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FANTASY DRAFT: “The Flash” Villains Ready for Prime Time

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment
FANTASY DRAFT: “The Flash” Villains Ready for Prime Time

DC Comics speedster The Flash has long been known for one of the greatest rogues galleries in comics. The Flash — both Barry Allen and Wally West — has fought colorful, gimmicked villains with a grudge against the Scarlet Speedster. From the strangely honorable stylings of Captain Cold and his fellow Rogues to the antithesis of everything the Flash stands for, Professor Zoom, to the fevered terrifying madness of Gorilla Grodd, barely a month goes by that a Flash isn’t facing off against a unique, high-profile villain.

“The Flash” Gets Full-Season Order from The CW

Now that The Flash has arrived on television to record-breaking numbers for The CW, some of his major nemeses have come with him. A number of A-List villains have already been announced — Captain Cold debuted on last night’s episode — but before they make their live-action debuts, CBR takes a look back at who these rogues are and where they came from, what motivates them and why they could make the Flash the greatest hero on television. After all, a hero is only as good as the evil he fights against, and the Flash has always had some of the greatest adversaries in all of comics. Below are some brief histories and profiles of some of the villains we know are coming to “The Flash,” and even more we hope are on the dark horizon.

Captain Cold

First appearance “Showcase” #8 (June 1957)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Played by “Prison Break” star Wentworth Miller, Captain Cold, Flash’s most enduring foe, made his debut last night in the fourth episode of “The Flash.” There is a strange honor to Len Snart that sets him apart from some of Flash’s other antagonists, an honor that makes him a particularly compelling albeit deadly character. In the Silver Age, Snart used his cold gun to commit daring robberies, often allying himself with Flash’s other Rogues. The Captain Cold portrayed in Geoff Johns’ critically acclaimed run on “The Flash” could provide all the inspiration the new television series needs to make him one of the most layered villains on television by exploring the character’s often contradictory nature. In the comics, the character has been a Cold Gun-wielding thug in the Silver Age and a meta-powered mercenary introduced in the pages of the New 52 (who currently serves as a member of the Justice League, of all things, and is back to using the Cold Gun). Beyond these inspirations, the TV series could also utilize Cold’s sister, the villainous Golden Glider, to provide the character with further depth and motivation and establish him as both a protector and a criminal. Based on early indications, it looks like Cold’s television counterpart will have a similar complex morality and cunning, making him a villain worthy of the Captain Cold moniker.

Weather Wizard

First appearance “The Flash” #110 (December 1959)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

The Weather Wizard — portrayed by Chad Rook in “The Flash” pilot — is a long-standing member of Flash’s Rogues, forcing the Scarlet Speedster to outrace his tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms for years. In the comics, the Weather Wizard stole his brother’s weather controlling tech (with some storylines suggesting the villain murdered his brother) but fans will have to wait to see if this sibling rivalry makes it into the television series. Weather Wizard did not be use his signature Weather Wand in the show, his powers instead granted by an innate metahuman ability. The fact that the new series began with the Weather Wizard could mean there is a concerted effort by producers to explore the classic Rogues that have bedeviled Flash for generations. While Weather Wizard perished in the pilot, there was another thug aboard that fateful plane. Could there soon be another Weather Wizard in the cards, this one bent on vengeance?

Heat Wave

First appearance “The Flash” #140 (November 1963)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Mick Rory, also known as Heat Wave, started out the Silver Age as relatively the same character as Captain Cold, but of course, with the gimmick of fire instead of ice. Over the years, Heat Wave has evolved into a scarred pyromaniac, a fearsome and disturbing foe for the Flash and the heroes of the DC Universe. Using a Heat Gun very similar in function and appearance to Snart’s Cold Gun, Heat Wave cut a striking figure in the Silver Age. Clad in a white flame-retardant suit and goggles, the villain stood as one of Carmine Infantino’s most simple but strikingly designed characters. Captain Cold and Heat Wave formed a kind of subunit of the Rogues, men with polar opposite powers but similar motivations that challenged each other to further their criminal careers and personal wars against the Flash. In recent years, Cold has become kind of a caretaker for Heat Wave as Rory’s character has become more of an obsessive. The fact that Heat Wave, who is scheduled to appear on the tenth episode of “The Flash,” is played by Wentworth Miller’s “Prison Break” co-star Dominic Purcell suggests that television’s Captain Cold and Heat Wave will also have a strong bond, though whether it’s as allies or competitors remains to be seen. Heat Wave has gone for a typical villain with heat-based powers to one of the most disturbing foes in Flash’s rich history; it will be interesting to see how this fiery villain evolves on television.

Captain Boomerang

First appearance “The Flash” #117 (December 1960)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

While normally a Flash villain, Captain Boomerang is actually scheduled to appear on “The Flash’s” CW sister show “Arrow.” Another long-running antagonist, Boomerang is typically depicted as an unapologetic rake who gleefully causes havoc wherever he goes. Digger Harkness was originally a toy inventor who used his most popular toy, the boomerang, as his weapon of choice when he embarked on a criminal career. While his life of crime began with nothing more than a gaudy costume and a gimmick, Boomerang has evolved into a greedy, womanizing scumbag loyal only to himself. Captain Boomerang will be played by the latest in a long line of “Spartacus” actors to join CW’s “Arrow”-verse with Nick Tarabay joining fellow alums Manu Bennett (Slade Wilson), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Amanda Waller) and Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul). Fans familiar with Tarabay’s performance as Ashur on “Spartacus” know the actor can play a convincing dirtbag, a skill required to bring Captain Boomerang to life. With “The Flash” and “Arrow” scheduled to cross over later this season, fans could possibly expect the Flash to be dodging boomerangs before too long. Other than his membership as a Rogue, Captain Boomerang is best known as member of the Suicide Squad, a team of villains that has already had a major impact on “Arrow.” It seems like Captain Boomerang could be set to make an impact on two DC shows — not bad for a villain once solely known for a funny hat and a gimmick.

Reverse-Flash

First appearance “The Flash” #139 (September 1963)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Professor Zoom aka the Reverse-Flash, in his distinctive yellow costume, is probably the Flash foe with the most complex history. The Reverse-Flash (real name Eobard Thawne), originally came from the future and used advanced technology to mimic the Flash’s powers. Professor Zoom murdered Iris Allen in the pre-Crisis DC Universe and tried to murder Barry Allen’s second wife, only to die at the hero’s hands, all leading into “The Trial of the Flash,” the last great Flash story before Barry perished in “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” A Reverse-Flash also plagued Wally West in Geoff Johns’ “Flash” run in the form of disgruntled police officer Hunter Zolomon. Rick Cosnett plays Detective Eddie Thawne on the CW series, and based on leaked photos from the set the Thawne name isn’t just a coincidence. Reverse-Flash adds the element of time travel to “The Flash.” an idea that has been a central motif since the early Silver Age. Whatever name Reverse-Flash may go by, he could serve as the show’s primary villain, one who stands apart from the more grounded Rogues and adds a true archenemy to the proceedings.

Girder

First appearance in “Flash: Iron Heights” (2001)

Created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver

Tony Woodward will be playing the monstrous Girder on the sixth episode of “The Flash.” Since his introduction, Girder has always been a thug and a bully and this legacy will continue in “The Flash,” as it has been reported that Woodward’s character will be a childhood bully of Barry Allen’s. The comic book Girder is made up of living scraps of metal and is one of Flash’s most vicious, if less intelligent, foes. It will be interesting to see how much of Girder’s comic book look the television character maintains, as staying true visually to the villain Geoff Johns introduced could get expensive.

Pied Piper

First appearance “The Flash” #106 (May 1959)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Hartley Rathaway (alias Thomas Peterson) was born deaf before a miracle cure was found for his condition. Finally able to hear, Rathaway grew obsessed with sound and took up a life of crime out of boredom. Using sound-induced hypnotism and sonic blasts, Rathaway adopted the identity of the Pied Piper and became one of the most loyal Rogues. Piper was a fairly nondescript villain, but when he reformed he became one of Wally West’s greatest friends and allies. Perhaps more importantly, he also became one of DC Comic’s first openly gay characters. Piper helped Wally many times during West’s time as the Flash and was much more successful as a hero than he ever was as a villain. Reports indicate that Piper’s sexuality will not be shied away from when Andy Mientus brings him to life and that the character’s deafness will play a role in his villainous origins as well. Whether his altruistic streak plays a role on the world of television’s Barry Allen remains to be seen.

Those are the Flash Rogues publicly revealed, but those aren’t the only villains from the pages of DC Comics that will appear on “The Flash.” A number of Firestorm’s villains will also be front and center, and with Robbie Amell introduced as Ronnie Raymond, it’s already been established that he — along with Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein — will turn up as Firestorm sooner rather than later.

Killer Frost

First appearance “Firestorm” # 3 (June 1978)

Created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom

A number of women have taken up the identity of Killer Frost over the years, but during September 2013’s “Villains Month” event, fans were introduced to the latest woman to adopt the villainous identity, Caitlin Snow. On television, Caitlin Snow is also the name of one of Barry’s lab assistants, a brave young woman who already helped Felicity Smoak save Starling City from Slade Wilson. Television’s Caitlin Snow is smart and capable, though guarded since the presumed death of her fiance, Ronnie Raymond. Given that dynamic, the Firestorm/Killer Frost rivalry could potentially be rekindled for television should Snow’s story take a chilling turn.

Multiplex

First Appearance “Firestorm, The Nuclear Man” #1 (1978)

Created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom

Multiplex — real name Danton Black, who has the power to split himself into many duplicates — fought Firestorm in the hero’s very first comic book appearance and also served time as a member of the Suicide Squad. On TV, the character was played by Michael Christopher Smith in the show’s second installment, with Multiplex’s powers deployed in clever ways in a fight against The Flash — before the character fell to his death at the end of the episode.

Plastique

First appearance “Fury of Firestorm” #7 (December 1982)

Created by Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick

Set to make her debut in the fifth episode of “the Flash,” Plastique will be played by Kelly Frye. Plastique has faced off against Firestorm for years, and, like Multiplex, served with the Suicide Squad. Waller’s team of villains could certainly be a perfect fit for Plastique, a woman who turns whatever she touches into an explosive.

Villains From Around the DC Universe

Grant Gustin’s Flash is also slated to fight some foes that have appeared elsewhere in the DCU, with one villain stretching all the way back to the Golden Age.

The Mist

First appearance “Adventure Comics” #67 (October 1941)

Created by Gardner Fox

Traditionally a Starman villain, the Mist was the third metahuman on the show to challenge the Flash, played by Anthony Carrigan — and the first metahuman to be incarcerated in the makeshift prison located in the former particle accelerator.

The General

First appearance “Captain Atom” #1 (March 1987)

Created by Cary Bates and Pat Broderick

Played by genre veteran Clancy Brown, General Wade Eiling could come to “The Flash” as so much more than just another villain. Eiling could be the J. Jonah Jameson of the series, a foil to Barry and Harrison Wells or a William Stryker-like threat to the budding metahumans of Central City. In the comics, Eiling didn’t stay a mortal threat for long as he took the form of the classic Justice League villain the Shaggy Man and became a monstrous threat to any hero wearing a costume. Could we see the Shaggy Man on television? Will Eiling be the connection the series needs to ARGUS and Amanda Waller? That remains to be seen, but the very presence of the Captain Ahab-like General will surely make life difficult for DC’s speedster.

Those are the villains we currently know about, but there are so many Rogues left unaccounted for. Here are some that we’d like to see make an impact later on down the road in the first season or beyond.

Gorilla Grodd

First appearance “The Flash” #106 (May 1959)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Eagle-eyed viewers saw that fateful broken cage in STAR Labs, and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer (and “Flash” executive producer) Geoff Johns has commented that Grodd was teased for a reason. It would certainly take some careful planning and execution. Done wrong, a talking evil gorilla could take some viewers right out of the reality of the show. Done right, Grodd could become the most fearsome villain DC television has ever seen. Grodd has the mental powers of a Professor X in the body of a savage beast eager to rip the limbs from his foes. If you combine Mighty Joe Young with Genghis Khan and the powers of Jean Grey, you might get a sense of Grodd’s might. While this could be jarring to those who haven’t ready his stories in the comics, it could also prove to be a tremendous challenge for Barry to overcome.

Mirror Master

First appearance “The Flash” #105 (March 1959)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Mirror Master has always been one of the most difficult villains to define. Introduced during the Silver Age, Sam Scudder (and later Evan McCulloch) used mirrors to commit crimes and make life difficult for the Flash. Over the years, Mirror Master has been able to teleport, transport his foes into other dimensions, create duplicates of himself, and cause things to grow and shrink among many more strange powers. The series could have some difficulty translating Mirror Master to the small screen, but there is a deep history between the Master and the Flash that would be worth exploring.

The Top

First appearance “The Flash” #122 (August 1961)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

The Top might seem both archaic and difficult to accomplish in live-action, but there’s no denying his long history as a Rogue. Roscoe Dillon was the first Flash Rogue to die, transforming him into a martyr for the other Rogues to rally behind. The Top also has a romantic history with Captain Cold’s sister, the Golden Glider, another area the series could explore if they both appear. While tops may have gone out of fashion for kids to play with (“Inception” or no), a revamped origin for Dillon and a reason to hate The Flash could make the Top a villain not to be toyed with.

Mr. Element/Dr. Alchemy

First Appearance: (as Mr. Element) “Showcase” #13 (April 1958); (as Dr. Alchemy) “Showcase” #14 (June 1958)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

The split-personality villain, Albert Desmond has used the magic of alchemy and the science to transmute elements to become the only man to fight the Flash using two separate identities. Having a villain with two power sets and two distinct personas could be an awesome twist non-comic fans would never see coming. Desmond has long been an intriguing character and it would be interesting to see how he translates to a new medium.

Trickster

First appearance “The Flash” #113 (June-July 1960)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

The Trickster has appeared on television before in the 1990 “Flash” series, played by none other than genre legend Mark Hamill. There have been two Tricksters over the years and the new series could skew young by utilizing Axel Walker or go old school with the original Trickster, James Jesse. Both villains rely on gimmicked pranks to commit crimes and could provide a comedic element to the new series.

Murmur

First appearance in “Flash: Iron Heights” (2001)

Created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver

The closest thing the Flash has to a Joker-level villain, Murmur could be a terrifying force in the new series. Once Michael Christian Amar, a serial killer with a speech impediment who cut out his own tongue and sewed his lips shut as not to give away his real identity when speaking, Mumur is Flash’s most horrific villain, who could darken the series significantly — but also provide a perfect test of resolve for the neophyte speedster and his positive outlook on life.

Abra Kadabra

First appearance Flash #128 (May 1962)

Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Things could get chronologically challenging if the series goes the time-traveling route with Reverse Flash. If so, time doors could open for the narcissistic futuristic magical Abra Kadabra. Addicted to accolades and applause, Abra Kadabra traveled back in time and used technology from his time to make people think he is a being of magic. The egotistic sorcerer could be the introduction of magic to the world of “The Flash” and provide a different type of test for Barry Allen. Even if “The Flash” doesn’t go the time traveling magic act route, a killer magician might be too cool to pass up.

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