There's a very good reason why comic book fans weren't content to simply learn who would be playing The Flash in The CW's upcoming series; since few DC Comics heroes have a more memorable and oddball group of enemies than Barry Allen, the question of who he will be using his new powers to stop has been just as pressing as how he gets them in the first place. And at this point, we've got a few ideas.
With DC's Geoff Johns (an outspoken and proven Flash fanatic) overseeing the development of the series, it was no surprise to see the likes of Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) among the first cast, especially given their roles in the traditional roster of Flash's 'Rogues.' But some recent announcements from The CW show that the writers are drawing on more than just Barry Allen's comic book history to help graft another branch onto their budding Justice League TV universe.
In adding a metahuman element to their Arrow/Flash fiction, the showrunners have come up with some inventive solutions. While a classic Flash villain, the lack of a real 'superpower' means that Captain Boomerang can be introduced in Arrow first. And with the shared origin story of both The Flash and Firestorm (Robbie Amell), it makes sense that some physics-defying villains from "Firestorm" will be the first to appear in Central City.
The connections between the two CW shows are clear, so in trying to predict what comic book villains Barry Allen could face in his early career, we've taken them into consideration. With an origin story that makes sense for The Flash, out list of 10 DC Comics Villains We Could See in The Flash might even make their way into Arrow's world some day...
As fans of Arrow know, the world both Oliver Queen and Barry Allen occupy is filled to the brim with contract killers or highly-skilled assassins. The mercenary known only as 'Deadline' was one such killer, until an extraterrestrial bomb activated his metahuman abilities, and allowed him to phase through objects (as well as granting him near-invulnerable skin).
While the writers would need some work fleshing out the villain, an opponent truly invincible compared to Central City's police could prove a worthy adversary for The Flash. Not to mention a prime opportunity for Barry to start testing his own ability to vibrate fast enough to past through solid objects.
10 Double Down
Despite possessing a more disturbing superpower than the usual Flash Rogues, Jeremy Tell owes his origins to the comic, making a career as a gambler, hustler, and con man in Central/Keystone City. When Tell murdered a man after a particularly painful loss, a cursed deck in the victim's coat bonded itself to him, replacing his skin with their suited paper.
Those powers may seem more magical than science-fiction, but it wouldn't take much of a leap to replace the murder with the strange forces released by the S.T.A.R. Labs explosion, and explain 'Double Down's ability to project the razor-sharp cards through theoretical physics. For fans, we would wager that a few liberties would be tolerated to get this villain onscreen.
The first DC villain to claim the name 'Yo-Yo' may have used the stringed toys as a gimmick, but the name was reused for DC's New 52, casting the villain as a member of the Suicide Squad. What makes the criminal so unique is not just his indestructibility (something shared by confirmed Flash villain Girder), but how he is able to increase or decrease his body mass as necessary.
Whether it's growing in size and density to shrug off bullets or explosions, or thin down to avoid bullets entirely and make a near-impossible escape, his powers would make for a compelling visual effect. And since the exact cause of his powers is never given in the comic books, the S.T.A.R. Labs disaster could fill in the gaps; while laying the groundwork for his shift into the Squad.
What's more frightening than a villain even more powerful than a hero? How about a villain that a hero can't even spot, let alone fight? That's the challenge made possible by Incognito (real name unknown), yet another Firestorm villain famous for his ability to shape-shift in order to assassinate his targets. Simply take on the appearance of their best friend or loved ones, and the victims never even see him coming (he appears as a simply a solid shadow when out of disguise).
It may seem like a thin character, but there's room for the writers to make him even a sympathetic character. If the S.T.A.R. Labs disaster threw Incognito so out of order that his body can't return to his own form, could his decision to appear as other people or act out in anger be understood? If The Flash is really going to commit to superpowers that bend the laws of physics, then a light-bending shapeshifter could offer a darker chapter in Barry's career, at the very least.
There's no shortage of electricity-themes villains, or heroes, for that matter, in the world of comic books, with the Electrocutioner, Black Lightning, and Livewire just to name a few. For the sake of keeping things fresh, we would nominate Voltaic to fill the role. Initially a villain native to Gotham, Voltaic was introduced as a member of the Suicide Squad in the New 52, able to project massive amounts of electricity from his hands or the environment around him.
Given the many doors that could be opened by a person able to wield electricity itself, and its ties to both speed and chemistry, Voltaic could pose a unique challenge to both Barry and Ronnie. Another chance to join forces, but a task that Barry's supporting team would also be able to take part in solving. And with Voltaic's rumored 'immortality,' a shift to the Suicide Squad isn't out of the question, either. Especially if Amanda Waller comes to collect him herself.
In the classic comics, Lisa Snart - sister to Leonard Snart a.k.a. Captain Cold - acted alongside her brother, putting her skills (and athleticism) as a figure skater to work using a pair of skates that generate their own ice. But in the New 52, the character was given a new story far more fitting the world of The Flash's new TV series. The specifics are foggy, but when an explosion leaves Lisa Snart in a coma, it's an astral projection of herself that starts making trouble.
In the New 52, Lisa (before adopting the name Glider) is used as a motivation for Captain Cold, and the show's writers could do the same. Whether Lisa's coma is a result of Barry's mistake, or the S.T.A.R. Labs disaster removing her from her body while making Barry a superhero, she embodies an opportunity to justify the actions of the Rogues' leader while establishing a new side of The Flash's fiction and fantasy.
For a number of reasons, Rachael Berkowitz a.k.a. Blackstarr seems a highly likely villain to appear, or at least inspire. By pursuing higher education and attaining a PhD at age 18, Rachael soon uncovered the secrets of the Unified Field Theory (known as "the theory of everything"). Rachael used that discovery to master the forces of the universe itself, and set out on a quest of personal vengeance.
Some elements of the original story would need updating, but the villain's foundation in theoretical physics would make her an easy foe to include. Especially now that there is word of a S.T.A.R. Labs competitor in the show, a villain showing how even the best and brightest can turn to evil would be a chance for some serious foreshadowing. Especially since one of Barry's closest allies could follow a similar path...
Starling City may seem a darker, more troubled locale than Central City, but it's safe to assume that the criminal underworld still exists beneath the sunny streets Barry will be sprinting upon. That's potentially bad news for Fred Delmar, a desperate man who underwent an experimental clinical trial at a less-than-reputable pharmaceutical lab. When the test went awry, Delmar was tossed into a nearby swamp in hopes of destroying the evidence. Instead, the plant life bonded with his corpse, giving birth to the Firestorm villain, Goldenrod.
Able to seed plant life or expel mass amounts of harmful pollen, Goldenrod proved a potent foe; until Ronnie Raymond appealed to his humanity, and Delmar returned to nature. A slight tweak to the origin story - say Delmar was left for dead, fusing with the plants around him thanks to that mysterious S.T.A.R. Labs 'science wave' - and the writers have a memorable villain with a message, and a chance for Raymond to prove he can do more than fight in his costumed persona.
3 The Thinker
Since Ronnie Raymond's story is one of a young jock becoming a superhero of science, it was his former high school acquaintance, the brainy Cliff Carmichael, who became one of his earliest foes. With Ronnie's ascent to stardom, Carmichael sought revenge through new means, acquiring the device used by the original Thinker - a Suicide Squad member - to master telepathy.
If the show's runners wanted to keep Firestorm fans as elated as Flash enthusiasts, then an appearance by Carmichael would do the trick. The best bet would be fusing the two version of The Thinker into one: where the disaster turned Ronnie into a powerful hero, it turned Cliff into a villain with mastery over the mind. He'd be a hard villain to beat with speed or science, so it could be a chance for Barry's team to show their own potency in crime-fighting.
Where The Flash Goes, so goes his moral (and colorful) opposite, the Reverse-Flash. There are hints aplenty in the series' premiere that the arch-nemesis will appear in Barry Allen's future, but it seems unfair to make viewers wait that long just to see two super-speedsters do battle in the blink of an eye. That's the reason why we hope to see Savitar, a man blessed with super speed just as Barry was, viewing the power as a gift from the gods to be tested, not as a tool with which to help his fellow humans.
The mythology behind Savitar gets strange fairly quickly, but his connection to the mysterious Speed Force that blesses both men with their powers could prove useful. The show's synopsis has confirmed that the Speed Force will likely be included in the show's fiction, and if a villain is needed to get Barry asking the right kind of questions about the source of his power, Savitar could be the one to do it.
Those are all the potential villains we see packing the power to give both Barry Allen and Ronnie Raymond a run for their money (pardon the pun), but the world of DC Comics is filled with other candidates. If you agree with our choices, or think there are even better options, please share them in the comments.
The Flash premieres Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 @8pm on The CW.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on The Flash as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.