“Danica is the Flash of the 2040s. She works at the Flash Museum in Central City and has a connection with the Speed Force that grants her the same powers as Flash. This connection allows her to communicate with previous speedsters like Jay Garrick, Wally West and Bart Allen.
During her first meeting with the Justice League Unlimited, she saved them from the villainous Mindslide (Ronald Tagg), who had replicated their powers and mind controlled the heroes to fight each other.”
1st appearance Justice League Beyond #19 - Flashdrive (2013)
“…In a way, our Beyond Flash has two real life athletic inspirations. The first one was obvious probably from the outset.
Back when Dustin and I were planning on continuing on Justice League Beyond after our opening "Konstriction” arc (and before Batman: Li'l Gotham got greenlit and he couldn’t do both), he came up with her first name, in reference to race car driver Danica Patrick (a female name synonymous with “speed”). The other is less obvious and more personal. Back in high school, my father was close friends with and ran track with Rafer Johnson (who would go on to be a gold medal winning Olympian, carried the torch to ignite the Olympic Flame in the opening ceremonies to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and went on to act and be a spokesperson for various causes)
Justice League Beyond #19 (February 2013) (digital first comic)
Who is she?
Danica Williams is the Flash of the 2040s and a member of the Justice League. Ever since she was a young girl Danica had wanted to be a runner. A deep love for the Flash legacy had been instilled in her by her family and even though Danica knew she could never become the real Flash, she wanted to pursue her dreams through a sports career.
Her career, however, was cut short before it even started as due to a mysterious medical condition she would collapse and lose her consciousness before she even began a run.
This was a huge blow to Danica. It caused great concern to her parents who took her to several therapists. Thankfully, on one fateful day when a man fell off the platform in front of a speeding train Danica was there to save him - her speedster powers finally kicked in properly. It turned out her blackouts had been attempts at tapping into the Speed Force (the energy source speedsters have fuel them).
What is more, her three imaginary friends, she spent most of her childhood talking to revealed themselves as Jay Garrick, Wally West and Bart Allen, all previous Flashes, speaking to her from the Speed Force. The three men chose Danica to be their successor which she couldn’t be happier about.
One of her first adventures had her meet and rescue the Justice League who had fallen into the clutches of a powerful villain. She gained their respect and had Superman without the least hesitation ask her to join the group, which she gladly agreed to as long as she could keep being Central City’s protector.
What can she do? / What makes her unique?
Danica has all the typical speedster abilities such as fast running, phasing and quicker healing (due to her accelerated metabolism). She proves to be faster even than Bart Allen (usually regarded the fastest speedster) as she is capable of running in mid air (by using air particles as footing before they collapse beneath her).
She has also received extensive training by her mentors as well as a course in Flash history (her father being a Flash fan pitched in too). Her expertise allows her to work as a docent at the Flash museum when she’s in her civilian identity.
Her dedication to taking over the mantle made her join a parkour group in order to improve her agility and skills in moving around areas with dense architecture.
Danica trusts her parents implicitly and hence she revealed her identity to them quickly, receiving from them support in creating a protective costume for herself.
Apart from her speedster powers and agility Danica impresses with her bright mind and positive attitude. Even in times of hardship she loves being a superhero and does everything to be the best heir to the mantle possible.
Fan Reception / Position in the franchise:
Barely moments after her first appearance the fandom embraced her, enthusiastic posts and fanarts appeared rapidly. This is quite the achievement for a character not from the main DCU. Fans and reviewers appreciated the much needed diversity Danica, being a black woman, brings in by taking on a mantle most typically associated with white men.
Where can I find her?
Justice League Beyond #19 - #20*, #25 (origin)
Justice League Beyond 2.0 #1, #3 - #5… **
*issue 18 is also recommended reading as it is the first of the arc (aptly named Flashdrive) she appears in and adds useful context
** vol. 2.0 has her in cameos so far, but as the focus between team members shifts look forward to more of her in the future
If you’re in need of physical copies check out Batman Beyond Universe - it collects the digital chapters of Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond monthly in print.
The character is inspired by real life race car driver Danica Patrick and Olympic runner Rafer Johnson.