The Flash is one of DC’s most formidable heroes, but it turns out his biggest fear is slipping on a banana peel and rocketing himself into space.
As one of the founding members of the Justice League, Barry Allen’s the Flash has gone toe-to-toe with – and triumphed over – countless god-tier villains and universe-ending events throughout his decades-long career in heroism. From Steppenwolf to Darkseid, The Scarlet Speedster has stood up to basically every threat the universe could ever throw at him. But in 1978’s Justice League of America #154, Allen fell victim to his greatest foe of all – an errant banana peel. Seriously. In fact, the peel was such a competent “villain,” that stepping on it actually rocketed the Flash into outer space, leaving him millions of miles away from Earth. This is probably going to need some context.
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Dr. Destiny – a villain with the ability to see and manipulate people’s dreams – hatches a plan to use the Leaguers’ worst nightmares against them. Infiltrating each member’s subconscious, he gives the heroes premonitions of the dreadful fates he has planned for them as they sleep. Superman dreams he accidentally kills his best friend Jimmy Olsen along with some police officers in a battle with Lex Luthor. Batman dreams he becomes an actual human/bat hybrid, not unlike Man-Bat. Black Canary uses her powers accidentally and crushes herself with debris from a building she destroys in doing so.
But Barry Allen’s dream is the craziest of all. Chasing The Trickster through Central City, he dreams of slipping on a banana peel, causing him to skid, “at super-speed, accelerating clear of Earth – into the far reaches of intergalactic space.” The heroes wake up stunned but relieved to learn it was all in their heads. However, the next day, Destiny uses his newfound knowledge of their fears to enact his plan. Sure enough, the events come to pass as foretold and Barry is left rocketing off the planet. Unable to gain traction in the vacuum of space, he instead uses Jupiter’s gravitational pull to slingshot around the planet and return home.
The rest of the team, naturally, is also able to overcome the various traps Destiny had set up, and the villain is subdued. But the fact that Dr. Destiny specifically says that his plan was to mine the League’s “most dreadful nightmares” means that, even if only on a subconscious level, Barry Allen’s greatest fear is accidentally slipping on a banana peel. His absolute worst nightmare is a gag that’s been played for laughs since the times of vaudeville. The worst-case scenario Allen can imagine is only a minor inconvenience in a game of Mario Kart. Frankly, the scene reads like it should be read with Yakety Sax playing in the background.
Barry Allen’s Flash is undeniably one of DC’s greatest and most enduring heroes, having helped to save the world – or oftentimes even the universe – on countless occasions. But even taking all that heroism into account, the Scarlet Speedster does lose a little bit of his luster when one realizes a poorly maintained farmer’s market stand is all that it would take to turn The Flash into an out-of-control comet.
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