Because time is short at the moment, I’m going to provide you with the simplest of possible answers to your question about the latest villain to pop up on The Flash TV series: who is the Mist? If you’re looking for the review of that episode, “Things You Can’t Outrun” click here, as this article is a supplemental piece to the review.
Now, I could simply regurgitate some Wikipedia article mixed in with a smartass remark or three, but I’m not going to do that this evening. What I will do is tell you where you can read what is, unquestionably, the greatest story to ever feature the character: and it isn’t in the pages of a Flash comic.
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 on The Flash “Things You Can’t Outrun” (played by Anthony Carrigan). However, the live-action Mist is a bit more of a killer than his comic book counterpart who wasn’t made up of poison gas, nor was he 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.
If you’re enjoying shows like The Flash and Arrow, what you don’t want to do is seek out old issues of Adventure Comics featuring a red and green clad superhero wielding something called a Gravity Rod. I mean, I love this stuff, but I don’t expect everyone to. Golden Age comics can be a bit of a headache to modern eyes if you don’t choose your battles wisely. But if you wanna know more about the Mist, and also want to check out one of the great superhero sagas of the modern era…
You must read Starman by James Robinson and Tony Harris. I’m not going to get into all the details here (I’ll do thousands upon thousands of words on this series in the future…that’s not a threat, it’s a promise), because, like I said at the top, time is short. But if there’s a DC Comics property that is just dying for some time on TV, it’s this version of Starman. That’s another story, too, but here are the basics:
Pick up either Starman Omnibus Volume 1 or the out of print but very cheap Starman Volume 1: Sins of the Father trade paperback. There you will be told the ultimate Mist story. In short: Kyle Nimbus is now an old man, and he wants to take his final revenge on Ted Knight/Starman, who is also an old man. He ends up tangling with Ted’s son Jack, who reluctantly takes up the Starman mantle.
It’s far weirder and sadder than I’m making it sound here. But you’ll probably be hooked enough to stick around for the rest of the Starman epic, which spans several volumes and tells a story that stretches from the early days of DC superheroes to the modern day, and features guest appearances from guys like Oscar Wilde.
You’ll just have to trust me on that last part.