The Rival

Personal Data

Dr. (?) Clariss

Residence: Unknown
Occupation: Professional Criminal,  former chemistry instructor
First Appearance (Golden Age): Flash Comics #104 (February 1949)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): None


        Virtually nothing is known of life of the villain would be known as the Flash's rival before he became an instructor at Midwestern University. In the early 1940's, Dr. Clariss was a chemistry teacher at Midwestern in the department where Jay Garrick was a student. In need of a break to make it into the inner circle of the research community, Clariss overheard Joan Williams tell a classmate that the Flash had acquired his powers in a lab accident at Midwestern. Searching the scene of Garrick's accident, Clariss happened on some hard water sample and initiated a series of experiments to duplicate the Flash's speed formula. His work was widely ridiculed and he eventually lost his appointment at the University. Moving to Europe and other work, Clariss continued to develop his speed formula and nurse a healthy desire for revenge on his former colleagues.

   In 1949, Clariss returned to America after some correspondence with Jay Garrick, now director of Garrick laboratories. When Garrick met his former teacher at the ship's docking, he was amazed when Clariss was carted off at super-speed. Shortly thereafter, a criminal calling himself the Rival announced his intention to counter the Flash. Following a lead to track down the Rival, Garrick was ambushed by thugs moving at super-speed. After a quick scuffle, the Flash was knocked unconscious and carried to the Rival's lair. Unleashing a "slow-gas" on his foe, the Rival reduced the Flash to a crawl and made off with his men to rob the Keystone City Bank.

    As the Rival's men tore the bank apart at super-speed, they were surprised by the sudden recovery and appearance of the Flash. After subduing the Rival's thugs, the Flash administered a stunning blow to the crime lord himself and was stunned to see him revealed as Dr. Clariss, his former teacher. As the police and the Flash listened, Clariss confessed his crimes and described his plans to avenge himself of those that had scorned him. The Rival was then taken to jail to serve a lengthy prison sentence (Flash Comics #104).

    The Rival's activities since 1949 remain unknown. Whether he survives or has passed on his speed formula remain to be seen.

Powers/Skills:  Originally, the Rival powers stemmed from his derivation of the "hard-water formula that originally gave speed powers to Jay Garrick Unlike Garrick's powers, which were permanent,  The Rival's formula only allowed short periods of speed powers. In that time however, his powers were identical to Garrick's. In later years, Clariss acheived sufficient speed to transition into the Speed Force dimension, the source of hyperspeed for Earth's speedsters. The limits of his powers after exposure to the Speed Force is unclear.

Weaknesses/Limitations: Once his speed formula wore off, the Rival  was a ordinary human and could be captured as such.

Golden Age Appearances

  • Flash Comics #104
  • Silver Age Plus Appearances
  • Flash Archives #1 - Reprints Flash Comics  #104
  • The Flash #211 - Reprints Flash Comics  #104
  • JSA #16-17 - As a member of the Injustice Society
  • Impulse #88-89
  • Back to GA Villain Checklist