Flex Mentallo has just debuted in the DC Universe's hit show Doom Patrol. At first glance, you might think that Flex is just a guy with big muscles and a small brain. In reality, there's a lot of hidden depth to this mysterious DC character.
We're going to discuss 10 things that Doom Patrol fans should know about Flex Mentallo. We'll discuss everything from the character's strange origins to his mystifying powers. We won't be discussing the events of the Doom Patrol show, as we want to steer clear of spoiler-city. Without further ado, let's breakdown the 'Hero of the Beach!'
10 Scooby Doo And Flex Have Teamed Up
These days, comic book crossover events are incredibly common. Characters like Batman and Superman share an entire line of comics. Superhero groups like the Justice League and the Teen Titans bring all sorts of characters together. Still, we never expected Flex Mentallo to team up with Scooby-Doo!
During Scooby-Doo! Team-Up issue #43, the Doom Patrol teamed up with the Mystery Gang. The Gang first meet the Patrol while they're fighting a giant squid monster. The Gang first meet the Patrol while they're fighting a giant squid monster. Things only get stranger from there, prompting the Chief to call Flex for aid. Shaggy, Scooby and the Gang all get along with Flex and end up helping the Doom Patrol save the day.
9 He's Got A Meaningful Name
Flex Mentallo is definitely a weird name, even by comic book standards. However, there's actually a method to the madness;Flex's powers stem from his mastery of 'Muscle Mystery,' and he activates the by flexing. By straining his muscles, Mentallo can effectively give himself new powers on the fly!
Flex's powers are supposed to be weird as they're a callback to the strange powers of the Golden Age and Silver Age of Comics. Mentallo's name is also a playful homage to the Pulp Action heroes of old. Flex is a reference to characters like Flash Gordon and Buck Roger after all.
8 'Hero Of The Beach'
The phrase 'Hero of the Beach' is one of Flex Mentallo's titles. It's an intentionally goofy, over-the-top mantle that Flex wears with pride. Mentallo's origin story is also a loving homage to the odd superhero origin stories of the past.
In the beginning, Flex was once a normal man with a slender build. He wanted nothing more than to get big muscles and pick up girls at the beach Eventually, he met a fellow with a TV for a head. TV man taught Flex about 'Muscle Mystery." Mentallo not only gained a great physique but reality-bending powers! The rest is history.
7 Flex Has His Own Kryptonite
Most comic book superheroes have a specific weakness to counter their awesome strength. The Green Lanterns have a strange relationship with the color yellow. Blade struggles with 'the Thirst.' And Wonder Woman used to be susceptible to bondage. As a living affectionate parody of comic books as a whole, Flex is no exception to this trend.
Flex Mentallo's weakness is a rare element called Mentallium. It affects Flex the same way Kryptonite affects Superman. Mentallium also comes in different varieties and colors; Black Mentallium is the most outright deadly variety while Pink Mentallium *ahem* plays with your emotions and your thoughts.
6 Flex Was Homeless For A While
Mentallo had his fair share of hard times. You'd probably never guess based on his sunny disposition, but Flex used to homeless. An organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. once captured Flex and took his powers away. At the beginning of DC's New 52 relaunch, Flex spent a long time wandering around aimlessly - trying to remember who he was.
Flex eventually encountered Danny the Street - a sentient street that welcomed Mentallo. While living with Danny, Mentallo had a fateful run-in with the Doom Patrol. When he saw them in action, something clicked deep inside Flex. Soon, he regained his identity as Flex Mentallo - Man of Muscle Mastery!
5 Flex's Nemesis Is His Creator
Oh no, we're not talking about Grant Morrison. You see, Flex Mentallo is actually the creation of a teenage boy from the DC Universe! A man named Wallace Sage made Flex before he even finished puberty. Mentallo embodies all of Wally's idealism before entering into adulthood.
As a grown man, Sage has a dour outlook on life. He also uses his gifts to destroy rather than build. Adult Wally thinks that pessimism and realism are one and the same. Flex believes that being negative is easy, but daring to have hope and being optimistic is hard. In the end, Flex offers to help Wally rebuild his life for the better.
4 My Greenest Adventure
This is the comic Wallace made as a kid. It embodies all of the unspoiled hope and optimism that most of us have before life kicks in. My Greenest Adventure is also a reference to the Doom Patrol's first comic - My Greatest Adventure #80.
Anyhow, My Greenest Adventure features Flex Mentallo teaming up with a group of strange heroes. Well, we should say another strange group of superheroes. Some of Mentallo's original teammates were the Fact and the Atomic Pile. They all squared off against a foe named the Waxworker. My Greenest Adventure is supposed to be very tongue in cheek and self-aware.
3 Created To End the Dark Age of Comics
Through the late 1980s to the early 1990s, comic books became very violent and very pessimistic. Various comic writers were disillusioned with the campy yet positive messages of the past. They decided to create darker stories that they felt were more realistic. We'll put it this way; Superman died, Batman killed the Joker and mercenaries became very popular during the Dark Age of Comics.
Grant Morrison and Richard Case made Flex Mentallo as a rebuttal to the gritty, edgy heroes of the Dark Age of Comics. Mentallo represents the idea that there's nothing wrong or childish with being kind and cheerful - especially in a world that can be dark and brutal.
2 Based On Charles Atlas
Charles Atlas, whose real name was Angelo Siciliano, was a professional bodybuilder and industry pioneer. Atlas had a few famous advertising campaigns back in the day. Mr. Atlas was an incredibly friendly man and a real-life hero in his own right.
Flex Mentallo is partially based on Charles Atlas. Specifically, "The Insult that Made a Man out of Mac" ad. Remember how we mentioned that Mentallo used to be a normal, skinny guy? The whole concept of a "scrawny weakling" training to develop his physique was a big part of Atlas' sales pitch. Atlas couldn't bend reality but he was very popular and influential in his community.
1 Flex Knows He's A Comic Character
Grant Morrison is a writer who loves to get meta. Back in the 1980s, Morrison wrote a story in which Animal Man met him. Morrison also made The Invisibles comic book to express some of his interesting, abstract views on life. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Morrison did all sorts of intriguing things with Flex.
Flex Mentallo is one of the few heroes with 'comic book awareness.' In laymen's terms, Flex knows he's a comic book character - alongside Morrison's take on Animal Man. However, he doesn't make a habit of breaking the Fourth Wall like She-Hulk or Deadpool.