Welcome back, DCTV fans! I hope you have your Easter baskets ready! April was a busy month, so let’s get started…
Whoa, boy! The episode “Godspeed” had such a large treasure trove of comic book references that I’d probably be able to do a whole column devoted to it alone. Let’s start with Godspeed himself. The evil speedster first appeared in The Flash: Rebirth #1, published August 2016. August Heart, Godspeed’s alter-ego, was given the birthdate of August 16th as a tribute to his comic roots. By the way, if Godspeed sounded familiar to any of you, that’s because he was voiced by B.D. Wong who DCTV fans might know as Hugo Strange on Fox’s Gotham.
Nora’s buddy Lia Nelson is also a speedster! She first appeared in 1997’s Tangent Comics: The Flash as an alternate reality version of the Flash. Even her suggestion of Lady Flash as a codename was an Easter egg! Lady Flash was Russia’s answer to the Fastest Man Alive, and she first appeared in 1987’s The Flash #7. Nora also paid a visit to Ollins Labs, a research facility from 1984’s Firestorm #19, and grabbed a Flash costume from a box labeled Choi Industries, a reference to former Atom Ryan Choi.
Apparently, the future is filled with Easter eggs.
During the most recent episode, “Gone Rogue,” Nora breaks into a building labeled “G. Simone and Associates.” This is a reference to comics writer Gail Simone, famous for her runs on Batgirl and Birds of Prey. That was just the beginning, though. While planning her heist, Nora uses a fake ID with the name Jenni Ognats. In the comics, Jenni is XS’s real name. For the TV show, the showrunners combined elements of Jenni’s looks and personality with Dawn Allen, who was Barry’s daughter in the comics and Nora West-Allen was born!
These are just a few highlights. There were so many other great Flash references this month, but they’re taking up all the room in this basket so let’s move on to…
We got a look at the twisted diary of Lex Luthor during the episode “Crime and Punishment.” If you keep your eyes sharp and know where to hit the pause button, you’ll see that Lex has an entry on the Batman villain Poison Ivy! Also in the Lex camp, during the prison riot, Otis playfully pretended he was broadcasting from a station called WLEX. During Post-Crisis continuity, WLEX was Lexcorp’s television subsidiary.
James also had some not-so-fun flashbacks during the episode “American Dreamer” as he recalled the funeral of his late father. There have been a few different versions of Jimmy Olsen’s father in different eras of the comics, and the man in the casket was a combination of them. While he had the name Marcus like his Pre-Crisis counterpart (first seen in Adventure Comics #216), he had more in common with Jimmy’s Post-Crisis father Jake (first seen in 1990’s Superman #39). Jake was a solider who was killed in the line of duty, much like on Supergirl. It’s not easy to be Jimmy’s father, no matter what continuity you’re from.
Laurel met up with an old friend named Aviva the Shadow Thief during the episode “Lost Canary.” Shadow Thief is a classic Hawkman villain dating all the way back to 1961’s Brave and the Bold #36. The version seen in this episode was based off Aviva Metula, who first appeared in 2013’s Savage Hawkman #17. Laurel has some…um, interesting friends.
Speaking of interesting friends, during the episode “Spartan,” it seemed like a scientist named Will Magnus wanted to make Felicity’s acquaintance. I don’t know about all of you, but hearing his name got me pretty excited. Doc Magnus first appeared in Showcase #37 along with his creations the Metal Men. The episode did say he needed help working on an advanced AI system. Could the Metal Men be coming to DCTV? Pretty please!
The episode also introduced Roy Stewart, John Diggle’s stepfather. There have been lots of theories about John Diggle secretly being John Stewart (one of DC’s Green Lanterns), and this new stepfather has certainly added fuel to that rumor fire. Consider this…Roy was the name of John Stewart’s grandfather in the comics.
Fox’s Batman prequel may have taken its final bow last month, but the writers of the series managed to drop a few more comic book references on their way out the door. During the episode “They Did What?,” Bruce defeated Bane by summoning a swarm of bats with a device known as the “Nightwing Project.” The device, which had a different name at the time, was first seen in the Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli classic Batman: Year One, where a rookie Dark Knight used it to escape the police. And of course, if there are any of you who are unfamiliar with the modern Bat-Family, Nightwing is also the superhero name adopted by Dick Grayson after he graduated from being Robin.
Gotham’s grand finale, “The Beginning…,” took many elements from Batman lore! The idea of Jeremiah being catatonic in Arkham until Bruce Wayne returns from his travels is based off a concept from The Dark Knight Returns. In that story, set much later in Batman’s life, the Joker had been a lifeless shell for decades and didn’t speak until Batman had returned from his retirement.
The idea of Bruce Wayne traveling the world before debuting as Batman was introduced during Batman: Year One, and Detective Comics #599 expanded upon that idea by revealing that Bruce had used those travels to train under various masters.
There is so much more, but this is a column, not a novel, so we’ll be stopping here. I love playing along with all of you, so be on the look out for Easter eggs this month as you watch DCTV and check back here next month to see if we found the same ones!
You might be saying, “Hey Josh, you forgot about Doom Patrol.” Not at all! If you want to read what I’ve been finding in that series’ latest episodes, check out my weekly column at DCUniverse.com.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, and is a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.