DC TV’s return is just behind the corner, and a last trailer for The Flash confirmed the identity of the evil speedster Barry will find in the new reality he created with his time travel. In the new season’s premiere, Flashpoint, Barry finds out that there’s a new hero in Central City, Kid Flash, and where’s a Flash there’s obviously a Reverse-Flash, in this case there’s The Rival, portrayed by Todd Lasance. We don’t know much about this new evil speedster, apart from the fact that the Flash from two realities will join forces to defeat him. Curiously enough, last season’s Zoom borrowed many elements from the comics version of The Rival, both in his look and in his storyline (just like Professor Zoom had borrowed many elements from the comics’ Zoom), so it’ll be fun to see what the actual Rival will be like…even if there’s the possibility that he’ll be a freak-of-the-week kind of villain. Being it a way or another, let’s take a look at the original stuff.
Not much is known about Edward Clariss‘ early life: born in Keystone City, he grew up to become a brilliant and ambitious man, a gifted scientist accomplished in both physics and chemistry. He became a renowned professor at Midwestern University, reaching a point in his life where he belived he had everything he ever wanted…but of course something happened that made him rethink what he had just achieved. A new student entered university in his department, Jay Garrick, a brilliant young man who was about to make the discovery of the century. While experimenting on hard water, Garrick accidentally discovered a formula that granted him an incredible speed, an amazing power that made him a football star, first, and the superhero known as The Flash, later. Clariss was one of the few people in Midwestern University who knew who was the man donning the winged helmet, since he knew everything about the experiment. He became obsessed with recreating Garrick’s formula, but there was one last element he missed to complete his work…an element that Joan Williams, Jay’s girlfriend, unwilling gave to him, as he overheard a conversation between her and a friend, about a student Jay had helped by replicating his formula and giving him his powers as a result. Finally, Clariss had everything he needed to replicate the super speed formula, and recreated it, naming it Velocity 9. Sure that he would have at least won a Nobel Prize, Clariss presented his “discovery” to the scientific community…but he was mocked and humiliated by fellow scientists who didn’t believe his claims. Enraged, he decided he would have proved them wrong. In any possible way.
Embittered towards his peers, and even towards Jay Garrick since he was enjoying all the success that had been denied to him, Edward Clariss decided to use Velocity 9 to become a better version of The Flash…but also his opposite, his reverse (thus becoming the first of a long series of Reverse-Flashes). He tailored a costume nearly identical to The Flash’s one, only much darker in tone and with an upwards bolt of lightning on his chest; he donned a black mask that covered his entire face, and renamed himself The Rival. He started to run with one single purpose: to prove to the world that he was much better than the original Flash. The Rival threw down the gauntlet, and The Flash accepted the challenge…especially because the envious and furious Clariss had started a murdering spree using his superspeed, and needed to be stopped. At first, The Rival got the upper hand in the duel, and his speed proved to be able to match The Flash’s one, and even to surpass it…but there was something about Velocity 9 that Clariss himself didn’t know: as soon as his body burnt the formula in his system, he lost his powers, and Garrick easily arrested him. While in prison, Clariss had time to perfect Velocity 9 to make it last longer, and as soon as he was able to escape he resumed his crusade against Garrick, challenging him over and over again. Eventually, during a battle, The Rival surpassed The Flash, but for doing so he reached the speed of light…and ended up losing himself in the Speed Force, disappearing. The criminal spent fifty years in the speedsters’ limbo, until the demonic mastermind Johnny Sorrow offered him a way out, in exchange of two things: to be a part of his Injustice Society, and to bring him Jay Garrick’s head on a plate. Clariss didn’t ask for anything else, and accepted Sorrow’s offer: the world would have soon remembered the dread of the original Reverse-Flash.
Edward Clariss is a brilliant and gifted man, but he’s also extremely ambitious and self-important; his envy towards Jay Garrick brought him to embrace a criminal life, and the decades spent in the Speed Force led him to madness, and he is now a dangerous psychopath. As The Rival, he has access to the Speed Force (at first temporarily due to Velocity 9, after his imprisonment he became a being of pure speed energy), which grants him the usual super speed, allowing him to run at incredible speeds, to phase through solid matter, to generate vortexes, to heal extremely fast; as a Speed Force ghost, he’s also able to possess other people as if he was an actual spirit. Deranged, vengeful and envious, The Rival is the sworn enemy of Jay Garrick, a dark and twisted version of The Flash who will murder an enire state just to gain the attention of his nemesis.