Albert Desmond (Mister Element/Doctor Alchemy)

doctoralchemyfilmThe reveal of The Flash Season 3’s bid bad has been quite a surprise, considering that the chosen villain isn’t exactly a heavy hitter in the comics: instead of a new evil speedster (who will anyway appear in the first episodes), our hero will confront the Machiavellian Doctor Alchemy, who’ll be voiced by Tobin Bell (yup, after Candyman, we get now the Jigsaw Killer). It’s still unknown who will physically play him, and what role he’ll have in the post-Flashpoint story, but it’s pretty sure he doesn’t mean any good, and it’s more than likely that there’ll be a known character under the mask, possibly undergoing some major continuity changing due to The Flash time-traveling. In the trailer he only appears for a second, a blink-and-miss moment that however allows us to speak about his comicbook counterpart: let’s meet the new Flash nemesis.

Albert Desmond had always been a smart man, a highly intelligent kid growing up into a great student who eventually became a skilled and accomplished chemist. He was a honest and peaceful man, a law-abiding citizen whose kindness and gentlesness won the heart of Rita, the woman who became his wife. Unfortunately, there was more to Al than met they eye, and there was also a darker side to him…this time literally, as the man suffered from a dissociative identity disorder. If one personality was kind, loving and honest, the other one was violent, greedy and basically evil: Rita, unable to understand what happened to her man from time to time, eventually left him, and the good chemist remained alone, prey of his darker self…who was just as smart and skilled as he was, but with a completely different attitude. Al used his knowledge of chemistry for crime, and he created the identity of Mister Element, a thief with a never-before-seen equipment (an “elemental arsenal” as he called it). Donning impenetrable doctoralchemycomics1bulletproof silicon armors, using an “elemental gun” able to compose different elements and to shoot them, or even creating new elements such as the formidable “magnetic light” Elemento, Mister Element made quite a name for himself in Central City, standing out as one of the most unlikely (and proficient) bank robbers ever…that until he crossed paths with The Flash, who managed to counter each and every move thanks to his incredible speed. Once, Mr. Element even managed to send him to open space thanks to Elemento, but eventually the Scarlet Speedster survived the experience and captured the criminal, sending him to jail…and changing his life forever. Al Desmond’s cellmate, in fact, was in possession of a peculiar, vital information: he knew the location of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, and he recklessly shared his knowledge with Desmond. Now, Mister Element had a brand new goal.

It didn’t take much for Al Desmond to escape from jail, and the first thing he did was obviously to go and see if his cellmate’s claims were true: against all odds, he actually found the fabled relic, and he took possession of it. The Philosopher’s Stone gave him the power to transmute any element into another one, obtaining a potentially unlimited power. Now, he didn’t even fear The Flash anymore: how could anyone stop somebody able to turn their very flesh into charcoal? Naming himself Doctor Alchemy (but sometimes going back to his old Mister Element moniker), he started a brand new criminal career, this time more than willing to prove his true worth. Despite the untold power he had been granted, however, Doctor Alchemy seemed to be unable to defeat The Flash, and although going close more than once to killing the hero, he always lost the fight to him. It eventually turned out that Al’s good side was still present, and was somehow preventing the bad one from using all his resources, desperately trying to regain control. With a power struggle going on inside his own head, Doctor Alchemy could use but a fraction of the Philosopher’s Stone’s power, and some of its most incredible capabilities (such as creating his astral doppelgänger, Alvin Desmond) he used unconsciously. Eventually, the good Al Desmond managed to defeat doctoralchemycomics2the evil one, and regained control long enough to hide the Philosopher’s Stone from his own dark personality. The evil Albert, however, shared a psychic link with the “twin” he had created through the Stone, Alvin, who managed to recover the artifact and to become the new Doctor Alchemy. Albert Desmond, finally, knew some time of peace, while the artificial self continued to wreak havoc with the Philosopher’s Stone in his possession. It wasn’t much time, however, before the evil Albert took control again: he challenged Alvin and defeated him, stealing the Stone from him and taking possession of the Doctor Alchemy identity once again. The original was back, and this time he wouldn’t have let the “other self” restrain him.

Al Desmond is a sick man, torn between two opposite personalities: one is the honest, gentle, brilliant chemist who tries to leave a peaceful and law-abiding life, the other is a malicious, greedy and violent man who uses his remarkable knowledge to accumulate treasure and to inflict pain. As Mister Element, he possessed an arsenal of chemistry-based weapons, mainly his Element Gun, able to synthesize any known (and unknown) element; as Doctor Alchemy he doesn’t need his equipment anymore, as the Philosopher’s Stone in his possession allows him to manipulate matter to a molecular level, transmutating any element into any other, and giving him an absolute power over organic and inorganic matter. Having abandoned his greed, he now seeks the ultimate knowledge, investigating the secret mechanism of reality, and sieging the absolute power that lies beneath it.

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5 Comments

  1. […] Albert Desmond (Mister Element/Doctor Alchemy) […]

  2. […] to Flashpoint. This time, abused teenager Frankie Kane, portrayed by Joey King, is helped by Doctor Alchemy to remember her former, alternate self as a metahuman, Magenta, and he helps her recover her […]

  3. […] much forgettable. In Shade, we meet another one of the metahumans artificially restored by Alchemy, the one who gives the episode its name: The Shade, portrayed by Mike McLeod. With the ability to […]

  4. […] Men of the Mask, or the mob boss known as The Enigma, but also supercriminals such as Chronos, Dr. Alchemy, Overthrow and the misfits known as the Madmen. He also gained a number of allies, such as the […]

  5. […] the last episode of The Flash, Cause and Effect, things get awry as, when Cisco and Julian try to prevent Barry from storing any new memory not to give any advantage to Savitar, the hero […]


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