In a world where children can topple mountains and gods can travel throughout multiverses during an afternoon walk, “smart” might not seem like much, but his schemes regularly leave a being that can move and think at the speed of light feeling stumped and confused. As a result, his great victory in “The Flash” #123’s “Flash of Two Worlds” is utterly horrific.
The story features the first two Flashes meeting for the first time, but after the multiverse was destroyed in “Crisis on Infinite Earths” in the 1980s, the story had to be adjusted, and these changes turned the light-hearted tale into a dark affair.
In the original, Barry accidentally travels to Earth-2, meets Jay Garrick, helps him stop the heists of three supervillains, and goes home. In the later version, Barry still accidentally discovers Jay Garrick, but this time its because the Thinker used the Shade and the Fiddler to place all of Keystone City out of phase with the rest of reality for decades.
Though Barry Allen eventually restored the city to normal space, the city was essentially held in stasis for half a century. Time didn’t pass for them, but it did for everybody else. Though Keystone’s citizens hadn’t aged a day, everyone they loved outside the city limits had long since passed away. Their infrastructure and technology were comparatively ancient, and they suddenly found themselves thrust into a brand new world they had never wanted or expected.