For several months while Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was in the Speed Force, Team Flash kept Central City safe in his absence. With Iris West (Candice Patton) taking the helm at STAR Labs and Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) and Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) fighting crime in the field, they were successful in defending the city from continued metahuman attacks. Still, it’s apparent on The Flash this week that this past summer wasn’t all work and no play for Cisco. STAR Labs’ resident tech genius was busily preparing for Barry to come back and become the Flash again, but he apparently also spent a few hours at the movies watching Spider-Man: Homecoming and getting a lot of ideas.
Of course, we recall that in Homecoming, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) was gifted with a Stark Tech Spider-Man suit from Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) that came equipped with myriad high-tech upgrades for Peter to unlock. One can easily imagine Cisco, The Flash‘s resident pop culture connoisseur (and Barry’s “man in the chair“), repeatedly sitting in a darkened theater wide-eyed and shoving popcorn in his face as he mentally took notes on how he could upgrade Barry’s Flash suit. Cisco also must have decided he has the means and know-how to top even Tony Stark’s genius. The result, now that Barry is back, is a brand new suit for the Flash.
Cisco really did outdo himself with Barry’s new Flash suit. This third iteration of the Scarlet Speedster’s famous costume in the series is the brightest red and most comic book accurate suit yet. To Barry’s delight – and later to his detriment when facing a technopath named Kilg%re – the new suit is decked out with unbelievably cool tech (and comes with an instruction manual the size of a phone book to boot). Here’s everything we saw Barry’s new suit could do:
First up, the new Flash suit is comprised of self-repairing armor (no more tearing leather in mid-run) which provides heightened protection from collision and blunt force trauma. The suit also contains nano-liquid circuitry and full-spectrum scanning, so every aspect of Barry’s health and vitals can be monitored from STAR Labs via Cisco’s satellite. More features include temperature control and fire suppression to protect not just against super speed friction but also against any fire-generating metahumans the Flash might fight. The suit is equipped with a defibrillator, and there’s also a Deadlock Function, which keeps the suit and helmet locked into Barry’s body in case he’s knocked out so no super baddie can unmask him and discover his true identity.
Barry’s helmet now sports yellow lenses that slide down over his eyes. Not only would the lenses protect his eyes while he runs at super speed, but – in true Stark fashion – they come with a custom HUD (heads up display). Cisco really tricked the HUD out: for Barry’s viewing pleasure, there is a full Navigation suite of apps such as maps of Central City and elsewhere (GPS so the Flash can’t get lost), environmental schematics, and delivery menus (Cisco thoughtfully programmed Barry’s favorite Thai place among his food options). Cisco knows Barry needs to eat a ton of calories to keep his super metabolism fueled. The helmet has an elaborate Comm system so Barry is always in touch with Cisco, Iris, and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) at STAR Labs. Plus, just as Tony Stark has Friday in his armor, Cisco thoughtfully programmed himself as the voice of Barry’s suit (because his voice is so soothing).
The next batch of features in the Flash suit is where Cisco really decides to beat Iron Man at his own game. The suit comes with R-SK8S, which can only mean Rocket Skates, an infamous feature of Iron Man’s early comic book armor, which contained rocket-powered roller skates in his boots. Cisco was clearly thinking ahead towards the possibility of the Flash fighting a metahuman at a roller derby. The floatation device Cisco added to the suit makes it balloon into a life raft. Cisco is right and considerate that Barry does run over water all the time and it’s a fail safe to keep him from drowning in case his speed fails, but this must also be a direct comment on the scene in Homecoming when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) dropped Spider-Man in a lake and Tony had to send an Iron Man suit to save Peter from drowning. (Caitlin chided Cisco for not equipping the suit with an oxygen tank instead.) However, the single most Iron Man-esque feature Cisco added was a Pulse Cannon that shoots energy beams from Barry’s palms. Let’s face it, this isn’t even a thinly-veiled reference to Iron Man’s signature Repulsor Rays.
Lastly, there’s the Babel Protocol, which is a self-destruct mechanism meant not to protect Barry but to protect everyone else from Barry if he turns evil. This is of course a reference to the famous Justice League “Tower of Babel” story by Mark Waid where Batman concocted ways to disable or kill the rest of the JLA if they turn evil. And it’s true, they’ve faced evil versions of Barry before – just last season, in fact – so better to be safe than sorry.
When one sees how much of a genius Cisco really is, it’s mind-boggling that Cisco isn’t a billionaire like Tony Stark is. Sadly, at Iris’ insistence, it looks like Cisco will have to remove the tech from Barry’s suit and let the Flash be a lean, mean running machine again without all the bells and whistles. It was a fun way to goof on what would happen if the Flash had all of the tech of Spider-Man and Iron Man in the MCU, but all those gizmos (while some do seem smart and handy) aren’t really necessary for the Flash. The Flash in the comics doesn’t need all sorts of tech in his suit (Wally West’s Flash once had white lenses over his eyes, however) and neither does TV’s Scarlet Speedster. Besides, the more tech and armor Barry ends up wearing, it really just puts him one step closer to Savitar, and we’ve seen enough of Savitar to last a Multiverse’s lifetime.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @ 8pm ET on The CW.
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