The Flash TV series on the CW has been a roaring success, joining Arrow in firmly establishing the DCU on the small screen. While Arrow has been slow to embrace the more colorful aspects of the comic book world, the Flash has proudly waved its superhero flag high. In its first season there have been several villains straight out of the comic, time travel conundrums and even callbacks to the 1990’s Flash series! Of course Arrow teamed up with the fleet-footed one in a special crossover story as well.
Team-ups are one of the staples of superhero comic books. It’s fun to see characters work together, blending or clashing in crime-fighting style and it’s also more value for your money! I recall hearing that Avengers was popular with some readers simply because it featured so many heroes in one adventure. The Brave and the Bold team-up series ran for many years on this concept alone, pairing Batman with another hero from Green Lantern to Adam Strange and even the Joker! One issue even chronicled the creation of the Justice League of America!
In the Flash’s sister series Arrow, the Atom has been getting more firmly developed and will soon star in his own spin-off series that will take the team-up concept even further, making it a weekly event. As a precursor to The Atom, ‘All Star Team Up’ (another title from the annals of DC Comics) has given us a taste of what it will be like to watch heroes pair up against a common foe.
I will admit that I am not up to speed on Arrow so my knowledge of this version of Ray Palmer is very slim. As such I am confused as to why he resembles Tony Stark/Iron Man than the scientist adventurer from the comics. Whereas the comic book Atom uses dwarf star alloy to shrink yet maintain his mass, making him as powerful as a bullet, this Atom is… basically Iron Man.
I understand that the original intention was for Brandon Routh (the former Superman Returns star who now plays Palmer/the Atom) to portray Ted Kord/Blue Beetle but am less clear on why that did not happen. In any case… that’s the situation. The Atom is a rich businessman who flies around in an armored suit he designed to fight crime.
Unlike some other weekly comic book programs, The Flash has plenty of visual appeal and has a high production value. That kind of attention to the look and feel of the show made All Star Team an enjoyable and memorable experience. In just an hour there was dramatic tension, humor, mystery and a diabolical villain-ess who overwhelmed the Flash, prompting Ray Palmer to don his costume and pitch in.
There were a couple of dud lines such as when Palmer admits that he is hoping for technical assistance from the STAR Labs team with his suit as he has trouble ‘keeping it up.’ This of course prompted his girlfriend Felicity to insist that their sex life is great (there was an audible thud there).
As a weekly installment of a superhero TV show, this was a fast-moving episode that was a lot of fun. I’m a big fan of Daredevil and Gotham as well which are of course much grimmer and more intense, but I am happy that in this modern world where comic book characters are such a hot commodity there’s room for a guy who can run really fast.
We’ve come a long way from Legends of the Superheroes.