Who Is THE FLASH? An Introduction to the DC Comics Character Debuting on The CW This Fall

     May 11, 2014


Welcome to the year of comic book television shows, everyone!  Moreso than any other television season, this year fans will be privy to more comic book shows than they can shake a stick at!  Aside from the return of Arrow for it’s third season on The CW and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for its second on ABC, newcomers will join their ranks in the form of Constantine on NBC, Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC, Gotham on Fox, and iZombie and The Flash on CW.  Speaking of the latter, now felt like an opportune time to fill you in on the scarlet speedster and what we know about his second live-action television debut (the first of course being the 1990 John Wesley Shipp entry).  Hit the jump as we take a tour through the speed force and examine all things The Flash, from supporting characters to his gallery of villains.

Barry Allen: Mild Mannered Police Forensic Scientist 

grant-gustin-the-flashMaking his grand television debut in the second season of CW’s Arrow, Barry Allen (played by Grant Gustin), is a police forensic scientist who is always late.  Barry is searching for Green Arrow in order to find a like minded person who stands up for what he believes in and fights evil-doing wherever it may rear it’s ugly head, as is the superhero way dontcha know.  The soon-to-be Flash has a dark secret, however, in that his mother, during his early childhood, was murdered by a creature moving too be fast to be seen (sounds familiar, eh?).  In his final appearance in Arrow’s second season (as far as we know anyway) Barry is hit by a lightning bolt during a storm, hurdling him into a wall of chemicals, that will in turn connect him to the “Speed Force”, a reality that grants him his faster than the speed of light powers.

Barry as a character is perhaps one of the most altruistic characters in comics that you’ll find, aside from Superman.  He also happens to be one of the most clueless heroes around, forgetting appointments and always seemingly late to commitments due to his responsibilities as The Flash, or his general absent mindedness.  His role as a forensic scientist for Central City’s police department allows him to solve crimes from both a scientific method and a superheroic one once he dons the red and yellow spandex.  One of the most important angles of The Flash, to me anyway, is really the relationship he has with his city.  Characters like Batman will stalk criminals from the shadows and Superman will soar through the air fighting alien robots from beyond the stars, The Flash will save you from a burning car then ask you how your day is going.  The Scarlet Speedster always tried to be a part of his community and you could call him the “Working Man’s” super hero.

Scarlet Supporting Cast

the-flash-grant-gustinThe Flash has always had a strong supporting cast to back him up and the television show should be no different.  In the comics, Barry eventually ended up with Iris West (played by Candice Patton), a reporter in Central City who met Barry and his alter ego on several occasions thanks to her job.  In the show, she’ll be joined by her father, Detective West, who works alongside Barry in the Central City Police Department.  What we don’t know is when fan favorite, Wally West, will appear in the series.  Wally originally was the biggest fan of The Flash you could find and thanks to an accident similar to Barry’s, find himself with super speed as well, becoming the aptly named, “Kid Flash”.  Eventually, Wally found himself as the one and only Flash, for decades even, as Barry fell protecting the universe from an extraterrestrial threat.  This is all before DC Comics had decided to start everything from scratch of course with its “New 52” relaunch, so everything won’t be the same as it was.

Before we move onto the villains, or the “Rogues” as they’re called, let me warn you right now that this may very well spoil a rather big twist that the show is setting up from the reading of the cast list.  Much like The Flash, a good portion of The Flash’s antagonists are “blue collar criminals”…who just so happen to be sporting cold guns and weather wands.  Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, the Trickster, and Abra Kadabra are all villains looking for the next big score, and actively try not to kill Flash in any of their escapades as they realize they wouldn’t want that kind of heat bearing down on them from other heroes and authorities should they kill the Scarlet Speedster.  In this day and age of villains becoming more bloodthirsty, it’s actually sort of refreshing to see a gallery of villains who aren’t foaming at the mouth for the death of the hero, save for one.  Much like Superman has his Bizarro, The Flash has his own dark reflection of himself named Zoom, the Reverse Flash.

Professor Zoom is actually a mentally disturbed fan of The Flash from the future, who uses scientific methods to replicate Barry’s super speed, and comes back in time to torment him, feeling slighted by Barry’s popularity.  His name is Eobard Thawne, Eobard of course being a strange futuristic name that I have no idea how to pronounce (E-O-Bard?).  In The Flash CW television show, Barry finds himself working alongside an officer named “Eddie Thawne”.  Obviously, not really a coincidence but we’ll have to wait and see if Thawne is in fact a deranged speedster from the future or if they decide to leave out the time travelling elements in this go-around. Oh and that creature that killed Barry’s mom in the past? That was Zoom.

He’s Fast That Flash 

the-flash-grant-gustin-cwWell The Flash can certainly run fast, we all know that, but super speed has actually been developed in the past few decades in the comic books to the point that Barry’s power set is actually quite varied when it comes down to it.  We’ll of course see Barry running from crime scene to crime scene at the speed of light, but we may also see him running fast enough to travel back in time or vibrating his molecules fast enough so that he can run through walls.  Barry has also used his super speed in several occasions to do things like read an entire library to learn something needed to take down a villain or spin his arms fast enough to create a hurricane.  He’s a swiss army knife of speed and don’t be surprised to see one or two of these methods emerge in the upcoming CW series.

What we’ll also be seeing is the Flash costume, which is very true to its source material.  In this day and age of The Avengers and The Dark Knight, superhero costumes aren’t the shameful secrets that we found during the era of black spandex that the X-Men and Blade were wearing in their silver screen debuts.  Audiences are more than willing to accept that a man struck by lightning to gain super speed would brandish a red spandex uniform to hide his identity.  While we’ve seen numerous stills of what the uniform looks like, it should be interesting to see it in motion.

The Flash premieres this fall on the CW.  Blink and you’ll miss it.