“My name is Barry Allen, and I’m the fastest man alive”
Viewers of the Flash’s progenitor show “Arrow” will be familiar with this style of episode intros – a technique that works well to sum up the key premise of the show in a few sentences.
Whilst we’re unlikely to get actual Superman and Batman tv shows for the time being (Gotham notwithstanding), if you think of Arrow as the Batman analogue (dark, brooding, violent), Flash is very much the Superman equivalent (bright, optimistic, helpful). This carries through both in terms of the stories and the styles – Arrow is predominantly set at night, whereas the majority of Flash action takes place during the day.
For those who haven’t yet caught an episode of the show, Barry is a forensic scientist in the Central City police department. When he was a child, he witnessed something kill his mother, but nobody believed him and his father was convicted of the crime.
After a brief spell with team “Arrow”, he returned to Central City where he ended up being struck by lightning and showered with chemicals, giving him the power of speed. The event that caused this, also sparked other metahumans to acquire special abilities.
So far, he’s fought the Weather Wizard, Multiplex, the Mist and Captain Cold, and we’ve seen hints towards several other comic characters including Heat Wave and Firestorm. This week sees the introduction of Plastique – a character not traditionally part of Flash’s rogues gallery, demonstrating the show’s willingness to mine a broader range of material for its content. Introduced as a soldier who gained the ability to explode anything she touches, she is portrayed as a more sympathetic figure than the outright villain seen in the comics.
Fans of Smallville may recall we saw Clark’s powers introduced slowly, over several years. The Flash is a very different show, with his powers front-and-centre. As well as Barry’s previously used trick of vibrating his face to hide his identity close up (a technique dating back to the Golden Age), we get to see the first use of a couple of iconic set pieces from the comics.
The introduction of General Eiling provides a similar kind of antagonistic soldier character as General Talbot does for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and it remains to be seen whether his backstory will be fleshed out further as we progress into the season.
The final scene certainly suggests there is a bigger story to tell.