Special double-sized 25th Anniversary issue! Barry Allen awakens in a hospital after being doused in chemicals and struck by lightning to discover he never received super powers and never became the hero known as the Flash!
Doctor Petrou, an esteemed psychiatrist from Seattle, journeys to the Morningside Clinic, outside of Central City, to see a very special patient. Former police forensics scientist, Barry Allen, lies, paralyzed, in bed, bandaged from head to toe. After introducing himself to the sullen scientist, Petrou begins Allen's therapy. Petrou plays a recording of Allen, describing the accident, that led to Allen gaining the power of super-human speed. Allen adopted the costumed identity of the Flash. Allen recounts his first case, bringing the Turtle to justice. Petrou stops the tape.
Petrou asks Allen to imagine the night of the laboratory accident, that bestowed Allen's super-speed upon him, going another way. A lightning bolt did, in fact, strike a shelf of chemicals, dousing Allen, as he worked in the forensics laboratory. It did not, however, grant him super-powers. Allen was rushed to the hospital, his body covered in third degree chemical burns. Though Allen survived, his body was left in a state of paralysis. Allen's father arranged for Allen to be brought to the private Morningside Clinic, where his therapy began.
To escape the horrific trauma done to his body, Allen's damaged mind created a fantasy history. One wherein Allen, taking inspiration from his childhood hero, the Golden Age Flash, became the Silver Age Flash. To violently shake Allen from this fantasy, Petrou shreds Allen's Flash comic books before Allen's eyes. Allen screams in anguish, then begins weeping. Thus ends Allen's first session with Petrou. Allen, though, has feigned his emotional outburst. After Petrou leaves him, Allen, reflects on the history of the Golden Age Flash, their first case together, and their subsequent team-up with the legendary Justice Society Of America.
Allen wonders if Vandal Savage could be behind his current dilemma. Allen goes down the list of the Flash's Rogues Gallery, pondering which one of his enemies could be responsible for his situation. Is it all one of the MIrror Master's illusions? A trance brought on by the PIed Piper? Could Captain Boomerang or the Weather Wizard have done this to him? Allen's analysis of the Flash's Rogues Gallery is interrupted by Professor Ira West, Dexter Myles, and Wally West. Allen asks Professor West and Myles to leave, so that Allen can speak to West in private.
Allen attempts to convince West that West is the Flash's sidekick, Kid Flash. Allen recounts Kid Flash's origin, how the Flash altered Kid Flash's original costume, and how Kid Flash later helped found the Teen Titans. West leaves the room. Speaking with Professor West, and Myles, West sadly informs them that Allen is now including West in his delusions. Believing that Myles, and the Wests, may be under some villain's control, Allen considers the Super-Gorilla, Grodd, as a likely suspect. Allen recalls his adventures in Gorilla City, meeting King Solovar, and thwarting Grodd.
Allen narrows the list of suspects to those villains that know Allen is the Flash. Abra Kadabra? Heat Wave? Captain Cold? The Golden Glider? Allen's reverie is broken by the arrival of two very special visitors, the Green Lantern and the Elongated Man. Allen tries, futilely, to convince both heroes that they've shared adventures with Allen, as the Flash. Allen's intimate knowledge of the Green Lantern's secret identity, and the Elongated Man's origins, however, are easily explained away. After the two heroes depart, Allen, for the first time, begins to doubt his life as the Flash.
Unbeknownst to Allen, he is observed by Petrou. Desperate to shore up his belief in himself as the Flash, Allen continues to go down the list of possible suspects, responsible for his current dilemma. Could it be Mister Element, or Doctor Alchemy? Perhaps, the Trickster? Or even, the Rainbow Raider? One villain Allen is certain is not involved is Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash. Allen recalls how Professor Zoom murdered Allen's wife, Picture News reporter, Iris West. After an epic battle, Allen, as the Flash, left Professor Zoom on a one way journey to the beginning of time itself, and beyond.
Professor Zoom could not have survived the trip. Suddenly, Allen's mind is brought back to the present. Iris West stands before him....alive. West reveals that, though she waited a long time for Allen to recover, she ended up marrying Allen's best friend, from college. They have two children. The revelation leaves Allen laughing hysterically. Petrou informs Allen that his paralysis is psychosomatic. As Allen begins to come to grips with the truth, his mobility is slowly being restored. Petrou offers to bring Professor Zoom in to see Allen.
Once Allen sees that Professor Zoom is alive and well, Allen will have to concede that his entire life as the Flash has been a fiction. Allen agrees to the meeting. Petrou, surrounded by the staff of the Morningside Clinic, as well as all of Allen's myriad visitors, conjures up Professor Zoom, out of "Proto-Gases". The group bursts into a round of applause, congratulating Petrou on his brilliant scheme. Petrou brings Professor Zoom into Allen's room. To prove his identity, Professor Zoom removes Allen's bandages, at super-human speed. Allen's paralysis immediately fades away.
To everyone's astonishment, the Flash suddenly appears at Allen's door. Allen moves from the bed to the door and back, moving so fast that he can literally carry on a conversation with himself, as the Flash. The Flash spins Petrou around at super-human speed, revealing Petrou to be Abra Kadabra. The Flash reveals the fatal flaw in Abra Kadabra's scheme, before he returns the 64th Century magician to prison. If the Flash had never existed, as Abra Kadabra tried to convince Allen, then how could there ever have been a Reverse Flash? The very existence of Professor Zoom proved to Allen, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was, in fact, the Flash.
As part of the anniversary celebration, Fred Hembeck illustrated a special "Flash-Grams", looking back on a few of the more outlandish transformations the Flash has suffered, over the past 25 years.