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The Hall of Justice graphic by Jeremy Greene
Real Name: Barry Allen
First Appearance: Showcase #4

Barry Allen was the Flash before Wally West, obviously. The first to use the modern-day idea of a Flash costume, Allen and Hal Jordan were the two "dawn-of-the-Space-Age" reincarnations of a couple of World War II heroes from the Justice Society of America. Barry was, in current continuity as well as Pre-Crisis thinking, one of the founding members of the Justice League of America, though in each era his teammates differed. After working for years as the Flash and training his nephew--the super-powered Wally West--as his sidekick, Allen was killed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths when he destroyed the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon just before it could go off and disrupt reality.
Super-speed, the ability to manipulate the Speed Field to enable him to travel through time, vibrate through objects, manipulate winds, etc.

Real Name: Wally West
First Appearance: Flash #110

Use the Force, Wally Barry Allen's nephew and sidekick became Flash in much the same way his uncle did--the combination of lightning and a "unique" combination of chemicals. It was always kind of joked that the Crisis was probably responsible for the same thing happening twice--in the same family, no less!--and it was revealed after Barry's death that his body, joining the Speed Field and becoming pure energy, ultimately BECAME the lightning that struck Wally West. At any rate, West has proven himself as the Flash, learning more about the Speed Field than even Barry knew, and using it not necessarily better, but differently from Barry and setting himself apart as one of Earth's greatest heroes. His recent marriage to longtime sweetheart Linda Park was one more way of overcoming a kind of "Barry was better at this" stygma that Wally's always faced when thinking about his uncle's life and career.
Super-speed, the ability to manipulate the Speed Field to enable him to travel through time, vibrate through objects, manipulate winds, etc.

Real Name: Kara-El
First Appearance: Action Comics #252

Kara, the cousin of Kal-El and a member of a Kryptonian society that somehow survived the world's destruction, found her way to Earth in search of her cousin. Here, she used her powers for the betterment of mankind until the Crisis on Infinite Earths, when she was not only killed in action, but retconned completely out of existence to boot. Ouch!
Heat vision, X-ray vision, super speed, super strength, invulnerability

Real Name: Matrix/Linda Danvers
First Appearance: Superman (2nd run) #22

Supergirl The product of an otherdimensional genetic engineering experiment, Matrix came to our world as a shapeshifter who took on the shape of our dimension's Superman as a tribute to the hero. The Lex Luthor of her dimension--a benevolent scientist--sent her to our world to recruit Big Blue's help in saving his world from a handful of Kryptonian convicts escaped from the Phantom Zone. She and Superman returned to her world too late--Superman was forced to kill the Kryptonians after they'd slain everyone on Martix's world, and Matrix was forced to start over with a clean slate…in our world. She substituted for Superman for a while when he exiled himself in space and lived with Clark's parents on earth before settling down as Lex Luthor's Metropolis-based girlfriend. When she became aware of the evil he was responsible for hiding from her, Matrix almost killed Luthor and left him, heading out to the small town of Leesburg where she came in contact with a dying girl named Linda Danvers, a local student who had fallen in with the REALLY wrong crowd. Matrix and Danvers became one, and life in Leesburg would never be so boring again. Supergirl is the city's official protector now, fighting such menaces as Gorilla Grodd, demons and Linda's ex-boyfriend (literally!). Struggling to discover where she stands in this bizarre new world, Supergirl/Linda is alienated from her parents, outcast and hunted by her former circle of friends. It's not easy being a superhero--especially when you haven't been one all your life, as Linda Danvers is finding out.
Invulnerability, telekinesis, fire vision, fire wings, limited shapeshifting

This article is © 1999 Russell Burlingame.
All characters are © DC Comics