Speed Force explained in The Flash

Chris Tilly
Speed Force in the DC comics.

The Flash is in cinemas now, meaning audiences have seen Barry Allen travel through time via the Speed Force. Here’s a brief guide to the concept in the comics, plus how it fits into the new film.

The Flash movie sped into cinemas worldwide this week. The film is an entertaining time-travel flick, with a story that explores the multiverse.

Barry Allen is able to do both these things thanks to the Speed Force, which has a long and storied history in the comics.

So read on to find out why the concept came to be on the page, plus how Barry Allen uses it in his new movie. Meaning SPOILERS ahead.

The Flash: What is the Speed Force?

The Speed Force was introduced by Mark Waid in The Flash #91 in 1994 when Wally West uses a speed formula that makes him move so fast that he stops time.

Here’s a description of the concept on the official DC website: “The Speed Force is a plane of pure energy tied to the universe from which metahumans are able to draw. Some advanced civilizations and mad scientists have been able to tap into it through technological means, but the Speed Force mainly seems to be attracted to speedsters.”

The same write-up states its important to note that “The Speed Force isn’t just a source of power, but a place. It’s a plane of existence that speedsters can enter by achieving a high velocity, and which they can use to travel anywhere in space and time. 

Elsewhere DC.com explains: “While the Speed Force is most commonly associated with super speed, it can also manifest as a host of related temporal abilities, like the ability to control one’s age or manipulate their place in a species’ evolutionary chain.”

Birth of time travel in the comic

Because the Speed Force was introduced quite late in the history of the character, much retrofitting and rewriting of history has happened regarding how it plays into Barry’s origin and powers.

For example, Barry Allen transformed into The Flash when he was struck by lightening while standing next to chemicals. But Mark Waid positioned it as a bolt of energy from the Speed Force. While in 2009, Geoff Johns wrote that Barry Allen created the Speed Force when a bolt of lightning activated his metagene.

To contradict that idea yet firther, The New 52 posited that the Speed Force has always existed. Meaning if you are paying attention, it really isn’t clear how or why the Speed Force came to be.

Different versions of the Speed Force explained

As DC.com explains: “In Joshua Williams 2016 Flash comics, we learn that the Speed Force is just one source of superhuman ability that can get drawn upon by receptive metahumans.”

Here’s a few examples of alternate Forces, and the powers – both positive and negative – they contain…

  • Sage Force: Intellect
  • Strength Force: Power
  • Still Force: Inertia
  • Forever Force: Time
  • Negative Speed Force: Counters Speed Force

Time travel in The Flash movie

Early in The Flash, Barry Allen visits his childhood home and thinks back to the day his mother died. That memory results in his racing away as such speed that he ends up in a bubble filled with recent memories. The Speed Force.

Barry soon realises that he can use the Speed Force to travel back in time to save his mom. But those efforts to change the past have a devastating affect on the present, which Barry then endeavours to fix.

But a younger version of the character is convinced that the Speed Force makes time “inconsequential.” And that he’ll eventually figure out how to save both the world, and their mother. A conflict that sets up the movie’s emotional finale.

For more on the The Flash, check out the below articles:

The Flash review | | Best Easter Eggs | Where’s Wonder Woman? | Everything we know about The Flash 2 | Who is General Zod? | Full Cast: Characters and Actors | Is Nic Cage in The Flash? | Flashpoint explained | Who are Albert Desmond and Patty Spivot? | Barry Allen x 2 | How many Batmans are in The Flash? | Speed Force guide | Who is Dark Flash? | Story of Superman Lives Secret villain revealed? | Supergirl explained | Who does in The Flash? | Ending explained | Is Aquaman in The Flash? | The Flash budget | Soundtrack and songs | Is Superman in The Flash? | Post-credits scene explained |