The Flash Pilot Review and Guide

the-cws-the-flashIn a world where comic book movies and television shows are popping up everywhere it seems like The Flash is a dime a dozen. But, this show is a great contender in the world of super hero stories.

The pilot showed the origins of Barry Allen as a speedster. One varied difference from the comic book origins is the involvement of the particle accelerator. But, this addition makes for a nice basis for all the super powers that inhabit the once powerless world of Arrow.

Yes, it means The Flash is not the only “metahuman” that is around. In the first episode is a super villain that, in the comics, is known as Weather Wizard. The tv show version is a nice variant of the classic rogue. In the comics he’s somewhat corny, which the other Flash villains can appear to be. In the show, he’s a formidable foe that has gained some theoretical powers just like Barry.

Before I get into any more allegories between the comics world and tv world, I want to give a review of the first episode of the series.
The Flash is spun out of a darker, grittier super hero television series. It also takes that world and expands on it in a new way. The new way is a much more science fiction type perspective. It’s maybe hard to take. But, The Flash does a great job at being a fun and action packed show. This isn’t the first outing of a Flash show. In fact, the actor who plays Barry’s father, John Wesley Shipp, was the first Barry Allen of television fame. This series was short lived, but actually had some of the dark take that Arrow has. I’d like to think that series was ahead of its time.

PilotThis new Flash series is doing a great job at introducing an audience to super heroes and villains. They’re not coming quite out of the blue, but have a bit of a scientific explanation to them. Surrounding it all are two mysteries. One I’ll get to later, but the first is the murder of Barry’s mother. There is a definite metahuman behind this death, and it happened well before the events that give Barry his powers. Both of these mysteries will play a big part of the series and help shape the coming story of Barry Allen as the fastest man alive.

As far as how the episode handled as a show, acting and effects were great. I loved the characters in this show more than those in Arrow. I feel like Arrow’s acting can be a bit melodramatic, and this didn’t contain quite that element. Barry is a light hearted hero, but with enough maturity that you don’t feel like he’s a kid.

The special effects paid off. There is not a constant use of the blurring of speedsters, but sometimes the camera is slowed down to show the movement of the hero. I liken it to the way he’s been animated in cartoons over the years. But, with a live-action take it makes it believable, as if a person with super speed would look the way he does to the naked eye. It was just a great effect overall.

Some of the nods to comic-dom that I noticed were the characters, of course. Barry and Iris do have some love tension in the comics, at least the newer DC Comics series. Before DC rebooted its entire universe, Barry and Iris were married. Her nephew became the second Flash. But, that’s something to touch on in the future.

Professor Zoom
Professor Zoom

Eddie Thawne, Iris’ current love interest and her father’s detective partner, is a famous character in the Flash continuum. Also having the name Eobard Thawne, in the comics he’s the metahuman called Reverse Flash or Professor Zoom. He’s a villain that is the one that goes back in time to kill Barry’s mother. Whether or not this will all play out in the tv show is yet to be seen.

Max Mercury
Max Mercury

Weather Wizard, although not named thus in the pilot, is a member of the Flash Rogues Gallery – a collection of super powered villains. In the comics he has the power over weather, especially storms, via a wand. In the series, he’s able to master weather through powers from the accelerator accident.

And, speaking of the accident, STAR Labs is a lab in the comics, although Wells is not a character that has a mirror in the comic world. The mystery I eluded to earlier is where we find out at the end of the pilot that he knows something about the future, where the Flash is absent in a crisis. There’s been a recent comic story of similar ideas, but it has the Flash himself going back in time to correct the mistake he’s made. Harrison Wells could be any of a few ideas from the Flash continuum. It’s possible he’s Professor Zoom. Another possibility is he’s the Flash from the future and there to correct mistakes made. One other theory is that he’s Max Mercury who is someone with control of the Speed Force (more on this later) of which Allen also draws his powers from. Mercury can travel through time and is an ally of the speedy hero. One more idea: Impulse. Wells could be the future descendant of Allen known as Impulse AKA Bart Allen. In any case, this mystery is going to be drawn out with clues in future episodes.

A couple other interesting nods came in small hints. Oliver Queen/Arrow tells Allen the lightning may have chose him. In the comics it is what happened. The lightning came from the Speed Force – energy that gives all the speedsters their powers and is quite a mysterious entity. It’s possible this will be in the series as well. Another nod is when Wells explains all that has happened from the accident in the lab. A broken cage with the name tag Grodd is highlighted. Grodd, Gorilla Grodd, is a nemesis of Flash. He’s a super intelligent gorilla that is like a mad scientist bent on world domination. Obviously, he will be a foe in the series.

So, in all, The Flash has some deep roots in the comics and is a fun beginning to a hopefully great television series. I enjoyed the pilot and am looking forward to more episodes. I loved the crossover with Oliver Queen and hope there’s a few episodes of the like. I’m eagerly anticipating the next episode!