“How many Flashes are there? One? Two? Is Barry Allen the real Flash? Or is Jay Garrick? Does the Flash live in Central City? Or in Keystone City? Only one thing seems certain! Both live on the planet Earth! And only by traveling to that “other” Earth can the Flash discover his alter ego and become the… Flash of Two Worlds!”
So begins September 1961’s issue #123 of The Flash, in which Barry Allen accidentally vibrates his molecules so quickly that he winds up in the parallel universe of Earth-Two, on which Jay Garrick (created for January 1940’s Flash Comics #1 by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert) is the reigning speedster. Things play out a little differently in The Flash‘s version of their first meeting, in which the effects of season 1’s singularity are still being felt. We learn that it ripped open a portal to Earth-Two (as longtime fans suspected from the appearance of Jay’s signature helmet in the season finale), through which Jay was pulled too. He has been living in Central City for months, secretly studying Team Flash. Prompted by last week’s appearance of the Atom Smasher — whom Barry learned was recruited by Zoom to kill him — Jay warns our heroes that more assassins are coming, including this week’s baddie, the Sand Demon. Given his recent experience with Harrison Wells, Barry is understandably leery about having any more speedster mentors. But after a series of tests, and a pep talk from the new and improved Iris 2.0, he accepts Jay as a member of the team.
Sand Demon (introduced in September 1986’s The Fury of Firestorm #51, by Gerry Conway and Joe Brozowski) is by no means an A-list Flash foe. More like a knock-off of Marvel’s Sandman. And certainly not up to the par with the Fiddler, the Shade, and the Thinker, all three of whom joined forces to fight Barry and Jay in their first comic-book team-up. But in telling Barry how to defeat the villain — by converting the energy he generates while running into lightning, which he then hurls at Sand Demon to turn his body into glass — Jay gets to demonstrate that he too is an experienced scientist as well as a superhero.
The other major character introduced in “Flash of Two Worlds” is Patty Spivot. Created by writer Cary Bates and artist Irv Novick for September 1977’s DC Special Series #1 (“5-Star Super-Hero Spectacular”), she began as a lab assistant to Barry, harboring a secret crush on him. Here, she’s a young cop all too eager to join Joe on Central City PD’s now defunct anti-metahuman task force. She retains her science background from the comics (with a “triple major in biology, chemistry, and physics”), as well as her interest in Barry (they nerd-bond over Monty Python and the Holy Grail). But she also now possesses a burning desire to combat metahuman villains, like the late Mark Mardon (a.k.a. Weather Wizard), who murdered her father. Her background is enough for Joe to hire her for his reinstated task force by episode’s end. But not before Patty is captured by Sand Demon.
Just why Eddie Slick chooses to use Patty as bait — beyond making Joe more sympathetic towards her — isn’t entirely clear. But it allows The Flash‘s writers to incorporate one of the most iconic images in comic book history, from the cover of Flash #123, into the show (further proving there’s no bigger fans of these characters than the folks who make The Flash)…
While “Flash of Two Worlds” may be the ultimate in fan service, there’s no question that it’s the best kind of fan service. In introducing the original Flash to the show, it opens the door for a multitude of new heroes and villains, as well as alternate versions of the characters we already know. The best example of this comes in the episode’s closing scene, featuring a still-living Harrison Wells greeting a group of students visiting his shining and prosperous STAR Labs.
- We now know that the show’s version of Zoom is not the Reverse-Flash that Barry met last season (as he originally was in the comics). Instead, he’s a Grim Reaper-esque speedster who speaks in the voice of Candyman‘s Tony Todd. We also learn from Jay that he wants to kill all other speedsters in the “multiverse.” (As Stein, bless him, finally calls it).
- Jay says he’s been the Flash of Earth-Two for two years, which is really only a year longer than Barry has been the Flash of Earth-One. (In the comics, Jay was originally the Flash for twenty years when he met Barry.) But, hey, every little bit of experience helps when you’re facing “unstoppable evil with the face of death.” And I smiled each time Jay called Barry “kid.”
- “I know you’re new here, so I’m just gonna break it down for you. The whole naming-the-bad-guys-thing, that’s my jam. But you know what? I’m gonna let you have that one. Because I actually kind of like it. I’m not mad at that one.”
- Caitlin seems to be getting over Ronnie quickly. She certainly spends a lot of time handling Jay’s naked torso.
- “I’ve been probed, prodded, even subjected myself to a full body scan.” “I was being thorough.”
- Is Stein’s collapse at the end of this episode a result of Ronnie’s absence? If so, is this what leads him to acquire another partner in the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow spin-off?
- It’s worth noting that Patty is the first woman to be attracted to Barry the police scientist, as opposed to Barry the superhero or Barry the guy outside of work.
- “I hate it when they put a color in their name.”
- This is the first mention of Cisco’s new power as a “vibe”, the name of his alter ego in the comics.
- Anyone else get a chuckle out of the Yoplait commercial with Dominic “Heat Wave” Purcell that played during one of the breaks?
- Sand Demon marks the second villain that Team Flash has killed in as many weeks. It was pretty much unavoidable given the circumstances, but I’m hoping the trend doesn’t continue. I could do without the DC TV Universe becoming as nihilistic as the company’s cinematic universe.
- DC proves once more how much it loves 52. Here it refers to the number of singularity breaches that have opened up across Central City.
- “I hear they call you the Scarlet Speedster.” “How about you?” “Crimson Comet.”
Next week: Michael Ironside (!) is introduced as Captain Cold’s father (“Colonel Cold”) in “Family of Rogues”.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
IMAGES: The CW