Discussion – The Man in the Yellow Suit, Part 4

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What follows contains spoilers from season 1 of THE FLASH.

If The Flash did all the running, why is it that *I* feel like I’m out of breath??  Episode 17, “Tricksters,” was another amazing episode while Episode 18, “All Star Team Up,” was more of a filler.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how great it was to see Mark Hamill reprise his Trickster role.  “I am your father”?   The writers probably wet themselves when they realized that opportunity was available.

Now, let’s talk Reverse Flash!  First, to the Prediction Tracker:

  • Wells is Eobard Thawne – Status: Confirmed Correct
  • Barry and Thawne fight “through time” which ends with Thawne stranded in the past – Status: Confirmed Correct 
  • Thawne needs Barry’s power to get back to his time – Status: Confirmed Correct 
  • Wells is not really his name – as a time traveler, he chose H. Wells as a reference to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine  –  Status: Confirmed Incorrect (It was a reference to HG Wells but by the writers themselves, not Thawne) 
  • Thawne’s “dead” wife (named Tess Morgan) is really Dr. Tina McGee of Mercury Labs – Status: 99% Incorrect  (Not 100% sure, but we’ve seen enough to say this is extremely unlikely) 
  • Dr. Wells / Thawne caused the anomaly on purpose – Status: Inconclusive 
  • Barry will somehow become the very anomaly that causes the STAR Labs particle accelerator to melt down. – Status: Inconclusive 
  • From the night Nora Allen was killed forward, everything Thawne did he did for one reason:  To create the Flash – Status: Inconclusive 
  • Barry will study the pictures from the mirror and “change” how he fights Thawne – Status: Inconclusive 

Now, lets head get to the good stuff.

Is Wells really Thawne? Not quite. 

Thawne isn’t REALLY Wells.  Using future tech, he ambushed Wells, absorbed Wells thoughts, memories, and mannerisms which killed the actual body of Wells.  While his body does look, sound and act like Wells he does remain Thawne inside. Because so much of Wells is apparently still in there, it’s safe to assume they will try to find a way to get him out.  If only we had a device which could safely split apart two beings sharing the same physical body….

Yellow Suit 4.1

Oh that’s right. WE DO HAVE THAT DEVICE! The tachyon device Wells/Thawne turned into a quantum splicer to save Firestorm does exactly that!  At some point in the near future I expect to see Barry get this device onto Wells/Thawne’s chest, split the two of them apart and save Dr. Wells.

This is a superhero show and over and above everything else, superheroes save people. Wells was Barry’s hero. Wells is Ray Palmer’s hero.  From a story perspective it’s difficult to see STAR Labs continue with him gone and if he remains Thawne that’s what will happen.  Barry knowing that Wells is evil and murdered his mother – but still working with Wells – can’t go on forever.  Week by week this tension has built.  It’s only a matter of time before it comes to a head and Barry confronts Wells/Thawne with the truth.  When that happens either Wells has to be saved or the whole “team working at STAR Labs” dynamic is destroyed.

When Barry discovers that his hero was actually the victim of a heinous crime – a crime committed by the man who killed his mother –Barry will go to any length to save him.  This is a terrific story to tell.  It also keeps Tom Cavanaugh on the show as a regular (Dr. Wells) rather than a here-and-there villain (Thawne / Reverse Flash) which is another tremendous plus.

Lastly, we KNOW this split takes place because it already has. Wait…what?

Yellow Suit 4.2

I’m going to need to re-watch Back to the Future II.

This piece is a touch confusing. I’m not Doc Brown and I don’t have a chalkboard but I’ll do my best

I’ll start this with a question:  If Barry fought Reverse Flash right now – this week in the present time line – and Barry unmasked him what would Reverse Flash’s face look like? It’d look like Harrison Wells.

We’ve seen that when Thawne takes off his mask he looks like Thawne and not Wells. That means when he and Barry started fighting he already looked like ThawneBut as we determined above if the fight took place now he’d look like Wells.  That means at some point before that fight starts they must be split apart else when Thawne removed his cowl he’d still have looked like Wells.

For the record, I love time travel stuff and this makes my head hurt.  But mark it down – at some point soon Harrison Wells and Eobard Thawne will no longer share the same body. Wells will go back to being the guy who was Barry’s and Ray Palmer’s hero, Tina McGee’s friend etc…and Thawne..well…who knows what will happen to him but we can hope it’s nothing good.

Errata 

In “All Star Team Up” Cisco was able to see a future that didn’t happen.  There are several possible explanations for this in Flash lore including (but not limited to):

  • Cisco being able to access visions from alternate dimensions a’la Gardner Fox from Flash of Two Worlds. Recall that Earth-2 heroes were comic book heroes on Earth-1.  Fox claimed that the authors of the comics on Earth-1 came up with their stories by “viewing” the real-life events of Earth-2.  This is very similar to what’s happening to Cisco

Status:  EXTREMELY Unlikely But Very Cool If They Do 

Both time lines still “exist” but are separated by extremely close vibrational frequencies to which Cisco is sensitive allowing him to see the other time line(what with him eventually becoming Vibe)

Status: Possible

The time lines are converging and Cisco is just the first to pick up on it because the event of his death at the hands of Reverse Flash is so traumatic.

Status: Possible 

When Thawne talks to Gideon on the night where he loses his powers Gideon says (and I quote here): “Your latest time jump against The Flash caused a massive drain on your powers…”

I don’t know what a time-jump is exactly but I’ll hazard a guess it means Thawne goes back into the past to change something in hopes of defeating the Flash.

That said there are two words which stick out to me: latest and against.  Latest implies he’s done this at least once before.  Against implies the Flash has also time jumped in an effort to stop him.

What does this mean?  I think it means coming seasons will contain a LOT of Flash vs. Reverse Flash time travel.  It also means I should probably stock up on Advil because as I said above while I love time travel it does make my head hurt.

What is it with the liquid in this town?

It’s always flying up and out of things.

Or is it?  Is it always?

Moments before Barry is struck by the lightning bolt the liquid chemicals in his beakers begin to float up out of them.

Moments before Flash and Reverse Flash begin fighting in Barry’s childhood home the water floats up out of child-Barry’s fish tank and Nora’s wine glass

We are never given a reason why this happens and are left to infer that this odd behavior was caused by the presence of the Flash and the Reverse Flash fighting at such high speeds.  However, the Flash has been running all over Central City and we’ve not seen liquid have that reaction in other cases.  I suspect this means something else is at play.

I think the floating liquid is the result of a “time ripple” – a before (or after) effect of something  in the time stream having been changed.  Like Deja-vu in the Matrix indicating the Machines changed something, once explained, the “liquid floating up means something’s changed” be a solid tip off to the audience.

Open Questions: 

  1. Why does Thawne hate Barry? What is his motivation for time travelling from the 25th century to meet the Flash in the first place?
  2. Thawne says Wells changes history in 2020 and he needs “it to happen a little sooner”.  I don’t know exactly what he means by this.  I assume this means Wells somehow creates the Flash in 2020 (perhaps the particle accelerator accident occurs then too, perhaps not) but Thawne can’t / doesn’t want to wait that long for the Speed Force to be created.  So the questions are:
  3. If Thawne doesn’t become Wells would Barry still become the Flash?
  4. Would the powered Rogues have become the villains they became?

Remember, the premise the show has set is that powers are somehow related to what was happening / what they were doing when they were hit by the particle accelerator explosion.  They would likely not have been in the same place / doing the same thing in 2020. Would the Mist still be getting executed in 2020?  Would Girder have fallen into that vat of molten steel? Would the Mardon’s be caught in a tremendous storm?  Just a thought with which to end this post!

The next episode is titled “Who is Harrison Wells”.  Honestly, I can’t wait !

–  Vrin

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Review – Batman, Vol. 4: Zero Year-Secret City [No Spoilers]

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So I’m getting tired of the Joker, I think.

I thought Death of the Family was a great Joker story–it was deep, and like Court of Owls before it, it shows Scott Snyder’s incredible knowledge and understanding of the character of Batman/Bruce Wayne. It was a welcome arc at the time, as New 52 hadn’t seen the Joker since Detective Comics #1, which was also quite good.

Batman V.4This time around, it gets a bit redundant. In Zero Year-Secret City, we get the story of the first days of Batman in Gotham City, which again, is a welcome story for a skilled writer to tell, but what we get comes off as strained, forced, and ultimately redundant. This is, I think, because we get not just Batman’s origin story, but also that of the Joker’s. And the problem that comes with that is the problem that has faced theBatman mythos since a certain movie came out in 2008:

Is this Batman’s story, or is this the Joker’s story?

I honestly can’t tell which anymore. There is so much focus on the Joker in this collection, in his numerous monologues, and Bruce Wayne and Alfred spend so much time talkingabout the Joker, that the development of the character of Batman really takes a backseat to the Joker’s grandstanding. The force ofThe Dark Knight, and what it did for the popularity of an already very popular character, has reached a break point, in that a talented, knowledgeable writer is now churning out issues that use Batman to develop the Joker. Death of the Family knocked it out of the park–especially in Batman #17–but all the revisiting of those ideas and the underscoring of how this story is structured makes Batman tired for the first time under Snyder’s supervision.

What results is the weakest collection of Batman comics of the New 52. Snyder made his point about the nature of the relationship between Batman and the Joker expertly , thoroughly, and finally in the previous arc, and to go backward at this point seems the wrong play. There’s a richness to the Bat-verse that seems to be left on the table with each of these huge-concept, Joker-centric story arcs, and while we get a look at the Riddler as a sort of up-and-comer, DC only packages four issues in this collection (#21-24), so that becomes a cliffhanger to a story that has only been marginally developed throughout this particular, scant, and story-redundant trade paperback.

The two strengths of this collection can’t go un-discussed: Greg Capullo is in top form again, lending incredible detail to both the characters (the Zero Year Batsuit is off-the-charts cool) and to Gotham City that this might be the best work he’s done since he took on penciling duties for the book. The other nice surprise was the three backup features included at the end of this collection, in which we get short vignettes about how Bruce learned to do the stone cold things that Batman can do: drive, invent, and fight. There are Russian madmen, South American criminals, and one-eyed Viking queens to help him along, and even though they’re relatively short, Tynion and Snyder make the most of the short pages they have for these shorts and really show us some interesting, new moments from Batman’s in-training years.

Batman will probably always be my favorite comic book character, but I hope to see more focus on Batmanhimself in future volumes after Convergence. Since Volume 5 focuses on finishing the Zero Year event, and Volume 7 will tell yet another six-issue Joker story in Endgame, it might be a while before we get some distance between Batman and his archenemy. But with the rich pool of villains who have gone ignored for the past three-and-a-half years, I hope to see DC’s top creative team take on some of those characters before their run ends. Their work is top-notch, but I think it’ll be more remembered for how it treats the Joker rather than the hero who will always defeat him.

–  Vandal

Book Review – Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne [No Spoilers]

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We move steadily towards The Force Awakens with a new answer to an old question: how did Luke Skywalker learn how to make that lightsaber jump off the floor of the Wampa’s cave? While there’s a lot more to Heir to the Jedi than that, it’s one of best the questions at the core of a good story that gives us a sort of midterm progress report on Luke between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

Heir to the JediHe’s Lieutenant Skywalker when we catch up with him, and the Rebellion is out looking for a place to set up shop. In the meantime, the Rebellion finds itself short on contacts, and short on cash, and short on intel, so Luke gets dispatched on his own to solve all three problems. Thanks to some good plot structure from author Kevin Hearne, the book neither gives Luke too much to do, nor does it read like a three-act play; the solutions to the Rebels’ problems comes through Luke’s ability to relate to new people and new situations.

As the story reads mostly like a manhunt/rescue/fight-and-flight narrative, the locations that Luke visits with his new compatriots aren’t as memorable as Tatooine, Hoth, Bespin, or Dagobah, that really doesn’t undercut the story–Luke is a hero between stages of his development, so the sense of malleability with the setting as the plot moves from station to station doesn’t reduce the quality of the plot in any way. More, they provide a range of challenges to Luke at a point at which learning to grow in the Force toward Jedi-hood seems impossible. The book isn’t all about these worries, but Hearne does a great job of weaving Luke’s thinking into and out of that concern.

The supporting cast is interesting, mainly because of the math-reasoning Givin spy around whom the plot revolves. There’s some great science in this piece of science fiction, and Hearne makes use of his imagination and develops an interesting race of beings that serve an important role in explaining how the Rebel Alliance continued to gain support and power after the destruction of the first Death Star.

All in all, I enjoyed Heir to the Jedi as much as I have each of these first three LSG-approved Star Wars novels, and with the focus on the post-Clone Wars era being the chief work of the LSG, it’s good to see them fitting the pieces together so expertly. It’s been quite a long time since Luke Skywalker went on an adventure quite like this, and Kevin Hearne does a great job of bringing the character and situations back to life in true Star Wars fashion.

–  Vandal