly only benefits those who are directly connected to its power, it does have one major benefit that may never be outright stated, but is hard to ignore when The Flash's family members seem as immune to the passage of time as the heroes.

Related: The Flash Runs So Fast, He Can't Even See HIMSELF

During the Flash Rebirth series from 2009, Barry Allen was dealing with returning to life after having been brought out of the Speed Force. During this time, his arch-nemesis Professor Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, had charged Barry Allen with "Negative" Speed Force energy, causing him to abandon his family and friends and re-enter the Speed-Force. When Wally West rescued Barry from his predicament, Thawne reveals that the speedsters have only scratched the surface of what the Speed Force is truly capable of. Thawne then questions how Jay Garrick had remained young after many years as an active superhero, or how loved ones like Iris West or Jay's wife Joan never seem to age either. Thawne then mentions that the Speed Force is capable of keeping speedsters eternally young, and that the residual energy that surrounds them also keeps those close to them young as well.

While the DC timeline has changed over the years to reflect the changes in the real world, like as Barry Allen's adventures taking place in the 2000s as opposed to the 1950s, the characters themselves never seem to age. Thawne's explanation seems to answer why Barry, Wally, Iris, and the rest of the Flash family never age over long periods of time. However, this does raise several questions -- like how Wally West aged from childhood to adulthood. Other characters with connections to the Speed Force, such as Barry's children and Jessie Quick also aged from childhood to adulthood, seemingly in "real-time" to the other characters. Iris herself also aged slightly during her time without Barry, despite her exposure to the Speed Force through her children and grandchild, Bart. Perhaps once a speedster reaches adulthood, their aging slows down to keep them at the apex of their power.

Having comic book characters age presents an interesting conundrum in continuity. On one hand, audiences enjoy seeing characters they grew up with mature alongside them. But this can also makes them inaccessible to newer fans discovering these characters for the first time. It is also quite a suspension of disbelief to suggest that many of these characters had a long history of adventures, but never age in the process. Providing an explanation in this way, is an interesting solution to this dilemma; it allows the characters history to remain valid, while explaining how they never age.

While this side-effect has not been revisited in a major way since the New 52, it would be great to revisit this idea. Furthermore, since recent issues of the Flash have introduced new forces aside from the Speed Force, it would be interesting to see if they also have benefits like this as well. Still, with a side effect like this, it is all but certain that The Flash will be the Fastest Man Alive for a long time.

Next: The Flash Raced BEYOND The Death of DC's Universe

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