Spoilers follow for those of you who haven’t caught up with The Flash.
The Season 2 finale of The CW’s The Flash answered a lot of questions, like who the man in the iron mask was, but left us with a lot more. Before we dig into one of those questions, if you need a refresher on the finale “The Race of His Life” then be sure to check out Kayti Burt’s most-excellent recap. All caught up? Then let us begin!
During the climactic moments of the finale in which the race between The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Zoom (Teddy Sears) was ultimately decided, a rather strange thing happened. Okay, not that strange for a series that pulls from decades of comic book lore, includes relatively easily-traveled-to worlds in the multiverse, and has featured a giant sentient shark and gorilla on more than one occasion each. Still, the way in which Zoom was dispatched was pretty bizarre, what with the Time Wraiths spiriting him away after he was defeated by The Flash. His punishment for altering the Speed Force and time itself appeared to start with the aging/disintegration of Zoom’s body as he was carted off to parts unknown.
And yet it wasn’t just a particularly gruesome (and deserved) treatment of a great supervillain or a fun way for the effects department to spend their budget. The show was actually referencing the DC Comics character, Black Flash, a kind of Grim Reaper for speedsters and those who have tapped into the Speed Force. While an explanation for Zoom’s transformation might just be that he’s becoming like a time wraith, whose design was inspired by Black Flash and vice versa, a far more interesting one awaits.
Black Flash, created by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, and Ron Wagner and first appearing in the 1988 issue “The Flash” vol. 2 #138, was both a death manifestation and an omen of death to those in contact with the Speed Force. The creation has crossed paths with numerous notable speedsters, and one of those speedsters even steps in temporarily to replace the Black Flash on one occasion. It’s an interesting addition to a very specific subset of the DC Comics universe, but as The Flash could be seeing an increase in the number of heroic speedsters next season (if the writers ever decide that Wally West and Jesse Wells are allowed to gain powers), something else could be at work negating them. That something could be Black Flash.
Now, much like the possible connections to Green Lantern and the “Blackest Night” storyline, the Black Flash was probably just a fun Easter egg for DC Comics fans. However, I’d love to see Sears come back in some fashion other than that of a young/reformed/time-altered Jay Garrick/Hunter Zolomon. I think he’d have quite the fun time as the speedster-hunting Black Flash, don’t you?
On the most recent episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, “The Legion of Doom” (possibly the best episode of the series to date), the Black Flash came back in a big way. No, it wasn’t Teddy Sears in the flesh, but rather a fully digital recreation that had apparently been hunting Eobard Thawne (Matthew Letscher, a.k.a. Reverse Flash, for quite some time.
You see, when Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) sacrificed himself way back in the day, his descendant Eobard ceased to exist in the Earth-1 reality, but because he had tapped into the Speed Force, a sort of time aberration, a remnant form of Eobard remained. This is the character who Barry Allen apparently pulled out of the Speed Force, setting Flashpoint in motion, and who’s currently in league with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) as part of the Legion of Doom. The trio teamed up to trick the gruesome Black Flash (who has detection powers quite similar to Jurassic Park‘s T. rex since he can’t locate speedsters if they’re not moving…) and imprisoned him in a highly secure vault … for now.
So while the Time Wraiths normally track down anyone who’s messed with time (except the crew of the Waverider, apparently), Black Flash hunts speedsters … except for Barry Allen, Wally West, and Jessie Quick, at least for the moment…
For more on Black Flash, be sure to get caught up on all news related to the Grim Reaper of Speedsters:
- ‘The Flash’: Expect to See Teddy Sears Return as Black Flash
- ‘Flash’ Boss Andrew Kreisberg on Black Flash and the Return of Gorilla Grodd