Fan News

The Flash: A City Full of Clues

The Flash: A City Full of Clues

By Tim Beedle Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Click to view full-sized

Two weeks ago, The CW released an intriguing new promotional poster for The Flash, their speed-driven new series based on the popular DC Comics character. As you can see, the poster shows Grant Gustin as the Flash, speeding across a Central City street as his trail forms his signature lightning bolt. It’s a cool image that’s perfectly in character with the Fastest Man Alive, but what’s really gotten fans buzzing are all of the hidden clues and “Easter Eggs” found within the city. There are plenty of them, some easier to spot than others. How many have you found? And do you know what they all mean?

If you don’t, never fear. We’re here to fill you in, providing a little context and speculation. We’ll also be providing you with a DC Comics graphic novel that ties in with each clue, in case you’d like to learn more. So let’s start at the top, or near it at any rate, with a name and logo that fans of Arrow will instantly recognize…

Queen Consolidated is a fictional business company in the DC Comics universe and on Arrow. It was founded by the family of Oliver Queen, better known as Green Arrow (in the comics) or The Arrow (on the show). In Season 3 of Arrow, Oliver will fight to regain control of his family’s business.

It’s not hard to figure out why the Queen Consolidated logo can be seen in the poster. The Flash is set in the same universe and will cross over with Arrow in upcoming episodes. To get the goods on Queen Consolidated, we suggest getting caught up on Arrow by grabbing the Season 2 Blu-Ray set when it hits stands in a week and reading the tie-in comic published by DC Comics and written by the show’s creators. Start with ARROW VOL. 1.

Gorilla Grodd is a super-villain appearing in DC Comics, primarily as an enemy of the Flash. He debuted in Flash #106 back in April 1959. Keep your eye out for an Easter Egg in the pilot episode of The Flash in the form of a broken cage with a dangling “Grodd” nameplate.

If you’re new to DC Comics, it would be pretty easy to brush Grodd off as a silly villain. But if you’ve read any of his comics, you know that’s not the case. Between his genius-level intelligence, his strength and his telepathic and telekinetic powers, he’s one of the most formidable threats in the entire DC Universe. We suggest grabbing one of his recent storylines, THE FLASH VOL. 3: GORILLA WARFARE, for a glimpse of what he can do. As for why he’s on this poster…well, like we said, he is referred to in the pilot. It’s a fair guess that he may show up eventually in one form or another. Of course, whether he’ll be leading an entire city of sentient gorillas remains to be seen…

Big Belly Burger is the go-to fast food joint for many young super heroes and can be found in every major city of the DC Universe. Oliver Queen and company has frequented the Starling City Big Belly Burger location on Arrow, and it’s pretty likely that Barry, Iris, Caitlin and Ramon will be found chowing down in a Central City Big Belly once The Flash series is up and running. (Pun fully intended there.)

While many of the poster’s clues refer to a key characters or potential storyline, about all Big Belly Burger is known for is tasty fries. However, it’s another element that ties the world of The Flash to Arrow and the DC Universe as a whole. Big Belly Burger made its first appearance in Adventures of Superman #441 back in June 1988 and it’s shown up in many, many DC comic books since. But perhaps never with the consistency that it did throughout 52, the landmark weekly comic book series from 2006. Written by Geoff Johns (who’s also one of The Flash’s executive producers), Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid, 52 was penned by some of the most acclaimed, popular writers in all of comics. 52 is available as a series of graphic novels, or you can download the entire series digitally.

S.T.A.R. Laboratories (S.T.A.R. stands for Scientific and Technological Advanced Research) is a research facility found within the DC Comics Universe. It first appeared back in December 1971 in Superman #246.

The tie to the show is pretty obvious here. Many of the main characters work at S.T.A.R. Labs. It’s also a huge story driver—it was the source of the freak accident that resulted in Barry Allen being struck by lightning. S.T.A.R. Labs also has a storied history in the comics, and not just in the world of the Flash. After his son Victor suffered a devastating accident, Dr. Silas Stone performed a highly experimental procedure on him at S.T.A.R. Labs, turning him into the hero that would eventually be known as Cyborg. You can see these events brought to life by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee in JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL. 1: ORIGIN.

CC Jitters is a Central City coffee shop chain that first appeared in the DC Comics Universe in 2010. In The Flash, Barry Allen’s best friend and crush, Iris West, is a waitress at CC Jitters.

Much like Big Belly Burger, CC Jitters is a recognizable setting that’s appeared in the comics, and seeing as how it was created by Geoff Johns, it feels appropriate that it’s being used on The Flash. It first appeared in THE FLASH: DASTARDLY DEATH OF THE ROGUES, a storyline we highly recommend. Keep an eye out for CC Jitters, but the real reason to read this one is for its examination of the Rogues, Central City’s super team of villains devoted to defeating the Flash. We know that the Rogues are in the cards for the TV series, so familiarizing yourselves with them now couldn’t hurt!

Palmer Technologies is a company owned by DC Comics character Ray Palmer, aka the Atom, who made his debut in Showcase #34 in October 1961. Actor Brandon Routh has been cast to play Ray Palmer in Season 3 of Arrow. However, since it’s a shared universe, his presence has already been felt on The Flash as well. In fact, this very same billboard was also featured in The Flash “Speed Trap” promo spot.

The question on every fan’s mind since the Palmer casting was announced would have to be, “When is he going to become the Atom?” We’ll have to see what the producers and writers have in store, but both the atom on the logo and the “Bigger isn’t always better” catchphrase would suggest that it’s coming eventually.

For an iconic and very accessible Atom tale, we strongly recommend IDENTITY CRISIS. Written by New York Times Bestselling Author Brad Meltzer and with art by Rags Morales, it’s a murder mystery told among super heroes, where the emphasis is less on epic-scaled action and more on compelling—and sometimes downright chilling—character moments. While it’s highly unlikely we’ll see this story come to life on Arrow or The Flash, it’s still a good primer to understanding the Atom as a hero and Ray Palmer as a person.

Now this is an interesting one. Stagg Industries is a fictional business in the DC Comics Universe known primarily for its unscrupulous CEO, Simon Stagg. Stagg made his first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #57 in January 1965, and actor William Sadler has been cast to play Simon Stagg in The Flash.

In just about all of his comic book appearances, Simon Stagg has been a villain, so it’s likely that he’ll prove to be an antagonist to Barry Allen (or one of The Flash’s other key characters) on the show. At this time, we don’t know if this will strictly be a one-time appearance, or if Stagg may return for future episodes. Either way, you want to keep your eyes and ears open for any mention of Rex Mason. In the comics, Rex Mason was an explorer who was deceived by Stagg and became the character Metamorpho as a result. Could a Metamorpho/Flash team-up await us in the future? Probably not any time soon, but you never know, and it couldn’t hurt to read METAMORPHO YEAR ONE, just in case.

Kord Industries is a fictional multi-billion dollar multinational corporation that’s owned and run by scientist and businessman Ted Kord, perhaps better known as one of the most popular incarnations of the super hero Blue Beetle. Kord Industries was referred to in two episodes of Arrow in Season 2: “The Scientist,” which featured the debut of Barry Allen, and “Time of Death.” However, Ted Kord himself has so far remained unseen.

Ted Kord is a fan-favorite character, and while there’s been no word that he’ll be appearing on The Flash (or Arrow for that matter), the fact that his company appears here—essentially its third reference in the world—suggests that he may have a role to play in future episodes. Now, whether he’ll also don the two-toned blue costume and fight as Blue Beetle is unknown and would be pure speculation at this point, but if you want a sense of what Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle means to the DC Comics Universe, we suggest you seek out a comic called COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS #1 (which you can download for free at the link, or find in THE OMAC PROJECT graphic novel). This comic, which ends with a brutally shocking twist, led directly into Infinite Crisis, a series which hit the reset button on the entire DC Multiverse.

Amertek Industries is a fictional military industrial firm in the DC Comics Universe. The company first appeared in February 1994’s Steel #1. Amertek employed engineer Dr. John Henry Irons until he discovered that Amertek was selling his technology for evil purposes and quit to take on his super hero persona, Steel.

First the Atom, Blue Beetle and a possible Metamorpho… and now Steel? Not so fast, speedsters. Of all of the Easter Eggs on the poster, this one has the fewest ties to the actual show. In fact, we do believe this poster is the first time we’ve seen the Amertek logo. Think it’ll be the last?

The Central City Police is the employer of forensic scientist Barry Allen, as well as Detective Joe West and Detective Eddie Thawne. The logo you see here is the official Central City Police crest provided by The Flash production.

Unlike the Gotham City Police Department, there’s never been a comic series devoted to the Central City PD, but it does figure heavily in both the Flash show and comics. Therefore, you should just keep things simple with this one and grab THE FLASH VOL. 1: MOVE FORWARD, which relaunched the Flash as part of The New 52 and gives you a good understanding of Barry’s role within the department.

There you go! So which of these possible clues has you the most intrigued? And did we miss anything? Let us know below in the comments, and be sure to watch the premiere of The Flash on Tuesday, October 7th at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.