Sunday 13 November 2016

Comics to Screen: The Flash 3-4 - The New Rogues

Catching up with my comicbook telly shows, and "The New Rogues" is a very fun episode which captures a lot of the spirit of the earlier episodes of The Flash. (Rather better than the following episode, "Monsters," in that regard, although that had some excellent character moments and is well worth a look too.) With Captain Cold missing, Central City has been lacking a really fun villain for a while and bringing in a couple of his old rivals spices things up. Sam Scudder is a charming and malevolent crook, and I'm hopeful he'll turn up again to cause more trouble as the Mirror Master. His girlfriend Rosalind Dillon makes for a great new twist on the Top, even if the actress is pretty dreadful, and I love that her codename, never one of DC's best, is a rather desperate attempt by a harried Cisco. The regulars and semi-regulars do well too. The aforementioned Cisco is back on form, always at his best when he has Wells to bounce off, while Caitlyn's gradual transformation into Killer Frost is making her more interesting than she has been in, well, ever.

It's so good to have the charming Tom Cavanagh back as Wells, along with Violett Beane as his now-speederised daughter Jesse Quick. The characters bring out the best in each other, and even Wally is likeable when he's enjoying Jesse's company. The highlights of the episode are the silliest parts, though. Barry trapped behind a mirror; the hologram of Captain Cold; and, of course, the multiple Wellses from across the Multiverse. It's a ludicrous idea, fetching a Wells stand-in so that we still get to enjoy Cavanagh while they're not using his main character, but it works because it's played for such laughs. Hipster Wells from Earth-19 looks to be sticking around for a while, and to be honest by the end of "Monsters" I was a bit sick of him, but I imagine he's only a temporary stand-in for proper Wells. I'm enjoying the abandon with which the series is exploring parallel universe now. It should lead to some very fun situations.


There have been a couple of Mirror Masters in the comics, but Sam Scudder is the main holder of the title. He first appeared way back in The Flash issue 105 in 1959, a small time crook who rose to prominence by using mirrors to create holograms, hypnotise people and cast illusions. He faced the Flash numerous times over the years, experimenting further with mirrors and eventually finding a way to travel through a mirror realm. The version seen in the episode is most like the New 52 version, who became trapped in the mirror dimension following a scientific accident. In this run, Scudder is in a relationship with the Golden Glider, Captain Cold's sister. 

The main secondary holder of the Mirror Master title is Evan McCulloch, who is mentioned in the episode as being the Mirror Master of Earth-2. The original Mirror Master was created by Carmine Infantino and John Broome, the latter of which receives a nod in the ep: Scudder hides out in a warehouse belonging to Broome Industries. None other than David Cassidy played Scudder in the 1990s Flash TV series, while the modern version is played by Grey Damon.

The Top is, in the world of comics, one Roscoe Dillon, a nutter who was obsessed with tops. First appearing in The Flash #122 in 1961, he found a way to spin round at superspeed, which somehow increased his intelligence, if not his sanity. He created a number of trick tops with various silly abilities and bothered the Flash several times. He even created an atomic top which was aparrently capable of destroying half the planet. He also dated Golden Glider for a time. Like many comicbook characters, Top was killed but brought back, now with the new ability to induce vertigo in his victims. In the New 52, Dillon is known as Turbine, having been trapped in the Speed Force, and could create tornadoes from centrifical forces.

For the TV series, Top has undergone a gender swap and become Rosalind Dillon and is now partnered with the Mirror Master. She has the vertigo-inducing abilities of the later pre-52 Top, leading to some peculiar scenes against Jesse Quick and the Flash. She wears a gorgeous yellow-and-green outfit which evokes the comic villains spandex costume. She is played by Ashley Rickards.

You spin me right round, baby, right round...

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