Tag Archives: Reverse Flash

“FLASHPOINT” – Review of THE FLASH Ep 3.1

We’ve been waiting all summer for this…the third season debut of THE FLASH! When we left season two, Barry had run all the way back to that pivotal moment in time to save his mother. “Flashpoint” Promo ClipWe knew there would be consequences…and with an episode titled “Flashpoint” we knew everything would be different. What does the TV version of the “Flashpoint” world look like? How awesome is this episode? Want to learn more? Follow us after the jump!

NOTE: This review is being posted prior to the airing of THE FLASH on the West Coast of the US. If you haven’t seen the show yet….PLEASE wait until after you see the show to read on!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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The Enduring Appeal Of Flash Villains

Why do people like Flash villains so much? They’re arguably just as beloved as the Flashes themselves, and even many comics creators rank them as being among the best rogues galleries in comics.

There are many reasons for this, some of which simply come down to them being very memorable and entertaining characters, and in some cases even lovable (your mileage on the latter may vary, however). You might be surprised by how many dedicated fans there are of the Rogues and/or the Reverse Flashes. But there are other reasons for their popularity as well.

Firstly there are the villains’ powers or gimmicks, most of which complement or neutralize the Flashes’ speed. The Reverse Flashes obviously match the speed of their nemeses, allowing for some extraordinarily epic races and forcing the heroes to get faster or more creative with their powers. The Flash television series has shown this quite well, with Barry Allen being pushed to go ever faster to combat the superior speed of Eobard Thawne and Zoom. And many of the Rogues’ powers combat speed in some way by slowing down motion, such as Captain Cold’s cold gun and the Turtle’s kinetic black hole. Still others have devised inventive ways around the Flashes’ speed, such as Mirror Master’s near-magic mirror tech, the Top’s vertigo power, and the Pied Piper’s hypnosis. They’re all extremely well-suited to fighting the Flash, and are very good at what they do. Several of the Rogues have noted that fighting other heroes almost seems like it’s happening in slow motion because they’re so accustomed to combat with speedsters.

Another reason for the villains’ popularity is that they’re an excellent contrast for the Flashes’ heroism. The Reverse Flashes — particularly the obsessive Professor Zoom, who’s alternately been a tremendous fan of Barry Allen and at other times wanted to take his place — show us just how terrifying and awful the Flashes could be if they were bad people (or in Zoom’s case, deranged). The Reverse Flashes are a dark mirror to demonstrate the noble qualities of the heroes. This was especially hammered home when Professor Zoom murdered Barry’s mother and we saw that tragedy didn’t twist him as it did Hunter Zolomon.

In the same vein, the similarly poor upbringings of the Rogues and Wally West showcase the differences between them; Wally came from a broken home and still became a hero, while the Rogues became anti-social criminals and at least some attributed it to their dysfunctional early lives. Wally said of Double Down “Like most Rogues he blames his predicament on someone else”, and that seems to be the key difference between him and them.

Flash 132 And finally, a major reason for the popularity of at least some Flash villains is the ‘gentleman thief’ aspect many of them embody. Not all of them are like this, of course, but the Rogues have held that appeal since the Silver Age (at left is a letter published in Flash v1 #132, circa 1962) and it’s only become more pronounced in the modern era with the establishment of Captain Cold’s Rogue Rules. Many fans like them for their principles even if they don’t always live up to them, but the Rogues are just as human and fallible as the rest of us. The fact that they even care about rules sets them apart from many other villains, and makes them distinctive and easier to root for. Readers can genuinely care about Captain Cold and want him to succeed when he has a set of ethics and refuses to cross certain boundaries.

So there are good reasons for the enduring popularity of Flash villains amongst readers and creators, and their success is no accident. They’ve been well-crafted over the years to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the Flashes, and are interesting characters in their own right. It’s been wonderful to see some of them finally appear in live action television over the past two years, and hopefully they’ll continue to be showcased and introduced to an entirely new audience in the years to come.

THE FLASH Ep 2.11 (Review)

NOTE: This review is being posted prior to THE FLASH showing in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen the show yet, you may want to come back later after viewing the episode.

Long time Flash fans will recall a storyline from the early 1990’s called “The Return of Barry Allen”. This was a classic Mark Waid tale about the supposed re-emergence of Barry in the Wally West Flash time line. Why do I bring it up here, in a review of THE FLASH tv show? Well…follow us after the jump and all will be made clear…

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD

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A Brief History of Zoom and the Reverse Flash

The main villain for Season Two of the Flash TV show is Zoom … but who is Zoom, and how does he differ from the Reverse Flash?

As with Reverse Flash, they appear to be taking inspiration from a couple of sources in the comics, though Zoom’s true identity on the show is being kept mysterious for now. I’m including a few other villainous speedsters whose stories or designs may be relevant.

Reverse Flash a.k.a. Professor Zoom a.k.a. Eobard Thawne (1963)

Flash #139This 25th-century criminal reverse-engineered Barry Allen’s powers from one of his costumes, beginning a centuries-spanning rivalry as the two speedsters traveled through time to battle each other over and over. Thawne developed an unhealthy oobsession with taking over Barry’s life, particularly with his wife Iris.

Thawne eventually killed Iris, and years later tried to kill Barry’s new bride Fiona — but Barry killed him while protecting her. This led to a lengthly trial for the Flash, which ended just before Barry’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The Blackest Night crisis brought Thawne back from the dead, and he proceeded to start running back in time to mess with Barry’s life earlier and earlier, culminating in Barry’s mother and framing his father for the murder. [Full bio]

Savitar (1995)

SavitarA cold war test pilot whose plane was hit by lightning. On gaining super-speed, he became obsessed with the speed force, learning more than anyone else about its secrets. A battle knocked him forward in time several decades, during which his followers became a powerful cult.

Savitar’s greatest desire was to become one with the speed force, and to do it he meant to block — or eliminate — all other speedsters. It took a full coalition led by Wally West and featuring every other speedster hero active at the time to take him down. [Full bio]

Black Flash (1998)

The Black FlashUpdate: As Lee H. points out in the comments, it looks like the show has drawn visual inspiration from the personification of Death as it comes for speedsters. The Black Flash is a force of nature, pursuing speedsters whose time has come and ushering them across the threshold to death.

It was later shown in Flash: Rebirth that an actual person could become the Black Flash, more like the New Gods’ concept of the Black Racer: An ordinary person takes on the role, whether they like it or not, and they have a job to do. This happened to Barry Allen briefly in Flash: Rebirth, and in an interesting bit of timing is happening again in Darkseid War right now. [Full bio]

Zoom a.k.a. Hunter Zolomon (2003)

ZoomA criminal profiler with the Keystone City police who became friends with Wally West during his time as the Flash. An attack by Grodd left him unable to walk, and he tried desperately to convince his friend to travel back into the past and fix his mistakes. When Wally refused, Zolomon tried to activate the cosmic treadmill himself.

The accident gave him time-based powers that simulate super-speed. He became obsessed with making the Flash a “better” hero…by making him experience more personal tragedy, so that he would be more willing to risk altering reality for others. [Full bio]

New 52 Reverse-Flash a.k.a. Daniel West (2013)

Flash #23.2 - Reverse Flash #1The younger brother of Iris West, a juvenile delinquent who got out of jail around the time a disaster hit Central City and linked him to the speed force. He gained the ability to travel back in time for short hops, and went around killing others who had gained the same connection in order to use that power to go even further back in time — to kill his own abusive father.

New 52 Future Flash a.k.a. Barry Allen (2014)

Flash Annual 3Two decades from now, an older and angrier Barry Allen would discover that the speed force had been damaged by the Reverse Flash’s time travelling, and he started heading backward in time to seal the breach when it was still small enough to repair. On the way he killed a few villains and stopped a few disasters, until he came face to face with his past self.

Note the dark blue costume with glowing trim…

New 52 Professor Zoom a.k.a. Eobard Thawne

Flash Annual 4We don’t know his background yet, but we do know he really hates Barry Allen, and he’s traveled throughout history collecting people who have gained various powers from the speed force and convinced them that the Flash is a monster disguised as a hero, someone who needs to be stopped.

Notes

There you have it! Zoom, Professor Zoom, and the Reverse-Flashes, plus two speedsters who (judging by previews) may have inspired the TV show’s take.

You can read about some of the Flashes’ other opposite numbers in our Guide to Rogues and Reverse Flashes.

(Incidentally: In the process of re-reading the New 52 stories, I was reminded how much I love Francis Manapul’s and Brian Buccellato’s art and layouts.)

SDCC 2015 Flash Exclusive Collectible Round-Up!

Comic Con logo

Hey Speed Readers,

With San Diego Comic-Con finally upon us, we at Speed Force figured it would be a good idea to give you all a quick heads up about what to expect and to look for if you are fortunate enough to be heading to San Diego this weekend.

First off I have to say that it looks like Funko is definitely vying for the title of most convention exclusives ever! From a list of at least 50 Funko products available this year, we are coming away with 2 Flash-related exclusives.

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