Nekron Week is running a little behind. DC Universe Classics Wave 20 has been a difficult assortment to review. It’s my least favorite wave. It featured the only C&C I didn’t want. It ends the line. Ugh. To combat all that, I’m kicking off with my favorite DCUC20 figure: the Reverse-Flash!
I love the Reverse-Flash. Well, scratch that. I love the Reverse-Flash’s costume. I enjoy his various characterizations to various degrees. As a warning, Reverse-Flash is complicated. No one-paragraph back story this time. You might want to skip to page two if you’re only interested in the figure. Sorry.
In his 1963 origin, by Broome & Infantino, Eobard Thawne was a thug from the 25th Century that found Barry Allen’s costume in a time capsule and used it to gain super speed. I don’t recall exactly what he did to the costume to extract the “speed force” (there was no speed force at the time, but that’s essentially what happened), but it did reverse the costume colors and gave the Reverse-Flash his trademark look. This version would plague Barry more than once over the years and ultimately murdered his wife, Iris. Barry would get his revenge, breaking Thawne’s neck, and putting into motion a series of events that would ultimately lead to Barry’s role in Crisis on Infinite Earths
Post-Crisis, Thawne’s origin was a little more complicated. Thawne was now a 25th Century Flash aficionado, but far past what most of would call healthy. He had plastic surgery to look like Barry Allen, he experimented with chemical baths until he found one that would replicate the Flash’s powers, and then travelled back in time to meet (stalk?) his favorite hero. Unfortunately, and this is where it gets a might complicated, he travelled back a point after Barry had already died. To make matters worse, he also discovered that he’d been to the past already as a Flash Rogue. The revelations make him go a little crazy, well crazier than he already was. Wally (remember him, right?) and the Flash family stopped Thawne, erased his memories of the event, and sent him packing to the future…
…where he would find Barry Allen’s costume in a time capsule. Yeah, see, it’s a little wonky but makes sense once you wrap your head around it. To me, that’s what was cool about Reverse-Flash. No matter what happens, no matter when he shows up, the last thing he always does is get his neck broken by Barry Allen. All of his appearances, whether he showed up to plague Barry as Reverse-Flash or Wally as Professor Zoom, will ultimately will lead back to the earlier one where he murders Iris and is killed for his trouble. It’s an interesting take on a villain that wages on, but can’t change his own fate. Unfortunately, it never really gets explored or exploited as much as it could’ve been.
All of that was more or less erased though in recent years, and not by DCnU. Geoff Johns, who had a great run writing Wally West, slowly dismantled the Reverse-Flash. Brightest Day reanimated the Reverse-Flash, so his impending death was no longer a concern. Under Johns, Reverse-Flash also took on his epic time-travel campaign to hurt Barry Allen. He had killed his wife already of course, but he also pushed him down a flight of stairs as a small child, he left a gate open so his dog would run away. Y’know, all those important super-villains moments. And during all that time travel, Reverse-Flash altered his own past too, so much so that I couldn’t really tell you what happened anymore. Thawne also ended up being the guy that kicked off Flashpoint as one more way to punish Barry Allen. And, thanks to the subsequent Relaunch, that means Thawne ended up punishing the lot of us too.
So, that’s the gist. And here some of you might’ve thought he was just the Flash in reverse colors! In some ways, he was almost simpler as just an evil Speedster. So many of the Flash Rogues were great because they were just evil. Thawne and his campaign is interesting, but it hasn’t always led to the best stories. That’s why I say I love the costume more so than the character. Broome & Infantino kept it simple. Waid added some layers that were interesting and some that weren’t. And well, Johns has made me not want to read more than a few characters I used to really like, so that’s nothing new. Let’s go talk about the figure, shall we? Continue to Page 2…