Back in a Flash? Longtime Great America coaster could reopen with new superhero theme

When Six Flags Great America introduced Vertical Velocity to thrill seekers in 2001, the U-shaped roller coaster that launches riders from zero to 70 mph in four seconds bore a green and yellow paint job.

The coaster closed for part of last year and observant guests noticed the green supports were being painted red and a sign at the entrance said the ride "will be back in a Flash in 2022."

That sparked speculation among online coaster enthusiasts that the ride will be reintroduced this spring branded after the DC Comics superhero The Flash, who in addition to possessing super speed also wears a red and yellow costume.

Asked whether Vertical Velocity will be renamed after Flash in 2022, officials at Great America demurred.

"At this time, we do not have any information to share relating to new capital in 2022," spokeswoman Caitlin Kepple said in an email. "Once details are available, we'll reach out with an update."

One reason why coaster fans are so sure that Vertical Velocity will be rebranded with The Flash is because it has happened before at a different Six Flags park.

A roller coaster called Vertical Velocity was introduced at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California in 2001. Like the ride in Gurnee, the California Vertical Velocity starts by launching guests at extreme speeds.

In 2019, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom officials announced the coaster would be "re-imagined" as "THE FLASH: Vertical Velocity." The ride's track was painted red and the supports painted yellow.

Should the Vertical Velocity ride at Great America undergo a similar re-imagining, it would join several other rides there named after DC Comics superheroes.

Batman: The Ride debuted at the park in 1992 and was the world's first inverted, outside looping coaster. Superman: Ultimate Flight, a coaster where riders dangle like they are flying, was introduced in 2003. The Dark Knight, an indoor coaster themed on the Christopher Nolan trilogy of "Batman" films, opened in 2008. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis, an interactive ride, was introduced in 2016. And The Joker, a roller coaster which allows riders to spin head over heels, opened in 2017.

Vertical Velocity roller coaster at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee will be rebranded after DC Comics superhero The Flash, some believe. Daily Herald File Photo
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