The Flash: What is Eternium and Who is the New Harrison Wells?

Harrison Wells returns to The Flash looking for Eternium, which may confirm Shazam in the Arrowverse.

The Flash: Tom Cavanagh as Harrison "Nash" Wells

Holy moley, did The Flash season 6 episode 3, “Dead Man Running” just confirm the presence of Shazam in the Arrowverse? The short answer is…maybe. But there’s a longer answer.

We finally meet this season’s version of Harrison Wells in “Dead Man Running.” In this case, he’s “Nash” Wells, an interdimensional Indiana Jones, gathering artifacts from across the multiverse. And he’s searching for an article that contains particles of “Eternium” which Wells describes as “a multiversal element.” 

The only mention of “Eternium” in DC Comics lore comes from a 1998 issue of Legion of Super-Heroes. That story, which focused on bringing the future Shazam character Thunder into the orbit of the Legion, opens with the destruction of the Rock of Eternity, home of Shazam, the Wizard, and the source of all magic in the DC Universe. As a result, any fragment of the Rock of Eternity that comes into contact with a member of the Shazam family interferes with their powers and causes them great pain. Basically, it’s magical Kryptonite.

While any Supergirl fan can tell you that the Legion of Super-Heroes definitely exists in Arrowverse lore, I’m having a tough time reconciling what the relevance of that story might be for The Flash or Crisis on Infinite Earths. But it’s not the only time the Rock of Eternity has been destroyed. In Day of Vengeance, a tie-in to CoIE sequel Infinite Crisis, the Rock of Eternity was destroyed by the Spectre who at the time had been driven mad and was on a suicide run to destroy all magic in the DC Universe. It’s fragments rained down on Gotham City and other dimensions, although they were never explicitly identified as Eternium in that instance.  

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What’s interesting, though, is that Dr. Nash Wells, despite his quest for Eternium, doesn’t believe in magic or gods. “There’s no such thing as mystical mumbo-jumbo, or gods,” Wells tells a characteristically annoyed Cisco. “What there are, are metahumans, aliens, and false gods worshipped by simple-minded people that find comfort in myths. I dispel those myths.” 

read more: New DC Universe Timeline Explained

In other words, Wells is a skeptic of the highest order, which means that even if the Rock of Eternity and the Power of Shazam exists in the Arrowverse, he’s unlikely to view it as actual magic, but rather as a manifestation of some kind of otherdimensional science. And this still doesn’t answer the question of what this artifact he’s looking for that contains particles of Eternium might be. Or why he seems to think those particles are clinging to Iris West-Allen. And then there’s the question of whether this is the Wells who ends up being Pariah, the multiversally cursed guy who cries his way through so much of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

It’s pretty murky, but if I understand my current DC lore well enough, the Rock of Eternity essentially exists either outside the boundaries of the traditional DC multiverse, or across multiple points in it simultaneously. And while use of the word “Eternium” in one scene of one episode of The Flash may not be enough to confirm the existence of Shazam in the Arrowverse (and I certainly wouldn’t expect to see any version of the character in Crisis), the utterance of a term that has only ever been used to describe fragments of the very location which is the source of Shazam’s power is enough to raise eyebrows. Especially when it comes just weeks after the Spectre, one of the most powerful magical beings in the DC Universe and the reason the Rock of Eternity was destroyed in one story, was just confirmed for Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.