November 19, 2012

Who is the New Reverse-Flash?

Category: General — By @ 6:47 pm

The Negative Flash

DC recently announced that a new Reverse-Flash will debut in Flash #17, the final chapter of “Gorilla Warfare,” and will feature in the story beginning in Flash #20. Writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato wouldn’t reveal much this early, though the next story is going to focus on the question of “Who is the Reverse-Flash?”

Looking back at the interview, they don’t outright say that it won’t be Eobard Thawne or Hunter Zolomon, though that’s the way Comic Book Resources took it (and in the New 52, it makes sense to take that approach).

According to Manapul, the character “is going to be a complete re-imagining of him in the same way that we kind of tinkered with what the Speed Force is. We’re going to be explaining what the opposite side of that is.” Buccellato adds, “unlike previous Reverse-Flash iterations, we really take the ‘reverse’ part of it seriously.”

Of course, we’re comics fans, so it’s never too early to start speculating about the possibilities!

Dr. Darwin Elias. Initially an ally of the Flash, a scientist who has studied the speed force and the Flash’s powers. It turns out that he has a serious problem with ethics. He turned popular opinion against the Flash just to see what it would take, and gave the Rogues super-powers just to see what would happen. He and Barry Allen both being scientists could make for an interesting dynamic. Edit: On the downside, he’s already got potential in his current form, so folding him into an existing role takes what could be two villains and cuts them down to one.

Daniel West. Iris’ brother, recently released from jail after serving time for a job that was tharted by the Flash. He’s looking for his missing sister, who vanished during one of the Flash’s battles and is now trapped inside the speed force. It’s not hard to see motive, and if he somehow finds Iris, he could easily end up connected to the speed force in some way.

Iris West. The Flash could use some more female villains, she’s in the speed force right now, and it would be interesting to have the new Reverse Flash be someone with a romantic link to the Flash. That said, that angle has already been explored a lot with Batman, Catwoman and Talia Al Ghul; Iris doesn’t really have motivation to go villainous; and it would be a major change to a long-established character. On the other hand…

Patty Spivot. She’s mad at the Flash for “killing” Barry Allen. Unlike Iris, she’s actually dated Barry seriously in this timeline. She’s met someone (Turbine) who has been in the speed force, and could conceivably end up linked to it — in fact, in the last moments of the previous DCU timeline, she was linked to it, taking up Hot Pursuit’s outfit and speed force-powered motorcycle just before Flashpoint transformed the universe. She’s had enough page time for the audience to appreciate a switch, but not as much historical inertia as Iris.

Wally West. His fans have been clamoring for his return, and DC has been very coy: either they have no plans, or they’re saving him for something big. We don’t know what he’s up to in this timeline (if he even exists), but since Flashes have a history of dimension travel, we can imagine a pre-New 52 Wally West being trapped in this timeline, wanting to repair it, and blaming Barry for wiping his family out of existence. On the downside, DC has already gone down this road with Hal Jordan as Parallax and Superboy Prime (not that they’ve ever shied away from repetition). More importantly, perhaps, DC has been very insistent on not offering any “escape hatches” that might allow fans to think the old DCU could possibly come back, ever. Having a character explicitly from that old continuity sounds like something they’d want to stay away from. This option also didn’t fare well in the polls. 71% of Wally West fans and 64% of non-Wally fans, or 70% of the total responses, were opposed to the idea.* Update: Some additional thoughts on Wally West as a candidate.

Other possibilities: Bart Allen’s unlikely, as he’ll also be appearing in the same arc. There are other people at the crime lab, like Singh or Forrest. There’s Captain Frye or even Henry Allen. I’m fairly certain that Barry Allen’s literal evil twin, Cobalt Blue, has been long-since erased from history, but the science/magic dichotomy could still play out with another character.

My bet is either Dr. Elias or Daniel West, though I’d like to see what the book might do with Iris or Patty. What do you think?

Who do you think is going to be the new Reverse-Flash?

*The poll asked people to choose whether they were “a fan of Wally West” or “not particularly a fan of Wally West,” and whether they would be “OK with” the reveal. Of 106 votes: 67 fans opposed, 28 fans OK, 7 non-fans opposed, 4 non-fans OK.