After last season, the people behind the hit CW show The Flash promised the audience that the series would get back to a lighter tone and not have a speedster as the main villain for once.
Now with season four well underway, we have gotten a look at this season’s big bad, and there are a few things that stand out about him. For one, there is no mystery as to who the main villain is. In previous seasons, the show would set up the season-long arc as a whodunit, keeping the true identity of the villain a secret. Usually, the audience was well ahead of the show since the mystery angle wasn’t the series’ strong point. We all knew Harrison Wells was Reverse Flash and while Zoom was a little harder to figure out, Savitar was almost embarrassingly easy to pinpoint.
So while we all know that the Thinker is the major adversary for season four, some of you may be wondering “who the heck is the Thinker?” Well, worry not! Here, for your reading pleasure, are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About This Season’s Big Bad, The Thinker.
15. There have been four versions of the Thinker
DC comics has made history for many things, but one thing that the company has taken pride in over the years is its legacy characters. Flash, for example, is a legacy character – a power set and name handed down to multiple characters over the decades, from Jay Garrick to Barry Allen to Wally West.
The Thinker is also something of a legacy character, with four separate versions of the diabolical villain existing in the comics. Each one has had their own way of going about their evil doings, and not all of them have faced off against a Flash, but Flash has faced more Thinkers than any other hero.
14. The first Thinker is one of the oldest Flash villains
Making his first appearance in 1943, the first Thinker was a man named Clifford DeVoe.
DeVoe, a Keystone City native, became the District Attorney for his hometown and was very excited to fight crime from the courtroom. During his first case as DA, DeVoe was working to put away Keystone’s most notorious gangster, but when the defense put a woman on the stand, DeVoe refused to ask her any harsh questions and lost the case (comic books in 1943 weren’t very progressive when it came to equality of the sexes).
After losing his case, DeVoe became enraged and decided that if he couldn’t beat crime, then he may as well join it.
The Thinker was created by Gardner Fox and Everett E. Hibbard. Fox was also the creator of, among countless others, Flash, Hawkman, and the Justice League of America.
13. Started out as a behind-the-scenes baddie
It was while drunk at a bar that DeVoe came up with his evil plan – there, DeVoe ran into Hunk Norvock, the very man he was trying to put away. He and Norvack came up with the idea that DeVoe could become a shadow legal consultant for the criminal underground of Keystone City. DeVoe would sit with Norvack’s lackeys before they went off to do crime and help them set up alibis and legal precedents that would keep them out of prison.
DeVoe worked for Norvack for a decade before things went south on them. When two of Norvack’s men were threatening to go states evidence, Norvack forced DeVoe to steal evidence from the police. In his attempt to get the evidence, DeVoe killed two officers.
As the police started to close in on the whole operation, Norvack decided to kill DeVoe, but DeVoe instead tricked the crime boss into killing himself. With Norvack dead, DeVoe took over the organization and chose the name Thinker as his alias. Of course, Flash (Jay Garrick) caught DeVoe and put him in jail.
12. DeVoe also worked out of Gotham City
Looking to get away from the eyes of Flash, DeVoe headed off to Gotham City for a while where he worked his legal services for that city’s criminal underworld. Why he chose Gotham, the home of Batman, is anyone’s guess. Apparently, Batman never realized that DeVoe was in his city (so much for being the “World’s Greatest Detective”) but Flash caught wind of it and headed to DC’s most notorious town to take down his old pal.
After this, DeVoe fully gave up the idea of being a shadow lawyer and went full supervillain, swearing revenge on Flash, and building his Thinking Cap, which made him a super genius (just like Wile E. Coyote). The Thinking Cap gave DeVoe the ability to not only be smarter but to project his mental force, using it as a blast that could hurt people.
11. DeVoe was a founding member of the Injustice Society
While people know the Justice League and the Avengers, not many outside of comics know about the first superhero team ever assembled, the Justice Society of America. The team consisted of Flash, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Starman, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, the Atom, and others.
With this much goodness combined, the supervillains decided that they needed to start working together, and the Injustice Society was formed. Along with Thinker, the founding members included the Wizard, Per Degaton, Vandal Savage, the Gambler, and Brainwave (with Sportsmaster and Harlequin joining the evil team later).
As a team, the Injustice Society was a constant thorn in the side of the Justice Society, at times capturing the heroes or even erasing all their memories. The Injustice Society had a simple enough goal – to rule the world.
10. Jay Garrick and DeVoe became friends
After decades of splitting his time between fighting Jay Garrick and hanging out in prison, DeVoe joined the Suicide Squad and was able to receive a full pardon once his tour of duty was finished.
Now a free man with a clean record, DeVoe got rid of his Thinking Cap and retired from the supervillain life. He and Jay even became good friends, spending their free time together talking about the old days and playing chess.
Sadly, DeVoe developed a brain tumor that, along with killing him, was taking away his memories and intelligence. Jay searched for the Thinking Cap, believing that if DeVoe could use it again, he would figure out a way to rid himself of the tumor. Jay finally found the Thinking Cap – his old teammate Johnny Thunder was using it as a flower pot – but it was too late. By the time Jay got to the hospital, DeVoe had died.
9. The second Thinker, Cliff Carmichael, was Firestorm’s nemesis
Even before he became the Thinker, Cliff Carmichael was an enemy of Firestorm. To be more exact, Cliff, an exceptionally smart college student, would often bully Ronnie Raymond, the not-super smart half of Firestorm. If you don’t know, Firestorm consists of two people who meld into one. One version of Firestorm was Ronnie, an athlete college student, the other is Nobel Prize-winning physicist Martin Stein.
In an attempt to seriously injure Ronnie, Cliff accidentally paralyzed his cousin. The guilt drove Cliff mad and he was locked up in a mental institution where he was used in some not-very-legal experiments. One of those experiments included DeVoe’s Thinking Cap.
8. Cliff joined the Suicide Squad
After getting his butt kicked by the first Firestorm a bunch of times, Cliff joined up with the Suicide Squad. Well, “joined” isn’t the right term – Cliff was forced to become a member after he got caught trying to kill Amanda Waller (the head of the Suicide Squad) and the superhero Oracle. Some of you may know Oracle, whose civilian name is Barbara Gordon, by her other superhero identity, Batgirl.
After a few missions with the Suicide Squad, Cliff decided to betray his team and team up with the supervillain known as Cabal. Free from the Squad, Cliff hunted down the second Firestorm, Jason Rusch, when he learned that a piece of the original Firestorm existed within him. Using his powers, Cliff erased the remaining consciousness of Ronnie Raymond. What a jerk!
7. Cliff was a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains
While there have been many incarnations of the Secret Society of Supervillains over the years, Cliff joined the only one that was working to save the Earth… or to be more exact, the Earths.
When Alexander Luthor, the Earth-3 version of Lex Luthor, wanted to bring back the Multiverse, he disguised himself as Lex Luthor and created a new Secret Society that was tasked with capturing heroes who had connections to the lost realities and use the residual energy that existed in them to bring the Multiverse back.
This was the biggest version of the Secret Society of Supervillains the DC universe had ever seen, with over 500 members. The only major villains who didn’t join were the Joker, who was never offered a spot because he’s too crazy, and the real Lex Luthor, who put together his own team of villains to take down Alexander’s Secret Society.
6. Cliff rejoined the Suicide Squad as their tech support
After getting his butt kicked by the second Firestorm, Cliff decided that the best thing to do was to rejoin the Suicide Squad, this time working as their I.T. guy. Sadly for Cliff, when he faced off against the new Firestorm, the chip in his head was damaged so he was no longer super smart, just regular smart.
Cliff wasn’t the best member of the Suicide Squad, often arguing or straight-out fighting not only with his teammates but with his superiors. Cliff ended up betraying the Suicide Squad in order to help Wade Eiling (better known as the supervillain The General), shooting team leader King Faraday and incapacitating Amanda Waller. Faraday, ever the tough guy, wasn’t dead, though, and he caught up with Cliff quickly, killing the traitor.
5. Cliff tried to kill Barbara Gordon – again!
During his second time with the Suicide Squad, Cliff faced off against Oracle. Oracle had caught wind of the Suicide Squad and was tracking them via satellites and computers, and Cliff was tasked with stopping her. The two faced off in the virtual world and, to everyone’s surprise, Cliff was able to out think Barbara and cut off her tracking systems.
Still, that wasn’t good enough for Cliff. Like so many supervillains, Cliff tended to hold a grudge, and since Barbara had escaped his wrath in the past, this time the former supervillain-turned-tech support guy decided to hunt Oracle down in the real world and kill Barbara Gordon. Luckily, he was stopped by Suicide Squad commander Amanda Waller.
4. The third Thinker, Des Connor, had telepathic powers
Des Connor only showed up just once, and aside from the name Thinker, he was nothing like Clifford DeVoe or Cliff Carmichael.
Connor’s powers were telepathic in nature, allowing him to stimulate the fear center of people’s brains and make them totally freak out. Working alongside a hypnotist named Marlon Dall, Connor caused some problems in Gotham City, but as you can guess, Batman took him down pretty easily.
For reasons that Connor couldn’t figure out, his telepathic ability had no effect on the Dark Knight Detective. Of course, we all can figure out why Connor failed to generate fear in Batman – Batman is the one who creates fear in others. It’s also possible that Batman’s built up a tolerance to Scarecrow’s fear gas which has made it harder for his amygdala to go into fear mode.
3. Mr. Terrific accidentally created an AI version of Clifford DeVoe
As his superhero name may tell you, Mister Terrific is pretty great. You may even say he’s terrific. One of the three smartest men in the world, Mister Terrific can pretty much build anything he wants.
It was while building the integrated computer system for the new headquarters of the Justice Society that Mister Terrific decided to use Clifford DeVoe’s old Thinking Cap as the brain of the system. What Mister Terrific didn’t know was that the Thinking Cap held a piece of DeVoe’s consciousness. This little bit of DeVoe took over the JSA’s system and became sentient, creating a holographic body for itself and joined the new Injustice Society, all without the JSA knowing he existed.
The AI version of DeVoe finally let his presence be known to the JSA by having their own security system attack them. Sure enough, the JSA was able to stop DeVoe and the Injustice Society, but DeVoe, being little more than a computer program, escaped into the wild.
2. The AI Thinker took over Keystone City
Free to run about, the AI Thinker headed home to Keystone City and quietly worked through the city’s computer systems. Over time, Thinker took over the city and finally made his move.
Thinker’s plan was to use the brains of every person in Keystone City as a processing system, increasing his own power in the process. Luckily the Flash – who, at this point, was Wally West – got involved.
Knowing that he would need someone smart to help him out, Flash called in his buddy Cyborg. The two of them took on Thinker, with Cyborg coming up with a plan to end the villain’s reign of terror once and for all.
1. The AI Thinker joined the Cyborg Revenge Squad
As you know, supervillains really hold grudges against the heroes that beat them. For a guy like Flash, that is usually part of his plan – Captain Cold is so busy trying to come up with the plan that will finally defeat the Fastest Man Alive that he never considered just how much destruction he could wreak with his weaponry.
This is the kind of thinking that created the Cyborg Revenge Squad.
The Cyborg Revenge Squad, which actually included three Flash villains – Girder, Magenta, and, of course, Thinker – was put together by an evil version of Cyborg. The team had a very specific goal, as their name may suggest – kill Cyborg. Luckily for us fans, they failed and Cyborg is still around.
After that, the AI Thinker ended up working alongside Mister Terrific as part of Checkmate, a covert organization that answered to the United Nations.
Do you have any trivia to share about Thinker, The Flash‘s new big bad? Let us know in the comments!
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