Welcome to Earth-2, where down is up and black is white! Where what you think you know, is no where close to reality, and everyone has a chance to play a different version of themselves. This week, we not only pay a visit to Earth-2, we take a moment to explore the comic book history that tie-in to this week’s episode of The Flash.
WELCOME TO EARTH-2
Barry, Wells and Cisco travel to Earth-2 to rescue Jesse from Zoom. They find killer Frost and Deathstorm whom are Caitlin and Ronnie on Earth-1. Meanwhile Jay takes barry’s responsibility on defending central city from a meta human called Geomancer.
Way back in the long ago times, comics were big money makers. When Superman appeared on the scene in 1938, superhero comics appeared on the newsstands only to be snatched up by readers hungry for adventures of characters like Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, the Spectre, Sandman, the Flash, Doctor Fate, Hour-Man, and The Atom. By 1940, All-American Publications and National Allied Publications teamed for the first inter-company superhero title, All Star Comics, and by issue three, the heroes had formed the Justice Society of America.
In case you were wondering, DC Comics as we know it today didn’t totally form until 1946.
National Allied Publications soon merged with Detective Comics Inc. to form National Comics Publications on September 30, 1946, which absorbed an affiliated concern, Max Gaines’ and Jack S. Liebowitz’ All-American Publications. Though officially called National Comics, the company branded itself as Superman-DC as early as 1940 (after National Publications merged with DC Comics), as Superman-DC. It wasn’t until 1977 that DC Comics became the official name.
All Star Comics was conceived by Sheldon Mayer and Gardner Fox, though dozens of writers and artists worked on the series until comics fell out of favor during the 1950s thanks to parent groups, and Frederick Wertham’s 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, which suggested comic books were dangerous to children.
Fortunately, that downfall didn’t last long, because in 1956, John Broome, Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox, and Carmine Infantino launched Showcase #4, which ushered in the Silver Age of comics. Suddenly rebooting and reimagining superheroes became the thing, and this rebirth of the heroes meant they needed to team up once again to form the Justice League of America.
But what about those heroes that were clearly around during the Golden Age? What happened to them? Were their stories canon, or were they meant to be forgotten? How were the old readers supposed to accept these new characters without some kind of satisfactory resolution?
The answer, Flash #123.
In the Flash of Two Worlds, Barry Allen ran so fast that he vibrated between the barriers between universes to arrive at a place dubbed Earth-2… even though it was around before Barry Allen’s Earth. Now you know why Harry is so upset about his Earth being called Earth-2 and not Earth-1. In the process of satisfying fans and clearing up continuity, Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Julius Schwartz, created the Multiverse, and a yearly event where the JSA and JLA would team up during a giant Multiverse shaking event.
So, for all intents and purposes, Earth-2 resides during the Golden Age (1938-1950), which explains the why the world of Earth-2 is shaped that way it is in the television show. Not only are there direct influences to pre-World War II clothing and automobiles, the Art Deco style can be seen in nearly every element on screen. From the rocket on display in Star Labs, which is a direct nod to the ship that brought Superman to Earth, to the taser that took Barry Allen down in Harry Wells’s office. And to take it one step further, all of the daytime scenes we’ve seen of Central City have a golden light filling the world.
Even more exciting is the fact that most of the buildings featured in Earth-1 have long featured the Prairie School and Arts and Crafts Movements designs, which is a style that preceded Art Deco. So if Harry wants to get too excitable about which Earth came first, the architecture gives it all away.
And with that last bit, I think we may have gone too far down the wormhole…
Down the Wormhole
Speaking of going down the wormhole, the Internet is all abuzz over the things we saw in the wormhole while Harry, Cisco and Barry made their way to Earth-2.
Last time we saw Gorilla Grodd, Barry had punched him through the wormhole where he landed in an African jungle outside of Gorilla City. Seeing his face appear is a nice reminder that Grodd should not be forgotten. Also, the last wormhole Barry closed on Earth-1 was the same one Grodd went through earlier this season.
It certainly looks like a Green Arrow with some new duds, but some have speculated that version of Green Arrow may indeed be Connor Hawke.
John Wesley Shipp plays Barry’s father in The Flash, and many of you already know that Shipp played the Flash in the CBS series way back in the ’90s. While many poo-pooed the idea of stunt casting Shipp and Amanda Pays in The Flash, the shot of Shipp’s Flash, and knowing the multiverse exists means everything is up for grabs now.
Development for the series began in 1988 when Warner Bros. Television tried to develop television films based on some DC Comics characters for CBS. Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo conceived one that featured several superheroes, including the Flash, though their project was not made. In January 1990, new CBS Entertainment president Jeff Sagansky expressed interest in creating a series featuring the Flash, and The Flash was announced a few months after.
Bilson and De Meo were tapped to write the pilot episode, which they completed in January 1990. Filming for the episode took six weeks, from May through June 1990. The final effects for the pilot were completed a week before airing in September 1990. Bilson said, “There are 125 special effects. It’s done on a grand scale.” The 2-hour pilot cost $6 million, and each subsequent episode of The Flash cost around $1.6 million to produce.
We know that The Flash will appear on the March 28th episode of Supergirl, and because of the vision in the wormhole, it looks like Barry will meet Supergirl of another Earth. On the one hand this is nice as it answers the question, “Where is Supergirl in the Arrowverse,” but some may see it as restricting the opportunities for these characters teaming in the future. I’m okay if the Supergirl series takes place on another Earth. I’ve said before that each network could be its own Earth, which would make Gotham on FOX a whole other Earth as well.
Supergirl was introduced in August 1958 in the pages of Superman #123. In that appearance she was known as Super-Girl, a magical being brought to life by Jimmy Olson who wanted a companion and helper for his pal, Superman.
After positive fan reaction to Super-Girl, the first recurring and most familiar version of Supergirl debuted in 1959. Kara Zor-El first appeared in Action Comics #252 (May 1959). The story that introduced the character was drawn by Al Plastino and written by Otto Binder, who had also created Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel’s sister and female spinoff.
As the last survivor of Argo City, Kara Zor-El has all the powers and vulnerabilities as her cousin Kal-El (aka Superman), and is quite the draw Monday nights on CBS.
But what if, those visions don’t take place on a different Earth? We know that Jonah Hex is scheduled to appear in an upcoming episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and the Jonah Hex seen in the wormhole looks an awful lot like the actor who was hired for the Legneds of Tomorrow series. How can that be?
Jonah Hex was created by John Albano and Tony Dezuniga in All-Star Western #10 in 1972. Despite being a confederate soldier and bounty hunter, the horribly scarred Hex is bound by his personal code of honor to protect and avenge the innocent. While Hex’s adventures may be fairly straightforward, the hero has spent quite a bit of time jumping through the years. If you want to see the ultimate fate of Hex, you should really read DC Special Series #16: Jonah Hex Spectacular.
Legion of Super-Heroes
One of the biggest Easter Eggs in the wormhole was the appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes flight ring. Matthew and I have speculated, talked about, and dreamed of a Legion of Super-Heroes series on The CW, as young pretty people, adventure, and yet another opportunity for The CW to add another superhero show to its lineup makes perfect sense.
If I were a betting man, I’d put money that the LoSH is already in the works and that shot was just a hint of things to come.
The Legion of Super-Heroes first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 in April 1958, and they were created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.
Initially, the team was closely associated with the original Superboy (Superman when he was a teenager), and was first portrayed as a group of time travelers who frequently visited him. In later years, the Legion’s origin and back story were fleshed out, and the group was given prominence on par with Superboy’s in a monthly comic. Eventually, Superboy was removed from the team altogether, and appeared afterwards as an occasional guest star.
When the Legion finally appears on television, you can bet we will have a show dedicated to their adventures.
Black is White
Yes, everything is reversed on Earth-2, which is why Henry Hewitt (aka Tokamak) is a good guy, Iris West-Allen is a tough as nails detective, Floyd Lawton (aka Deadshot) is a terrible shot, David Singh is a criminal, Captain Cold is the Mayor of Central City, and why we finally get to see Jesse Martin sing on the show.
Joe West of Earth-2 (2016-2016 He Will Be Missed)
Sadly, Joe West of Earth-2 died this week without resolving his hatred towards his son-in-law Barry. While he didn’t make the Ultimate Sacrifice (hushed whisper), he did die from his injuries suffered while trying to protect his daughter, Iris. And, as a nice bonus for fans of Jessie Martin, we finally got to see him sing on the show. Nicely done!
When we first saw Caitlin Snow as Killer Frost last season, we knew we would have to dive into her complex history at some point. It’s fairly complicated because there are actually three different characters who have gone by the name Killer Frost.
The first was Crystal Frost (June 1978), who fell in love with Martin Stein when she was at Hudson University. When Stein didn’t return her affections, she locked herself in a thermafrost chamber, emerging as someone who could absorb heat from any living being. She eventually died when she absorbed too much energy from Firestorm.
The second Killer Frost, is Dr. Louise Lincoln who first appeared in Firestorm Volume 2 #21 in March 1984. In that issue, we learned Lincoln was a colleague of Frost and after Crystal died, she repeated the thermafrost experiment on herself and spent many years as a member of the Suicide Squad, attempting to kill Firestorm for killing Frost.
Dr. Caitlin Snow arrived on the scene in 2013 in the pages of Justice League of America #7.2. In that issue, Dr. Snow was sent to a S.T.A.R. Labs outpost in the Arctic to work on a thermodynamic engine. When she arrived, she discovered H.I.V.E. had taken over the facility. The agents of H.I.V.E. attempted to kill her by putting her in the engine. While attempting to escape, her body merged with the coolant system, turning her into a heat vampire. Yes… a heat vampire. The only thing that can temporarily heal her condition is a blast from Firestorm.
After watching this episode, it feels like TV’s Killer Frost borrows from all three of the comic book characters.
Before you think a dark version of Ronnie Raymond couldn’t exist, check out Deathstorm. Deathstorm is a fairly recent DC character, appearing during the Blackest Night event in 2010. During that story, Ronnie Raymond is brought back to life as a member of the Black Lantern Corps.
Deathstorm was certainly a menace for Jason Rusch during the Darkest Night run, but fortunately, we saw the last of nefarious character during Brightest Day, which concluded the massive DC Comics event in 2011. Though Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom created Ronnie Raymond and Firestorm in 1978, we can point our fingers as Ethan Van Sciver, Peter Tomasi, Ivan Reis and Geoff Johns for Deathstorm’s appearance in comics.
Wasn’t it nice to see Carlos Valdes play a bad guy for a change? I loved seeing Vibe turn to the dark side and become Reverb in this episode.
Armando Ramone, a leader of a Detroit street gang, has the ability to manipulate sound waves and becomes the hero Reverb to honor his fallen brother, Pacp Ramone (aka Vibe). Later, he became the hero Hardline, and a member of the Conglomerate. Armando first appeared in Justice League of America #233 in December, 1984, and was created by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton.
A JSA Nod
The other nice flip seen in Earth-2 is the giant mural in the Central City Police Department’s lobby that reads “A Free and Just Society.” On Earth-1 the characters depicted on the mural are the Greek gods that look an awful lot like the Justice League of America.
Barry has Bruce’s number
Though there are many moments that made fans squee in excitement, the best Easter Egg of the entire episode was Barry’s speed dial that included Hal (Green Lantern), Eddie (Thawne), Bruce (Batman), and Diana (Wonder Woman). However, before you get too excited about the potential of these heroes existing on Earth-2, executive producer Aaron Helbing harshes our mellow by stating, “Sadly, Earth-2 Barry is not part of the Justice League; it was purely “just Easter eggs for fun.”
That’s totally okay by me, because everyone knows Hal Jordan was never the Green Lantern of Earth-2. If the creators really wanted to freak us out, they would have put Alan in the five spot.
LET’S NOT FORGET EARTH-1
While a lot was going on on Earth-2, let’s not forget everything going on on Earth-1.
Adam Fells (aka Geomancer)
Fortunately, the creators kept the Earth-1 big bad to a relative nobody character from the comics. He’s been seen as a mercenary, a member of the Injustice Society, and a captive of the Ultra-Humanite. Geomancer has the ability to manipulate earth and stone through telekinesis. Essentially, he can create earthquakes.
Geomancer first appeared in JSA #5 in October 1999. He was created by Geoff Johns.
It’s good to see Jay Garrick back in his Flash duds this week. It’s just too bad he’s been juicing his abilities with Velocity 6. It’s interesting that Jay was injecting himself with Velocity 6, as Johnny Quick of Earth-3 is the one who uses Speed Juice (a form of Velocity 9) to amp up his powers. Could this be a hint of things to come? We did, after all, see Barry easily replace his doppleganger when he arrived on Earth-2; could Johnny Quick have replace his dopple on Earth-2 as well?
Since Velocity 6 won’t work for Jay on Earth-2, Caitlin whips up Velocity 7, and by the end of the episode she begins work on Velocity 8. That’s just one iteration away from Velocity 9.
Velocity 9 is a drug developed by Vandal Savage that gives users the ability to move at super speed. The drawback is it causes premature aging, exhaustion, and eventual death. It also gives the user red eyes. I wonder if we’ve ever seen a speedster with red eyes before?
Velocity 9 is also a drug used by Rival. Rival first appeared in Flash Comics #104 in February 1949. Dr. Edward Clariss is a professor at the same University Jay Garrick went to when he discovered his powers. Clariss believes he’s created a formula that will give him super speed like The Flash, but instead of becoming a hero, Clariss uses “Velocity 9” to become a dark villain – a “Rival” of Jay Garrick. Interestingly, The Rival does not have red streaks that follow his super speed, but rather blue streaks.
Velocity 9 is also a drug developed by Deathstroke and given to Bart Allen’s nemesis, Inertia.
Could Velocity 9 play a key role in Wally West getting his powers? And will there be a DC’s Legends of Tomorrow tie-in?
IT’S CALLED A SECRET IDENTITY FOR A REASON!
Dr. Harrison Wells(deceased)
- Eobard Thawne (as Dr. Harrison Wells)
- Dr. Harry Wells (Earth-2)
- Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Dr. Cisco Ramon
- Detective Joe West
- Dr. Martin Stein
- Mrs. Clarissa Stein
- Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper)
- Felicity Smoak
- General Wade Eiling
- Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)
- John Diggle
Bette Sans Souci(deceased)
- Dr. Henry Allen (out of prison)
Iris West(in another timeline)
- Iris West-Allen (in the future)
- Iris West (via spark touch)
- Iris West (of Earth-2)
- Leonard Snart (Captain Cold)
Detective Eddie Thawne(deceased)
- Ray Palmer (The Atom)
- Brie Larvan
- Laurel Lance (Black Canary)
Hannibal Bates (Everyman)(deceased)
- Gorilla Grodd
- Lyla Diggle (Harbinger)
- Jay Garrick (The Flash of Earth-2)
- Dr. Henry Hewitt
- Jefferson Jackson (Firestorm)
- Linda Park
- Malcolm Merlin/Al Sa-Her/Ra’s al Ghul
- Vandal Savage
- Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl)
- Cater Hall (Hawkman)
- Thea Queen (Speedy)
- Patty Spivot
And that should be everything! What did I miss? What did you catch? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts on this episode, and until next week – RUN, BARRY! RUN!
Next week, we’re escamping Earth-2!
FLASHBACK: THE PODCAST
Want to hear Matthew Peterson and I sit down to discuss this episode in detail? If you are a Major Spoilers VIP, look for the Flashback Podcast hitting the VIP site very soon![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]