In the heart of Fallville loomed the hospital where an angry Reverse-Flash was hiding outside.
“The date on that United Way sign means I’m not where I wanted to go,” he said to himself. “Something is interfering with my plans. Abra Kadabra must be angry because I left instead of meekly following his grand plan. He’s using his weird science to thwart me! I could still find Allen and his family and wipe them out, but I think on second thought I’ll just return to 1988 and kill Fiona Webb Allen so I can finish what I started at her wedding ceremony! Barry Allen may not have lived to mourn her, but I can at least have the satisfaction of knowing what I’ve done!” He grinned at the idea.
Within his sixty-fourth-century lair, Abra Kadabra was indeed doing all he could to divert Professor Zoom from his revenge plans.
“I can’t allow that dolt to change Barry Allen’s past or prevent him from becoming the Flash,” he said. “If the Flash never existed, then much of my career would also be eliminated from history. I owe it to all my fans to preserve my legacy. I can stall him from afar, but to truly make use of him as I’d planned, I’m going to have to confront him. It is a shame that a true artist like myself has to work with such inferior tools!” He wore a pained look in his dark and beady eyes.
As Deena Allen carefully trailed Professor Zoom through time, she caught fleeting glimpses of scenes from her father’s career. She was uncertain if this was some type of hallucination or an indication of how important Barry Allen had been to history itself.
“That’s the accident!” she cried as she saw a blinding flash of light and saw the multicolored chemicals splash over a blond man with a crewcut. “That’s when lightning struck the chemicals in the police lab and covered Dad so that he gained his super-powers!”
Later, she saw Barry Allen creating his Flash costume with help from a slightly distracted-looking older man. “Ira West! That’s my grandfather!” she said. “I mean, my adoptive one! He raised Mom when her real folks sent her back in time to escape from the atomic war.”
She smiled as the scene changed to show the now-costumed Flash battling three identical men. I don’t recall ever reading about Dad fighting with triplets, but I suppose many of his less-significant cases have been lost to time, she thought.
Deena shook her head as the scene switched to one of a massively obese Flash facing a leering gorilla. “Mom said Dad underwent some pretty wild transformations during his career, thanks to the manipulations of villains like Gorilla Grodd there, but it’s disconcerting to actually witness one!”
She stopped abruptly as Professor Zoom reached his destination in 1988. He raced through the streets of Central City as a golden blur and vibrated through the wall of a townhouse to emerge clutching a kicking and screaming blonde woman.
Fiona Webb! That’s the woman Dad almost married when he thought Mom was dead! mused Deena.
“Let me go!” shouted Fiona. “I’m not a victim! I won’t be one any longer! I’ve mourned Barry and worked through my other issues with therapy and prayer, good friends, and a new start! (*) I’m not afraid of you!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Flash: Speed Trap, Chapter 3: Lady Rogue and The Flash: Terminal Velocity, Chapter 21: In a Flash of Light.]
Professor Zoom grinned as he held her in his arms. “I like a gal with spirit!” he said. “Of course, you’ll soon be just that — a spirit!”
Deena started to race forward to confront the laughing killer when a newcomer suddenly reached the scene.
“Let her go, Zoom!” declared the Flash as Wally West appeared before them. “I won’t let you harm another innocent person!”
“West, be a good kid and take a few laps around the planet,” said a sneering Professor Zoom. “This is grown-up business.”
Fiona slapped Zoom across the face even as the Flash moved forward to free her. As he pulled her to safety on the sidewalk, the Flash gasped in pain and clutched his side.
Something’s wrong! he thought as he fought through the pain and stood in front of Fiona Webb. It can’t be the disease again!
Zoom laughed, placing both hands on his hips in a confident pose. “What’s the matter, junior? Are you having growing pains? Can’t quite fill Barry’s boots, can you?”
The Flash ignored the pain and circled around to keep his body between Zoom and Fiona. He wasn’t about to let the maniac harm her.
Then he groaned as pain struck again in a wave that threatened to bring him to the ground. “What have you done to me?” he demanded.
Zoom shrugged and said, “I’m more than another super-fast being. I’m the master of ultra-speed science! I secretly struck you with certain vibrations earlier while you were dealing with that doddering fool, the Turtle. They are absolutely harmless… unless those same self-perpetuating vibrations come into contact with my own protective aura. You see, West, to put it in terms even a punk like you could comprehend, I make you sick! The closer we get to one another, the worse your pain becomes!”
The Flash gritted his teeth and fought the pain once more. “I can stop you without getting close to you!” he vowed.
He started spinning around until his movement began to generate a tightly focused whirlwind that blasted out toward Zoom with precision.
Zoom dodged and managed to duck beneath the high-velocity wind to tackle the Flash and send him reeling to the ground.
Deena had watched with concern, as had Fiona, although the teenager was able to follow the fight clearly, while Fiona could only make out a series of blurs. Deena was scared. She was also uncertain what she should do, but she had an idea.
She ran to the cosmic treadmill and activated it with several swift adjustments and some super-swift movements all her own. Then she ran forward to grab Zoom from behind and shove him toward the treadmill.
He was larger and stronger, but he was also caught by surprise, and she managed to direct him backward until he hit the ground, inches away from the active device.
“What the–? A shapely new Kid Flash!” Zoom said as he stood back up. “West, you have good taste!”
The Flash hurled himself into the Reverse-Flash and knocked him on the cosmic treadmill even as he also fell to the ground in pain. As Deena ran to his side, the Flash made one final move that saved the day. He used his power to transfer or add speed to the treadmill itself, so that it hurled Zoom through time and then burned itself out.
The new Kid Flash helped him up and asked, “Are you OK? What happened?”
The Flash took a deep breath and said, “He was going to get off the treadmill after I knocked him on it, but I managed to speed up its motions and send him through time before allowing it to burn itself out. I stranded him in whatever era the machine’s controls were assigned to at the time.”
“I disconnected the chronal reading wire,” said Deena. “He’s sort of caught in an endless chronal loop with no point of arrival or departure!”
The Flash smiled and said, “That’s pretty impressive! He’s obviously managed to cheat death, but this way at least he’ll be imprisoned in a jail cell of eternity itself!”
He checked on Fiona, who was all right if a bit upset by her ordeal. “He’s gone, hopefully for good,” he said as he held her hand. “I’m so sorry you had to go through that. You know if you ever need me, I’ll be there for you. After all, you were almost family!”
Fiona Webb kissed his cheek and then turned toward her home after one glance at Deena.
The Flash led Deena over to the charred cosmic treadmill and said, “Speaking of family…”
“Meeting you like this has been an honor!” said Deena Allen. “You were really amazing! I know why my… the Flash… the first Flash was so proud of you!”
Wally West placed one arm around her. “I recognize the material your costume is made of. You could not have acquired it from anyone other than my Aunt Iris. Are you her daughter? Are you Barry’s child?”
Deena removed her cowl and said, “I’m Nadine Allen. Everyone calls me Deena.”
The Flash hugged her and stepped back for a moment. “You have Barry’s eyes. This is wonderful! Is Aunt Iris here, too?” he asked.
Deena started to shake her head when a glow filled the air, and Iris Allen appeared.
The Flash embraced his aunt as tears filled his eyes. “I’m so glad to see you!” he said. “Meeting your daughter like this is equally special. She takes after you both! I can tell that much.”
“She has her father’s brains, if not his good sense,” said Iris.
“Professor Zoom was back,” said Deena. “He was trying to change time! I had to stop him. I just had to. History actually showed that I was destined to come here… and stay for a while.”
“You are older than Wally was when Barry started training him,” said Iris. “I’ve thought more than once that it might be a good idea for you to have that kind of benefit. I think I’d like Wally to mentor you like he was guided by Barry. Perhaps it is time for us all to be a family here in this time again.
“My father, Eric, seemed to think it was the right thing for us to do, too, although he and mother hated to see us relocate,” she said. “Apparently, from what little it was safe for us to determine, you really are meant to be the Kid Flash for this era! Of course, that doesn’t give you a license to run wild, young lady!”
Deena smiled and kissed her mother as the Flash led them to the broken cosmic treadmill. “Let’s get this thing to safety, and then we’ll have a lot to work out,” he said.
As the reunited family departed, an angry Abra Kadabra appeared and scowled in frustration.
“Zoom is lost in time! I can’t locate him. I had planned to use him in my grandest scheme of all! I wanted to substitute his speeding body for Barry Allen’s during the hero’s last noble sacrifice during the Crisis. Zoom would have died in his place and been helpless to stop that fatal run. The Flash would have survived, and I would have been universally applauded as the champion who preserved the Flash! In time, I would have eliminated him myself, of course, but not until after I had been justly honored as the hero of heroes!”
He shrugged and said, “Who knows? Perhaps I might substitute young West for his mentor or merely content myself with besting him as I used to do with the first Flash! Only time will tell! For now, I will bring down the curtain!”