COMMENTARY: The Flash: Kansas City’s Hometown Hero

GustinFlash
Grant Gustin stars as Barry Allen

Last week The CW network began principal photography on the pilot for their latest super-hero prime time drama The Flash. A spin-off of the network’s wildly successful Arrow series, The Flash will follow the adventures of famed DC Comics speedster Barry Allen as he balances his newfound powers with his day job as a Crime Scene Investigator for the Central City Police Department.

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Central City – DC Wiki

Like most DC locales, the city that the Flash protects is a fictional one. That said, many if not all of these cities are intended to serve as counterparts to metro areas in our own world. Batman’s Gotham and Superman’s Metropolis were originally intended to represent the nighttime and daytime facets of New York City, Starling City of Arrow has long been considered a parallel to Seattle, and Central City should have special place in the hearts and minds of Kansas City residents since it is meant to serve as DC’s version of our own home town.

This was not always as clear as it is today. The original version of the Flash, a speedster by the name of Jay Garrick, protected Keystone City. In 1961, after a long hiatus which saw him replaced by the version familiar to most fans, it was revealed that Jay’s Keystone and Barry’s Central occupied the same space but in different realities. When those realities were later merged in the 1985 event Crisis on Infinite Earths, Keystone and Central City took up residence on opposite sides of the Missouri River, binding them together in the same way that our own Greater Kansas City Metro area functions in the real world.

The idea of the World’s Fastest Man hailing from a burg located in the heartland is perfectly logical. What’s more, every iteration of the Flash has served as the emotional and moral heart of their respective universe. The Flash family all follow a long tradition of mentoring, passing the torch on to the next generation, and functioning as the conscience of their respective generations’ heroic communities. This is a legacy that the people of Kansas City, from either side of the river, can take great pride in as they watch the hero of the heartland race across their screens this fall.

No, that's not the Flash Museum, but it's darn close.
No, that’s not the Flash Museum, but it’s darn close.

Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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