Mary Willow Batson/Mary Bromfield (Mary Marvel)

Another trailer that make people talk during SDCC is the one for Shazam!, definitely one we didn’t expect to see, especially considering the movie is going to be released next April. There are some new faces we should speak about in the trailer, starting with Mary Bromfield, portrayed by Grace Fulton. In the movie, Mary will be one of Billy Batson‘s new foster siblings, but in the comics “Bromfield” is just her name after adoption, as she’s originally Billy’s long lost twin sister… and she also becomes his first super-companion as Mary Marvel, actually one of the first female superheroes ever, created in 1942. It’s unlikely we’ll see Mary transform in this movie, but this doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at the original one.

Mary Willow Batson was the daughter of C.C. and Marilyn Batson, two world-famous archaeologists, and was raised in Fawcett City with her twin brother, Billy. The twins didn’t always got along, especially considering that they liked the same toys and always fought over them, but overall they were a happy family. C.C. and Marilyn were hired by Professor Sivana for an expedition in Egypt, and little Mary accompanied them, while Billy had to stay home with his uncle Ebenezer. In Egypt, however, what could be a wonderful adventure ended in tragedy, as the Batsons’ coworker, Theo Adam, killed them both to steal what they had discovered in an ancient temple, and even kidnapped Mary. Adam brought the girl back to the United States with him, but here his sister, Sarah Primm, took her under her protective wing, disgusted by what her brother had done. Primm’s employers wanted a child but couldn’t have any, so Sarah had them illegally adopt Mary: now officially the daughter of wealthy Nick and Nora Bromfield, little Mary grew up in luxury and affection, and being so young she eventually forgot of her original family… if it wasn’t for some curious dreams she had, in which she was with another mother and father, and even a brother, but all these “alternate” family members were faceless in her dreams, as she couldn’t fully remember them. While Mary was having dreams in Fairfield, Billy clearly remembered her in Fawcett City, but believed her to be dead with their parents: the only thing he still had of his sister was a Tawky Tawny doll she used to love (and that he used to steal to her), that had been shipped to the United States from Egypt along with C.C.’s and Marilyn’s belongings. Then, Billy became the heroic Captain Marvel, and something in the superhero’s look made Mary think of the “other father” she used to dream about. The two would have crossed roads soon enough, in occasion of a spelling contest held in Fawcett City that Mary participated to.

Representing her Tomlinson School at the contest, Mary squared off against Freddy Freeman from Binder High School, among others, and Freddy was accompanied for the occasion by his best friend, Billy Batson. Billy realized Mary Bromfield looked a lot like his lost sister, and asked his cop friend, Muscles McGinnis, to investigate on her. McGinnis did more, as he retrieved Mary’s forged adoption records, giving the boy proof that Mary was indeed “his” Mary. Of course, Billy had no idea how to approach the girl to tell her he was a brother she didn’t even remember of. The right idea came from the unlikeliest source, as the Tawky Tawny doll Billy had always along became a human-size anthropomorphic tiger, and instructed him to give both doll and documents to Mary, allowing her to remember (the doll had actually been brought to life by the evil Lord Satanus, who however wanted to help Captain Marvel in a plot against his sister Blaze). The moment Billy brought the package to the Bromfield estate, however, he was attacked and kidnapped by a band of thugs, the same ones who had helped years before Primm to fake Mary’s adoption documents. The girl arrived on the scene due to the noise, and she found and opened the package… finally remembering about her true family thanks to the records she found inside. And, of course, to Tawky Tawny, who animated once again and told her that her twin brother was in the mansion, in danger. Quite scared by the well-mannered and well-dressed tiger, Mary decided to trust him nevertheless, and followed his instructions to save Billy: she pronounced out loud the word “Shazam!”, that held no meaning to her… but that granted her the same abilities of her brother, a fraction of the power of the wizard of the same name. Becoming Mary Marvel for the first time, she rushed to her brother’s help, freed him, and knocked out all his assailants, in a battle that however costed the life of Sarah Primm. Now, Mary had a lot of time to catch up… and a lot of power to learn to control.

Mary Batson, Mary Bromfield once adopted, is a brilliant and smart young girl, a perfectly well-educated and responsible student, who has buried her past deep in her consciousness but still feels a void within herself that she can’t explain. As Mary Marvel, she receives a variety of powers from Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury (in other versions, her benefactors are Selene, Hippolyta, Ariadne, Zephyrus, Aurora and Minerva): she’s virtually invulnerable, possesses superhuman strength, speed and stamina, she can fly, she has extensive knowledge and memory of the past and sometimes can predict future, she can heal others or herself instantly, and she can manipulate lightning at will. One of the most powerful beings on Earth, Mary Marvel is a teenager with the strength of a goddess, a girl who’s finally been given the chance to remember her true self, and to join forces with her brother, one of the greatest protectors the world has ever known.

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Yumiko

Not the final character from the SDCC trailer for The Walking Dead, but the last one from Magna‘s group: Yumiko, portrayed by Eleanor Matsuura. Yumiko is also the member of said group we know the least of, and she’s not even seen with all the others at the admission interview, but rather in a forest apparently stalked by someone. It’s entirely possible that they changed something for her story line, considering that in the comics she never leaves her original group, at least at the beginning. Let’s take a look together.

As with most people after society crumbled, not much is known about Yumiko: she lived near Washington D. C., and she came from a family of Japanese descent. She was a lesbian, and she was perfectly ok with that, never having to hide it from her family or friends, and on the opposite being pretty proud of her sexuality. In peace as she could be with the world, however, the world was not in peace at all, and with the Outbreak everything came crumbling down, and she was forced to reach a shelter along with all the people from the same area. The structure, however, wasn’t meant to be a definitive accommodation, and its limits became quite clear with overcrowding and disorganization, all elements that worsened after the fall of the government. With no other options, Yumiko decided to follow Magna, a young woman she had become pretty close to, who wanted to try her luck in the outside world. Also others joined them, and they moved for a while looking for shelter and provisions, traveling by horse and having the animals tow a trailer with all the group’s belongings. The adventure came to an abrupt end the moment they stumbled upon a herd, being driven away by another group protecting their community. The unwanted meeting nearly costed everybody’s lives, but the scout from the other group, a man who looked a lot like Jesus, managed to saved them, and later drove the herd away. Jesus invited Magna and her group to join him in his community, and Magna agreed, supported in this by Yumiko and a few others. By this time, Yumiko had started to develop deeper feelings for Magna, and she accompanied her in the new, utopian community, Alexandria, and in the exploration of the same, that led them to a confrontation with the city’s only prisoner, Negan, and to a rushy dialogue with Andrea, one of the place’s veterans, who told them the entire story of the place.

Alexandria looked like the perfect place to live in, and Yumiko and the others were allowed to stay as long as they didn’t have bad intentions. In those days, Alexandria was organizing a fair with other three settlements, Hilltop, The Kingdom and The Sanctuary, and Yumiko gladly participated… but the happy day was tragically interrupted by the unforeseen attack of a hostile group, called the Whisperers, who killed several members of all the communities involved. Even Luke, one of Magna’s people, got killed, more than enough a reason to bring Yumiko to applaud Rick Grimes‘ decision to form a Militia to declare war to the Whisperers. As they trained together shooting walkers to make practice, Yumiko and Magna even had time to deepen their relationship, and it turned out that Magna was lesbian too, but she just wasn’t able to deal with it. Yumiko proved to be pivotal in the girl’s acceptance of her own nature, and she made her realize that her parents, who strongly disapproved of homosexuality, weren’t ghosts ready to haunt her if she finally embraced her orientation, and that all the homophobia and the discrimination had died with the old world. Finally, Magna decided to trust her, and the two of them became a couple. Just to strengthen Magna’s resolution, Yumiko “officially” announced it to Michonne, Eugene, Siddiq and Juanita, proving that nobody was shocked nor disgusted by it. In the meanwhile, of course, the war had started, and Yumiko proved her value by saving Michonne and Aaron from an enemy ambush, and starting a manhunt against Beta, the vice-leader of the Whisperers. The war wasn’t without losses, of course, and Yumiko cried honest tears when Connie, from her original group, nearly died for a bite, and had her boyfriend Kelly chop her hand off to save her. Losses, however, Yumiko could stand: the one thing she wouldn’t have accepted, in this conflict, was defeat, and defeat only…

Yumiko is a warrior born, who finds in the post-apocalypse world the perfect environment to develop a personality that would have been tough, but not this tough, in the world before. She’s an extremely skilled archer, lethal with a bow, and she’s able to use even blades. Used to fight her entire life, Yumiko can now do something different than ideological battles, and brings all her strength and heart on a battlefield that will always need her courage…

Jenni Ognats (XS)

The other big news regarding the character of Nora Allen from The Flash is about her costumed identity. Jessica Parker Kennedy‘s time traveler, in fact, will don the suit and the code name of another speedster from the future, XS, who in the comics is not Barry‘s daughter, but rather his granddaughter. The suit will be the same Iris wore when she temporarily gained her husband’s speed, with a golden “XS” on the chest for a change. Whether this means that also XS’s group, the Legion of Super-Heroes that already made its presence felt in Supergirl, will make an appearance, remains to be seen, but that would be quite nice. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original XS.

Time travel always makes quite a mess in events and relations, and this is no exception: Jenni Ognats was the daughter of Jeven Ognats, a politician from the XXX Century, and Dawn Allen, daughter of the second Flash and one of the Tornado Twins along with her bother Don. If uniting two eras in one child wasn’t enough, the family was soon reached by Professor Zoom, the time-traveling villain who was still fighting his bloody crusade against The Flash and all his descendants. The Tornado Twins used their father’s Cosmic Treadmill to escape into another dimension, but Zoom followed them, and was defeated only thanks to the combined effort of three Legions of Super-Heroes from just as many alternative timelines. Jenni was safe, but as a result of Zoom’s meddling she and her family were stranded on Earth-247, a possible XXX Century. She was raised here, in Aarok, with no idea of her true origins, and without showing any signs of super-speed during her childhood. This lasted until the Dominators attacked Earth once again: the Tornado Twins were killed during the resulting war, and even Jenni was targeted because of her bloodline, as well as her father Jeven for his political influence. As she was prisoner of the aliens, the sight of her father being tortured finally activated Jenni’s latent connection to the Speed Force, and she accessed all the powers of a speedster for the first time. She freed herself and her father and escaped from the Dominators, coming back to Earth just as the attackers’ base exploded. After this first manifestation of her powers, she obviously needed to control them, and she was introduced to a laboratory in which she was taught to coordinate her movements at super-speed, avoiding to constantly trip on her own feet, and to cause unwanted damage while moving. She spent some months training, until she finally mastered her powers with ease. As soon as she was ready, even if she was still young, she was requested by a representative of the United Planets, and drafted into the Legion of Super-Heroes, having for the first time the occasion to follow into her family’s heroic footsteps.

She was just an enthusiastic kid when she joined the Legion, and she was constantly nervous in measuring herself with the legends of her time. She developed an adolescent crush for Cosmic Boy and, later, for Mon-El, and always acting like the scared child who had to be guided through any mission, step by step. It took her some time to adjust, but finally managed to prove her value when she single-handedly saved the entire team from a fiery attack of Kid Quantum, earning also the respect and the consideration of her idols. While she built her name with the Legion, she also became an amateur archaeologist, digging up buildings and findings from her original time, XX Century. She, of course, also travel back to the XX Century in a couple of occasions, but during one of these she got separated from the rest of the Legion and became stranded in the past. Here she met Impulse, her cousin, who had been brought back in time after Professor Zoom’s attack for his own safety. The two became fast friends (pun intended), and they even teamed up for a while. While she was in the past, she joined that time’s speedsters and fought against the self-proclaimed god of speed Savitar. During that occasion, the Flash from the XXVII Century, John Fox, managed to repair the Cosmic Treadmill, allowing her to come back home in the XXX Century. As she resumed her usual life in the future, she found in the building she was excavating a note, left by Impulse in the past, a way to say goodbye and to make her feel him close despite the centuries separating them. She also started to flirt and date with a teammate, Magno, who she had been unwillingly rejecting for a while, all lost for Cosmic Boy as she was. Just as the two started to become closer, though, the Legion disbanded, decimated by the invasion of the Blight. XS was one of the few Legionnaires left in the XXX Century, but this didn’t mean her heroic career was over, quite the opposite: now that there was but a bunch of heroes, she had to double her efforts to protect the universe, starting with a certain emergency on planet Xanthu

Jenni Ognats is an enthusiastic and very emotional young woman, often insecure about her own abilities, but always happy about nearly everything in her extraordinary life. As XS, she’s able to move at near-light speed, enough to run on water or on vertical surfaces, and she’s also able to vibrate fast enough to phase through solid matter; after a training from her grandfather Barry, she’s able to alter her molecular vibration frequencies to travel through time and across dimensions without any tool; her Legion Flight Ring allows her to fly, to communicate in every known language, and to survive in any hostile environment, void space included. Born in the past, but totally belonging to the future, XS is a girl who lived through a lot of pain and loss, but managed to turn them into energy for a bright future, always donning a smile that doesn’t hide but rather reinvents the traumas and insecurities from her past.

Kelly

The next character from the The Walking Dead trailer is yet another member of Magna‘s group, and the one who possibly received the most radical change from the comics: Kelly, portrayed by Angel Theory. Kelly will be introduced as the overprotective sister of Connie, and her shadow during all the time they spend on the road and in Alexandria Safe Zone… but in the comics, Kelly is actually a man (and a very manly one, even), and he’s definitely not Connie’s brother, but rather her boyfriend. The reasons behind this change remain unknown as of yet, but it’s possible that the sisters dynamic will bring something different to the show. Maybe. Anyway, let’s take a look at the original Kelly.

Nothing is known about Kelly’s life before the Outbreak. He was in his thirties when the dead started to come back from the grave to eat the living’s flesh, and he was among the many people who reached a governmental shelter in Washington D. C. when the plague became a serious national emergency. Within the shelter, Kelly knew a girl, Connie, whom he fell in love with, reciprocated: the two started a romantic relation, love beyond the apocalypse. Together, they realized that the place they were using as a haven was becoming far too crowded, as there was no more government to take care of the place, and the emergency was nowhere to be solved: people kept coming in, but there were no plans to receive them. Because of this, both Kelly and Connie decided to leave the shelter, following a woman named Magna who had organized a small group to try their luck outside and look for another place to live in. During the travel, that actually lasted for months, Kelly developed quite a respect for Magna, who naturally filled the position of leader, and he even became good friends with another man of the group, Bernie. One day, the group found itself on the path of a massive herd, led away from a nearby community by a man nicknamed Jesus. The herd obviously attacked the convoy, and in the resulting fight Bernie got killed. Kelly was saved by Jesus, who bought him and his group time enough to escape on their horses, but when the stranger offered Magna to join his community, Kelly was very vocal about his negative vote: those were the men who had caused Bernie’s death, and he had no intention of joining them then or ever. The group, however, voted otherwise, and Magna accepted the offer. Against his will, Kelly was forced to follow everyone else to Alexandria.

Here, Kelly’s distrust for the group didn’t diminish, quite the opposite: Alexandria was like heaven on earth, a perfect place to live in that looked like an oasis in the desert. Kelly spoke with two members of the community, Rick and Andrea, but didn’t trust either of them: to him, everything looked a lot like a trap. Also Magna was cautious, and she decided to sneak into the jail to learn something more; in order to protect her, Kelly and Luke decided to follow her to keep her safe, but it eventually it was the other way round, as the two men immediately believed the lies that the only prisoner, Negan, told them about Alexandria and its inhabitants, while Magna saw through them and led her people away. Wanting answers, Kelly and the others cornered Andrea and threatened her, but the woman calmly told them that she would have answered all of their questions (another time, however), and that if they hurt her they would have all died. The menace was something they could believe, but also the promise was, and the next day Andrea offered the whole group a coffee and told them everything they wanted to know about Alexandria, Negan and the other communities. Apparently, Alexandria was just as good as it looked, and he and Connie were actually willing to believe they had finally found a home. Kelly and Connie even participated to the fair that gathered people from nearby communities, and for the first time in years they had fun… but immediately after that, Rick informed the various groups that many people from the several communities had been killed during the fair by a group called the Whisperers, and even one man from Magna’s group, Luke, was among the victims. Enraged for this attack, Kelly was more than ready to join the Militia, the armed group Rick organized to move war to the Whisperers: he had been waiting a long time for a place like Alexandria, and he would have fought to defend it.

Kelly is quite an impulsive and emotional man, ready to react with distrust and (verbal) violence to everything he doesn’t immediately get or that doesn’t seem good to him. A capable fighter and a valuable member of the Militia, he’s however volatile and hard to convince to follow orders, something that may eventually put him or others in serious danger.

Nora Allen (Cruise)

I waited to write anything about the “surprise character” (yes, everybody knew who she was) from last season’s finale, and it turned out to be a good move, as for the next season of The Flash we have some new intel about her. First appeared in Crisis on Earth X as “Mystery Girl“, the recurring lady portrayed by Jessica Parker Kennedy revealed herself to be Nora Allen, Barry‘s and Iris‘ future daughter, in the finale We Are The Flash. She also told everyone she made quite a mess with the timeline traveling back in time, and she needs help to fix it. What a surprise. Anyway, the character is an amalgamation of two other speedsters from the comics (and no, none of them is Dawn Allen as many had imagined), the first being obviously Nora Allen from Prime Earth, a recent time traveler who made her debut last year with the name Cruise. Let’s see together.

Nora Allen came from a possible future, not exactly the happiest one possible. She was the daughter of Barry “The Flash” Allen and of Jessica “Green Lantern” Cruz, two of the greatest heroes from the Justice League. She was born in Keystone City, and raised with her little twin siblings, Jason and Jenny. While the twins had taken from their mother, and were able to tap to the entire Emotional Spectrum without the need of a Power Ring, Nora had inherited her father’s connection to the Speed Force, and was quite a powerful speedster. She spent her childhood running with her dad, her absolute favorite moments, and she also visited the Justice League Satellite to play with the other kids: George Marvin “Cube” Stone, son of Cyborg, Hunter Prince, the son of Wonder Woman adopted by Superman and Lois Lane, and Eldoris “Serenity” Curry, daughter of Aquaman and Mera. As soon as she started to master her powers, Nora was called Cruise. Her childhood was filled with amazing moments… but it all came to an end, as the Darkness started to engulf the earth. The Darkness, the physical embodiment of all the hatred and the rage in the world, awakened years before by the song of the Kindred, had infected people all around the world, forcing them to kill one another in interminable wars. The moment it infected superhumans as well, things became to look really scary. The Justice League answered the call to confront the Darkness, but just before that the heroes brought their children to Mount Olympus, to keep them safe as long as they were away. They never came back. Nora and the others waited for them, but it soon became clear that they were lost just like all the others. They spent years training together, becoming powerful enough to surpass the dimensional barrier around Olympus and come back to their world to look for their parents… or to avenge them, if the worst had come to be. Cruise became faster, even faster than her father, and she even started something like a romantic relation with Hunter. But the mission was more important.

Once on Earth, it became clear that all the heroes had died, but the world still needed them. Cruise and the others organized into a new Justice League, and traveled the world trying to bring hope and comfort to the survivors of the war… but it wasn’t over yet. A sorceress who apparently appeared out of nowhere, a powerful warrior who called herself Sovereign, attacked the Olympus, slaughtered the gods and took possession of the mount, making it her throne world and teleporting it on Earth. From Olympus, she started a death campaign, hellbent on murdering anyone she could find, apparently with no reason nor purpose. The new group, this Justice League Legacy, couldn’t do much against her, especially after Aquaman, who had apparently went mad and killed Mera, joined her. There wasn’t much they could do, until Hunter had an idea: they would have traveled back in time, and stopped the Darkness and Sovereign before they destroyed the world, acting together with their parents. With nothing to lose, the JLL reached Olympus, looking for the tech they needed to time travel, but they were greeted by Aquaman, ready for them. Cruise attacked him head on, but the former hero was prepared, and detonated a Timeless Grenade, that slowed time to a near stop, with the effect of making Nora move at normal speed… slow enough for Aquaman to knock her out with no effort. Wounded but alive, Cruise was saved by the twins, and thanks to Cube the group managed to reach Olympus, where she was finally able to recover her connection to the Speed Force. Here, the JLL broke into what remained of the Infinity Corporation Building, where Cube was still sensing the presence of Vincent. Vincent, actually, was dead by a long time, but his conscience, downloaded in the computer, still guided the heroes, and led them to the last remaining Stones of Forever. Using them, Cruise and the others finally reached the past, appearing right in front of the Justice League, contemplating a massacre occurred in Midway City. Overwhelmed by emotion in seeing her parents after so many years, Cruise embraced Green Lantern Cruz, and later followed the JLA, asking for clarifications, to the Satellite… but she and the others had failed to notice that the Darkness had followed them in the past, and was ready to fuse with and empower its past self becoming unstoppable…

Nora Allen is a girl who had to suffer a lot for her young age, but who’s still able to maintain an easy-going and cheerful attitude despite everything. As Cruise, she’s connected to the Speed Force, and as a result she can move at extremely fast speed, even faster than her late father Flash; she didn’t demonstrate other abilities connected to the Speed Force, but she’ll almost certainly develop them in time. Brave to the point of bordering with recklessness, committed to the death to the one family she knows, her friends from the Justice League Legacy, Cruise is a survivor who fights to save what remains of her world, and a heir who feels all the pressure of living up to names like the one of her parents, two of the greatest heroes ever lived… and she’s making quite an excellent job in honoring them.

Luke

Another day, another character from The Walking Dead SDCC trailer. This time it’s the turn of Luke, another one of the newcomers interviewed to access Alexandria. Portrayed by talented Dan Fogler, Luke is an ex music teacher, used to see beauty around him, and who maintains a strong hope despite the world is crumbling down around him. Apparently, he’s also quite tired of being around, always risking to be eaten, he understands that strength is in numbers and presses his companions to join Alexandria. In the comics, on the opposite, he’s one of the most vocal ones against the decision to stay in Alexandria, but unfortunately he doesn’t last long after he’s convinced to remain. Let’s see together.

The comics version of Luke was not a music teacher, we actually don’t know what he did before the Outbreak. He lived in the Washington D. C. area, as he reached a shelter just outside of the city when the authorities told the citizens to reach the closest haven. He was in his twenties when society crumbled down, and the few survivors tried to defend themselves from the plague that made the dead come back from their grave to devour the living by locking into refuges. Those settlements, however, were clearly meant to be temporary, and as the emergency didn’t give signs to stop, it became clear that the more and more crowded shelter wouldn’t have lasted long. During his time in the haven, Luke met a girl, Magna, whom he developed quite a crush on. When Magna told some of the friends she had made in that place that she wanted to go away and try her fortune on the road, looking for a more suitable place to live in, Luke was among the first ones who joined her, and definitely was among the more enthusiastic. He traveled with Magna and her “caravan of courage”, and always supported her… even if he grew more and more frustrated as she clearly didn’t get his signals and didn’t realize he was interested in her beyond friendship. The group managed to get by without too many losses, until one day they were attacked by a herd, that managed to capsize their trailer-fortress and to surround them. Luke was facing his doom… until an unexpected savior arrived: Jesus.

Well, obviously he wasn’t the actual Jesus, but he definitely looked like him, and he indeed saved Luke and the others, distracting the herd long enough for them to escape on their horses. When the emergency was solved, Jesus invited the group to join his community, Alexandria, an invitation that Magna accepted. When Luke and the others arrived, what they saw was simply too good to be true: a safe, fortified town, a flourishing community with no problems of provisions or security, full of happy families like a tv spot. They met the local leader, Rick Grimes, and when he asked them who was the group’s leader, Magna answered that they had none… but Luke contradicted her, stating that Magna was their leader, the one who had kept them safe and together. Luke was later interviewed by Andrea, another member of the community, and had to give her all his weapons for the time being… but this didn’t exactly helped his trust. Still believing it was too good to be true, Luke convinced Magna to seek for answers in a more direct way, and they started to explore the town. They found the prison, in which there was a man, Negan, who asked them to save him, as he had been tortured for years by the “animals” from Alexandria. Luke almost fell for it, but Magna saw through Negan’s act, and left. The group later ambushed Andrea in her own home, demanding the truth… and the truth they had, a story of conflict and violence that had finally led Alexandria and the nearby communities to a longed and desired peaceful coexistence. Finally, Luke let his guard down, and decided to trust these new people, even participating to a fair. During the fair, however, he was approached by a woman, who lured him away from the others and killed him, decapitating him and mounting his reanimated head on a pike. She was Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers, and Luke had just been used to send a message to Rick’s communities…

Luke is a reliable and cautious man, Magna’s right hand man and one of her most loyal supporters… and this comes as no surprise, as he has a major crush on her since the day he met her. He’s a veteran survivor, able to use blades and guns and to find provisions and shelters, and he’s also a proficient horse rider. As cautious as he may be, however, he’s totally unprepared for some of the monsters from the outside world he’s been avoiding while in the shelter…

David Hersch (Cicada)

Other news from the Arrowverse, as the main villain of The Flash Season 5 has been announced in the SDCC trailer. As problems with the timeline (again…) are being faced by The Flash and his team, a new threat plots from the shadows, wielding a lightning-shaped dagger that the comic readers know well: that’s Cicada, portrayed by Chris Klein. In Season 3, Tracy Brand referred to David Hersch as to one of the professors who made her fail her doctoral dissertation, and now is ready to be introduced as an obsessed man whose family has been wiped out by metahumans, and who’s ready for a big payback by killing each and every one of them as if they were a plague. This is quite a leap from the comics, where Hersch’s relation to his family wasn’t exactly idyllic, and where he rather starts a cult worshiping metahumans rather than hating them. Let’s see together.

David Hersch was born in Keystone City, but in 1890. He was an architect, but also worked as a preacher, helping the local priest in St. John’s Catholic Church. He was married to Elizabeth, a woman he was convinced to love with all his heart… but apparently there was something wrong with his idea of love, or maybe he didn’t get something from the Gospel he preached every Sunday: paranoid and bent on rage bursts, he frequently abused his wife, beating her everytime he saw something wrong in the world, an occasion that repeated itself quite often. Eventually, one night, he beat his wife so hard that he killed her. After the murder, going mad with grief, he tried to kill himself, but moments before committing suicide he was struck by a bolt of lightning, that hit the dagger he wanted to use for the act. Miraculously, he survived the experience, and not only that: he had also had a vision of himself, destined to an immortal life and accompanied by his beloved Elizabeth, risen from the dead by his side. Hersch believed this to be a message from God, and he was convinced even more so the moment he realized that he had also acquired supernatural abilities that allowed him to absorb people’s life force, to be transferred to others, himself included. He had been given a purpose, and the means to achieve it. He put his wife’s body into a metal coffin, hidden deep under what would have become years later Keystone Motors, and then used his experience as a preacher to start his own cult, promising everlasting life to his followers. He named himself Cicada, as the insect who was said to be able to hibernate itself for centuries and then be reborn anew, and his cult, the Children of Cicada, became a constant yet hidden presence in Keystone City’s history. Unfortunately, God wasn’t speaking to him anymore. Not until many, many years later.

For more than a century, Cicada used his powers to absorb the life force of his followers, gaining the immortality he wanted, but he still lacked the higher purpose he had been promised. Then, finally, he learnt that the heroic Flash had gained his powers from a lightning bolt, just as he had: he believed The Flash to be his “brother”, and presented him to his Children as the promised savior. Cicada instructed his followers to pay attention to The Flash’s daily deeds, as the ones he saved were the ones destined to be sacrificed to achieve immortality. He gave his Children a lightning-shaped dagger, that he imbued with his power so that they were able to absorb life force just like he did, and then sent them in every street, road and alley of the city, letting them murder every person who had been previously saved by The Flash. This turned out to be a success, as Cicada amounted an unprecedented quantity of life force… but it also brought an unwanted attention from the authorities. Wanting to prevent the hero, Cicada enlisted the help of Magenta, and had her kidnap Flash and bring him to his lair. Here, he told the “savior” that they were one and the same, as he himself had been hit by lightning just after his wife had been killed (apparently, age and insanity had made him rewrite some parts of his own story). Finally, using the energy he had collected from the “sacrifices” and from Flash himself, he was able to resurrect Elizabeth… but the woman wasn’t exactly happy to see him, and she revealed to everyone that it was David the one who had killed her in the first place. Enraged, denying the truth, Cicada attacked Elizabeth, and killed her once again by draining her of her life force with one last kiss. Then he was finally stopped by Flash, who had been freed by detectives Jared Morillo and Fred Chyre. He was sentenced to death and put in Iron Heights in death row… but first S.T.A.R. Labs had to determine if he was able to die at all, with all the energy he had stored. Cicada lifted them of this doubt, as he escaped from prison exploiting the commotion created by Gorilla Grodd some time later…

David Hersch is a maniac, a deranged man driven mad by guilt, paranoia and religious fanaticism; despite being totally crazy, he’s still charismatic and magnetic, able to fascinate hundreds of people in his cult. As Cicada, he’s a “lightning rod for souls”, able to absorb other people’s life force to expand his life span indefinitely, to heal from any possible wound, even lethal ones, and to resurrect the dead by redistributing the life force he’s stolen; he wields twin Lightning Daggers, weapons imbued with his power that can steal or release life force acting as catalysts of his power. A beloved leader followed by a group of fanatics who believed his promises of immortality and who hang off his words, Cicada is a dark, secret shadow looming over Keystone City’s history, an immortal threat driven by a mad righteousness that makes him all the more dangerous.