The diehard comic book fans will be quick to point out that The CW’s newest series isn’t the first time that “The Flash” has been adapted to television, with John Wesley Shipp playing the titular speedster in a single season of CBS’ The Flash (1990-1991). Squeezing himself into the red suit before superheroes on TV were cool clearly earned Shipp plenty of pull with fans, with the show’s producers bringing him back to play Barry’s father, Henry Allen.
The TV series made some slight changes to the traditional Flash origin story – making the lightning which hits Barry a result of the particle accelerator accident – but the actual scene of the strike is replicated in detail. A bolt of lightning enters Barry’s lab, striking him, and throwing him into a rack full of unknown chemicals. Keeping the scene intact was clearly a means of honoring the source material, but one major hint may have been dropped as well.
When Barry slams into the rack of chemicals, a telltale red blur can be glimpsed circling the scene. it’s hard to spot in the storm of light and broken glass, but it bears a striking similarity to the streak seen surrounding Barry’s mother earlier on. Comic fans know exactly what’s being hinted at, but the gravity-defying liquid may not just signal a speeder in the vicinity – perhaps it marks someone altering the course of history?
Proving that it’s hard to keep plot twists a secret when adapting comic book properties, the casting of Rick Cosnett as ‘Detective Eddie Thawne’ sent a clear message to every DC reader. The name is quite clearly a play on ‘Eobard Thawne,’ a super-fan of Barry Allen from the 25th century – better known by the name ‘Reverse-Flash.’
It’s unclear if the show’s writers are looking to bring Thawne’s path to supervillainy into the present day, or simply trying to send viewers on a wild goose chase (after all, Thawne seems to be a pretty reliable cop). But Thawne isn’t the only man to bear the title of ‘Reverse-Flash’ – and he may not even be the only one hinted at in the show’s first episode…
When Barry Allen awakes from his months-long coma, he finds himself in the bowels of S.T.A.R. Labs (or what’s left of it). One of the first staff members he meets is Francisco ‘Cisco’ Ramon (Carlos Valdes), a figure known to comic book fans as the superhero ‘Vibe.’ In the New 52, Ramon attained his extradimensional powers of vibration and shockwaves from a close encounter with an Apokoliptian Boom Tube.
It’s hard to tell if the show’s writers intend to have Ramon adopt the same identity (perhaps his powers are still developing?) but it’s a nice nod to one of the comics’ newest Justice Leaguers. And with powers capable of disrupting Barry’s link to the ‘Speed Force,’ he’s one of the few metahumans capable of stopping The Flash in his tracks.
Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost
Cisco Ramon may be a hero in the making, but things are a bit more complicated for Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker). Snow is the latest in a line of characters bearing the title of ‘Killer Frost,’ where the comics depicted her as the victim of an industrial accident. Leaving her in need of heat to gain strength, Snow had no choice but to seek it out through any means necessary – even murder.
While her name – and her ability to freeze people solid, or fire ice projectiles – may imply a villainous nature, Snow has been shown to possess a good side. The fact that she is traditionally a villain of Firestorm – set to appear in future episodes – the only person capable of providing her with enough warmth to effectively ‘cure’ her is also telling. Especially given the connection they shared prior to the disaster.
In what is clearly one of the more blatant teases packed into the first episode, Dr. Wells’ tour of the S.T.A.R. Labs features a prominent look at a broken cage identifying who – or what – lived inside of it as simply ‘Grodd.’ The reference here is to Gorilla Grodd, longtime enemy of The Flash. It’s unclear why Grodd wouldn’t take revenge on his captors when he escaped, but his presence in other marketing implies fans will find out soon enough.
In the comic books, Grodd was one of several inhabitants of Gorilla City, the home of an entire community of super-intelligent apes. We assume Grodd’s psionic and telepathic abilities will be granted by the particle accelerator this time around (as opposed to a crashed asteroid).
The first villain in Barry’s career as Central City’s guardian angel is introduced as Clyde Mardon, with mastery over the weather (or wind and fog, specifically). The name alone confirms that the show’s writers are revealing their take on the Rogue known as Weather Wizard. But in the comics, it’s the other Mardon brother – Mark – who takes on the role, with Clyde being his first victim. Perhaps Mark survived the plane crash after all?
When Caitlin Snow explains why her mood tends to be on the grimmer side than her scientific accomplice, it isn’t just an explanation that viewers are given – but also a strong hint at what’s to come. As it turns out, the fiancé that Caitlin lost in the particle accelerator explosion wasn’t so much lost as… transformed. She was apparently engaged to Ronnie Raymond, set to return in the near future in his alter ego as ‘Firestorm the Nuclear Man.’
The Man in The Lightning
The tragedy which sets Barry Allen upon his path to heroism is a mystery even to him, seeing his mother killed by what appeared to be “a ball of lightning.” Comic fans will recognize the scene as a direct adaptation of the backstory concocted by writer Geoff Johns – and the man inside the lightning as none other than Barry Allen’s arch-nemesis, the ‘Reverse-Flash.’
We’ll provide some more information on the Reverse-Flash as the series goes on, but his yellow variant of the Flash uniform is impossible to miss. It’s worth pointing out that the scene actually shows both yellow and red streaks surrounding Nora Allen, hinting that Reverse-Flash may not have been the only one at the scene moving too fast to be seen (and comic readers can connect the dots on just what that might hint for the future).
When Iris West (Candice Patton) arrives at Barry’s lab and informs him that she is ready to escort him to the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator debut – or, in her words, that she’s ready to “see this atom-smasher…smashing” – DC fans likely jumped out of their seats. While not explicitly a reference to Albert Rothstein a.k.a. Atom Smasher (since accelerators are often referred to as ‘atom smashers’), the line is a nice nod for those fans who will catch it.
While Ramon and Snow may be potential friends and allies to Barry Allen, the first episode shows Barry’s hero, Dr. Harrison Wells taking a mentor role almost immediately. While Wells begins his arc as something of a victim, viewing Barry as less than a hero, it is the good doctor’s push that helps Barry overcome his very first obstacle. But that act – and his use of a wheelchair – will throw up several red flags for comic fans.
Given the sudden twist delivered at the end of the premiere, we wouldn’t blame fans for being suspicious. The exact reason why Wells is faking his injury, or how he acquired knowledge of the future is unknown. For now, let’s say that the comics also included a wheelchair-bound friend of The Flash who made it his mission to ‘help’ the speedster (in this case, Wally West) become a better hero through loss. He went by the name of Hunter Zolomon, the second ‘Reverse-Flash.’
A Future Crisis
The showrunners decided to drop a veritable bomb on their audience in the show’s final moments, revealing that not only could Harrison Wells walk, but he possessed a futuristic copy of the Central City Citizen showing he’s all too aware of what lies ahead for Barry Allen. The newspaper (its name taken from the comics as well) dated April 25, 2024 sports a memorable headline, claiming that The Flash has vanished in ‘a crisis.’
In comics terms, it’s the 1985 “Crisis on Infinite Earths” comic event being referenced here, where (spoilers) Barry Allen sacrifices himself to save the entire universe. Besides confirming that the same story is set to play out ten years in the future, the image also shows that Barry will, one day, acquire the superhero costume fans know and love.
Executive Greg Berlanti has hinted that “Crisis” is on the showrunners’ minds, but this confirmation that it’s where the story is headed is a bombshell all on its own.
Since Barry’s ability to time travel has seemingly been confirmed for the TV series, nothing is set in stone just yet. Which means that there’s a chance the world won’t be exposed to the ‘red skies’ caused by the Crisis, and there may still be hope to avoid the ‘Wayne Tech/Queen Inc. Merger’ also reported in the newspaper.
Those are all the easter eggs, bits of comic book trivia, and subtle references fans can look out for on repeat viewings, but if you spotted any that we may have been missed, please share them in the comments.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!