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Encyclopedia > Cosmic treadmill

In DC Comics publications, the cosmic treadmill is a time travel device that was invented by Barry Allen, the second Flash. It has been a key plot element in numerous stories featuring both Barry Allen and Wally West. DC Comics is one of the largest American companies in comic book and related media publishing. ... Time travel is a concept that has long fascinated humanity—whether it is Merlin experiencing time backwards, or religious traditions like Mohammeds trip to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven, returning before a glass knocked over had spilt its contents. ... Barry Allen is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Comics universe and the second Flash. ... The Flash is a name shared by several DC Comics superheroes. ... Barry Allen is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Comics universe and the second Flash. ... Wally West is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Comics Universe, the first Kid Flash and the third Flash. ...

Contents

History

Origins

The cover to The Flash #125, the first appearance of the cosmic treadmill. Art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.
The cover to The Flash #125, the first appearance of the cosmic treadmill. Art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

The treadmill was first seen in The Flash #125 written by John Broome. It was initially developed as a means of allowing Barry Allen to precisely travel through time. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Carmine Infantino (born May 24, 1925, Brooklyn, New York City) is an American comic book artist and editor who was a major force in the Silver Age of Comic Books. ... Joe Giella (born 27 June 1928, Manhattan, New York City) is an American comic book artist best known as a DC Comics inker during the Silver Age of comic books. ... John Broome (aka: pen names John Osgood and Edgar Ray Meritt) was a writer-contributor to DC Comics. ... Unsolved problems in physics: Is time travel theoretically and practically possible? If so, how can paradoxes such as the grandfather paradox be avoided? Time travel is the concept of moving backwards or forwards to different points in time, in a manner analogous to moving through space. ...


Pre-Crisis

The treadmill appeared in a handful of stories, notably allowing Barry Allen to travel to the 25th century and meet Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne). Crisis on Infinite Earths was a 12-issue comic book limited series (identified as a 12 part maxi-series) and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 in order to simplify their fifty-year-old continuity. ... Professor Zoom is a comic book super-villain in the DC Universe. ...


In its last appearance before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Barry used it to relocate to the 30th Century to be reunited with his wife, Iris West. Crisis on Infinite Earths was a 12-issue comic book limited series (identified as a 12 part maxi-series) and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 in order to simplify their fifty-year-old continuity. ... Kid Flash (Iris West) is a superheroine in an alternate future of the DC Comics universe. ...


The treadmill appeared during the Crisis as well, in issue 11. Jay Garrick (the Golden Age Flash), Kid Flash, Golden Age Superman and Silver Age Superman attempted to travel to Earth-Two to allow Kal-L to return home. Instead of finding Earth-Two, there was simply a void, a consequence of the multiverse collapsing into a single universe. Jay Garrick is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Comics universe and the first to use the name Flash. ... Wally West is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Comics Universe, the first Kid Flash and the third Flash. ... Kal-L is the Kryptonian birth name of the Earth-Two Superman, one of the most iconic comic book superheroes in the DC Comics Universe. ... Superman, looking over Metropolis, his home, with the Daily Planet building in the background. ... The Earths of the Multiverse and the different variations of The Flash inhabiting each one. ...


Post-Crisis

The treadmill has appeared several times since the Crisis, during Wally West's time as the Flash. Crisis on Infinite Earths was a 12-issue comic book limited series (identified as a 12 part maxi-series) and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 in order to simplify their fifty-year-old continuity. ... Wally West is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Comics Universe, the first Kid Flash and the third Flash. ...


The first significant appearance of the treadmill was in Flash #79, when it was revealed that a man previously thought to be Barry Allen was in fact Professor Zoom, who had traveled back in time and lost his memory. This was Professor Zoom's first trip through time. The battle also released Wally's previous block on his speed.


The treadmill was a key element during the Chain Lightning storyarc featured in Flash# 145-150, which involved heavy use of time-travel in order to defeat the legacy of Cobalt Blue. In episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books and comic strips a story arc is an extended or continuing storyline. ... Cobalt Blue is a supervillain destroyed by the Flash. ...


Hunter Zolomon attempted to use the treadmill in Flash #196 in order to travel back through time and prevent the events that had left him a parapalegic. The attempt proved disastrous as the treadmill exploded, destroying itself and the Flash Museum while also shifting Zolomon to a different timeline. Zolomon subsequently became Zoom, the third Reverse-Flash. Reverse Flash is a title that has been taken by three supervillains in DC Comics. ... The Flash Museum is a museum that appears in stories published by DC Comics. ... Zoom (real name Hunter Zolomon) is a comic book supervillain in the DC Universe. ... Reverse Flash is a title that has been taken by three supervillains in DC Comics. ...


The treadmill last appeared--rebuilt by Zoom and powered by Jay Garrick--during the Rogue War storyarc featured in Flash# 220-225. Zoom (Zolomon) used it in order to bring Professor Zoom (Thawne) back from the future. Wally was assisted by Barry Allen, who took Professor Zoom back to his rightful place in the timeline. The treadmill was seemingly destroyed during the fight between Zoom and Wally.


Abilities

Cosmic Treadmill, as it appears in Flash #196. Art by Paul Winslade
Cosmic Treadmill, as it appears in Flash #196. Art by Paul Winslade

The cosmic treadmill allows any being with super-speed to precisely travel time, and pre-Crisis it allowed travel between the multiple Earths. The treadmill works by generating vibrations that will shift the user into a specific time. The vibrations require a high amount of speed to generate, and attempts to use the treadmill without it have proved dangerous. Initially, the vibrations had to be kept up, or one would fade back into the time from whence they came. This was fixed by John Fox in Flash #112. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 658 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (672 × 612 pixel, file size: 75 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)From Flash#196 (May 2003). ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 658 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (672 × 612 pixel, file size: 75 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)From Flash#196 (May 2003). ... Crisis on Infinite Earths was a 12-issue comic book limited series (identified as a 12 part maxi-series) and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 in order to simplify their fifty-year-old continuity. ... The Earths of the Multiverse and the different variations of The Flash inhabiting each one. ...


Since the treadmill needs a speedster in order to function, in many stories a working one can be found inside the Flash Museum. Since few people have the speed to have it work, it is usually seen as an exhibit, though at times it has been stored in the archives. The Flash Museum is a museum that appears in stories published by DC Comics. ...


Media

Though only seen briefly, the cosmic treadmill did make an appearance in Wally West's room during the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance" Justice League Unlimited (or JLU) was an American animated television series produced by and aired on Cartoon Network. ...


Selected bibliography

Silver Age/Bronze Age

  • The Flash #125 (December 1961): “The Conquerors of Time” written by John Broome, art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.
  • The Flash #139 (September 1963): “Menace of the Reverse-Flash!” written by John Broome. art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.
  • The Flash #350 (October 1985): “Flash Flees,” written by Cary Bates, art by Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin.

Modern Age John Broome (aka: pen names John Osgood and Edgar Ray Meritt) was a writer-contributor to DC Comics. ... Carmine Infantino (born May 24, 1925, Brooklyn, New York City) is an American comic book artist and editor who was a major force in the Silver Age of Comic Books. ... Joe Giella (born 27 June 1928, Manhattan, New York City) is an American comic book artist best known as a DC Comics inker during the Silver Age of comic books. ... Cary Bates is a comic book and animation writer. ... Frank McLaughlin is an American comic book artist who co-created the character Judomaster; a comic strip illustrator who served as a successor artist on such popular strips as Nancy and Brenda Starr; and an author of books about cartooning and comic art. ...

  • Flash #79 (August 1993): “The Once and Future Flash”, written by Mark Waid, art by Greg LaRocque and Roy Richardson.
  • Flash #112 (April 1996): “Future Perfect,” written by Mark Waid, art by Anthony Castrillo and Hanibal Rodriguez.
  • Flash #145–150 (February–July 1999): “Chain Lightning”, written by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, art by Paul Pelletier and Vince Russell.
  • Flash #196 (May 2003): “Helpless”, written by Geoff Johns, art by Paul Winslade.
  • Flash #220-225 (May-October 2005) "Rogue War", written by Geoff Johns, art by Howard Porter and Livesay.

Mark Waid (born March 21, 1962 in Hueytown, Alabama) is an American comic book writer. ... Greg LaRocque is a notable American comic book illustrator. ... Mark Waid (born March 21, 1962 in Hueytown, Alabama) is an American comic book writer. ... Brian Augustyn is a comic book editor and writer. ... Geoff Johns (born 25 January 1973 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American comic book writer, best known for his work for DC Comics. ... The cover to The Flash #225, artwork by Howard Porter and John Livesay. ...

External links

  • Hyperborea's article on the cosmic treadmill

 
 

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