96

While watching the Flash—in the typical way speedsters are often rendered nigh-useless—suffers a leg injury, therefore preventing him from running. However, a bum leg doesn't mean the Speed Force abandons him: Flash, apparently can still do super-speed everything else (which is a lot) except run. Hence this question.

Has the Flash been shown, after suffering a leg injury and during a mission, using super-speed to move from place to place by a means other than running? For example, I know that, visually, it'd be ridiculous to have the Flash move at super-speed while doing a handstand wearing a cast on his leg or whatever, but that might be exactly such an event's appeal to, for example, a Golden or Silver Age writer.

I am less interested in, for example, the Flash using a (probably, given the rigors of super-speed, tricked-out comic book-style version of a) wheelchair or roller skates and moving at super-speed—while that's in the same wheelhouse, I'm more concerned about the Flash's seeming vulnerability during combat scenarios and how it seems writers believe the Flash largely immobilized if some villain gets lucky and breaks his shin.

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    I'm pretty sure the answer is no due to the fact he heals super fast. – Durakken Aug 10 '16 at 12:56
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    @Durakken I've thought that the Flash's fast healing capabilities were a more recent addition to his power set, but an answer saying No because then showing the Flash healing fast enough a serious leg injury sustained during combat so that he starts running again during the same combat would be fine. – Hey I Can Chan Aug 10 '16 at 13:07
  • I haven't read much of flash so i don't know for certain so I'd rather not answe conclusively and rather let someone who has read a significant chunk say so ^.^ I just know he has Super healing. The best i can offer is there might be a scene with Impulse/Kid Flash doing it in one of the Teen Titan/Young Justice books – Durakken Aug 10 '16 at 13:15
  • People who walk on their hands still need healthy legs in order to maintain their balance. Even if the Flash had previously trained himself to walk on his hands, no doubt by way of a condensed gym session facilitated by his super-speed, if his legs were still disabled all their flopping around would likely make hand-walking impossible. – Doug Warren Aug 10 '16 at 20:07
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    @DougWarren Being off balance just results in being pulled downward by gravity. That happens pretty slowly compared to how fast the Flash would be moving. Don't think that would actually be a concern. – DCShannon Aug 11 '16 at 0:47
170

In The Flash (v1) #146 (1964), the story "The Mirror Master's Master Stroke" (auth: John Broome, art: Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella) has the titular villain switch legs with the Flash (yes, switch legs) and our hero is forced to run on his hands instead so that he can defeat him. Not quite the same as having an injury to his legs, but close enough, if you ask me.

Here's a key panel from that story:

Flash Fact! This is incredibly goofy. But pretty awesome.

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    I know that comments saying +1 are generally frowned upon, but, man, this is absolutely perfect and hilarious. Thank you so much for hunting this down. I knew it had to be old school if it ever happened. (Seriously, switches legs? Awesome.) – Hey I Can Chan Aug 10 '16 at 18:14
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    Gotta love that Editor's note. There weren't enough! exclamation points! – valbaca Aug 10 '16 at 21:38
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    Personally, I think having your legs removed counts as an injury. – DCShannon Aug 11 '16 at 0:46
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Yes, in Flash (vol. 1) #190, published Aug. 1969, the Flash suffers a broken leg:

enter image description here

Within the story Barry Allen goes to a rather elaborate, Silver Agey ruse to prevent people from learning that he is temporarily incapacitated, involving a spare Flash costume that he sews shut, fills with "energized gas" and controls with transistors that -- oh, never mind. But in order to stay in proximity with his Flash RealDoll he uses a wheelchair at super speed; he also vibrates to remain invisible:

enter image description here

Addendum: Nowhere in the story is there any reference made to Flash having any kind of accelerated healing; I am not sure when that power became canon, but apparently it was not yet so at this point. However, at the end of the story there is a final scene that hints at this. Note that the explanation given here is not that he heals super fast, but rather that the same vibrations that he used to become invisible have some kind of therapeutic effect on his broken bones: enter image description here

  • Do you know who is the artist of the cover? – camden_kid Aug 11 '16 at 19:08
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    @camden_kid No idea, I don't see an artist's signature on the cover. It reminds me of some early Bronze Age Sgt. Rock covers, so maybe Joe Kubert? That's just a guess, though. – mweiss Aug 11 '16 at 19:56
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    Definitely Joe Kubert. It's clearly his style and the GCD confirms it. comics.org/issue/22880 – Patrick Wynne Aug 12 '16 at 0:24
23

There was also a silver age Justice League story where the villain (Brain Storm, a personal favorite) gave physical handicaps to the heroes - Superman was blinded, Green Arrow lost his arms, and the Flash's legs were merged into a single leg. They of course learned how to triumph over their disabilities and defeat the foe. The Flash did it by super-speed-hopping.

enter image description here

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    As amusing as this is, he is still technically using his legs. – ApproachingDarknessFish Aug 11 '16 at 16:40
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    @ApproachingDarknessFish However, I do think having one's legs fused together counts as an injury and super-speed hopping counts as not running, so it's cool. Further, it seems this injury happens then is overcome in combat so his injury doesn't make him all O nos! No fightan for me! Goin out for ice creams! or whatever. (Note that what I really appreciate about this is the heroes explaining their disabilities, especially Hawkman, who considers himself disabled because he can't fly. Wait here, Hawk-dude—I'll be right back with my violin.) – Hey I Can Chan Aug 12 '16 at 1:53
1

Consider a person whose leg is injured in the real world. Can he walk on his hands? Similarly, Flash can only do at super speed what he can normally do at "regular" speed. Thus, he would not be able to do gymnastics or "walk" on his hands at super speed if he has not trained himself to do so at "human" speed.

Note that things such as dodging bullets, running up walls, etc. are based on normal movements speeded up. Note that people have "run up walls" in real life because of the movement. Dodging bullets is like dodging a ball thrown slowly..

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    So the Flash is doing everything that your or I could just faster? I guess, in the broadest sense, that works, but it seems to starkly limit the Flash's powers and doesn't seem to entirely jibe with many depictions. (That is, dodging is something anyone can do, but dodging bullets isn't, and running is something anyone can do, but running on water isn't.) – Hey I Can Chan Aug 10 '16 at 13:30
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    @HeyICanChan Dodging bullets is something a normal person could do if they were doper fast. Walking on your hands is not something a normal person could do no matter how fast they are. – Bellerophon Aug 10 '16 at 13:36
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    Yo, being "doper fast" would be the shiznitz. – FuzzyBoots Aug 10 '16 at 18:27
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    People can walk on their hands, and with extreme reflexes and relatively strong athleticism I believe flash would be able to learn to do so easily. – Dent7777 Aug 10 '16 at 20:19
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    @Bellerephon What about running up walls or through time? How about the tornadoes he makes from circling his arms or throwing lightning? The idea of Flash just being a normal person moving super fast eventually breaks down. – David Starkey Aug 10 '16 at 20:24

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