The Flash Speeds Past Competition

By Jason Strangis

The Scarlet Speedster is a runaway hit on the CW Network and it doesn't look like he'll slow down anytime soon.

Simply put, The Flash is the best new show on television. It's pure comic book delight brought to the small screen. The show reminds comic book fans why we love superheroes so much.

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While Gotham is a more dark and at times creepy new TV series, The Flash is much more fun and colorful. Of course, Central City is a much brighter place than Gotham. Even so, both cities have plenty of problems and are besieged by a number of strange and powerful villains.

In Central City, it's Flash who constantly runs to the rescue. Grant Gustin is ideally cast as Barry Allen, who becomes the Fastest Man Alive after an accident gives him his super speed abilities. The classic red-and-yellow costume with the lightning bolt emblazoned across the chest has a sleek, modern look.

When the Flash is whizzing around Central City, he looks like a red-and-yellow blur. The special effects are quite impressive and it's always a treat for fans when the Scarlet Speedster kicks it into high gear.

Most of time, though, it's Barry and not the Flash who is the main star of the show. Grant Gustin gives Barry Allen heart and humanity and is very likable. Despite his human flaws, Barry always tries to do the right thing.

In some ways he's like Peter Parker, who also struggled at first with his newfound powers. And we all know with "great power comes great responsibility." It's something Barry is dealing with as well, because there's a reason he was given special abilities.

Beyond his super speed, though, Barry Allen is just a regular person. Ultimately, we root for Barry because he seems like such a nice guy.

Alas, the nice guys never seem to get the pretty girls they pine for and so it is with Barry as he has a secret crush on best girlfriend Iris West (played by the very cute Candice Patton). Comic book fans know that Barry and Iris are romantically involved, but the TV show is teasing their relationship. For now, Barry will have to wait it out while Iris is involved with another guy (Eddie Thawne, played by Rick Cosnett).

Complicating things is the fact that Iris is the daughter of detective Joe West (superbly played by Jesse L. Martin), who works closely with the guy who is dating his daughter. Trouble! Joe West would like to see Barry and Iris together, and we'll all just have to wait and see what happens.

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In the meantime, Barry gets support from his friends at STAR Labs. For the most part it's a very close and supportive group. But there seems to be plenty of mystery surrounding Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanah), with a lot of speculation about his real identity. For now, though, STAR Labs and Flash work together in tracking down supervillains created by the massive particle accelerator accident that gave Barry his powers.

While Batman no doubt has the best Rogues Gallery of any superhero, Flash has many memorable villains in his own right. So far we've seen appearances from classic foes such as Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, and The Mist.

A recent episode featured a female villain from the comics, Plastique. But for the TV show, Plastique (Kelly Frye) was portrayed more sympathetically and less a villain.

At the end of a recent show we're given a glimpse of Flash's greatest foe, Gorilla Grodd. Comic fans are eagerly awaiting the clash between the Scarlet Speedster and the super-intelligent ape.

Stay tuned. Same Flash time (Tuesday nights), same Flash channel.

Jason Strangis is a freelance writer and longtime comic book collector currently  based in Los Angeles. He loves attending comic book conventions, especially the larger ones such as San Diego, Chicago, and now Comikaze in L.A. You can reach him at jwstrangis@gmail.com.

About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.

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