- For his Earth Two equivalent, see Joseph West.
- "Hey watch yourself!. I've taken two oaths in my life, One is to uphold the law and the other to protect my family. Guess which one takes priority."
- —Joe West to Gypsy[src]
Detective Joseph "Joe" West is a police detective of the Central City Police Department. Joe is also the husband of the late Francine West, the father of Iris West and Wally West and the foster father of Barry Allen. He is the boyfriend of Cecile Horton.
Joe was born to police officer Ben West. At some point, he met a woman named Francine, and they fell in love. Eventually, Joe went to ask Francine's father if he could marry his daughter. He said yes, and they were soon married. Joe was also an old friend of the Allen family. On the night of Nora Allen's murder, Joe arrived with the Central City Police Department. He comforted her son, Barry, as his father Henry was taken away. He later took Barry in and raised him, as Barry ended up a foster child after Nora's death and Henry's imprisonment.
After an attempt to run and see his father, Joe assured Barry that he had the power to stop him from going, sending him to his room.
Supporting Barry's heroics
Thirteen years later, Joe was at a crime scene with his partner, Detective Chyre, were assigned to a robbery at a bank in Central City. They discovered it was the work of the Mardon brothers, and after discovering that they'd escaped to one of several farms, they visited each farm. At the last farm, they discovered Clyde Mardon. He began shooting at them as he ran away, hitting Chyre in the neck. Also, before he could escape, Mardon's plane was blown to pieces by a shockwave from the explosion of S.T.A.R. Labs' particle accelerator. On the same night, Barry Allen, Joe's foster son, was struck by lightning, putting him in to a coma. Over the ensuing 9 months, Joe and his daughter, Iris, began visiting Barry. Eventually Joe's visits became so excessive that his superiors were often annoyed by his lack of commitment to the force, and one day Barry began having uncontrollable seizures despite the fact that he had flatlined in front of a horrified Joe and Iris. As Iris was too distraught to be in the building, Joe began stressing but was approached by Dr. Harrison Wells, who offered his medical assistance in his lab. Initially Joe scoffed at this idea, out of distrust for his role in the particle accelerator accident, but Wells managed to convince him that he had the resources to save him whereas no doctor anywhere else did. Despite knowing that Wells was indeed Barry's best chance, Joe didn't trust Wells and knew something wasn't right about him, yet allowed Wells to take Barry out of desperation to see Barry better.
After Barry woke up from his coma, he ran into Joe back at the police department. He was called to a robbery at Gold City Bank and later returned with various suspects. They viewed various cell phone recordings, noting the freak storm that picked up inside the bank itself. They also noticed a getaway car, taking note of its partial number plate. Joe later arrived at another crime scene at which Barry and Iris happened to be at. Joe scolded both Barry and Iris for being there and became annoyed at the former when he suggested that Mardon was both alive and had gained the power to control the weather. He went on to reiterate that Barry's father was a murder, as had been proven, and it was an obvious fact. This caused Barry to walk off in annoyance. Not long after, more police arrived, including Detective Thawne, Joe's new partner. Eddie showed Joe the sketch artist's illustration from a suspect, which appeared to be the apparently deceased criminal, Clyde Mardon. Suspicious that he could've survived, the two went to Mardon's old farmhouse, where they found him. However, before they could arrest him, he knocked them away with the wind and began to create a tornado around himself, proceeding to move it outside. Joe carried an unconscious Eddie outside by their car while they were powerless against Clyde Mardon. As a piece of debris flew through the air, it almost hit them, however, it was intercepted by Barry with his super speed. Barry soon unraveled the tornado, and before Mardon could shoot Barry, Joe shot Clyde first. The following morning, Joe discussed Barry's powers with him and further apologized for not believing him, admitting that Barry's stories of a man in a blur of lightning killing his mother were likely true. He had Barry promise not tell Iris about any of his powers.
Later, he and Detective Thawne received a call that there was a situation at the Central City National Bank. By the time that they arrived there, both the strongman and The Flash involved in the altercation had left. When Barry arrived back at the crime scene, Joe suggested he take finger prints of one of the men. After they'd done, Joe and Barry drove off together. Barry expressed his disappointment at having to keep his secret identity hidden, but Joe reassured him that it was for his own safety. Before they could get any further, Iris and Eddie crashed in front of them. They got out of the car to check if they were okay, which they were. However, they were all promptly shocked by a group of animals coming from the middle of the crash, with a tiger leaping towards Iris. Eddie attempted to nudge pool toys from a car at them, though it was seemingly unsuccessful. Barry intervened, zapping the cats with static electricity, making it seem as if Eddie had done it. Barry returned, smelling of poo, prompting them to believe that he'd soiled himself. Joe suggested they all get cleaned up and head back to the station. As soon as they reached the station, Captain Singh sent the three of them out to a homicide. Barry noted fang marks on the victim, prompting Joe to mockingly suggest Dracula, though Barry specified that they were that of a Russell's viper, a fact he'd learnt from reptile camp (which Joe had also paid for). Joe concluded that someone had brought a bunch of snakes to the room, as it was in fact 28 stories up.
Joe called Barry to a crime scene which he was supposed to be at. At the scene, Barry surveyed the footprints, comparing them to Captain Singh's, embarrassing himself. Back at the precinct, Joe scolded Barry for embarrassing not only himself, but also Joe and the captain. Barry attempted to apologize, putting it down to a lot of stress from recent events, and Joe mentioned how he related to all of it. He went on to assure that Barry hadn't told Iris anything, which he hadn't, so Joe sent him up to his lab to process evidence from the crime scene. After gunmen attacked an event at which Iris and Barry had been at, Joe was on the scene. Realizing that Barry had tried to use his super speed, Joe walked off to talk to Barry, scolding him for trying to be a hero, telling him that he wasn't bulletproof (a fact that he had to confirm at first). He also suggested that Barry make better excuses than fainting, or Iris would become suspicious. Later that night, Joe discovered Barry's investigation of his mother's murder behind a map. He headed to S.T.A.R. Labs where he found Barry. He tried to talk Barry out of what he was doing by scolding him, though Barry was adamant that Joe had absolutely no power over him, not to mention that they weren't even technically related. Joe was upset, expressing his hope that they found out the unknown before someone was killed by it, and then left. At work, Joe brought him some DNA samples of the shooters from Simon Stagg's benefit to Barry to process. Barry hoped to see Simon Stagg with Joe, though he told Barry to stay and do his job. Joe left with Eddie Thawne to visit Stagg. They questioned him about various lawsuits against him, including one from Danton Black, though Stagg assured them that Danton was nothing more than a clinical researcher, definitely not a killer. When he finished with them, he began to walk off, until they were shot at by the same group from his benefit. As Simon was whisked to safety by Eddie, Joe stuck around long enough to see Danton Black pull off a mask, along with numerous other clones. Barry arrived, taking Joe to safety so he couldn't interfere. Back at the precinct, Joe tried to get Simon to reconsider protective custody, though he assured Joe that he'd upped his security, so if anything he would be happy to see Black coming for him. Harrison Wells arrived and following a short, snarky exchange between him and Stagg, Stagg left and Joe took Harrison to his office to talk. Joe questioned whether Harrison knew about Barry's abilities during his coma, though he claimed to only have suspicions. Wells went on to describe how Barry had quit their team. However, he was sure that Barry would join before long, though not with the same motivation he once had, doubting himself. After their talk, Joe went to S.T.A.R. Labs to motivate Barry. He quickly saved them from a Danton Black clone that they'd made, and went on to assure Barry that only he could stop meta-humans; the police only had limited resources. He suited up and went to fight Black and despite finding the task impossible, Joe mentioned that Barry himself had shown him that even the impossible was possible. After he beat Black, Joe brought pizza to Barry in order to apologize. He revealed how he knew about Barry's attempts to prove his father innocent, and wished to join in the crusade, even if it took them the rest of their lives. He apologized for acting like his father, despite not being his actual father, though Barry confirmed that he really was, after all he'd taught him practically everything growing up.
Some days following, Joe and Barry walked through the precinct as Barry took the credit for the capture of a man the night before. Joe assured him that keeping his abilities a secret was precedence. They walked on up to Barry's lab where Joe brought out the evidence from Barry's mother's murder case. Joe promised to take his time going through the evidence, refusing to quit until they found evidence proving Barry's father innocent. Before they could begin searching, Eddie interrupted, alerting them to a murder the night before of the entire Darbinyan crime family. At the crime scene, Barry was able to identify gas inhalation as the cause of death. They figured that it had to have come from inside, but found no canisters. Barry jokingly suggested that the gas had a mind of its own, causing Joe to send Eddie off for them to talk. Barry went in to depth on how he believed it to be a meta-human, while Joe suggested that they get "backup". They left to S.T.A.R. Labs where the team frantically became excited over the prospect of the meta-human. Joe brought up the problem of putting meta-humans in to a regular prison, which led to Cisco suggesting they use the particle accelerator below them. They went to check the accelerator out and Detective West headed home. He went over the Allen case, watching footage from Henry Allen's questioning. Iris overheard and Joe simply passed it off as misfiled work. Eddie then arrived, under the guise of wanting to re-canvas the earlier crime scene, much to Joe's pride, and they soon left for the scene. That night Barry visited Joe for help with the meta-human. Joe attempted to help, but conversation quickly led to Barry thinking of breaking his father out with his super speed. Despite the ease of it, Joe reasoned that often there would be some people Barry could not save, Barry's dad included. Finally, Joe went to visit Henry. He apologized for having disbelieved Henry, mentioning that he planned to re-open the murder case. Suddenly, The Mist entered the room and began suffocating the guard. He soon moved on to Joe, causing him to choke, before Barry came, in disguise, and saved him with a counteracting injection. Joe soon came back to life and Barry ran off to stop The Mist. While in the hospital, Joe thanked Barry for saving his life. Iris and Eddie approached, causing Barry to leave. The couple hesitantly admitted that they were in fact in a relationship, but Joe simply explained that he had known all along, being the detective he was. He also promised not to shoot Eddie, because Iris liked him so much.
At the scene of the failed robbery by Leonard Snart and his team, Joe arrived with Eddie. When Joe noted they failed to steal the Kahndaq dynasty diamond, he was told by Eddie that Iris has been persuading him to take her though Joe did not want to discuss the subject. After Barry told Captain Singh his analysis of the robbery, Joe told Barry that he was slow on his improvising. He was then helped by Barry on identifying Leonard Snart who Joe notes is the son of a former corrupt cop. Later when Joe and Eddie discussed Iris, Joe notes that they are strictly work partners and does not care to discuss further about Eddie's dating life. Joe was later contacted by Dexter Myles, the owner of the Central City Museum after noticing Snart had gone through the tour twice which had never happened before. Joe chased after Snart but was be nearly shot by him with the cold gun, though he was saved by Barry at the last moment. Joe later revealed to Iris that he does not want the two to be together is that he feared he would lose his focus and would feel responsible if anything ever happened to Eddie because of the work they do. At the train station where they located Snart, Joe told Eddie to stay and wait for back up but was reminded that they are partners. Joe later apologized to Iris, admitting he was wrong about Eddie after he saved his life. Joe then became more supportive of the two.
After Tony Woodward stole a yellow Hummer, Joe and the Central City Police arrive though Tony managed to get away. At the precinct, Joe reviewed the footage of Barry revealing what he saw the night his mother was killed. Joe then told Barry to tell Eddie an explanation to how Tony was not killed after several shots to the head without telling he was a meta-human. Joe visited Harrison Wells at S.T.A.R. Labs asking to help solve the case of Barry's mother. Joe explained to Harrison what happened at the scene and claimed the explanation of a yellow and red blur was similar to when Barry saved a child the night before. Joe then believed that the man had similar powers and asked if someone existed with Barry's powers at the time of the murder. Later, Joe is joined by Harrison for a drink where Joe asked if there was a particle accelerator at the time. Wells reminded Joe that there were no dark matter lightning storms. Joe asked when Harrison arrived at Central City, revealing that he was learning if Harrison was involved with the murder. Joe later brought Harrison a bottle of bourbon, apologizing for accusing him after learning about Harrison's wife who died in a car crash. Back at his home, Joe crossed off Wells for possible suspects before the "lightning man" arrived and stole all data and placed a knife on a picture of Iris, threatening if he does not stop, his daughter would die.
On the night that Barry faced Farooq Gibran and lost his super speed at first Joe didn't believe him but after Barry didn't stop his favorite mug from hitting the ground Joe knew he was telling the truth. Joe discussed his concern with him about who was going to stop the rogue meta-humans now. When William Tockman took over the Central City Police Department Joe and Iris were taken hostage. Joe tried to reason with Tockman and expressed his sympathy that his sister died without him getting to see her. Joe begged him not to take Iris as a hostage but didn't listen and took her anyway. Iris was able to shoot Tockman and were both freed.
After meta-human Roy Bivolo used his powers to rob a bank Joe was assigned the case. Joe was able to track down Bivolo to a warehouse but used his powers on a member of his team and turned around and tried to shoot him. Barry as The Flash showed up and saved him and then we're both saved by Oliver Queen. Later at STAR labs Joe agreed with Harrison Wells that The Arrow was a bad influence and told him that The Arrow should leave the city. When Barry went on a rampage Joe agreed that The Arrow was the only one who could stop him. After Oliver restrained him he drove the van that brought him back. Joe later thanked Oliver for helping. Christmas was approaching and Joe and Barry were putting up the Christmas tree but was forced to leave when the D.A wanted to ask some questions. When Mercury Labs was robbed by a yellow blur Joe and Barry both immediately knew it was the man who killed Nora Allen. Joe wanted to use the Mercury Labs tachyon prototype to lure out the blur. The day before they planned to release the trap Joe told Barry that he shouldn't be there as he was to personally attached to it. Eddie found out what he was planning and demanded that his task force should be a part of it. On the night the plan backfired and Joe released the Reverse-Flash and was knocked out by him. Joe invited the STAR labs crew, Iris and Eddie around for Christmas. Joe spoke to Cisco and discovered that there were two speedsters at Barry's home that night.
In 2024, in one possible timeline, Joe became the Chief of the Central City Police Department.
Joe is shown to hold Barry Allen in high regard. In "Pilot", he covered Barry's tardiness by saying he had him run an errand. It is revealed he is Barry's adoptive father, after Barry's biological father was (later proven to be wrongfully) convicted of murdering Barry's mother, and has always treated Barry like a son. He tried to talk Barry out of living the life of a superhero only out of concern for his safety, and was deeply hurt when Barry told him he's not his father and has no right telling him what to do to the point that he fought to hold back his tears.
Joe, despite having a rather difficult job and witnessing some of the strangest and strongest meta-humans around, is rather good-natured and has a light-hearted sense of humor. He once threatened to "shoot" Barry if he changed one more time for his date, after Barry could not decide what to wear for his date. He is also shown to be noticeably upset when Barry tells him they'd have to reduce how much pizza Barry goes and obtains from another city if Wally were to move in with them. He can often be seen laughing at many of Cisco's crazy antics, such as Cisco's enlarged cutouts of different members of Team Flash being in awkward positions that were prepared to train Linda Park in order to act as Dr. Light. Perhaps, this is the most differentiating characteristic between Joe and Quentin Lance, who is very similar to Joe, but is often seen being rather pessimistic and foul mannered in general, even before tragedy had struck his life, threatening to shoot Oliver if he had found Oliver and Laurel making out again under his roof. In many ways, Joe plays the role of the voice of conscience towards Barry, similarly to how Diggle does for Oliver; though Joe tends to act more of a father figure than a comrade-at-arms, having known Barry as a child.
He later received encouragement from Eobard Thawne, who noted that doubt was what kept Barry from realizing his true potential; and Barry cannot believe in himself if Joe, the man who acted as his surrogate father, has no faith in him. This led to Joe acknowledging that there are things and limits to what everyone can do and that Barry is no longer the boy he protected since childhood.
Joe is known to let his job as a police detective blind him, like after Nora was murdered, he willingly believed the idea that Henry, his good friend was a murderer, when he should have realized that Henry would never kill his wife, no matter what the situation was. 14 years after the fact, Joe finds out that Henry is in fact innocent, and goes to visit his friend in jail for the first time since he had been incarcerated. He admits to Henry that he feels ashamed for not believing in his friend's innocence. He apologized to his friend, but Joe was hurt when his friend was cold to him. However, he knows he deserves it for not believing in his friend's innocence, and tell Henry he now believes he is innocent and vowed to get him out sooner or later.
Joe can sometimes be stubborn, like when Barry told him that Clyde Mardon was alive and that he gained the power to control the weather, even when there was some evidence to back up Barry's statements, he still refused to believe Barry, only to find out the hard way that his foster son was right. Despite his stubbornness Joe is not above apologizing or admitting when he is wrong.
Joe also seems to hold grudges. As when the Harrison Wells from Earth Two showed up, Joe didn't trust him and constantly insulted him for the actions that weren't even from his Earth One counterpart. It wasn't until he realized that Wells was willing to do anything for his daughter (much like Joe with Barry, Iris, and Wally) that Joe stopped comparing Earth Two Wells to Eobard Thawne. As a result, the two started to form a trusting friendship based on their love for their children.
Powers and abilities
- Expert detective: As a police detective of the Central City Police Department, Joe has proven himself a highly skilled detective and has been in the line of duty for a number of years. Repeatedly, Joe has shown very sharp and trust-worthy instincts, being one of few people who was able to see through Reverse-Flash's deception as Harrison Wells, which the speedster openly completed him for.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: As a police detective, Joe is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. He is also apparently a capable teacher, having effectively taught Iris how to defend herself.
- Expert of deception: Joe is very proficient at telling lies and avoiding the truth. He even lied to his daughter Iris, by telling her that her mother was dead when in fact she had only left because of her drug addiction.
- Skilled torturer: Joe was able to torture information out of Alchemy's Acolyte.
- Guns: Joe is very proficient in using guns.
- "The Brave and the Bold" (mentioned)
The Flash: Season Zero
- Joe has a fear of gorillas and, by extension, Grodd.
- In an erased timeline Joe, presumably, along with everyone in Central City, was killed by Vandal Savage using the Staff of Horus in his efforts to kill Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders. However, due to Barry Allen changing the time continuum this disaster never occurs.
- Joe is the first to suspect that there is more to Harrison Wells than meets the eye.
- In the DC comics, there were two versions of the patriarch of the West family. Originally, his name was Ira West and he was a university professor rather than a police detective, and only the adoptive father to Iris, with her biological father, being a man named Eric Russell. In the New 52, he was reimagined as William West, an abusive alcoholic who bullied his youngest son, Daniel, and ended up crippled by him. So far, there are no indications that he is not Iris' biological father.
- Joe's role of becoming Barry's foster father and raising him is based around Police Captain Darryl Frye who played that role in the New 52 comics.
- In episode "Out of Time" of Season 1, Mark Mardon targets Joe for revenge for his brother Clyde's death, succeeding in abducting him. However, because Barry changed the timeline after his first bout of time travel by capturing Mardon ahead of time, Joe's life was never endangered.
- ↑ "Flash of Two Worlds"
- ↑ "Pilot"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Fastest Man Alive"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "The Flash Is Born"
- ↑ "The Strongman Cometh"
- ↑ "Who Let the Chimps Out?"
- ↑ "A Goodnight Hiss"
- ↑ "Things You Can't Outrun"
- ↑ "Going Rogue"
- ↑ "Power Outage"
- ↑ "Flash vs. Arrow"
- ↑ "The Man in the Yellow Suit"
- ↑ "Killer Frost"
- ↑ Flash (vol. 4) #0