The Speed Force is an extra-dimensional source of energy where Speedsters draw their power to run extraordinarily fast and to utilize a number of abilities including time travel and travelling between dimensions. The Speed Force also acts as a sort of purgatory-like realm for speedsters who when killed appear inside the Speed Force and are offered the chance to leave but without their speed, but will restore their power if they prove themselves worthy enough to wield it again. The Speed Force also has enforcers called Time Wraiths to pursue those who use time travel for selfish or foolish reasons, either killing them to prevent further disruption of the timeline, or to imprison them within the Speed Force itself as punishment. The Speed Force is also somewhat sentient, manifesting itself in the forms of those closest to speedsters within the Speed Force to communicate with them. The Speed Force itself claims to have been around since the Big Bang itself, and will exist until the end of time itself. It is not known yet whether the Speed Force represents a physical and/or a metaphysical aspect of reality itself.
- "When the first subatomic particle sprang forth from the Big Bang to form reality as you know it, we were there. When the last proton decays, stops vibrating, and plunges the universe into heat death, we'll be there too."
- —A manifestation of the Speed Force describes itself to Barry Allen[src]
After travelling back to the year 2000, Eobard Thawne lost his connection to the Speed Force due to copious amounts of time travel. Fifteen years later, while masquerading as Harrison Wells, Eobard was able to use a tachyon prototype to access the Speed Force, absorbing some of it and allowing him to run at high speeds, and vibrate his body and voice.
Sometime later, needing to remove a small bomb from the Flash's wrist without it exploding, Eobard motivated the Flash to become one with his speed, thus becoming one with the Speed Force, allowing him to better hone his ability to vibrate and phase through a tanker, leaving the band on the other side.At some point, in another Earth, a serial killer named Hunter Zolomon became connected with the Speed Force. However, this speedster was proven unworthy due to abusing the Speed Force for his own benefit, such as killing others. He also time traveled recklessly throughout the timeline, forcing the Speed Force to clean up his mess. Hunter later developed a drug to make him go faster, thus further abusing his speed to terrorize more Earths throughout the multiverse. One day, while on an unknown Earth, Hunter found out that the drug was killing him and he attempted to manipulate the Speed Force. Because of all of his selfish actions until now, The Speed Force responded by constantly sent Time Wraiths after Hunter, since he was proven too much of a threat to the timeline to be alive. However, these efforts were to no avail since the unworthy speedster went into hiding.
When trying to travel back in time to rescue his mother from being murdered, Barry Allen was able to physically see the Speed Force after passing Mach 2, viewing events from his past, present and future all at once. To travel where he wanted to go, Barry had to think about a specific time and place, before transporting into his childhood home and into his bed room, just as his younger self was walking down the stairs to see his mother trapped in the tornado of light, that was actually Reverse-Flash and the future Flash fighting over the younger Barry's fate at super speed.
A few months later, Barry traveled back in time to where his former teacher, Eobard Thawne, was alive since he was desperate to run faster to beat Zoom aka Hunter Zolomon. Because of such an invalid reason, The Speed Force sent a Time Wraith after the rookie speedster. However, this Wraith failed to do its mission, as it was obliterated by outside help from Barry's friends.
When Barry tried to regain his powers through a second particle accelerator explosion, instead of him simply regaining his powers, the will of the Speed Force pulled Barry into itself. It was inside of the Speed Force that Barry discovered that the Speed Force had a personality and could be spoken to. Before the Speed Force allowed Barry to regain his powers, he had to prove himself worthy of retrieving his powers again. In order for Barry to regain his powers, the Speed Force gave him a trial, to catch a dark speeding shadow. The shadow at every stop led Barry to places of great personal importance where the Speed Force manifested itself as an important person in his life to speak to him. During the trial, Cisco created a breach to the Speed Force dimension and a vortex of energy appeared to Barry. The Speed Force told Barry that if he did not complete the trial before leaving, he would be returning to Earth without his powers. By accepting tragedy and moving on instead of letting it define him, the Speed Force allowed him to become a speedster again with the shadow appearing before Barry so that he could catch it. The shadow was revealed to be a manifestation of Barry as The Flash, before Barry transformed into the figure. Barry then left the Speed Force dimension with the help of Iris calling out to him through the vortex after hugging the Speed Force's manifestation of his mother. After defeating Girder, Barry visited Jesse in her coma where he touched her hand and a spark of energy woke her from the coma.
The Speed Force later sent two Time Wraiths after Barry when he created a time remnant during his fight with Hunter. Upon arriving however they discovered Hunter and realizing that Barry used the time remnant to clue them into Hunter's location, the Wraiths spared Barry and attacked Hunter instead, and dragged him into the Speed Force. .
Later, Jay and Barry attempt to trap Savitar for good in the Speed Force by throwing the Philosopher's Stone in a wormhole Barry created. Barry is then shown a possible future where Iris West dies, explaining that either Savitar was freed after being thrown in the Speed Force, or that the Philosopher's Stone will reappear in the future.
When accessing the Speed Force, speedsters can generate lightning/electricity from their bodies, most noticeably trailing their bodies as they run. The color of the lightning that is generated normally is indicative of the specific type of connection that a speedster has achieved with the Speed Force.
- Yellow: Yellow lightning is generated by speedsters with a pure or natural connection to the Speed Force. This is seen from Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, Jesse Quick and Wally West plus formerly Hunter Zolomon and Eliza Harmon.
- Red: Red lightning is strongly implied to be the result of an individual having a corrupted or negative connection to the Speed Force. This is supported by Eobard stating to have replicated the reaction that gave Barry his powers, yet claims the essence of his powers is the exact opposite to the Flash's. This is seen from Eobard Thawne and Edward Clariss. Also, speedsters such as Hunter who are taken by Time Wraiths into the Speed Force also have their lightning turned red.
- Blue: Blue lightning generation is the result of an individual speedster who artificially develops/boosts a connection through a strong enough usage of the "Velocity". While greatly increasing the user's speed, it also comes with lethal/life-threatening side-effects as seen with speedsters like Hunter Zolomon and Eliza Harmon.
- White: White lightning is uniquely generated by the original speedster and the self-proclaimed "God of Speed" Savitar. It is currently unknown the nature of his coloration is a result of his extraordinarily long and potent connection to the Speed Force.
Users of the Speed Force, sometimes by tapping into their power, can cause their eyes to transform in some way, either by being filled with yellow electricity, which can cause the surrounding skin to glow yellow, shining dark red light or electricity that can even cause the surrounding parts of the face to glow red, the entire eye becoming pitch black or shining blue light. The first occurrence is the sign of a natural connection to the Speed Force and can even manifest for users of Velocity before it begins to degenerate them. The third is caused after such degeneration. It is unknown how the second occurrence originates, and the fourth has shown to solely occur with the self-proclaimed "God of Speed", Savitar.
Inside the Speed Force dimension
When trapped inside of the Speed Force, the body of the speedster will appear in a vortex of electrical energy, while the speedster will be inside a dream world similar to where they are from on Earth, albeit without people. The sentient will of the Speed Force can choose to manifest itself to a speedster as someone in their life and speak to them. The Speed Force can then put a speedster through a trial and choose to give powers to a speedster should they not have them. In the dream world, the trial will manifest as the former speedster having to catch a shadow-like, vibrating blur of motion that moves at superspeed and represents their powers. However, they must be able to remove mental blocks from themselves in order to do so, such as guilt. They must confront the source of their pain and overcome it, which will cause the shadow to come to them and restore their powers. However, the only known way to leave the realm is through a portal made from the outside, while it is unknown if the Speed Force will make a portal for the speedster to travel through, though it most likely can.
As the Speed Force has sentience, it also has enforcers whose mission is to keep time traveling speedsters in check. The Time Wraiths are interdimensional, corpse like beings that automatically hunt speedsters that are a threat to the timeline by moving through time. It is believed that only speedsters who are reckless and without forethought of how their presence in established events could damage the timeline will be hunted down, while more careful ones will not be. They are not always able to find their target immediately but will never stop until they succeed. These creatures are capable of effortlessly following a speedster through time and possibly through other dimensions. They are able to match most speedsters in speed, or by taking it from them and quickly overpower them. Most prominently, they are able to drain a target of life through physical contact and age them to death. It can also drag them through dimensions, though what exactly happens to this particular victim is unknown. It is known that in the process they can physically degenerate a person, causing them to take on a Time Wraith's corpse like appearance while turning their lightning red, as well as some parts of their uniform should they have one on.
Powers and abilities
The Speed Force enhances all movement, momentum and force exerting capabilities of its user, down to a microscopic level, as well as giving the user conscious control over it. This enhances overall acceleration, agility, reflexes, coordination, balance, and reaction time to inhuman levels. In addition, the body becomes conditioned beyond human potential, allowing them to handle extreme physical exertion and performance, which is also enhanced. The Speed Force is also able to have a sentient will much unlike any element or energy seen in The Flash, allowing access to their energy and properties to be given to a worthy user for them. Users of the Speed Force have demonstrated the following abilities:
- Accelerated healing factor: All chemical, cellular, and neural processes, as well as brain activity, are far faster than normal, which enhances the speed and efficiency of physical healing and metabolism to inhuman levels. This causes users to be able to be completely healed from non-lethal injuries as severe as broken bones, burns, and even paralysis, in a matter of hours or days without any linger effects, therapy, or treatment, unless the injuries are immediately lethal. Users are also more resilient to physical impacts and collisions, giving them immunity to being stunned, dazed, unbalanced or staggered by great forces, especially while moving at super speed.
- Aerokinesis: A user using super speed while moving their entire body, or part of it in a repetitive motion, such as back and forth, spinning, or otherwise circular motions, can manipulate air flows and currents and therefore generate powerful winds and manipulating them with there repeated motions. These motions can also be achieved by the user moving or running back and forth or in a circle. The user can therefore create intense whirlwinds, cyclones, tornadoes, vortexes and vacuums of air with these motions, or propel themselves through the air. This can allow the user to disperse the physical force from oncoming targets or propel them away.
- Bodily vibration/Intangibility: Since these enhanced movement and acceleration capabilities affected the user microscopically, it allowed the user to manipulate the movement and acceleration of their cells, and even their molecules, allowing them to shake and vibrate their bodies or parts of it by willing their cells to do so. These vibrations can allow a user to become intangible, enhance physical force produced by physical contact, and distort the users image to the point where the user becomes a vibrating blur of motion, even when they are not using their speed. A user can disguise their appearance with this, as well as their voice by vibrating their vocal cords, which can produce an electronic, distorted voice or a garbled, deep growl. Vibrating through people can be lethal, as villainous speedsters will often vibrate their arms through a target and cause them to drop dead. With this, they are able to phase into people, while still being able to touch and grab tangible objects, which allows them to damage the victim from the inside. Some users can even user their vibrations to punch a gapping through people and impale them using their vibrating arm. However, it is not always lethal, as another user could phase into someone and pull objects, such as bullets, out of the person, as well as running right through others without harming them. Also, vibrating though something electrical, such as a computer, can cause it to overload and fry. They can also cause tremors and jolt through vibrating physical contact, enough to level a bridge by running on it repeatedly or to break the metal locks on a door by touching it with a vibrating hand. Also, by vibrating their hand, the user can generate the force of a buzzsaw, enough to effortlessly punch and smash through machinery, saw through metal chains, or punch clean though a person, all with their vibrating hand. Also, vibrating allows a user to cause tremors and jolt through physical contact, enough to perform feats such as breaking metal locks or part of a mug by vibrating ones' hand and touching the object, or even leveling a bridge by running on it repeatedly. The ability could even allow attacks to pass through someone, even if the attacker is someone as powerful as Supergirl.
- Dimensional travel: Like time travel, advanced users can create a hole in the fabric of space-time to create portals between dimensions, and travel to different realities. Savitar has demonstrated a complete mastery of this ability, to where he can warp to anywhere in the city.
- Electrokinesis: Connection to the Speed Force causes Speedsters' bodies to generate electricity, which they can learn to manipulate. This Speed Force lightning has been show to vary in color between the differing speedsters seen so far. By running with in a circular motion with enough intensity, they are able to envelop their arms in electricity, that they can then throw at a target, though other speedsters may be able to solidify it through touch, and throw it back. Also, by focusing friction of a specific part of their body, such as their hands, they can generate a strong static shock that is powerful enough to restart a person's heart. The great amounts of electricity generated from the body has been demonstrated be able to cause nearby electronics to glitch and fluctuate. Speedsters' electrical generation seems to have a connection to how they can alter the color of their eyes.
- Speed Force sharing: Certain users can share their powers with other people by physical contact. In one instance, a speedster was able to share a spark of the Speed Force to stabilize the condition of someone who was hit by a wave of energy from a controlled particle accelerator explosion and suffering from the same initial side effects that a speedster usually goes through once went through when they first get their powers.
- Enhanced mental process: The increase in speed and activity within bodily systems can enhance the user's physical performance to great extent, as well as increasing these systems overall reaction speed, resulting in adrenaline, dopamine and other endorphins to be produced quicker and the user being able to think, read, scan and comprehend concepts and ideas all in seconds while their powers are in use. Therefore, the user's mental speed and efficiency, as well as physical, is also enhanced to inhuman levels. They can see the world moving in slow motion, while others can only see them as a vibrating blur of motion, usually accompanied by an aura of differently colored electricity.
- Enhanced senses: Connection to the Speed Force enhances the user's senses, allowing them to see and hear perfectly normal when moving at superhuman speeds, even at or above the speed of sound, where sound would normally not be heard.
- Enhanced/Superhuman strength: Connection to the Speed Force heightens the user's strength to various levels, enough to exert superhuman force without using super speed. Some users possess strength around peak human levels, while other users possess strength at a near-superhuman level. Users with advanced strength levels have been shown to easily pick up and throw full grown humans wth one hand. The self-proclaimed "God of Speed" Savitar has displayed Superhuman levels of strength, being able to hold Barry Allen in one hand whilst dragging him, also in part due to his size.
- Geokinesis: Savitar has demonstrated the ability to somehow generate earthquakes from his speed and Trajectory was capable of inducing a tremor with great jolt and friction, notably doing so to cause a bridge to fall apart by running back and forth on it repeatedly with great intensity.
- Superhuman agility: Connection to the Speed Force also grants the user inhuman agility, coordination, balance, equilibrium, and dexterity, which allows the user to not be tripped by great forces, especially as they move at super speed. Users can also use this to perform feats such as run on vertical surfaces, as well as running and jumping along falling debris.
- Superhuman durabilty: Connection to the Speed Force also grants the user superhuman durability. This greatly increases their bodily resilience to inhuman levels, allowing most speedsters to develop inhuman resistance to lack of breathable air, exposure to toxins or sedatives, and impact with physical forces that would easily crush or kill normal humans. Users of the Speed Force can withstand great amounts of physical damage and sustain little, to no injury. Notably, many speedsters are shown to survive being sent flying across city blocks, blasted with energy, falls from buildings and other great heights, and attacks from beings with enhanced strength with little need for recovery.
- Superhuman momentum: Users of the Speed Force have inhuman motion and momentum capabilities, allowing them to generate extreme amounts of kinetic energy, friction, inertia, vectors, spring and other applied and contact forces. The enhanced movement and physical force abilities allow a user to be able to increase the power of physical impacts and collisions. The user can generate the force to simulate superhuman strength by charging their attacks with extreme amounts of physical force. While this can usually be done only at super speed, most users can quickly learn to charge their attacks with force while at normal speed, or by attacking using a brief burst of super speed. With this, users not only can send people flying through the air, but to smash through, crush and dismantle machinery and circuitry with only their fist or bare hand. Villainous speedsters have even shown the capacity to use this to punch a gaping, bloody hole through people. They can also cause tremors and jolt through physical contact, usually while vibrating at the same time, enough to level a bridge by running on it repeatedly. Users of the Speed Force also have inhuman stopping power and can usually come to a full stop despite the fact that they are moving with extreme momentum.
- Superhuman reflexes: User's of the Speed Force possess reflexes that are also enhanced to inhuman levels, whether they are moving at super speed or not. This allows them to react instantly to almost anything, including fast moving projectiles such as bullets.
- Superhuman speed: Primarily, the Speed Force gives users the ability to move at inhuman speeds. This ability allows the user's overall speed to rival the fastest vehicles at low levels, while advanced levels allow the user to break the sound barrier and moving at supersonic speeds. The user's speed usually causes them to appear as vibrating blurs or streaks of motion. Users are fast enough to move on vertical surfaces and ceilings, as well as on water, with ease. With enough speed, users can enhance their ability to jump, allowing them leap or spring several feet through the air, to the point where they can jump across the length of a freeway bridge. It was also recently revealed that if a speedster runs fast enough, as demonstrated by Barry in the Flashpoint timeline, they can even run inside tornadoes.
- Superhuman stamina: User's of the Speed Force possess stamina that enhanced to inhuman levels. They are able to withstand the stresses of moving at superhuman speeds, without tiring or becoming weak.
- Speed mirages: Skilled users have been fast enough to distort light and create a holographic, mirage-like projection of themselves and appear to be in two or more places at once by moving from one location to the other fast enough and therefore create an after image of themselves. These projections become less realistic looking when the user is creating more than one.
- Time travel: Advanced users can create a hole in the fabric of space-time and travel through time. Upon doing so, they can enter the timeline independent from themselves, or "merge" with their temporal counterpart to be reinserted with that timeline. When performing the later, should any changes happen to the timeline, the speedster will retain all memories of the previous timeline in addition to the new one, even able to differentiate between the two. This ability is also the most dangerous, as altering the events of the past in the slightest could distort the user's present and future, usually with devastating results.
- Time remnant construct: The most skilled of users could shift back in time momentarily to manifest a "clone" that, unlike a speed mirage, is as alive and independently thinking as they are. They do not always share the user's current personality as the further back they go, the less like their current self the time remnant becomes, but only if their past self is any different from their current self. If they shift through years, their time remnant will not possess their current memories and most likely not have their current personality. However, the user can shift back minutes and even seconds to create a clone that is truly the same as them. It has been stated that one needed to be willing to kill their time remnant, and therefore willing to kill themselves, in order to be able to create them.
Speedsters may show one or more weaknesses despite their connection to the Speed Force. Whether this hints towards inherent limitations of the speed force itself or just to limitations of its users control over it, is not known for sure, but the latter seems more likely.
- Carbine: Speedsters' intangibility has difficulty passing through this compound, requiring them to build up more momentum and change their frequency to pass it.
- Cold temperatures: Because speed is produced by a build-up of heat in the target's atoms, speedsters are vulnerable to extremely cold temperatures. It will also temporarily stunt their healing capacities.
- Electricity absorption: Speedsters' unique biology causes their body to produce massive amounts of electricity, which charges their molecules and allows them to accelerate their movement. Should a speedster be drained of this electrical energy, they will lose their power. However, the Speed Force is genetically coded to their DNA, meaning they are incapable of losing their potential for enhanced speed. If this electricity is absorbed by another source, all of their powers will be suppressed, including their healing and accelerated perception. Much like an electrical device, which needs to recharge, speedsters must electrify themselves to a great extent in order to jump start their powers once more.
- Hyper-metabolism: While moving at accelerated speeds, speedsters burn calories much faster than a normal person. This requires them to consume large amounts of nutrients (about 10,000 calories from a single day of exertion) to maintain peak physical performance. Continued usage of his speed while deprived of such will render them disoriented and weak before ultimately passing out as a result of low blood glucose. Also, because of their accelerated healing, they are unable to be given painkillers, sedatives, or anesthetics, as their body's metabolism burns through them too quickly for them to have any effect. Likewise, even a highly concentrated drug or toxin will only affect them for a few seconds before completely wearing off.
- Kinetic energy absorption: Because their abilities are derived from movement, the removal of the kinetic energy built up by speedsters will leave them in a state of temporary paralysis. However, if they can build back up enough kinetic energy within themselves, the effect can be instantly negated.
- Nanites: Nanites entering the bloodstream of a speedster will temporarily disable their powers, as shown when a particular speedster was shot with a nanite arrow.
- Time alterations: While a speedster's speed allows him or her to break through the temporal barrier, it is not without drawbacks. In addition to potentially causing unforeseeable, damaging changes to the timeline, reckless travels through time can alert the Time Wraiths. These temporal guardians become instinctively drawn to the careless speedster, driven to capture the person who disturbed the timestream and draw the person into the Speed Force with it. Also, as revealed in "Flashpoint", reckless alterations any speedster makes to the timeline can also affect the user's memory, gradually making even him forget how events originally were.
- Barry Allen/The Flash
- Edward Clariss/The Rival (deceased)
- Eliza Harmon/Trajectory (deceased; artificially; temporarily using Velocity-9)
- Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash
- Wally West/Kid Flash
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, the Speed Force is an extra-dimensional energy that allows the various Flashes, as well as most other speedsters, to be able to move through time and reality, as well as enhancing their speed and giving them other powers of movement.
- A very slight difference found in the lightning generated by speedsters in the series is shape: The red lightning produced by Eobard Thawne's speed trails is notably more serrated, or unstable in form as it flows off of him, while Barry Allen's speed lightning is often smoother, with rounder edges in the arcs of lightning he produces. Savitar's lightning is very blade-like in shape, almost like a scimitar in shape. Zoom's speed lightning also has a unique shape to it as it flows off him, being very straight, with fewer arcs.
- When speedsters run, they produce a sound-effect. For instance, when Barry runs, it sounds like electricity crackling. When they Reverse Flash runs, a squeaky sound is produced, and when Zoom runs, it sounds like a high-pitched warping sound.
- When speedsters run, a certain sound effect can be heard. When Barry runs, it sounds like lightning crackling, when the Reverse Flash runs, it sounds like a squeaky noise, and when Zoom runs, it sounds like a thunderstorm.