The Flash: Who Is Chester P. Runk?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "Into the Void," The Flash Season 6 premiere.

The Flash Season 6 premiere introduces a bunch of new potential antagonist and allies leading into the upcoming "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event, including Chester P. Runk/Chunk. Although Runk is a pretty important character following Crisis on Infinite Earths in the comics, the brilliant young man has remained underutilized over the years. Here's everything you need to know about Runk in the comics and on the show so far.

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Created by Mike Baron and Jackson Guice, Chester P. Runk/Chunk first appeared in 1988's The Flash #9. As Runk doesn't first appear until after the death of Barry Allen in Crisis on Infinite Earths, he's a character more closely associated with Wally West and that hero's early days as Flash. A genius scientist, Runk develops a matter transmitter with which he accidentally merges while experimenting. The accident necessitates that Runk absorb a tremendous amount each day, and out of desperation, he starts doing such villainous actions as robbing jewelry stores and art galleries. The character isn't particularly stable in his relationships, and Runk actually sends those who annoy him into the other dimension created by his portals.

After Wally turns Runk back to the side of good, he becomes quite rich by disposing of materials and things no one wants to deal with. Runk also serves as a key ally for Wally, who after winning the lottery at the start of his post-Crisis history later becomes exceptionally poor. Runk is consistently shown as good-natured and a solid friend to Wally, even helping him in Cuba during the Invasion! crossover event. Their relationship definitely has some tension, but they're friends through and through.

Runk's appearances grow fewer and farther between after the '80s end, with the character largely absent for most of the '90s and 2000s, though he does appear on occasion. Runk does have a New 52 counterpart, who first showed up in 2016's The Flash #49. In that incarnation, he's a friend of Wallace West. Chunk has since made a few minor cameo appearances, but he's never quite regained the importance he had for a short time in the late '80s.

There are some pretty major differences in how The Flash is approaching Runk, without even talking about how much thinner he is on the show. The episode sees Iris and Caitlin nearly getting consumed by black holes. This leads Team Flash to Chester P. Runk, who is livestreaming a physics experiment when he has his fateful accident. Following the event, Runk is nearly catatonic at the hospital. However, Iris eventually realizes Runk is behind the black holes and that attempting to destroy the anomalies would also kill the young man, whose divided between the two worlds.

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In order to keep Runk alive, they move his body into the Mental Augmentation Chamber. Barry speeds into one of Runk's black holes and retrieves the other piece of Runk. The plan works, and the young man regains consciousness, expressing his excitement at meeting Flash, though he's confused about just where he is. His eyes are stylized like the black holes that he creates, indicating that he hasn't lost his powers.

Just how much Runk's arc in the comics will influence The Flash Season 6 isn't clear. However, there will certainly be complications related to Runk's new state. Plus, a lot of episodes of The Flash have been dedicated to helping potential allies learn to use their powers. As this Runk certainly seems to be on the side of the good already, he's certain to play a key role going forward in these early episodes, which are focusing on the villain Dr. Ramsey Rosso/Bloodwork.

Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW, The Flash stars Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Danielle Nicolet and Hartley Sawyer.

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