The precise circumstances of the incident in which Wally West gained his powers have never been fully revealed. It appears that Wally was the subject of a freak accident in which lightning struck a rack of chemicals in a laboratory. Somehow this combination endowed Wally with the fantastic speed powers for which he would become renowned.
Adopting the costumed identity of the Flash, Wally fought to protect the people of Central City from various threats, particularly those of the criminal variety. One such criminal was the extortionist Mark Mardon, who would later become known as the Weather Wizard. A variety of costumed villains, most employing high-tech equipment, would arise to challenge the Flash. Among these villains were Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, the Mirror Master, the Trickster, the Turtle-Man, Abra Kadabra, Dr. Alchemy, Mr. Element, the Top, the Pied Piper, and Grodd.
In addition to dealing with the threat posed by his impressive Rogues' Gallery, the Flash also devoted his time and energies to public service and charitable activities. One significant charity event was the Flash's celebrated race with Superman, a challenge intended to determine which of the two heroes was truly worthy of the title, "Fastest Man Alive"
Along with Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman, Flash was one of the heroes summoned to aid Superman, Batman, and J'onn J'onzz in defeating the Imperium invasion. In the aftermath of that conflict, Superman suggested that the seven heroes band together to form the Justice League. Flash, appropriately enough, was the first to agree to Superman's proposal.
Wally served with distinction through the early phase of the Justice League's existence, although his sometimes brash and impulsive nature tended to clash with his teammate's personalities. At one point, the Flash went so far as to sign a lucrative endorsement deal hawking Lightspeed Energy Bars — a move whose motives of personal gain met with a certain disapproval from the other Leaguers.
During the Thanagarian invasion, before finding out their real intentions along with the rest of the league, Flash was annoyed by the fact that Hawkgirl had a fiancé who was "big and strong and ridiculously good looking", and he felt ticked off when Talak asked him to hold a sheep. Later, when the Thanagarians began hunting the League after their escape, Flash was reluctant to reveal his real name to the group, but Batman was already aware of it. He paired off with John Stewart when the League split up to make their way to Wayne Manor, in Gotham City. Later when Hawkgirl appeared to the rest of the League in the Batcave, Flash shared the group's hostility towards their former ally.
Flash assisted J'onn and Batman in retaking the Watchtower, but was ejected in an escape pod after Batman announced that he was going to direct the Watchtower into the Hyperspace Bypass generator. Despite his earlier bitterness, Flash was Hawkgirl's strongest advocate in the debate to keep her in the League in the wake of the invasion. He was also the only one to offer her any sort of goodbye, other than Green Lantern.
After the Justice League expanded, Flash devoted more of his time to protecting Central City, instead of participating in League activities on a full-time basis. Nonetheless, Flash still sat alongside his fellow founding members in providing oversight to the new, larger Justice League, and was involved in many of the League's other operations. For example, he assisted Big Barda and Mr. Miracle in freeing the latter's mentor, Oberon, while preventing a takeover of Apokolips that would have eventually led the planet to become a threat to Earth once again.
Perhaps Flash's most significant act as a Justice League member was the vital role he played in combating the combined Lex Luthor and Brainiac. With the other six Founders incapacitated, Flash took on the hybrid alone. In desperation, he pushed his powers to their limit, running as fast as he could around the world numerous times and tapping into the Speed Force in order to separate and defeat the two villains. As a result, Flash was very nearly pulled into the Speed Force, but was rescued by the teamwork of his teammates. The incident left Flash with the disturbing possibility that traveling that fast again might mean he would never come back.
Flash eventually came to be so well-regarded by the people of Central City that a Flash Appreciation Day was held in his honor. The day's main event was the dedication of the Flash Museum, a shrine to the speedster's exploits. Several of his Rogues—Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, the Trickster, and Mirror Master—attempted to kill Flash, but were stopped by Flash, Batman, and Orion. Even though the new museum was all but wrecked, the occasion still turned out to be a "good day", according to Flash.
On a later occasion, Flash accidentally switched brains with Lex Luthor and was forced to try to impersonate the villain. His attempts did not go well, but thanks to the assistance of his fellow League members, Flash was eventually switched back to normal.
During Darkseid's final invasion of Earth, Flash was among the heroes who stood against him. He fought in Paris with Green Lantern and Giganta. After the battle and the disappearance of Lex Luthor and Darkseid, the Flash received a kiss from Giganta. He was last seen chasing after the remaining members of the Legion of Doom along with all the other members of the Justice League.
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