September 8, 2008

Mackenzie Ryan: The Flash Who Never Was

Category: Flash History — By @ 11:30 pm

In the previous post I made a joke about Mackenzie Ryan being the new Flash. I should probably explain.

During Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC made the decision to kill Barry Allen before they had figured out how to replace him. Many ideas were suggested, and the one that got the farthest was a proposal by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman for a new character with no link to Barry except the name.

A brief note in Amazing Heroes Preview Special #2 (1986) described the proposal:

  • Mackenzie “Mac” Ryan was a lab tech at STAR Labs, linked to established character Jenet Klyburn.
  • He was a single father with a daughter between 8 and 12 years old.
  • Instead of super-speed, he had the ability to manipulate energy fields (light, sound, etc.)

Ultimately, DC decided to promote Wally West instead. Oddly enough, Mackenzie Ryan actually gets a brief mention in canon, during a phone conversation with Klyburn in The New Teen Titans #19 (written by Marv Wolfman), which gave his daughter’s name as Jamie.

Further reading:

The Flash Companion has an article about “The Unused Flash.” Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #126 points out similarities between Mackenzie Ryan’s powers and those of the Tangent Flash. Titans Tower collects interview fragments about trying to set up the new Flash.