THE FLASH Costume Ring – A Brief History

I can honestly say the the latest episode of The Flash was one of my favorites. The action, the alliances, the double crosses, and even the last minute smack down between the Reverse Flash and the heroes of the ‘Arrow-verse’ has many fans craving to see the season finale next Tuesday. One particular event in the episode that really stood out was Eobard Thawne’s quick wardrobe change before the fight. And just in case you forgot…

RF-Costume RingCasual observers might’ve looked at it as just a cool effect, but true Flash fans saw more. That scene showed us The Flash costume ring, one of the biggest aspects of the character’s mythos, depicted in live action for the first time ever! For those of you scratching your head about the whole thing, allow me to explain…

The_Flash's_Costume_RingIntroduced in Showcase #4 in 1956, the costume ring has been a part of The Flash mythos from the beginning. In the comics, Barry Allen is able to keep his ring in a secret compartment in a special ring. With a combination of special fabric, invisible gas, and an explanation that is part thermal expansion, part comic book physics, Barry’s costume is literally at his fingertip. Whenever he needed to change, he simply had to duck away and pop the ring casing open and his costume would shoot out. Once released, the fabric’s molecules uncoiled and absorbed atmospheric gases, expanding to full size rapidly. This allowed Allen and any other speedsters to change clothes and be at a crime scene in the blink of an eye.

Though others have found alternate ways to suit up, both Wally West and Bart Allen have used Barry’s ring and costume when they first decide to carry on the legacy of The Flash. Barry himself has even shown the ability to compress his molecules enough to hide inside of his own ring. We’ll probably never see that on the show, but a factoid like that is too good to not mention…

Barry has given costume rings to his protégés and even to other members of the Justice League, each of which contained their own costumes. One of these rings was seen in Green Arrow #19(2003), where the Emerald Archer steals his back from The Flash Museum after returning from the dead. The ring’s base would be used to make an engagement ring for Black Canary in Green Arrow #75 (2007).

The Flash costume ring through the ages

The ring has been shown in many films and TV shows featuring The Flash and has even gotten an update in recent years. The New 52 Flash costume still comes out of Allen’s ring but it’s more of flexible armor that comes together like puzzle pieces and is worn over his civilian clothes, not unlike Iron Man’s armors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Geoff Johns at the helm, we’ll surely see Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen suit up in a similar fashion. Since we already know The Flash will get an updated costume at some point, the ring concept shouldn’t be too far behind. Let’s just hope they don’t pull a Smallville and save it until the series’ final episode.

Be sure to catch the season finale of The Flash, titled Fast Enough,next week at 8/7c on The CW!

Comic book reader. Video game enthusiast. Occasional slacker. Misunderstood genius. Anyway you describe it, it's all me. I grew up in Louisiana but felt the need to explore and find my future. So after graduating from college, I moved to Phoenix and never looked back. In addition to the work I do with Unleash The Fanboy, I work as a mild mannered forest ranger (it's my secret identity, so don't tell anyone!), I'm in school earning a degree in Screenwriting, all while writing scripts on the side! But enough about me, enjoy yourself in my space sector of the UTF universe!