Superheroes don't typically take too kindly to being challenged for a leading role in their own movie or TV series, but both Arrow and The Flash have taken a different approach. While Oliver Queen prepares to share the stage with 'The Atom', Barry Allen is slowly being brought to face off against a more... troubled figure: Ronnie Raymond, soon to be better known as the DC Comics superhero 'Firestorm.'
Since the presumed-dead Raymond (Robbie Amell) made his fiery reveal in The Flash's midseason finale, viewers have been given more and more information on what to expect when his fate is fully explored in the coming weeks. Now, a new featurette clarifies a few lingering questions while confirming that the show's speedster will be forced to fight Firestorm before he sees reason.
Comic book readers familiar with 'Firestorm: The Nuclear Man' have recognized that the show's version is following that of the comics closely: Ronnie is 'vaporized' along with Dr. Martin Stein (played by Victor Garber) the night of the particle accelerator incident, now plagued with a fractured mind - and the ability to produce explosive blasts of fire.
In Episode 12 of The Flash, titled "Crazy For You", S.T.A.R. Labs' Cisco Ramon took it upon himself to find out more about Ronnie's fate, determining that Dr. Stein and Ronnie's 'vaporized' essence merged into a single being. Clarifying Ronnie's strange words to Caitlin Snow - his former fiancée - that "he's not Ronnie," the new video confirms that it is Dr. Stein who has taken control of Ronnie's form.
How, one might ask? The answer likely lies in Dr. Stein's hands. Though the comic book version placed Ronnie in control of his own body, with Dr. Stein's consciousness joining his own (and offering the scientific knowledge required to use the hero's mastery over matter), the collective whole was referred to as 'The Firestorm Matrix.' Occasionally, the term - meant to signify the two men making one superpowered 'whole' - is applied to something a bit more tangible. An object, perhaps.
As one of several protesters present at S.T.A.R. Labs, Dr. Stein seemed oddly prepared for the events that took place: holding in his hands a strange (read: science-y) object that attracted Ronnie like a magnet. All three cease to exist once they collide, and as the featurette shows, Dr. Martin Stein is left to wonder why he's suddenly taken the form of an unknown young man.
Thankfully, Barry Allen and the rest of the S.T.A.R. Labs team are uniquely equipped to handle the superpowered, even if bringing Ronnie in quietly looks to be a challenge. According to Dr. Harrison Wells, the fight that finally results in a more balanced, clean-shaven Ronnie has also made the Firestorm Matrix dangerously unstable. But the solution to that problem may have already been glimpsed.
The exact function of the chest piece known as the Splicer is still unclear, likely to be detailed in the coming episodes. What we do know is that it returns Ronnie to the man he used to be. That would seemingly leave Dr. Stein's presence in question, but with the risk of "going nuclear" present, some tough choices may lie ahead for all involved.
Stay tuned for more details on The Flash and the arrival of Firestorm, but for now, let us know how you feel about another DC Comics hero (and two new cast members) joining the residents of Central City. Does it seem like a welcome twist, or would you prefer a simpler series of metahuman villains?
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.