There have been hints dropped throughout The Flash that Jesse “Quick” Wells and Wally West are not only destined to be speedsters (living up to their comic book counterparts), but to be together. Up to this point it has mostly been longing glances—and there are definitely a lot of these throughout tonight’s episode “Magenta”—but now everyone else has noticed it as well.
Despite the fact that Iris and Barry did go on a date (in a restaurant set that has appeared more than once on Arrow, if you are looking for a #DCTV Secret early on!), the real drama of the episode focused around Jesse finally ascending to the rank of speedster, while Wally was left as a lowly non-metahuman. The episode reached its epitome when Harry Wells gave his blessing to his daughter to join in the Flash’s crusade with a play on an iconic Flash line: “Run, Jesse, run!”
This begs the question: Who is Jesse Quick? Her comic book origin is as the daughter of Golden Age superheroes Liberty Belle and Johnny Quick from whom, luckily, she inherited both of their powers. What this really means is that in addition to having super speed powers tied to the Speed Force, Jesse Quick also has her mother’s super strength, making her a truly unique speedster to be reckoned with.
In her original incarnation, her civilian identity is Jesse Chambers, rather than Jesse Wells, as she is known on The Flash. Jesse made her first appearance in JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA (vol. 2) #1 in 1992, which makes her just about the same age as she is currently appearing on screen!
She studied at the prestigious Gotham University with her thesis focusing on The Impact of Superheroes on Society based around both her parents’ contributions to the world and the reemergence of the Justice Society of America on her Earth. When Jesse Quick took it upon herself to join in battle with the JSA, she realized her father’s dream of having his daughter become a costumed hero. As an interesting counterpoint, in “Magenta,” from the moment Harry and Jesse arrive on Earth-1, Harry Wells is hell bent on having his daughter NOT become a costumed hero…until the very end of the episode, when he makes her a totally awesome suit!
Who else is looking forward to the Jesse Quick action figure??
Fun fact: Jesse Quick was a member of the DC team the Titans for about 50 issues, filling the important team role of speedster (just about every super team has one). Her onscreen crush, Wally West, has also been a staple of both the Teen Titans and the Titans across various incarnations, filling the same role for the team (including as a founding member of the team during the Golden Age of comics).
Jesse did eventually go on to become Wally’s partner (strictly in the Batman and Robin sense), in The Flash’s second volume, if you are looking for some reading to do that may help you make predictions on the season to come. There were no romantic overtones between the comic book Jesse and Wally. Wally pursued his classic relationship with Linda Park, who has been seen on the TV show as a love interest for Barry, ironically, and Jesse got romantically involved with Rick Tyler (the second Hourman), but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen on the show.
Following this, Jesse took on the mantle of Liberty Belle in honour of her mother, and joined the Justice Society of America (a team which we know is set to appear on Legends of Tomorrow), so there is definite potential for crossover there! Jesse helped Wally West mentor Bart Allen a.k.a. Impulse a.k.a. Barry Allen’s paternal grandson who is another Flash character very heavily involved in time travel.
Eventually, Jesse returned to her Jesse Quick identity, where she participated in a storyline that has gone on to define Jesse Chambers.
Jesse lost her speed after she saved Wally’s life—during which time her leg began hurting—and even turned on Wally, blaming him for the loss of her super speed. Interestingly, in “Magenta” we saw Wally resenting Jesse’s speed and his lack thereof. In comics continuity, Wally aids Jesse is getting her super speed back, so you have to wonder if Jesse Wells will be helping Wally West become Kid Flash over the course of this season.
Who doesn’t want to see them race? Am I right?
One of the final—and most important—things that you need to know about Jesse Quick is that in the comics, Per Degaton (Legends of Tomorrow fans should recognize this character), told her that she would do something terrible and destroy the world. For a speedster that might mean anything from actually destroying the world to resetting the timeline (I’m looking at YOU, Barry Allen!), and in the process wiping out existence as we currently know it. This could definitely be ominous where events of The Flash television show are concerned.
As you can see, there is a lot of fertile ground for Violett Beane’s version of Jesse Quick on The Flash and, hopefully, there will be room on The Flash for a romantic connection with Wally West along the way. More on the two of them to come in future articles!
Ashley V. Robinson covers The Flash as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.