[WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for The Flash and Flash: Rebirth]
Let the parade of DC Comics to The Flash's corner of the CW's Arrowverse march on! As if Barry Allen didn't have enough problems dealing with the emotional and psychological angst of his girlfriend, stepbrother, friends, and co-worker... or that pesky supervillain, Savitar, fans can add yet another time-jumping supervillain who will be shaking up the speedster's life. His name is Abra Kadabra, and he's coming from the future with a secret or two worth having, if you're someone looking to change it.
The confirmation of Abra - or 'Citizen Abra' to his trembling audience - comes shortly after word that actor David Dastmalchian had been cast as an unknown villain, presumed to be Weather Wizard (they both have wands, it's not the biggest mistake one could make). But as pedestrian a supervillain as he may have been for most of his comic book career, his heightened role in the current DC Rebirth raises some interesting questions for fans of The CW series. Could Flash be in for a similar spell?
From the official announcement made by DCComics.com, the TV version of Abra Kadabra won't be too much of a departure from his eventual origin in the comics: "a criminal from a distant future whose advanced technological powers seem like magic." Add in his flare for the dramatic and theatrical, and you have a wand-wielding stage magician who actually could pull a rabbit out of a hat (and put an innocent bystander into it). The added detail that Abra's knowledge of the future includes a secret that the show's hero will "stop at nothing to uncover" carries a bit more signifiance, since Barry and his friends have one pressing issue rising above all others.
Kadabra is Coming
We know that Dastmalchian's Abra won't be appearing in the immediate future, which means his role will most likely appear in the build-up to the showdown with Savitar. The showdown which, if left unchanged, leads to Iris West's death. Taken just on its surface, that description could imply that Abra, having hailed from the future, knows the actual trick to changing it (a feat that Barry and his team have been struggling with... well, for most of the series). But instead of stopping our speculation there, it's worth noting that Abra Kadabra returned as a major figure in DC's Rebirth relaunch.
For the unfamiliar, the DC Rebirth essentially relaunched most of the company's series, returning heroes to a more familiar, historically-informed set of storylines. But it all began with the twist used to explain why Wally West - the original Kid Flash introduced in the Silver Age - had been missing from the modern New 52 reboot. The New 52 reboot being the new timeline created as part of Barry Allen's Flashpoint (the same meddling with his mother's fate that was played out on the TV show).
There was a reason why Wally West was missing for so long, and why no characters seemed to even notice he was gone. And that reason was Abra Kadabra.
His Role in The DC Rebirth
Those who read the first issue kicking off the DC Universe: Rebirth may have assumed that the same mysterious force that stole a decade from the timeline - rendering the characters younger - was the same one who wiped Wally from memory. But as West learned in the Titans series that followed, that honor went to Kadabra. Around the same time that Flashpoint rewrote history, Kadabra unleashed a spell that blinked Wally West out of existence to the world around him. Unfortunately, the spell was so powerful, it rebounded on Abra and made him forget his own memory (taking up a job as a terrible party magician).
That brain wipe meant Abra was unable to take advantage of Wally's absence, having traveled back in time to remove the only hero who had ever bested him. But in the comics, his battle with Wally and the other Titans led to Lilith reading his mind - revealed more than just the life of fame and power he wanted to claim. She saw the future that he had left behind, confirming that it was still possible - that the future was more adaptable than any could realize. And here's where his late addition to The Flash's third season becomes so intriguing.
Could That Twist Be Coming To The Flash?
If we accept that a character is coming from the future to the present day of The Flash and the Arrowverse, then two questions become clear to the longtime fans. First, why has Abra Kadabra come all this way - and most importantly, how will he change things when he leaves? The first question is the simpler one, since it seems like a long shot that Abra Kadabra will travel all the way back to 2017 for fame as a stage magician alone. No, we're placing our money on the eventual cause for Kadabra's crusade against The Flash: no matter what plan he came up with, the speedster was always the one to foil it.
With Kadabra secretly or openly despising The Flash and looking for any way to get rid of him, the idea that he has leverage (that "secret" Barry is desperate for) may answer the second point. How much would Barry Allen be willing to give up for a way to change the future? What would he give to save Iris West from death? Would he give up his own life? Would Abra Kadabra so openly propose a trade - an admittedly total answer to his problems - or try a more sinister approach? Tricks are his thing, after all.
The real question fans should be asking, with Abra Kadabra so recently employed by DC to blast a Flash into the timestream and out of existence, is what could be worse? Dying is bad, and dying for the woman you love may be slightly easier to swallow. But sacrificing your existence, saving your loved ones but knowing that they would never love you again, never even remember you existed... might one say that would be "a fate far worse than death?"
An Arrowverse Without The Flash
Allow us to state the obvious: it's hard to believe that The CW or the Arrowverse braintrust would actually write Barry Allen out of existence completely, even if it would make Savitar's claim that one of Team Flash would suffer a fate worse than death. After all, it would completely alter Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, since both shows hinge quite clearly on Barry Allen having existed. But the writers of The Flash have already reduced the massive, universe-altering Flashpoint event to a single episode... and there's more than one Flash to volunteer as a sacrifice for Iris.
To be more specific, it was actually Wally West's Flash who made the most headaches for Abra Kadabra, which is why he was punished, and not Barry Allen. Fans may debate whether or not Abra Kadabra's hatred for the hero Wally will one day become would be satisfaction enough to see his story arc come to an end. But as beloved as Wally has become to some fans, his role as a growing hero alongside the star of the show has raised the question of just where he was headed. A spinoff series may have been hoped... but a heroic, meaningful, and loving sacrifice (that wouldn't actually affect other shows) could be preferable to simply writing him out.
Would the Flash producers stick that closely to the Abra Kadabra of the current DCU? Have they been building up Wally's power for some other purpose? Is there another major twist coming to cap off the season that we've yet to hear a whisper of? If you ask us, Wally West's return in Titans: Rebirth just became required reading for nervous Flash fans.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.
Source: DC Comics