No one knows exactly how the Black Flash came about. Most assume that it came from the Speed Force. However, his role is clear from the get go. The Black Flash ultimately plays the role of Death for those who have been given the gift of super speed. The Black Flash brings speedsters back into the Speed Force, supposedly appearing just before a speedster’s death. This happened before the deaths of some of the most famous speedsters including Barry Allen. One other speedster from the comic books, Max Mercury, had seen the Black Flash a few times as well after having experienced a few near-death episodes. Some believe that the Black Flash exists because the traditional “Death” is not fast enough to capture speedsters.
It turned out that the Black Flash could be defeated much like how some people “beat death” or “defy death.” In one story arc, the Black Flash came for Wally West in order to bring him back into the Speed Force. However, the Black Flash took West’s girlfriend instead, Linda Park. The next time it came back to try and take Wally West yet again, the Black Flash actually froze time for everyone else—all except those who possessed super speed such as Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, and Jesse Quick.
All three helped Wally defeat the Black Flash, and the only was it could’ve been done was by racing it until it had no purpose any more. Wally raced the Black Flash to the end of time, right up to the point where Death would have no more meaning. At that point, the Black Flash dissipated and Wally was able to finally escape it. However, the Black Flash would appear again later on to the grandson of the Fourth Flash, Bart Allen.
In The Flash: Rebirth, we see a new Black Flash emerge in the form of the late Barry Allen. The Speed Force itself might have given the title to him after the original Black Flash appeared dead. Professor Zoom also eventually took this title.
The Black Flash Powers
The Black Flash also draws its power the same way as regular speedsters do—through the Speed Force. Therefore, it makes sense that the Black Flash has all the same powers: speed, durability, stamina, and agility—all at the superhuman level. The Black Flash also has the ability to kill a person with a single touch. Its intangibility powers are similar to that of a speedster’s. The Black Flash can vibrate its body quickly at a certain frequency to allow objects to pass through its body. In addition, the Black Flash can travel through time and through dimensions. It is essentially immortal as well, making the Black Flash one of the most powerful entities in the entire DC universe.
The symbol that’s on the Black Flash’s uniform appears straight and is not reversed. The Flash’s symbol appears to be just like that. Therefore, there’s an ongoing debate as to whether or not the Black Flash is a hero or a villain. Many people argue that while it may appear sinister, its role is simply to imply the repercussions of death and how far away from life it truly is. Some say that although speedsters have the ability to outrun their own deaths, they really shouldn’t avoid the Black Flash given that it’s not really there to harm speedsters but rather to just bring them back to the Speed Force when their time is up. Of course, not many speedsters who are in their peak wants to just give up on life so easily; but the Black Flash is strong enough to handle any speedster that might resist.
The Black Flash has appeared on various other forms of media apart from the comic books. It’s appeared on the current TV series, The Flash. It’s appeared on a couple different episodes and was portrayed as a villainous character. The Black Flash has also appeared on another TV series, Legends of Tomorrow. In both shows, three different actors played the Black Flash: Teddy Sears, Tony Todd, and Ryan Handley. There are no indications as to what future appearances the Black Flash may have and what role it might play in the current life of TV’s Barry Allen.