Welcome to Flash Facts, a new weekly column dedicated to discussing the various comic book references, Easter Eggs and other cool facts about The Flash, CW's new superhero show. While I'll attempt to be as thorough as possible, I'll definitely miss a reference here and there. If I miss something, feel free to comment or shoot me a Tweet at @OH_IGW, and I'll gladly add it in and credit you. If you enjoy this column, be sure to check out Arrow Annotations, which discusses similar references over on Arrow.
In order to keep this column's size a little more manageable, I already went into detail about several main cast members yesterday.
City of Heroes - This episode shares a title with the first episode of Arrow's second season. Both episodes were co-written by Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg.
Central City/Keystone City - In the comics, Central City and Keystone City are twin cities on either side of a large river and connected together by a series of bridges (including one that Wally West built). In the opening scene of the series, we see Central City and Keystone City's many bridges spanning across a river.
Young Barry's sweatshirt - As he runs from the bullies, Barry is wearing a red sweatshirt with yellow trim. That's a clear callout to his classic comic costume.
John Wesley Shipp - Barry's dad is played by John Wesley Shipp, best known for his role in the 1990 CBS television adaptation of The Flash.
Barry's mom's death - Barry's mom's death in the show closely resembles her death in Flash: Rebirth. While Barry's parents were originally both depicted as being alive in the comics, Flash: Rebirth retconned Barry's history so that his mother had died as a child and his father had been imprisoned for her murder. Flash: Rebirth later reveals that Professor Zoom, Barry's arch-nemesis, had gone back in time and killed Barry's mother. This is referenced by the yellow-tinged man silohuette seen by Barry shortly before he is pulled out of his house.
Viewers might have also noticed that there were flashes of red lightning surrounding Barry's mom in addition to the yellow bursts. In the comics, Barry attempts to stop Professor Zoom from killing his mother, triggering the events of Flashpoint.
The Mardon Brothers - In the comics, Mark Mardon is best known as the Weather Wizard, a longtime foe of the Flash with the ability to manipulate the weather via a special wand. Mardon built this wand using notes written by his deceased brother, Clyde, whom Mark may or may not have killed while escaping from prison. Mark goes onto become an enemy of both Barry Allen and his successor Wally West and becomes a staple member of the Rogues, a group of Central/Keystone City villains that run in opposition to the Flash.
This episode shows a different take on the Mardons. Clyde, played by Chad Rook, is featured as the episode's primary villain, while Mark is only mentioned and never shown off-screen. Since Clyde is gunned down at the end of the episode, I'll bet we'll be seeing the "real" Weather Wizard in a future episode.
Always late - In the comics, Barry is constantly chided for his inability to arrive at things on time. Looks like that trait crossed over into the TV show.
Captain Singh - Joe West and Barry's boss on the force, Captain Singh, makes a brief appearance at the crime scene at the beginning of the episode. In the comics, Singh is Barry's boss in the forensic department at Central City. He is also in a secret relationship with the Pied Piper, a former Flash Rogue turned vigilante.
Singh is played by Patrick Sabongui, who has had small roles in sci-fi and genre films such as Tron: Legacy, the 2014 Godzilla movie, Cabin in the Woods and Fringe. He also had small roles in Watchmen, where he played a gang leader, and Arrow, where he played a drug dealer and a soldier in two different episodes.
Detective Joe West – In case you were trying to place where you’ve seen Detective Joe West, Jesse L. Martin is based known for his longtime role as Detective Ed Green on Law and Order.
Detective Frank Chyre - Joe West's deceased partner is Frank Chyre, a recurring character that appeared in Geoff Johns' run on The Flash. In the comics, Chyre is a detective working for Keystone's Department of Metahuman Hostility.
Chyre is played by Al Sapienza, who appeared in a first season episode of Arrow as a villainous businessman who hires the assassin Mr. Blank to kill a family set to testify against him.
Atom Smasher - Iris refers to the particle accelerator as an atom smasher, which I guess is a half accurate description of the machine. Atom Smasher is also the name of a size changing superhero in the DC Universe.
Jitters - The coffee shop that Iris works at is named Jitters. In the comics, Iris is a frequent customer of the Jitters coffee store.
Science Showcase – Barry’s Science Showcase magazine, which has a headline on the STAR Labs particle accelerator is probably a reference to Showcase #4, the comic in which Barry first appeared.
Big Belly Burger – Barry buys his lunch from the Big Belly Burger food chain, a restaurant that appears in the DC universe. Big Belly Burger is frequently mentioned over on Arrow, and several episodes in Season 1 took place in a Big Belly Burger restaurant.
STAR Labs - STAR Labs is mentioned frequently in various DC comics, and specializes in matters related to superhumans and advanced science. STAR stands for Scientific and Techniclogical Advanced Research. STAR Labs is an indepentant research firm with numerous locations across the globe. STAR Labs has long been a part of the DC Universe. It first appeared in 1971.
Harrison Wells - Harrison Wells isn't a comic book character, but his name is a reference to HG Wells, a famous 19th century writer of books such as The Time Traveler and the Invisible Man. Given how last night's episode ended, I think we know why Wells chose that name.
Curtis Braconnier - The thief who steals Iris's laptop at the opening of the particle accelerator is played by Curtis Braconnier, Colton Haynes' stunt double on Arrow.
Keystone City - Barry mentions that Eddie Thrawne is a recent transfer from Keystone City, which I previously mentioned is located across the river from Central City.
Linda Park - Olivia Cheng reprises her role as Linda Park in tonight's episode, having first appeared in the Arrow episode "Three Ghosts". The Central City reporter covering the particle accelerator is Linda Park. Linda is the girlfriend, and eventual wife, of Wally West, Barry's sidekick and successor as the Flash. Wally is also the nephew of Iris West, Barry's love interest (who was mentioned earlier in the episode).
Evan Gibson - On Barry's Board of Weird, there's an article about his mother's murder written by Evan Gibson. In the comics, Evan Gibson is a reporter for the Star City Gazette and ally of Green Arrow.
52nd Precinct – Evan Gibson’s article on Barry’s father’s trial mentions that Barry was interviewed by police officers from Central City’s 52nd precinct. The number 52 is a recurring thing in DC comics, and gets referenced on a weekly basis over on Arrow. Expect to see more little nods to 52 in future episodes.
Barry’s heart – Harrison mentions that the doctors treating Barry presumed that he was continuously going into cardiac arrest, when in reality his heart was beating too fast to be measured. In the animated Justice League episode “A Better World”, the Flash and the rest of the Justice League are trapped by an evil alternate universe version of the Justice League. The Flash speeds up his heart in order to trick that league’s version of Batman into thinking he had gone into cardiac arrest. When Batman rushes in to treat him, the Flash escapes and rescues the rest of the League.
Grodd – As Barry and Harrison walk through the damaged STAR Labs, they pass a mangled cage with a GRODD license plate hanging from it. Gorilla Grodd is a mutated gorilla with psychic powers, and a recurring enemy of the Flash. In the comics, Grodd and a number of other gorillas gained human level intelligence after being exposed to radiation from an alien spacecraft. Founding their own city in Africa, Grodd eventually makes plans to conquer the world, but is stopped by the Flash. Grodd’s mixture of brute strength and psychic abilities make him one of the Flash’s more powerful foes, and he’s often seen colluding with other major DC villains during various crossover and event comics.
In recent issues of The Flash, Grodd and an army of gorillas invaded Central City, forcing the Flash to team up with the Rogues to fight them off.
Gambi Cleaners – When Barry first tests his abilities to run fast, he crashes into a laundry van owned by Gambi Cleaners. In the comics, Paul Gambi is a tailor who designs many of the Rogues’ costumes.
Ferris Air – The landing strip in which Harrison and the STAR Labs team tests the full extent of Barry’s powers is owned by Ferris Air. Ferris Air is an aviation corporation that employs Hal Jordan, one of Earth’s many Green Lanterns, and is owned by Carol Ferris, Hal’s longtime love interest. Ferris Air previously appeared in an episode of Arrow, when Eddie Fyers attempted to shoot down a Ferris aircraft flying over the island that Oliver and Slade were also stranded on.
Iron Heights – Barry’s father is incarcerated in Iron Heights prison. Iron Heights, in the comics, is located in Keystone City and houses many of the Flash's rogues. Iron Heights was created by Geoff Johns, who co-wrote the episode. Iron Heights has been frequently mentioned in Arrow, and Oliver’s mom spent the first half of last season imprisoned there.
Sketch artist – Still trying to get confirmation on who provided the police sketch of Clyde Mardon. Arrow has used comic artists for their police sketches in the past, so I would not be surprised if a current or former Flash artist helped out with the episode.
Metahumans – Harrison and Caitlin mention that both Barry and Clyde are classified as metahumans. In the DC universe, metahumans is a fancy word for referring to people with superpowers. While many metahumans contain a genetic anamoly called a metagene, Superman, Aquaman and other heroes with powers are also considered to be metahumans despite their lack of metagenes.
Cisco’s shirts – Cisco dons three geek themed t-shirts this episode, including two that reference the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory.
Arrow – In case you lived under a rock, Arrow and The Flash exist in the same universe. Hey, did you know I write a column for Arrow too?
Channel 52 – The news report Iris watches at the end of the episode airs on Channel 52. Channel 52 was a weekly feature that appeared in the back of every DC comic for a while, and was adopted by Arrow last season as the primary news station of Starling City.
Biker – The biker saved by Barry at the end of the episode is played by Demetrice Nguyen. Nguyen has periodically played a zombie on The Walking Dead.
Harrison’s newspaper – Harrison’s newspaper from the future has a couple references to some major DC happenings. The lead headline mentions that the Flash has disappeared in a “Crisis”, which coincided with the appearance of red skies. Several of DC’s biggest event comics have featured Crisis in the title, including “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, in which Barry sacrificed his life to save the world. That crisis also had red skies appear.
The newspaper also mentions that WayneTech and Queen Industries experienced a business merger. WayneTech, of course, is the company owned by Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman.
And that's it for this week. Thank you for reading, and see you all next Wednesday!