The Seraphim/Betrayer

Quite a season finale for Preacher, and we had to say goodbye to a number of characters… but we also welcome a new one, who’ll no doubt bring some huge revelations next year. In The Light Above, in fact, Cassidy is captured by The Grail right after he finally managed to dispose of Eccarius, and finds himself locked in a cell in Masada… but he soon realized he’s not alone there, as there’s an angel hanging in chains right atop of him. That’s a Seraphim with no name, but with a fundamental role in the story. As for now, he has no actor portraying him (he was pure CGI in the episode), but it’s likely he’ll have one soon enough for next season. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at him in the comics: beware of spoilers, as usual.

As all the other members of the Heavenly Host, the Seraphim had no name: he was created with all his brothers by God, and stayed in His service since the beginning of time. He loved and revered His creator, and chose to stay by His side even when some angels rebelled to Him after the creation of humankind, and all the pain, suffering and evil that this brought along. The Seraphim had no doubts, no falter in His faith, and always trusted God’s design. He would have probably changed his mind if he knew what said design had programmed for him. As one of the Seraphims, his duty was to patrol the border between Heaven and Hell, repelling everyone from one side who tried to pass into the other, and he did his job splendidly… until he met the Demon. Without understanding how or why, the Seraphim fell in love with the dark, dangerous stranger, and she did the same with him: they were both acting against their own nature, secretly manipulated by God, but they couldn’t resist it. They eloped, and from their forbidden relationship was born a being of untold power, maybe able to match God’s omnipotence: Genesis. The moment Genesis was born, God fled from Heaven, and hid somewhere in His creation. For this, the Seraphim was arrested and put on trial by the other angels, and he was found guilty: as punishment, he was banished from Heaven and cast on Earth, where he was seen falling by an unaware US Air Force pilot. As the report reached the army, some generals knew exactly what to do with it, and notified the Grail about the appearance of an angelic “guest”. The Seraphim couldn’t have fallen in worse hands.

The Grail was a secret, powerful organization of apocalyptic Christians who wanted to accelerate the day of the end of times. An angel coming directly from Heaven was truly a gift from God for them, and some took it quite literally. The Seraphim was taken into custody by them, and locked in a cell in Masada, their headquarters, where he was tortured for information for years. He was the one who informed Allfather D’Aronique, the leader of the Grail, of God’s disappearance, as well as of Genesis’ birth. Thanks to the presence of the Seraphim, the Grail could obtain the information they needed about Heaven and Hell whenever they wanted, and used that intel as leverage against the world’s powers, and to successfully hunt and pursue the current host of Genesis, a Texan preacher named Jesse Custer. It was Custer the one who finally led an assault on Masada, starting a furious battle that ended with the death of many of the Grail’s soldiers and officers, including D’Aronique. Finally, the Seraphim saw a chance of freedom, a relief from the years of torment and imprisonment he had been subjected to. He reached for Custer, and he offered him advice on how to be able to talk to Genesis, to his son. He told him to seek the ancient ways of the Native Americans, saying that they knew everything he needed to enter in contact with the omnipotent child residing within him. As the preacher walked away, the Seraphim was visited by yet another visitor in the caves beneath Masada: God, who had witnessed the entire scene. Before burning him to death for helping Custer, God made him the “favor” of finally giving him a name: He called him Betrayer, just before killing him.

The Seraphim, known in the last moment of his life as Betrayer, is an angel with a broken will, a being of pure good who’s been tortured, maimed and beaten for years. As an angel, he’s immortal (but clearly not invulnerable) and capable of flight, and he’s supposed to be stronger and more durable than a regular human being, but it’s possible that being banished from Heaven took away some of his powers. Now, he’s an eternal prisoner of war, a source of intel used and abused by his captors in a conflict he started against his own will, driven by a passion he still can’t quite explain to himself…

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Thomas Curry

Another huge trailer from SDCC has been the long expected Aquaman one, and it surely lives up the expectations. As majestic as it may be, however, it only reveals one character more to the ones seen on Empire: Tom Curry, the father of Arthur. In the movie, Curry will be portrayed by Temuera Morrison as Atlanna‘s lover, who finds their son on his doorstep after an affair with the Atlantean queen. The lighthouse keeper also appeared in the Mercy Reef pilot portrayed by Lou Diamond Phillips, this time a Coast Guard officer who rescues Atlanna, baby Arthur and McCaffery from sharks, and who later married Atlanna and adopts her son. In the comics, he’s either Arthur’s biological or adoptive father, depending on the continuity, but most of time he’s the latter, and connects his son to humanity. Let’s see together… and warning, multiple realities ahead.

Thomas Curry was born in Amnesty Bay, Maine, at least in the Earth-One version of it. He was the son of the lighthouse keeper, and when his father died he inherited both the profession and the Curry Lighthouse, that became his home. One night, during a storm, he found a beautiful woman on the shore, brought there by the waves. He believed her to have survived some wreckage, and brought her in, nurturing her back to health: her name was Atlanna. During the time of the woman’s recovery, the two fell in love, and eventually got married. Tom didn’t know anything about Atlanna’s origins, but he left her space, knowing that her memories were painful to her. They had a son together, Arthur, who became the living proof that there was something big Atlanna was hiding from him: one day, Tom found his son playing under the water, without apparent need of breathing. Years later, Atlanna got sick, and on her deathbed she finally revealed that she was from Atlantis, and that her son would have inherited her people’s abilities to breathe underwater and communicate with sea life. From that moment, Tom resolved to train Arthur to prepare him to claim back his place in the sea, teaching how to control his powers, and mentoring him to consider himself someone special rather than a freak, a destined hero who would have become King of the Seven Seas. All the years of training paid off, and Arthur eventually became the heroic Aquaman. In the meanwhile, Tom got married again, with a human woman named Mary O’Sullivan. The two had a son together, Orm, who however grew jealous of his older stepbrother for all the powers he would have never had, and because he believed that Tom loved him more than he did him. Eventually, Orm became the villainous Ocean Master, with Tom’s legacy being split between good and evil in equal measure.

Tom Curry’s life came to an end with the one of his entire universe during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a cosmic event that rewrote reality and merged the multiverse into a single universe: New Earth. Here, Tom Curry was a US Navy officer who, traumatized by what he had seen during the war, retired and chose a life of seclusion. He was always the lighthouse keeper in Amnesty Bay, and lived in the lighthouse near Mercy Reef, but he never met Atlanna. One day, from his house, he saw a little blonde boy swimming in the ocean, all by himself. Worried, Tom came to the “rescue”, only to realize that the boy swam much better than he did, and that he was even capable of breathing underwater. As weird as the boy was, he certainly couldn’t stay alone, so Tom took him in his house, and named him Arthur. The boy was actually Prince Orin of Atlantis, brought to the lighthouse by the dolphin Porm to escape his own people, who had sentenced him to death for a superstition referring to his blonde hair. Tom rose the baby as if he was his own, taught him English, and helped him understand his abilities and his nature. He was also the one who gave Orin a name and affections that connected him to the surface world, making him a child of two worlds: Atlantean blood ran through his veins, but human love had guided him through childhood and adolescence. What happened exactly to Tom Curry is still a mystery, though. As he grew up, Arthur spent more and more time in the sea, swimming for hours: one day, he came back to the lighthouse, but he didn’t find his father. Believing he had gone somewhere, he waited for him, but the man never returned. With nothing left in the lighthouse for him, Arthur left Amnesty Bay and started traveling the world, in the quest that would have brought him to become the heroic Aquaman. It’s more than likely that Tom Curry had died during his son’s absence, but nothing has ever been confirmed…

Thomas Curry is a good man, who loves solitude but still is able to warm and sincere human relations. Whether as the biological father of Arthur or his adoptive one, he’s a severe but lovely parent, guiding him any way he can, even subjecting himself to exhausting submarine experiences. As a former Navy captain, he’s a trained soldier, an excellent swimmer and an even better fisher, a man perfectly at ease with the ocean who therefore can be a mentor to his son on both worlds. A man of land and sea himself, Tom Curry is the perfect guidance for a growing Atlantean who desires to know himself and the world, a drill sergeant with a heart of gold who wants his son to be prepared for anything.

 

Victor & Rosa Vasquez

Second and third character appeared in the Shazam! trailer are a couple: Victor and Rosa Vasquez, portrayed, respectively, by Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans. In the movie, just as in the comics, they’ll be the new foster parents Billy Batson will be entrusted to, and despite Freddy Freeman‘s jokes, they’ll be the quintessential good guys, nice people who simply and sincerely want to give a family to kids without one. There’s not much to say about them (after all, they’ve only been introduced in 2012 as background characters, and are exclusive to the Prime Earth reality), but we’ll take a look at them nevertheless. As usual, after all.

Almost nothing is known about Victor and Rosa Vasquez, certainly nothing prior to their marriage. They were good people, both living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a married couple who truly loved each other. They couldn’t have kids, but they still had a lot of love to give (an actual thing this time, instead of the usual cheesy ad), and so decided to become foster parents, taking in their home the kids who wanted and needed parents, but had nobody. The first one they adopted was Mary Bromfield, a girl who grew up to be a serious and responsible teenager, and who helped them in taking care of the younger foster siblings who soon followed her. The second one was Freddy Freeman, a joker and a handful, but a good boy; then followed the smart and sometimes arrogant Eugene Choi, the over-weight and gold-hearted Pedro Peña, and young Darla Dudley. The family kept growing, and Victor and Rosa always showed their support to the kids, following each and every one of them the best they could, adapting themselves to the different characters of their foster children. Then, they decided to take in yet another boy, who would have proved to be a little bit more difficult than the others to handle: Billy Batson.

Billy had completely locked his heart following the death of his parents, and a number of orphanages had made him cruel with anyone around him: his first meeting with the Vasquezs wasn’t exactly idyllic, as he immediately had a fight with his new foster siblings. Victor and Rosa were optimistic, and believed that he would have eventually opened himself to a new family, but soon things became even messier. Billy had been enrolled to Fawcett High, along with all his new brothers and sisters, and after his very first day of school the principal called Victor and Rosa, threatening to expel the new student. Apparently, Billy had attacked without a reason the four Bryer brothers, sons of the richest man in Philadelphia and a personal friend of the principal. In truth, the Bryers were nasty bullies who used to torment on a daily basis Mary, Freddy and the others, and Billy had intervened in their defense. Not just that, but he also had had the guts to stand up to Mr. Bryer himself, the moment he showed up at school to defend his spoiled and cruel children. Victor confronted the kid, asking him if he was finally revealing his true colors after playing a part back at the orphanage, but Rosa kept defending Billy, believing that the meeting with Mr. Bryer had shocked him. For the first time in years, not Victor nor Rosa knew how to reach out to a kid, and they risked to lose him… even more than they realized, as Billy ran away from home, believing that his new foster parents would have kicked him out eventually, just as all the others. This time, however, Victor and Rosa would have made anything to prove him wrong on this point.

Victor and Rosa Vasquez are a lovely couple of parents, who chose to dedicate their entire life to kids who need a father and a mother. With all the limits of their character, the Vasquez spouses genuinely want to help and support all the boys and girls in their house, learning how to know and how to reach to everyone of their numerous, enlarged family. With all the love they’re able to give, Victor and Rosa may very well be the biological parents of their foster children.

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.

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.

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.

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.