|First appearance||Showcase #4 (September–October 1956)|
Central City Police Department
Central City is a fictional American city appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. It is the home of the Silver Age version of the Flash (Barry Allen), and first appeared in Showcase #4 in September–October 1956.
Central City's location has been vaguely defined over the years, similar to DC's other fictional cities such as Gotham City and Metropolis. In the 1970s, Central City was stated as being located in Ohio, where the real-world city of Athens, Ohio, would be (as shown in Flash #228 in 1974). Bob Rozakis' Ask the Answer Man column also stated that Central City was located in Ohio in 1987's Flash (vol. 2) #2, published just after the reality-altering storyline Crisis on Infinite Earths.
More recently, Central City has most often been located in the state of Missouri. Maps in Young Justice place Central City in Missouri across from Keystone City, Kansas. Additionally, the 2014 television series The Flash also places Central City in Missouri (although opening scenes show Portland, Oregon), most explicitly in a letter sent to S.T.A.R. Labs in the episode "The Man in the Yellow Suit." Portland, Oregon is also the city-scape in the episode "Flash vs The Arrow" in season 1 of the series. Season 4, episode 13: True Colors mentions Central City being located in the Midwest. In season 6, episode 6, the location of Central City is shown through the targeting system of the Ring of Fire. The location points to the Richmond, Virginia metro area.
In the episode "Bloodlines" of the Young Justice cartoon, (a facsimile of) the St. Louis Gateway Arch can be seen in the background of scenes depicting Central City.
In season 7, episode 14 “Rayo de Luz”, there’s a scene where Central City is shown on a computer map as being located in Missouri.
Central City's population has been depicted as dynamic over the years. In The Flash (vol. 2) #2 (1987) it was cited as being 290,000. In 1990, the Atlas of the DC Universe listed it as 750,000. As of Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010, the population stands as 1,395,600. In The Flash (vol. 4) #1, Central City Police Captain Darryl Frye is quoted as describing the population as having "tripled" during Barry Allen's years-long absence.
Caitlin Snow mentioned the city population as 14,000,000 in The Death of Vibe episode of The Flash (Season 5, episode 3 of the 2014 TV series).
From 1956 until approximately 1985 (in publishing years), Central City was defended by the Flash (police scientist Barry Allen) against a myriad of foes, including Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, the Weather Wizard, the Mirror Master, and Eobard Thawne (The "Reverse-Flash").
After Barry's death in Crisis on Infinite Earth, most of his foes, as well as Barry's successor (and former sidekick) Wally West moved to Keystone City, which thanks to the reality-altering effects of Crisis on Infinite Earth, was now Central City's twin city (pre-Crisis on Infinite Earth, Keystone City was located on the parallel Earth known as Earth-Two, in approximately the same space as Central City). Subsequently, Central City was treated as a relatively quiet venue that was not frequently depicted in DC comic book stories, but this situation has changed as a result of Barry Allen's recent return as the Flash.
Not long after Allen's death, in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 (August 1987), Central City was depicted as experiencing a wave of racial violence, caused or at least exacerbated by politician and white supremacist W. James Heller; in his costumed identity of supposed super-hero William Hell, Heller captured only non-white criminals (creating the false impression that non-whites were primarily responsible for Central City's criminal activity) and recruited white criminals for his "Aryan Empire" organization. When Heller attempted to incite further violence at a political rally, Suicide Squad member Deadshot impersonated William Hell to oppose Heller's racist rhetoric, turning Heller's own charade against him, since the costumed "hero" proved more popular with the public than any politician. Heller quickly donned his costume to, as William Hell, denounce Deadshot/Hell as an impostor, and in the ensuing conflict, William Hell (Heller) was wounded and his injuries blamed on Heller's followers, partially defusing Central City's racial strife.
The robotic superhero and former Teen Titans member Cyborg has moved to Central City; part of this is hoping to establish himself as the town's resident hero.
During the years in which the second Flash series was written by Cary Bates, Central City was apparently divided into Upper and Lower East and West Sides, as well as a "downtown" region.
Central City is the home of the Flash Museum, a museum dedicated to the exploits and memorabilia of the city's hero.
Central City's main newspaper is the Central City Citizen (previously the Central City Picture-News), for which Barry's wife is currently once again a reporter after an absence of several years.
Central City is home to the "Central City Cougars", an American Football team who is a member of the NFL's AFC Central Division.
As seen in The Flash (vol. 2) #177, it has developed a thriving theatre district, second only to New York City.
Later, much of downtown was demolished by the Rogues, acting under the orders of the other-dimensional Crime Syndicate. Due to a miscommunication and the Rogues' own decency, only property was damaged, they avoided taking lives.