Starting back when it was The WB, The CW has had a history in adapting DC Comics to the small screen. We had Smallville, the short-lived Birds of Prey, an unaired Aquaman pilot, and then came the Arrowverse shows. As good as Arrow has been over its 2 1/2 seasons, nothing The CW has done with comics so far can compare to the stunning achievement they’ve accomplished with the freshman season of The Flash.
The Scarlet Speedster has an interesting history on television, which amazingly the new show actually embraces. The 90s series only lasted one season due to CBS’s crazy scheduling, but at the time it rode the wave of comic book hype from Burton’s Batman and was a series that didn’t shy away from being based on a comic book. While a decade later Hollywood would decide that comic book adaptations had to be “grounded in reality” with black leather costumes, the original Flash series was comic book to its core. Its costume is still an amazing adaptation of the comic, and Danny Elfman brought his Batman game to it with the show’s theme music.
Twenty-four years later The CW brought Barry back to the small screen, and they took that spirit from the original series and allowed it to be fully realized in what is the best comic-to-show adaptation ever.
Even from the pilot you could tell this wouldn’t be Arrow in that it wasn’t trying to be super-realistic. They didn’t shy away from the super powers and as the season went on we’ve been introduced to the familiar Rogues from the comics. Seeing Captain Cold with his parka and gun was awesome, but they had to go blow our minds by actually doing a real Gorilla Grodd.
A super intelligent psychic gorilla must give those “grounded in reality” Hollywood execs an aneurysm.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE FROM THIS POINT ON!
When the series cast was first announced and there was a character named “Eddie Thawne”, most comic fans speculated that there would be a Reverse Flash in the series. Some thought Eddie could become him, while others rightly speculated that Harrison Wells was actually Eobard Thawne in disguise. The pilot confirmed they would be doing the Reverse Flash (and possibly even adapt Flashpoint in some way), and last night’s episode confirmed what many fans had hoped to see.
Last night’s reveal of Eobard Thawne was the exclamation point on a series that has really been adapting the comic in a way many fans never thought they would see. Not only is Wells really Eobard, the Reverse Flash from the future, but Barry finally time travelled. That’s been a big part of The Flash’s abilities in the comics, and that a series on a major network is doing a comic book show with a talking Gorilla, super powers, and time travel shows us that we’re living in a different time than the leather-suited X-Men.
Even the concept of Firestorm is shown correctly. That’s even more surprising than time travel! They handled the dual-identity of Firestorm perfectly, and gave it enough episodes for people to acclimate to it. That upcoming spin-off that will feature the character should be pretty awesome to see just based on what they’re doing in The Flash.
If you’re a DC Comics fan, read the Flash comics, and aren’t watching The CW’s series you’re missing out on a shockingly-good adaptation of the character. Episode 15 of the first season aired last night, so it’s winding down, but most cable systems have the last few episodes OnDemand so it’s still possible to catch up to where they are now. Seriously, you need to be watching The Flash!