TV’s The Flash – Waiting for the Future Flash To Arrive

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Please check out this blog post from our friend Blaine Pardoe on where The Flash is headed in its final three episodes of the season!

Notes From The Bunker

Flash

Run Barry…run! 

First off – The Flash is one of the best superhero series to be put on TV since the first season of Heroes (we won’t talk about the following seasons for obvious reasons).  The Flash has done something rare, it is captured the intricate “feel” of the comic book and brought it to a mainstream audience without cheapening itself along the way.  It has given us homages to the 1980’s TV series while bringing the Rogues Gallery of villains to the screen.  The series of a stunning hit – a fantastic mix of special effects, solid writing, and the hint of bigger things to come.

More importantly, it has given us a larger story arc of the Reverse Flash who has, from the first episode on, been manipulating Barry Allen and his cohorts.  The Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne) is an uber-villain from the DC universe, the kind of criminal worthy…

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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

Discussion! ‘The Man in the Yellow Suit’, Part 3

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What follows contains spoilers from season 1 of THE FLASH.

Jaw-dropping.

Brain-melting.

Unbelievable.

Holy (deity or curse word of your choice)

These were some of the online reactions to The Flash, Episode 15: “Out of Time”. Before we get started, let me leave a little spoiler space.

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Ok, here we go!

Let’s start with the prediction accuracy tracker:

  • 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: Inconclusive 
  • Wells is really Eobard Thawne  – Status: Check
  • Barry and Thawne fight “through time” which ends with Thawne stranded in the past – Status:  Inconclusive but likely
  • Thawne needs Barry’s power to get back to his time – Status: Check
  • Wells caused the anomaly on purpose – Status: Inconclusive
  • Thawne’s “dead” wife (named Tess Morgan) is really Dr. Tina McGee of Mercury Labs– Status: Inconclusive
  • Barry will somehow become the very anomaly that causes the STAR Labs particle accelerator to melt down.  – Status: Inconclusive

Now, let’s talk about Episode 15, “Out of Time.”  The last 10 minutes of this had more “payoff” than any show I can remember.  Season finales – heck SERIES finales – have had less startling revelations (I’m looking at you, Sopranos!)   Starting at the 50 minute mark we got:

  • The final reveal that Wells is really Eobard Thawne, The Reverse Flash from the 25th century;
  • The “death” of Cisco (more on that later);
  • Iris finally admitting that she loved Barry;
  • Iris finding out Barry is the Flash; and
  • Barry travelling back in time.

Think about that for a minute. That all took place within 10 minutes of real time!  The image below accurately reflects what was going on at my house as I watched

Yellow Suit 3.1

Hat tip to Batman Memes for the pic!

So where does this leave us? Let’s start with the obvious. A lot of main characters are in bad shape – Singh, Joe, and Cisco are seriously injured or dead and a tidal wave is about to hit Central City

So, what happens next?

…..and then Barry travels back in time with most of the knowledge of what’s coming.  However, Barry does not know that Wells is Reverse Flash.  He cut Caitlyn off before she could tell him.  This is important.

The obvious story here is that Barry will change events such that Singh and Joe do not meet those fates and Mardon is captured before the tidal wave can be set off.

Cisco is another matter. His discovery about Wells/Thawne has been building for weeks – much earlier than where Barry is in time.  This time travel will not fully derail him.  Something may throw him off the scent for a while but like Thawne says, Cisco is clever.  He may get delayed (which saves his life in the short-term) but ultimately he will not be denied.  His current death will likely be undone by Barry but he’s still Thawne’s trail.  Eventually, he’ll figure it out again. I hope Barry is around when he does.

Now, why is it important that Barry doesn’t know about Wells true identity?  Let’s say the conversation between Caitlyn and Barry had gone like this:

Caitlyn:  “Barry, I need to tell you something important”

Barry:  “Not now, Mardon is causing a tidal wave that will flood the whole city!”

Caitlyn: “Barry, I just got back to STAR Labs. Cisco is dead and before he died, he convinced me that Wells is the bad guy. He’s in league with the Reverse Flash.  Now, go create a wind wall to sap the wave’s power”

Barry creates the wind wall and goes back in time.

Imagine what he would do with the information Catilyn gave him.  If he had found out about Wells before he travelled back in time.

Barry would have investigated and gone after him.  Especially if Cisco convinced Barry that Wells was really the Reverse Flash.  But Barry doesn’t know – and now Cisco / Catilyn are days away from discovering it.  I suspect the writers will enjoy throwing Thawne / Reverse Flash references at us whenever we see Wells for the next few episodes.  Barry, Cisco, Caitlyn and Joe will be blissfully unaware while we scream and shout at our TV sets.  Beautiful.

We have several weeks until the season finale.  I could see them throwing Cisco off the trail for the next few weeks only to have him re-discover the truth in time for the final couple of episodes.  Perhaps Thawne attacking Cisco is the fuse that ignites the “fight through time” battle that Barry and Thawne will have?  I could buy that.

Where does this leave Barry and Iris?

Barry went back in time but unlike the situation with Wells true identity, he knows that Iris loves him.  That will probably be true a few days back as well but Iris has apparently felt this way for a while.  Will she admit it to herself?  Will she allow herself to admit it to Barry?  That is definitely up in the air.  As the show is on the CW I’m going to go with “Soon” and “Eventually”.

Due to Barry’s time travel, Iris will also never have learned that Barry is the Flash.  Eventually, we get to see that reveal again.  If it’s like the comic books it’ll be slightly more….cozy.

So where are we headed?

Time for some more predictions!

Barry will study the pictures from the mirror and “change” how he fights Thawne 

We know now that Barry and Thawne will fight. They will travel back to the night Nora was killed and Thawne was stranded in the past. The question is, will it happen the same way again?

We’ve seen Barry look at the pictures from the night Nora Allen died.  During that conversation with Joe he says the pictures tell him what not to do. Barry works under the assumption that if he does something different, he’ll save his mother.  While that’s possible, it’s likely that saving his mother could lead to his father dying instead or to Thawne keeping his powers  or to…any number of things.  This screams “Law of unintended consequences” to me. In short, Barry will save Nora.  Hilarity will ensue.

Reverse Flash – Murderer  

We’ve already seen this: Yellow Suit 3.2

How long before we see this?
Yellow Suit 3.3

Who is that underneath that Batgirl mask? That’s Iris Allen.  The way she dies at the hands of the Reverse Flash looks familiar, doesn’t it?  I do not think this is imminent but down the road?  Definitely. Why else show Thawne kill Cisco that way?

We will find out that everything Wells/Thawne has done – built STAR Labs, built the particle accelerator and created the anomaly which caused the explosion – is for one reason and one reason only:  To create the Flash.

We now know that Thawne is from centuries ahead in time (the 25th century if the lore is a guide). While living in the 25th century, before he ever time travelled, it’s possible that he’d know someone named Harrison Wells created STAR Labs back in 2001.  At some point, Thawne’s 25th century technology allows him to mimic The Flash’s powers. Fast forward to now.

Barry and Thawne fight and Barry figures out how to remove Thawne’s powers.  Barry travels back to the future leaving Thawne marooned in 2001.  Thawne assumes the identity of Harrison Wells.  With no immediate way to create time travel he does the only thing he can do:  Begin the steps needed to bring the Flash into existence so he can mimic Flash’s powers and time travel again.

Think about it. This is Eobard Thawne, one of the great villains in DC comic history.  He’s not the altruistic type.  There is no logical reason for a marooned-in-the-past supervillain like Thawne to create STAR Labs EXCEPT to allow him to get what he wants. In this case that is a return trip to the 25th century.  In Thawne’s own words, the Flash’s power is the only thing that can help him do it. Bank on it.  Everything Thawne has done while using the name Harrison Wells was to create The Flash.

Like the man said, it’s a means to an end.

–  Vrin

A side note:  I’ve watched the Thawne reveal a dozen times now. I still get chills when I see it.  They did an absolutely MASTERFUL job setting it up.  Masterful.

Review! The Flash, Vol. 3: ‘Gorilla Warfare’ [No Spoilers]

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Messrs. Manapul and Buccellato bring this first set of New 52 story arcs to a satisfying and thorough close in The Flash, Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare, which picks up immediately following the arrival of Gorilla Grodd and his invasion force to Central City in search of the Scarlet Speedster and his connection to the Speed Force itself.

Flash V.3A

There’s a lot going on in THE FLASH, VOL. 3: GORILLA WARFARE, and all of it is awesome as the New 52 book continues into its second year.

STORY AND SCRIPT
In my review of Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution, I talked about all of the plot threads that the creative team had snowballed into the current gorilla-filled predicament. In Vol. 3, Manapul and Buccellato wrap all of them up evenly and satisfyingly. All plots are touched by Barry’s showdown with Grodd: the new Rogues and their new superpowered status; Iris West and others’ internment inside the Speed Force; Barry’s outstanding status as “dead”; and, of course, the connection to the citizens of Gorilla City.

The first five issues of this collection tell the five-part “Gorilla Warfare” story arc that treats all of these threads with some attention–the battles are well-paced, the dialogue that needs to happen does, and when it becomes necessary for the storytellers to change the scene, the transitions are clear. When all of the plots come together, they do so in a huge finale that in no way disappoints, and the conclusion here takes The Flash as an ongoing comic book to its highest point that it has in the New 52.

A brief, two-issue arc concludes the volume, telling a interesting story about the Trickster and his alleged murder of a security guard, and while it’s not anything close to the scale of the previous eighteen issues, it doesn’t have to be, as we get a peek of where we’re going next (and it looks excellent).

PENCILS AND ARTWORK
Manapul’s watercolor-style artwork is still some of the best in the New 52. It stands out in its stylish uniqueness, and it fits the book perfectly, but what really stands out most from this collection was the paneling through the middle of the volume.

Flash V.3B

As the experience of the Flash at that particular moment (sampled above) is somewhat abstract, and as Barry is narrating at that point, it might have been hard to get a sense of that scene’s role in advancing the story were it not for the shape of the panels in which the sequence takes place. It’s a striking moment in the story, and while it offers the reader the same quality artwork that he or she expects from the rockstar creative team, it’s a striking approach to that part of the story and a great moment for the entire series.

BACKLOG PRIORITY
9/10The Flash has been one of the most consistently excellent books in the New 52, and after making a lot of promises in the first year of the book, Manapul and Buccellato deliver on all of them, wrapping up a year’s worth of plot points in a great five-issue arc that takes the series to its highest point yet.

Vandal

Discussion! ‘The Flash’ Teaser Poster: Don’t Blink, You Might Miss It

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The CW just released a new poster for The Flash and it’s a great image.  But is that all it is?

"Pilot"The Flash is so fast that he leaves an after-image.  In the poster, his after image is the shape of his insignia, a lightning bolt.  But is that all of what’s happening in this poster?

No.  Not even close. As comic artists are wont to do, they’ve made this poster FULL of Easter Eggs.  And a few of them are seriously great!

First, some shameless CW cross-promotion:

  • In the top right corner you can see the Queen Consolidated building from the CW’s Arrow.
  • On the right toward the bottom is Big Belly Burger, another Arrow reference

But that’s not all…

  • In the bottom right corner, chalk writing says “Grodd Lives”.
  • The AmerTek building is seen on the middle of the left side.  AmerTek is the employer of John Henry Irons (DC Comics’ Steel)
  • The Kord Industries building can be found toward the middle of the picture.  It’s founder, Ted Kord, is better known in DC Comics as the Blue Beetle.
  • Across the street from Kord is S.T.A.R. Labs, DC Comics’ super science lab.
  • And to the left of Queen Consolidated is a skyscraper with blurry logo.  I’m not 100% of what this logo is.   What major DC corporations are left? Wayne Enterprises? Lexcorp?  Stagg?  Something lesser known?  I feel like I’ve seen the logo before but I can’t place it. Here’s a blown up (but mildly blurry) image:

The Flash Preview 3What do you think it is?

That’s all I could find.  Let’s talk about some implications:

  • Gorilla Grodd, the telepathic gorilla in perpetual search of minions to rule, will eventually be part of the show.  In Flash lore, he’s a serious heavyweight with his character ranging from would-be ruler of Gorilla City to conqueror, King and would-be owner of the Speed Force.  He’s taken Barry to the brink of defeat more than once.
  • The Queen/Arrow references are shameless cross-promotion. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Comic books have held crossovers for decades. In fact, Barry’s appearance on Arrow was a Season 2 highlight!  According to sources, the first Flash/Arrow cross-over will take place in each show’s episode 8.
  • John Henry Irons superhero Steel may make an appearance.  His first appearance was as a hero helping to bridge the gap after The Death of Superman.  He has remained a popular character ever since.
  • Ted Kord, aka Blue Beetle, may make an appearance as well.

BACKLOG PRIORITY
The Flash is a 10/10 must see.  I haven’t seen anything to make me think it’ll be anything other than a knockout hit.

Here’s what I know for sure: I’m looking forward to The Flash more and more every day.  Why isn’t it October 7th yet????

Vrin

Preview: ‘The Flash’

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His name is Barry Allen but most people know him better as The Flash.

That line begins almost every issue of The Flash. I was 7 years old when I read it for the first time in 1976.  As I was a chatty child, I’m pretty sure my parents bought me that first Flash comic to shut me up. I took to comics immediately. The Flash became my favorite in a…nevermind.  I loved the idea of the chronically-late Barry Allen being altered at the molecular level by a freak lightning/chemical accident that blessed him with the ability to outrun bullets, sound and (in some cases) even light!

By the mid-1980s, I owned an almost-complete run of Barry Allen’s Flash with comics dating back to the early 1960s.  My other friends liked Superman, Spider Man, The X-Men. But the Flash – he was my hero.  I read and re-read every issue so many times that I knew them by heart.  The fights with the Rogues, Grodd, Abrakadabra, the Time Travel, the Dimension travel, Iris’ death at the hands of Reverse Flash, Barry’s vengeance and subsequent trial, these were the stories I connected with. I could identify the issue number just by looking at the cover, recite the story by heart…I knew them all.

The Flash as he appeared in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS in 1985.

The Flash died a hero’s death during 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.  I was 15 when it happened. I knew it was coming as DC had said the Barry Allen Flash run would end soon.  Still, it hurt.  But my hero died well – saving us all from the universe crushing Anti-Monitor.  As opposed to most comic book deaths The Flash stayed dead too.  His sidekick Wally West, the Kid Flash, took up his uniform and continued the fight. I didn’t care for Wally much.  As they say, you never get over your first love.

The next time we saw Barry Allen was on the short lived 1990 CBS The Flash TV series and it was bad.  Really bad.  They changed Iris from a gutsy Lois Lane style reporter to flighty art student and then wrote her off the show.  They bastardized every villain – tortured them really – until they were unrecognizable. It was a massacre. But it was Barry and it was the Flash and so I watched.  It lasted for half a season. I hate-watched all 12 episodes before the show was thankfully put out of its misery.

Barry stayed dead for the next 20 or so years.  DC teased at bringing him back from time to time. My ears perked up whenever they did. In that time culture formerly reserved for geeks became extremely popular.  The world figured out how to translate superhero comics to TV and movies in Barry’s absence.  Batman movies, X-Men movies, Marvel Universe movies, Smallville, Arrow and similar shows were now everywhere.

During DC’s Final Crisis event, Barry Allen – my hero, the real Flash – returned to the DC universe.   During their Flashpoint crossover event, DC “rebooted” the entire universe into “The New 52” which included Barry as the Flash.  I’ve been reading them since and they’ve been terrific.

The Flash PromoThe CW wants to introduce you to someone this October.  His name is Barry Allen. Most people know him better as The Flash.  He’s been my hero since I was 7 and I can’t wait to see him again.

Backlog Priority
“This is a 10/10 must see/must DVR” he said, surprising nobody. The series begins October 7th.

Vrin