This article contains The Flash spoilers in every possible variety. Don’t read if you haven’t watched season one!
Regular readers of my weekly Flash reviews know about my obsession with chronicling every DC Comics reference crammed into each episode. I love doing it, and I’m finally putting my knowledge of DC Comics history to good use, something that parents, teachers, and former employers all agreed was impossible.
As much fun as it is going through these each week, as the season progressed, stuff that seemed to mean one thing early on ended up meaning something entirely different later. With that in mind, I’ve gone back through the series, my original notes, and the comments from sharp-eyed readers (who helped to keep me honest) to revisit what I thought I knew about the DC Comics easter eggs in The Flash season one.
Keep in mind that, if you’re just reading this during your first viewing of The Flash season one, then you might want to instead use the reviews as your guide. Those are linked in the episode titles for your convenience.
For easy organization, this is organized mostly chronologically. However, stuff that was clarified in later episodes will be explained in the entries for the earlier ones. This way, I’m not repeating myself like I’m caught in a time loop. I make a few exceptions for characters who are vaguely referred to early on but don’t get their big debut until much later. To keep things simple, I put the bulk of their information in the most appropriate episode entry. Also, I kind of stopped keeping track of “52” references (because they’re annoying) but if there’s demand for it, I can partition them off in their own section.
Oh, and if you want to read full episode reviews, just click the titles!
– The basics of Barry’s origin are all in place and are mostly unchanged from his first appearance in “Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt” from Showcase #4 in 1956 by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino. While there was no particle accelerator involved in the comics lightning bolt, the basics — that police scientist Barry Allen was struck by lightning and soaked in chemicals that resulted in super speed — remain the same.
Showcase #4 also introduced Iris West, although, unlike in the TV show, they were already romantically involved.
– The scene in the diner where Barry’s perceptions shift is also an homage to that first Flash story.
– The Reverse-Flash didn’t come on the scene until a few years later, first appearing in The Flash #139 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino. Like on the show, Eobard Thawne is a time-traveler who has it in for Barry Allen and friends. His history is far more complicated than I can get into here, but you get the idea. He caused all kinds of headaches for Barry throughout the decades.
– The Reverse-Flash as the murderer of Barry’s mother comes right out of the pages of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ The Flash: Rebirth comic.
Before the publication of Rebirth in 2007, Barry had a more normal home life. Mom and Dad lived to ripe old ages, and neither of them ended up in prison or in a chalk outline.
– Eddie Thawne was an original character created for this show, and while he is tied to the Reverse-Flash (he’s an ancestor of Eobard Thawne), there’s a chance a different kind of future awaits him.
– Henry Allen is played by the great John Wesley Shipp, who played Barry Allen on the gone-too-soon original Flash TV series in the early ’90s.
– Cisco Ramon first appeared in Justice League Annual #2 (1984), and he became a member of the reviled “Detroit” era of the team’s history, with the name “Vibe.” While we won’t see the Cisco of this show become a metahuman until season two (at least), there are lots of hints that it’s on the way. Vibe has (as you might imagine) vibrational powers, but he’s also uniquely attuned to the vibrational frequencies that keep the parallel universes of the DC Multiverse apart.
That should come in pretty handy considering that we’re dealing with parallel worlds in season two.
– Caitlyn Snow is sadly destined to become the villainous Killer Frost. I’ll give you three guesses what her powers consist of. There have been several versions of Killer Frost in DC history and, while there is a Caitlin Snow in the comics, TV Caitlin’s history is an amalgamation of them all. She was primarily a Firestorm villain, and an earlier version of the character had some romantic feelings for Firestorm, so the Caitlin/Ronnie angle makes sense here.
In a later episode, Caitlin makes a crack about her relationship with Ronnie, saying the two of them were like “fire and ice.” This is just one of many pieces of foreshadowing about their metahuman future that was teased all season long.
– Detective Fred Chyre was created by Geoff Johns and Angel Unzueta. He first appeared in The Flash #164 in 2000. It’s a damn shame they killed him off so early, because I really enjoyed Al Sapienza’s brief time on screen here (“My father gave me that pen…before he died”). Maybe there’s a chance he can be brought back!
– Of course, the monkey cage with the “Grodd” nameplate paid off later in the season when the gorilla with telepathic powers made his live action TV debut.
– The fact that the show went with two Weather Wizards is appropriate. While Mark Mardon (who we meet later in the season) was always the super-villainous Weather Wizard, it was his brother Clyde’s technology he was exploiting. They both first appeared in The Flash #110 back in 1959 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino.
– Future Flash love interest Linda Park is doing these news broadcasts, but it sure isn’t the Malese Jow (who plays Linda when she’s introduced later this season) version of the character. I’d chalk it up to coincidence, but since the Linda we get to know is also a journalist, this one just seems like a goof. Maybe since she’s doing it for Channel 52, and 52 is shorthand for the DC multiverse, there’s something to be worked out. Nah, probably not…
– The abandoned Ferris Air airstrip that Barry tests his powers at is a big fat Green Lantern reference. Ferris Air once employed a test pilot by the name of Hal Jordan, who of course becomes Green Lantern. There are loads of Ferris Air and Coast City references peppered throughout this season and Arrow season 3, but they saved the biggest one for the end of the season, when they make reference to a test pilot who disappeared.
– That newspaper headline from the future is a big fat reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths. I freaked out about it for a thousand words over here. But here’s the short version…
Barry Allen died saving the DC Multiverse in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8. During this time, the skies over all of the Earths turned red, so the headline is a significant reference to this. But there’s something else cool about this, and it ties right back into the beginning of the episode…
– You’ll see that, when Barry is struck by the lightning, a red shadow seems to pass through him. When Barry died during the Crisis, he basically discorporated. It was later revealed that he became pure energy, and traveled back in time, essentially becoming the lightning bolt that struck him to give him powers in the first place. Maybe that’s what the red shadow is.
Felicity once joked that Barry will eventually be able to run so fast that he just turns to dust, leaving nothing but a Flash suit behind. That’s a reference to how he croaked in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8.
– Nice shout out to WayneTech in that headline at the end, too. I half expected the byline to read Lois Lane, but instead it’s Iris West-Allen. Those two have a rocky path to their wedding, though, and I’ll get into that in a bit more detail later on.
Head to page two for info on more episodes!
– Danton “Multiplex” Black first appeared in Firestorm #1 back in 1978, where he was created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom. There are lots of Firestorm supporting characters and villains peppered throughout this season, which is appropriate considering how many Firestorm references there are long before we actually get to meet Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein.
I’ll get to all that when we get to the Firestorm episodes.
– They dug deep for Simon Stagg. Stagg first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #57 in 1965, and he’s the guy responsible for Rex Mason becoming Metamorpho: The Element Man. He’s just as much of a dick in the comics. He’s hung around the DC Universe, mostly causing trouble for second-stringers for the last 50 years.
They really need to find an excuse to put Metamorpho on this show, now that I think about it…
– Yes, Cisco built Barry a treadmill. In the comics, Flash had a “cosmic treadmill” that allowed him to travel through time or reach vibrational speeds which helped him transfer between alternate universes. With Jay Garrick and Earth Two figuring prominently in The Flash season 2 plans, expect this to get some play down the road.
– In this episode, Barry has an issue where his metabolism is having difficulty sustaining his super speed. That was future Flash Wally West’s problem for a portion of his career. This was also Barry’s problem on the original Flash TV series. Sadly, they solved it with the invention of the high-protein superbars, which means we won’t get to see things like Barry eating entire boxes of cereal at super speed.
– The Mist has been around much longer than Barry Allen, that’s for sure. He first appeared way the hell back in 1941 in the pages of Adventure Comics #67, where he bedeviled the original version of Starman, Ted Knight.
Yes, his name was Kyle Nimbus, just like the fella who showed up in this episode. However, the live action Mist is a bit more of a killer than his comic book counterpart who was neither made up of poison gas, nor a hitman. He was a scientist who created a device that turned him into, ummm…mist, but he wasn’t as revenge-driven as the show’s version.
– I know I said that I wouldn’t get too heavy on the Firestorm references until the appropriate point in this article, but it should be pointed out that the particle accelerator core door is totally Firestorm’s logo.
– Barry and Iris came out of a movie theater playing Blue Devil 2: Hell to Pay. Let me tell you how meta this is:
Blue Devil was a stuntman named Dan Cassidy who found himself trapped in a special effects “Blue Devil” suit while shooting that movie. See, he was created in the days of practical effects, so a suit that augmented strength and could do crazy stuff was seen as a good idea by the filmmakers. Anyway, he couldn’t get out of the suit, so of course he became a superhero.
Here’s what he looks like…
So, it’s very possible that while shooting Blue Devil 3, the Dan Cassidy of this universe will…oh, you get the idea.
This is the SECOND Blue Devil reference in this universe, by the way. There was a poster for the first Blue Devil movie on the side of a bus in Arrow season two. For an additional fun connection: Blue Devil first appeared in an issue of Firestorm.
Can you tell that I really like Blue Devil? I do. He was the star of one of the most underrated DC Comics of the ’80s. I have almost every issue. I’m proud of that for some inexplicable reason. Anyway, back to the point at hand…
– The other movie on that marquee? The Rita Farr Story. Rita Farr was an actress who gained some super powers and joined The Doom Patrol as Elasti-Girl.
– Barry’s crack about “It’s not like I want a museum built in my name…” Well, Barry, funny you should say that. For the record, the comic book Barry Allen wasn’t exactly the kind of guy who wanted that kind of attention, either, but he was gracious enough to go with it.
In another episode we see that there’s a “Hall of Heroes” in the Central City Museum. In the comics, the city ends up dedicating a museum to Barry…while he’s still alive. Right now, their biggest hero is a cattle king named Bobby McFeely.
I’ll have more details on the prospects of a Flash Museum at the end of the article.
– We’ve seen Big Belly Burger a million times on Arrow already, but I believe this was the first time anyone was seen drinking Soder Cola. I also just learned that Soder Cola has its own Wikipedia page. Clearly, I have reached the restaurant at the end of the Internet.
– When Barry vibrates his features at super speed to prevent his Dad from recognizing him? That’s straight out of original Flash Jay Garrick’s playbook. He didn’t wear a mask (just that cool helmet), so that was how he kept people from knowing his true identity.
– It took the jury “52 minutes” to bring back Henry Allen’s guilty verdict.
– Captain Cold, perhaps even more than the Reverse-Flash, is Flash’s most enduring foe. While, whenever Reverse-Flash shows up, it usually means something really, really terrible is going to happen, Captain Cold has been a far more constant thorn in Barry’s side.
He’s the first real supervillain that Barry took on (“The Turtle” from his first appearance in Showcase #4 doesn’t really qualify, so stop asking), and he became the leader of the colorful collection of rogues that followed.
One thing the show absolutely nailed is that Len Snart isn’t a maniacal Batman villain. Instead, he’s a leader who just happens to love being an exceptional thief. That’s something that has helped make Flash’s rogues’ gallery so unique.
– The Kahndaq Diamond comes from future Shazam villain (played by Dwayne Johnson, no less) Black Adam’s home country of (you guessed it) Kahndaq! Kahndaq has come up a bunch of times on Arrow, as well.
– The fella at the end that Captain Cold goes to see is Mick Rory. You will come to know and hate him as Heat Wave, played by Dominic Purcell. More on him down below.
– Oh, and he goes to see him in Keystone City. That’s the “twin city” with Central City and, in the comics, was where original Flash Jay Garrick operated and where future Flash Wally West set up shop for awhile. I believe Keystone had been visible in earlier news reports, though.
– There’s another sneaky “52” reference in the STAR Labs tech storage where the cold gun was kept, but I know we’re all tired of this stuff.
– 4th and Kolins is probably a shout out to Scott Kolins, the artist who did some really terrific work on The Flash comics when Geoff Johns was writing them.
Keep going to page 3 for even more Flash goodness you might have missed…
Plastique, like many of this show’s secondary baddies, started off as a Firestorm villain. She first appeared in Fury of Firestorm #7 (1982) by Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick.
But it wasn’t just Firestorm characters who made their presence known in this one. There were lots of Captain Atom connections, too. Captain Atom would be a very easy, perfect fit for this show and introducing characters like General Eiling and Dr. Hadley could eventually lead to this happening.
– General Eiling has been giving the entire DC Universe agita for decades, first appearing in Captain Atom #1 in 1987, where he was indirectly responsible for Nathanial Adam becoming Captain Atom.
Maybe one day we’ll see him become “The General” as you can see here…
Or maybe not.
– Girder is a creation of Flash executive producer Geoff Johns (along with artist Ethan Van Sciver) and first appeared in 2001’s The Flash: Iron Heights. He’s popped up quite a bit in DC Comics continuity since then.
He’s not any more interesting than he is on the show, sadly.
– Harrison makes a “man of steel” joke, but it clearly doesn’t mean anything. Back in Arrow season 2, Diggle cracked, “what next, aliens?” There may very well be a Superman in this universe, but he sure hasn’t made his presence known just yet. What this means for how Supergirl fits into things is anybody’s guess.
– There’s a sign for Garrick’s Wharf (which seemed to have been placed there by the Keystone Historical Society) in Keystone City, another reference to alternate world Flash, Jay Garrick.
– It’s pretty significant that the Reverse-Flash threatens Iris West, and it’s not totally for the reason you might think! Eobard Thawne ultimately murders Iris West in the comics, and it led to some really bad things for Flash down the road. But first it led to bad things for Reverse-Flash.
– Farooq “Blackout” Gibran may have seemed kind of disposable here on the show, but he was really disposable in the comics. He’s loosely the Farooq Amar who appeared briefly in the Flashpoint timeline in the comics.
– Clock King, on the other hand, has been around for over fifty years, and he has a bit of a presence in other media. Long before he made his Arrow or Flash debut, a version of Clock King appeared in a two-part episode during the second season of the Adam West Batman TV series in 1966, as well as having done time (get it?) on Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Despite that rather bat-centric history the character first appeared in World’s Finest #111 in 1960, in a story entitled “The Crimes of The Clock King.” The hero of that story? Green Arrow.
– Oh, that list of names that Harrison rattles off! Let’s dig in…
Ralph Dibney is the Elongated Man. I don’t know if they could properly do a stretchy hero on this show’s budget anyway, but this is a character with deep connections to Barry Allen in the days of DC Comics gone by. I’d LOVE to see them give us a buddy episode with these two down the line somehow.
Bea da Costa is Fire, the green-flamed, hot-tempered badass who was a stalwart of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League years. She’d be a perfect fit on a show like Legends of Tomorrow, come to think of it.
Al Rothstein…I’m ridiculously excited about this one. He’s been Atom. He’s been Nuklon. He’s been Atom Smasher. He’s been a member of Infinity Inc and the Justice Society. Oh, and he’s the villain of The Flash season 2 premiere. Probably not the same Al Rothstein from “this” Earth, though. Whatever, I’m splitting hairs.
Grant Emerson is Damage. He’s also Al Pratt’s son. He’s another guy with a power set that makes sense for this show. C’mon, TWO Al Pratt connections in a matter of seconds? This is no way an accident. It had better not be!
Will Everett was the All-Star Squadron’s Amazing Man. The All-Star Squadron, in case you actually have a social life and don’t know this, is an offshoot of the Justice Society.
– Look closely and you can spot a movie poster for Nightawk and Cinnamon, two obscure DC Universe western heroes. Whether or not this means they’re fictional in this universe, or if that’s a movie based on their historical exploits remains to be seen. Chances are, it won’t be seen.
– Yes, there’s an Intake 52 at STAR Labs. Can I stop talking about 52s now?
There’s more on page four! Keep running…
The Rainbow Raider is a fairly craptacular minor DC supervillain who has somehow managed to annoy both Flash and Green Lantern on a number of occasions. He first appeared in The Flash #286 in 1980. Despite being ridiculous, he has quite a creative pedigree, with Cary Bates and Don Heck responsible for him.
For some strange reason, they decided not to give him his comic book costume:
The goggles are because the comic book Raider wasn’t a metahuman, instead relying on technology to be ridiculous and irritating.
– Although Bivolo’s lair is full of awful paintings, which is a bit of a throwback to his comic book origin…where he was a strangely color blind painter. Nice touch.
– Barry’s lateness coming back into play is a nice callback to early Barry Allen comics and also original Flash Jay Garrick’s tardiness issues.
– During Flash’s chat with Iris at Jitters, she asks about a proper name for him and Flash responds with: “You mean like Ralph?” This is a reference to the first Lois Lane/Superman interview in Superman: The Movie. where Christopher Reeve offhandedly says: “You mean like Ralph or something?” in response to a similar query from Margot Kidder. It’s my favorite movie ever, in case you care.
– Ms. Snow’s explanation of how different colors represent different emotions is pure DC Universe logic, and it’s something that has been used to great effect in Green Lantern lore. There are Red Lanterns who represent rage, Yellow Lanterns who represent fear, and so on down the line. This is a rather roundabout Green Lantern easter egg, but it counts!
– Amanda Pays as Tina McGee is back! Tina was the love interest/scientific genius of the original Flash TV series with John Wesley Shipp. The file photo on the screen they showed is clearly from that show, too. Nice touch.
What if Tina McGee isn’t just coincidentally here, being played by the same actress? What if this is actually the same Tina McGee from the original Flash TV series, who has crossed over into the universe of this version of The Flash? You might say I’m crazy, but…am I? And wouldn’t it be a lot cooler if this were true?
She also works for “Mercury Labs” also a nice touch. Why? Because Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick wore a helmet modeled after Roman god/original speedster Mercury. That’s another nice touch. It might also be a reference to “zen master of speed” Max Mercury.
So, Tina is working with tachyons particles. Why is this important? Because in Crisis on Infinite Earths, when Barry meets his end, it’s because he is chasing down the tachyon beam that powers the Anti-Monitor’s doomsday weapon. Yes, I knew this without looking it up and it’s a miracle I have even the semblance of a social life.
Anyway, that’s no coincidence, and it’s another piece of the Crisis puzzle the show has been teasing us with since day one.
– Harrison Wells has a Flash ring. Barry Allen will presumably get to the point where he’s able to compress his costume (because science!) into a space small enough for it to fit into a ring. The better for quick changes.
You didn’t really think I wouldn’t give you a little more info on Mick “Heat Wave” Rory, did you?
Heat Wave first appeared in The Flash #140 (1963) and he was (surprise!) created by the genius Flash creative team of John Broome and Carmine Infantino. While a little more colorfully-attired in the comics, and perhaps a little less overtly/wildly crazed, he’s always had an obsession with fire. You know, the medical definition of pyromania.
– Luc Roderique shows up as Jason Rusch, who in the comics becomes one half of the human host of Firestorm. We might see him again someday.
– The Rathaways are the parents of Hartley Rathaway, the Pied Piper. More on him down below.
– This is a pretty killer track from that Duke Ellington record that Iris broke. I realize this isn’t DCU stuff, but pour yourself an adult beverage and enjoy this tune.
– The battle takes place at the corner of Porter and Main. This could be a shoutout to DC Comics artist Howard Porter.
– That’s Lisa Snart coming to the rescue of her brother and his pal at the end. You may know her as the ridiculously named “Golden Glider” in DC Comics. Lisa first appeared in The Flash #250 in 1977 and she was created by Cary Bates and Irv Novick.
The Pied Piper is yet another creation of John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first donning his pointy shoes in The Flash #106 (1959).
The comic book Piper’s origin is reasonably similar to the version on the show, with the usual updates for modern sensibilities.
– When Hartley says that eventually they’re gonna need his help, he’s not just being an arrogant jerk. I mean, he is being an arrogant jerk, but there’s a comic book reason behind this, too. The Pied Piper eventually reformed, and even helped out the Wally West version of Flash for awhile.
Also, the Piper was the first openly gay mainstream comic book character I remember encountering as a kid, which is pretty cool.
– There was already a non-powered Royal Flush Gang who showed up way the hell back in Arrow season one. Whether these guys are copycats or the writers just forgot is up to you to decide.
However, the original Royal Flush Gang were Justice League foes, first appearing in Justice League of America #43 (1966) by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. They were a super-powered team, though. They’ve been around the block in various animated incarnations of the DCU, as well. Maybe we’ll get a proper version one day.
– All that stuff about vibrational frequencies in this episode? That’s gonna come up a lot in season two with Jay Garrick and friends, as it’s vibrational frequencies which keep the worlds of the DC Multiverse apart.
– As we’ve already covered, Cisco eventually becomes the vibrationally-powered superhero Vibe (you would think with all the code names he comes up with he would pick a better one for himself, but I’m getting ahead of myself). His encounter with Piper’s vibrational powers in this episode could be one of any number of things that eventually triggers his latent metahuman powers.
– Mason Bridge may or may not be a reference to Mason Trollbridge, an exceedingly minor DC character…who was never actually a reporter.
– This episode is the first time we hear the words “speed force” uttered on the show. The Speed Force is the extradimensional energy field that allows DCU speedsters to do all the wonderful things they do. Throughout season one, they only scratched the surface. There will be more…
– Peek-A-Boo first appeared in The Flash #180 (2002), and she was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kollins.
– 75 years ago, Flash (albeit Jay Garrick) caught a bullet in his hand on the cover of Flash Comics #1. This episode had a really neat variation on that. I enjoyed the way they played it, with the bullet just nicking him before he caught it.
Keep going…there are 10 episodes to go on the next page!
Alright, I guess it’s time to finally talk about Firestorm, right?
Firestorm first appeared in Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #1 in 1980. He was created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom. While the TV Firestorm’s costume is pretty dreadful, he was far more colorful in the comics and in his appearances on various incarnations of the Super Friends animated series.
They kind of flipped the origin dynamic with Firestorm, with Ronnie working inside the building and Professor Stein as kind of an interloper. In the comics origin, Ronnie was a protester. Also note that the Ronnie Raymond of the comics is way more of a “dumb jock” than the guy we see on TV.
The Ronnie Raymond/Professor Stein dynamic is the most “traditional” Firestorm out there, but there have been others who have been unfortunate enough to wear the combined fiery head. This should prove handy in Legends of Tomorrow, where Martin Stein is present and accounted for, but Ronnie Raymond is nowhere to be found. And don’t forget, we met Jason Rusch in “Revenge of the Rogues.”
– Something takes place at 52nd and Waid. Mark Waid is not only beloved for a terrific run as writer of The Flash, but he’s one of the greatest comic writers of the last thirty years. The guy is a machine. We all know what the 52 is. Enough already.
– Mal Duncan was playing at a jazz club tonight? Well, they did call him the Hornblower at one point…although I preferred when he took over the identity of the Guardian.
– This isn’t DC Comics stuff but it’s fun. There are some references to how the show takes place in real time. “It’s always Tuesday.” References to “week three” of the show. Arrow and The Flash mostly take place in real time as it is, and I love the fact that now I’m going to be thinking about how much of each episode is actually happening on Tuesday or Wednesday.
– Midway City is the home of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who we’re going to meet in The Flash season 2 before Legends of Tomorrow kicks off. Our DC TV Atlas now contains: Central City, Keystone City, Starling/Star City, Coast City, Bludhaven, and Midway City. Fictional countries include Khandaq, Markovia, and Corto Maltese.
– I figure the 27 is a callback to Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman. But I really want to know more/see more of what’s been going on down there. Maybe there’s some random Thanagarian or Mikaal Tomas or Abin Sur or J’onn J’onzz stashed away in the basement. It’s all good. They had enough to worry about this week.
– This is the episode that introduces us to the “real” Weather Wizard, the previously presumed dead Mark Mardon. As I explained above, they tweaked the origin story here so his brother wasn’t a hapless inventor but was also a “weather wizard,” but it’s this episode’s model who will bedevil the Flash for years to come.
– Note that the wand that Cisco created to combat Mark Mardon/Weather Wizard is in itself a reference to the comics. Since the comic book Mardon wasn’t a metahuman, he used scientific wand to control the weather. See how this all lines up?
– Fans of the comics know that Flash’s rogues aren’t Batman’s. They aren’t maniacs or serial killers. The show has done a good job establishing that the core of the Rogues, particularly as led by Cold, are ego driven thieves. They commit crimes because, well, they love crime.
The conversation between Barry and Snart was such a perfect encapsulation of that Rogue philosophy, and it felt straight out of the comics. It sets up the ground rules for anyone who isn’t familiar with the source material, but it also, perhaps because Grant Gustin and Wentworth Miller are superb, didn’t feel like a big awkward chunk of exposition. The whole “nobody else dies” thing is a nice callback to“Going Rogue” when Cold actually did kill someone and Barry wasn’t fast enough to help. There’s a bit of a stalemate here now that Cold knows Barry’s identity, so maybe that helps with the speed issue, but it also helps set up his time as a potential hero on Legends of Tomorrow.
– I believe the Santini family have turned up in Gotham City…but not on that show. Just the comics.
We have two Tricksters to contend with in this episode!
– The original Trickster (the Mark Hamill version) is James Jesse. Like so many other characters on this list, he was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino. He first appeared in The Flash #113 in 1960, making him one of the earliest of the Rogues.
– Axel Walker, on the other hand, was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins. He first came around in The Flash #183 in 2002.
– Okay, as I’m sure you’re tired of hearing everyone make a big deal about, Mark Hamill has played the Trickster before on the original The Flash TV series. You can spot his old costumes on display in the warehouse, as well as actual stills from the show in his file.
But he also played him on Justice League Unlimited, in the absolutely perfect Flash-centric episode “Flash and Substance.” His Trickster for this episode was slightly “off” those models, neither as spritely as his original TV appearance nor as maniacally menacing as his time voicing the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series. Hamill really did a fine job distinguishing all this stuff.
Fun note! When Mark Hamill played the Trickster on The Flash in 1990, the thought of more Star Wars movies was nothing but the fondest dream…
– “I am your father.” He probably isn’t. But you know damn well why that line was in there. Even Harrison’s zen-like speed force soliloquy seemed appropriate given this week’s guest star. I would call this unnecessary fan-service if it wasn’t for the fact that it would be perfectly in the Trickster’s nature to, y’know, put one over on somebody like that.
– That was Vito D’Ambrosio as Mayor Anthony Bellows. Fans of the original Flash series may know him as Officer Tony Bellows, half of a pair of bumbling cops who provided some comic relief on that show.
– One thing of note during the flashbacks. The comic book Reverse-Flash had a penchant for plastic surgery, once changing his appearance to look exactly like Barry Allen. In other words, some light shapeshifting is kind of in the character’s comic book roots. The weird way Eobard USB’d the real Harrison’s soul is a sideways nod to that.
– The Bug-Eyed Bandit was originally an Atom villain, created by original Flash genius Gardner Fox and the legendary Gil Kane. He was a dude in the comics, though, with the equally on-the-nose name of Bertram Larvan. He isn’t any cooler on the comics page than she was on the screen. Holy moley, this episode sucked.
– The title “All Star Team Up” calls back to any number of awesome DC titles. Justice League predecessors the Justice Society first formed in the pages of All-Star Comics in 1940. They had a revival in the ’80s with the World War II set (so very awesome) comic All-Star Squadron. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman is one of the greatest Superman stories ever told. You get the picture.
– We’ve seen Hudson University before (there’s a Firestorm connection here), but it’s worth noting that when Dick Grayson went off to college, this is where he studied. Does this count as a Nightwing easter egg? The original Killer Frost (Crystal Frost) was also a student here once, so I wonder if this is Caitlin’s alma mater?
– Hannibal Bates/Everyman is pretty unremarkable as presented here, but he’s the first character to appear on either of these shows co-created by Grant Morrison. He first appeared in the excellent 52 series, which is definitely worth seeking out if you have the time.
The scene where he shape-shifts into his mother is a clear nod to Norman Bates of Psycho, who had a habit of putting on Mom’s clothes (and identity). Something tells me the Mrs. Bates of this show met a bad end, too.
– Since the Black Canary of Arrow doesn’t have a superhuman sonic scream, it was up to Cisco to make her “Canary Cry.” Nice touch.
– If Barry created Thawne’s supercomputer Gideon, that’s a level of brilliance we’ve never quite seen from any version of Barry Allen. He didn’t just get a promotion in the Central City Police Department, he got a promotion to scientific genius. Gideon seems like more Reed Richards level stuff to me.
– Speaking of Gideon…she was about to drop that Barry was a member of the Justice League.
– The machine that they use to bring Cisco into a lucid dreaming state looks an awful lot like the kind of eyewear that Vibe would rock.
– Flash doing the arm-circle trick to create a vacuum in a burning building is right out of Silver Age Speedster 101.
Where do we even begin with Gorilla Grodd?
Well, he’s another one of the earliest characters Flash ever faced off with, first showing up in 1959. Who created him? John Broome and Carmine Infantino, of course!
Now, the Grodd of the comics is one of a race of superintelligent gorillas, who live in a technological paradise hidden from the eyes of man called (of course) Gorilla City. Most of them are really nice. Grodd is a dick, which is why he was banished.
Barry becomes quite friendly with the friendlier residents of Gorilla City, though, and I really, really hope that someday they find a way to do this right for us.
You need more Grodd in your life? I give you…The Prime 8: 8 Moments that Prove That, Grodd Damn It! That’s One Awesome Gorilla!
– Central City DA’s name is Cecile? As far as I can remember, they haven’t given her a last name, have they? Because if this is Cecile Horton, she’s a character who eventually has to defend Flash during an ugly manslaughter trial. Whoops…did I say too much? More on this down below.
– The Flash is mockingly referred to as “scarlet speedster” in this episode, which was his official DC Comics nickname forever because things were weird in comics for awhile.
– Hideously bad classic rock standard “Cold as Ice” is playing in the bar.
– You can spot a parallel reality where Barry is the one in prison, not his Dad. I don’t think they’ll ever revisit this, but you never know. That’s not important, though. This one is…
– Eobard Thawne hated Barry Allen so much that he decided to kill Barry’s mother in an attempt to traumatize him so that he never becomes the Flash. In other words, there was already a version of Barry/Flash operating in a universe/timeline where his mother survived. This means that Barry had the stuff to become a hero anyway, even if his mother didn’t die.
This is a little bit meta (and awesome) for two reasons. First of all, it calls back to the fact that in terms of broader Flash mythology, the idea of Nora Allen’s murder is a fairly recent addition to things, first introduced by (now Flash executive producer) Geoff Johns in The Flash: Rebirth in 2009.
But perhaps more importantly, I can’t help but see it as a thumbing of the nose at the ridiculous Batman-centric notion that only horrific personal tragedy can create sufficient motivation for an ordinary person granted extraordinary abilities to turn to superheroics.
Barry Allen’s real superpower isn’t his great speed, it’s his inherent goodness. He was always going to be a hero.
– You can spot a clip from the Legends of Tomorrow promo reel in those visions, and since that show is going to kick off as an Arrow/Flash crossover, we already know we’ll see Barry hanging with those clowns.
– The Mercury-esque helmet that comes clattering through the wormhole is that of Golden Age superhero, original comic book speedster (and personal favorite of mine) Jay Garrick, the Flash of the parallel world of Earth Two. He’ll be played by Teddy Sears.
– You can clearly see The Flash Museum during Barry’s trip into the past, with a nice big statue of our hero on its steps. This is what the grateful citizens of Central City will do for you when they love you enough.
– Also during that bit, that was indeed Caitlin Snow in full Killer Frost garb unleashing some frosty goodness on someone unlucky. We spoke a little with Danielle Panabaker about her Killer Frost transformation right here.
– Future Barry stops Our Barry from saving his Mom. Why? I suspect it’s because, at some point, he’s going to try one more time to save his mother, perhaps with the foolish notion that he’s figured out a way that it won’t drastically change all the other good he’s done.
If you’ve ever read the Flashpoint comic (ummmm…don’t bother…it’s not very good), you’ll know that things turn out horribly for everyone involved. Presumably, the Future Barry on the scene here has already experienced that, and that’s why he tells him not to do it.
Or maybe it’s something else entirely.
– Thawne says he was born 136 years from now. That puts him in the 22nd Century, the year 2151. In the comics, Thawne was from the 25th Century.
– The Time Sphere that Thawne is looking to make his escape in is an important little piece of DC technology. He references Rip Hunter (who we’ll meet in Legends of Tomorrow), but the 31st Century’s Legion of Super-Heroes were quite fond of them as well. Think of it kind of like a TARDIS, I guess, but it’s not bigger on the inside and its primary function is time, not space, travel. Hence the name.
– Professor Stein makes a reference to how that wormhole could take them to “infinite times” of their choosing. It’s all about that wording, and “infinite” is so key to the DC Universe.
– I can’t think of a “Katie Rogers” in the DC Universe, but it could be a reference to Des Taylor’s beautifully illustrated Katie Rogers comics. Des Taylor draws a wonderful Superman, too, so I imagine he has some fans in the DC crowd.
– Barry has one minute and fifty-two seconds to close that wormhole. Y’know, just the roughly 52nd time we’ve had the magic DC number thrown around between these shows this year.
– “May the Speed Force be with you.” Even when he isn’t trying, Cisco is naming stuff from the comics!
– Stein’s “Excelsior” crack is a reference to Stan Lee’s hyperbolic exclamation of choice. And, no, Stan Lee had nothing to do with any of the characters who have ever appeared on this show.
– Eddie probably isn’t dead. He just got sucked into a wormhole where anything can happen. We’ll be seeing him again. I’m even more sure that we haven’t seen the last of Eobard Thawne. If The Flash is turning into the Doctor Who of superhero shows, then this guy is The Master.
I think that’s everything, but if I missed anything, let me know in the comments or on Twitter!