When Grant Gustin came back as the Scarlet Speedster in CW’s the Flash’s mid-season premiere we saw the pay off to the build-up of the mid-season finale vis-à-vis The Trial of the flash. It is one of the most endearing comic-book plots which was teased earlier when Flash time-traveled and saw himself behind the bars talking on the phone with Iris. Well, as they say, you can’t change what has to happen in time.
Let’s rewind a bit and recall what happened – Barry Allen reached to the crime spot and found a dead body of Clifford Devoe aka The Thinker who had transferred his consciousness to a meta-human who can literally read thoughts of other people. He achieved twin objectives by this – firstly he is no longer a cripple and now could stand up on his own two feet; secondly, he framed Barry Allen and his DNA was all over.
The Team Flash decided to put up a strong defense and Joe West’s girlfriend Cecile was entrusted the task of saving Barry from being implicated in a crime he did not commit. But the evidence against him was overwhelming and DeVoe’s wife amazing performance in court to convince the jury that it was indeed Allen who murdered Clifford in cold blood put the last nail in the coffin.
There were two choices in front of Barry Allen – either put up an insanity plea which would have seemed ridiculous and crazy or reveal his secret identity to the entire Central city. Barry outrightly rejected the idea of telling people that he is ‘The Flash’ as it would have compromised everything that they have done till now and put a target on everyone’s back who are his loved ones. He decided to be strong like his father Henry Allen and fight this instead of using his powers to become a fugitive.
Taking a point from one of his comic counterparts Grant Justin’s Barry Allen defended himself valiantly against the false allegations. But before the flash would serve a life imprisonment for the murder of Clifford DeVoe (who is alive by the way, he transferred his mind to the body of another metahuman’s) he has to save central City once more from an out of control meta-human called Fallout
The flash, along with the help of his friends at Star Labs is (of course) able to stop Fallout and contain his radioactive radiations by creating a whirlwind.
But the problem lies in what to do with the radiation so contained. It is too dangerous to be kept in this world and the flash can contain it for only so long. Harry Wells, with his vast knowledge of the multiverse, tells Barry Allen to send the radiation to Earth 15 which he tells the viewers is a dead earth.
Subsequently, with the help of Cisco Ramon’s powers, our favorite Speedster is able to transfer Fallout’s radioactive radiations to the barren Earth 15, seemingly saving the day once again.
The question remains, however, what is this Earth 15 and why is it barren, what the hell happened there? Well, to answer that question, I’ll have to delve into DC comic history, so strap in kids, this ride will get bumpy.
Earth 15 first appeared as Earth-15, a near perfect iteration of Earth 0 (Detective Comic’s main universe), one of the fifty-one continuities that split from the main Detective Comics’ universe or Earth 0.
The thing about Earth-15 is that it was a version of the earth where all the superheroes had achieved their perfect selves. There was peace throughout the land and almost all the old rogues we’re dealt with. This version of Earth also saw the advent of various disciples taking up the mantle and responsibilities of their mentors.
Namely, Jason Todd took over as Batman, Kyle Rayner became the protector of Earth as Green Lantern, Zod and Donna Troy also took over the mantle of their mentors and stepped into the limelight as heroes. This version of Earth was first Introduced in Countdown #30
As the timeline progressed and everything seemed well on Earth-15 ,the continuity was visited by Superboy-Prime (later known as Superman-Prime), an alternate version of Kal-el( and the main antagonist of Final crisis) who lived in a universe where he had all the powers of Superman and was raised on the stories of DC comics.
This alternate version of Kal-el turned evil when he visited Earth 0 and in his search for his “home” dimension, he destroyed many world’s and timelines. Earth-15 was one such unlucky world.
During the events of Final Crisis and post – infinite crisis Superboy-Prime slaughtered through world after world in search of the home where he will take his true place as Superman, but to no avail.
In his homicidal rage, he also destroyed Earth planet of the Earth-15 universe. This is one of the reasons why the Earth -15 continuity version of planet Earth is a desolate wasteland.
In a post-flashpoint DC universe (mainly NU52 and Re-birth) Earth 15 ( no hyphen) was reskinned as a desolate wasteland with little to no explanation of how it all came to be. It would be later explained by the comics that this is the place where the cosmic Grail (lost somewhere in the 52 multiverses of the DC universe) originated and how. This place is also the origin and end of the first ever wearer and user of a power ring, Voolthoom.
It seems as though the producers at CW wanted to make us aware of the fact that the arrowverse operates on a much bigger scale than we originally thought.
The writers are definitely making it a point to include all the comic references they possibly could including mentioning an important place in the infinite crisis and final crisis event arc.
Now, the question is, whether these writers want to pursue the story of how the Earth 15 became as it is and possibly open a path to an entry of Green Lantern into the Arrowverse, or they just going to tease fans over and over. This is an amazing opportunity for the makers of ‘The Flash’ to give Green Lantern fans something, in fact, CW’s new show Black Lightning has gone a step ahead and teased Green Lantern’s sister.
The official synopsis for The Flash season 4 is below:
“Running up against an evil time remnant version of yourself is something no one should ever have to do, but that’s exactly what faced Barry Allen (aka The Flash) as he fought to save the life of fiancée Iris West from the God of Speed known as Savitar. Barry’s victory was short-lived, however, as an unbalanced Speed Force began to wreak havoc on Central City, forcing Barry to sacrifice himself for the greater good. With The Fastest Man Alive now trapped inside an extra-dimensional energy, and unknown dangers lurking in the shadows, it will be up to Team Flash to free Barry from his own personal Hell”.
CW’s The Flash season 4 will come with a new episode titled “Honey, I shrunk Team Flash” on 30th Jan, Tuesday. Tune in to see the latest episodes if you have not. Don’t miss this.