Welcome back, Couch Clubbers! For a show that’s all about going fast, this hiatus seemed to take FOREVER.
In tonight’s episode, “Null and Annoyed,” the countdown to the final bus metas is in full swing! Even better, we know from the get go that we are in for some 1990s realness as we ease ourselves back into the world of The Flash. If you love this era of comics as much as I do, it’s always a treat to see characters like this cropping up and reinvented for live action. Unlike many of the other comic book characters that we have seen included across the world of #DCTV, The Flash’s version of Null takes some really creative liberties to bring this metahuman to a wider audience than ever before.
Suicide Squad creator John Ostrander created the original Null, along with artist Jan Duursema, although in the beginning Null was a very Caucasian, very blonde man who was a villain of the Hawks. In fact, his debut issue was HAWKWORLD #28 as a member of The Netherworlders.
By the way, “Netherworlders” is a name that absolutely needs to come back (I’m looking at you, Legends of Tomorrow!), as the name of a contemporary evil superteam. They’re from a suburb of Chicago called The Netherworld and was made up by a bunch of totally weird new punks. Along with Null there was Battle Axe, Buzzkutt, Count Viper, FerAlyse, Knowbuddy, Lefty, Mustang Suzy and Thrasher. If nothing else, these characters have some extreme names that would be fun to see popping up in future episodes of The Flash.
I’d love to know down in the comments section which Netherworlder you would like to see pop up next! I’m holding out for FerAlyse because the pun of it all is just too much in the most perfect way!
Like we saw on The Flash, Null has mastery of gravity manipulation. I actually think this is an incredibly intelligent, very insightful twist on the classic tropes that we know as superheroic powersets. It’s a touch strange and esoteric at the outset, but as we saw on the show, it can be very cleverly manipulated and executed. The version of Null that we saw on television is deeply aware of how to use these skill sets to her greatest advantage.
Now, there are some pretty obvious aesthetic shifts that The Flash employed in crafting their version of Null. Not only did they both gender and race bend when it came to casting (and there is something so funny and deeply satisfying about Null being a tiny little woman with bright hair that I am living for!), but she’s not affiliated with any sort of gang or organization outside of the Team Flash-imposed “Bus Meta” label.
I do appreciate that this version of Null has a good hand on her powers and is able to literally knock Barry Allen off his feet and into the stratosphere. We’ve encountered enough of the Bus Metas by now and the majority of them were just coming into their power-laden identity. This makes sense, of course, given the fact that the Bus incident is much more recent than the metahumans who got their powers a few years ago from the S.T.A.R. Labs incident. This is all to say, that having Null on the scene for “Null and Annoyed” as someone in full control of her new identity injects a bit of freshness into a storyline that has been playing out for a while now.
One thing that comic book Null has that the TV version does not relates to the origin of their gravity manipulation. In the comics, Null’s power originates from a focal point that exists within his own physical body. On panel, this is represented by a brightly-colored green spot whenever he is in the process of actually employing his powers. This gives him a focal point from which his attacks stem as opposed to Lady Null, whose powers seem derivative of the Earth’s gravitation center. It shows how she is able to pull off a trick like her “getaway car” (loved that idea, super cute), or the floating Flash. They are whisked away in contrast to the center of the world. What’s interesting about this is that if we ever see Null appearing on The Flash again, she might be capable of sending something as large and dangerous as a building flying away.
If I were The Thinker and I knew this, I would be deeply invested in getting back in my floating chair and zipping off to drop into Null’s body rather than remaining in my current form as the Fiddler.
Bets on whether or not Null makes it out of this season of The Flash alive? I’m hoping so!
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.