The heroes and villains of the DC Universe derive their powers from many mysterious forces, from the Quantum Field that fuels Captain Atom, to the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum that powers the Green Lantern Corps. But the Speed Force that imbues DC speedsters with their amazing abilities is one of the most mysterious – and arguably the most powerful – forces in the DC universe. If you've ever wondered, "Why is the Flash so fast?", the answer is the Speed Force.
The Speed Force is an extra-dimensional energy source that grants users incredible powers, most notably the ability to run at fantastic speeds. But it's also an energy realm, through which those who use the Speed Force can travel, and to which they will return to upon death. It's sort of like a speed-based version of heaven. So let's discover all of the DC heroes and villains who use the Speed Force, and learn about the myriad powers the Force provides.
Though he was not the first hero to bear the moniker of the Flash, Barry Allen is the most famous speedster to go by that name. While working as a forensic scientist in his hometown of Central City, Barry was accidentally doused with a combination of chemicals and struck by lightning. Instead of dying, he was granted superhuman speed and became the Flash, in tribute to his childhood idol, the original Flash (Jay Garrick).
In addition to being "the fastest man alive," Barry possesses a whole host of speed-related abilities including: accelerated healing, accelerated thinking, enhanced senses, a protective Speed Force aura, super stamina, super agility, super reflexes, molecule vibration which allows him to pass through solid matter, and time travel.
It was later revealed (via a bit of retconning) that Barry is actually the originator of the Speed Force, and that he generates the kinetic energy it's comprised of with every step he takes.
As a child, Wally West idolized the Flash and was even the president (and only member) of the Blue Valley Flash Fan Club. Wally was such a big fan of the Flash that his Aunt Iris – who happened to be dating Barry Allen at the time – set up a meeting with the boy and his idol at Barry's lab. Lightning, as it does in comic books, struck twice, this time hitting Wally and dousing him with the same chemicals that doused Barry. Wally developed powers just like his idol, and learned at his side as Kid Flash.
In his role as Kid Flash, Wally became a founding member of the Teen Titans. Following the death of Barry Allen during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally took up the mantle of the Flash until he was seemingly killed during Zero Hour. In Rebirth, now going by the name Wallace West, he continues to work as the Flash, but in a distinctive silver-and-red costume.
Wally has many of the same abilities as Barry – super speed, super reflexes, super stamina, super agility, accelerated healing, a Speed Force aura – but he also has the ability to project electricity from his hands and make solid energy constructs, similar to the constructs created by Green Lanterns. Wally also has the power to "steal speed" from anyone or anything that is moving.
Genetically engineered in the 25th Century, Eobard Thawne became obsessed with the Flash and the Speed Force. His mind was so consumed, every time Eobard was blocked from pursuing his interests, his future self came back in time to surreptitiously kill those who got in his younger self's way, even his own parents.
Eobard was appointed professor of the Flash Museum, and earned the nickname "Professor Zoom" because of his obsession with the Speed Force. He so loved the heroic age of the 20th century, he got plastic surgery to look like Barry Allen and used the Flash's old Cosmic Treadmill to travel back in time to meet his idol.
Eobard miscalculated his destination in time, and arrived after Barry Allen had died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Wally West serving as the current Flash. Despondent, he went to the Flash Museum, where he found out he was destined to become the Reverse-Flash, the Flash's greatest villain. Eobard has lived up to his destiny by becoming the nemesis of not only the Flash, but all of those who tap into the Speed Force. He made it his mission to erase Barry Allen from history, and establish himself as the one true Flash.
His powers include super speed, super reflexes, super stamina, super durability, accelerated healing, Speed Force negation, time travel, age metamorphosis, and the ability to tell when someone is from a parallel Earth. He also has the power to send victims into his Negative Speed Force dimension.
20 years in the future, Barry Allen is still the Flash, but his methods have changed. Blaming himself for Wally West's death, Barry decides to use his abilities to kill his enemies, in an effort to gain enough speed power to travel back in time and prevent his mistakes. During his journey to the past, he kills Grodd, Mirror Master, Captain Cold, and Reverse-Flash (Danny West).
Finally, Future Flash arrives 20 years in the past and battles both his younger self and Wally West, defeating them soundly. In addition to standard Speed Force powers like super speed, super agility, super stamina, super reflexes, and accelerated healing, Future Flash can create solid energy constructs, fly, phase through solid objects, share and steal Speed Force energy, and deliver a super-massive Speed Force punch.