An Arrow Community
Wednesday 8:00 PM on The CW

Well, since we don't seem to have a Flash community yet, I suppose this is as good a place to put it as any.

First, everyone knows the Flash pilot episode is out there... somewhere on the Internet, right? If not, go check it out. You won't regret it because it's the best damn superhero pilot I've seen in quite awhile.

If you do, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Now, this isn't a review of the episode. Mostly because a) this isn't a Flash community, and b) those big scary "Not for review, resale, or rental" messages on the bottom of the entire episode.

What I do want to look at is how the Flash compares to Arrow. The heroes, not the show. And heck, lets toss in the Smallville Clark Kent in the process. They're all shows on the CW, they have some of the same creative people involved like Geoff Johns (who produced some of the best Smallville episodes). I think we're justified in looking at how different the three main heroes of these shows are.

This is an Arrow community so lets look at Oliver first. He's the vigilante, the vengeful hero. At least initially. He's not in it for glory or fame. He's doing it because he has daddy issues. He has to learn to become a hero, rather than just a killer who is knocking names off of a list.

Then we have Smallville's Clark Kent. Clark is the "burden of responsibility" hero. While rewatching the early episodes, it's interesting to note that Clark was kind of a drag. In "Leech", for instance, Lana points out that he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and Clark agrees. He's had to hide his powers, he seems to feel responsible for everything that happens he can't stop, and generally he's kinda mopey. He's also younger than our other two heroes, a TV teenager (i.e., the actor is 24 playing Clark at the age of 15 when the series begins), and has a lot of high school angst.

Sure, Clark grows out of that more or less, but we're looking at the premiere of our heroes here.

Oliver by comparison is more or less a fully functioning adult. Sure, we hear about his party-boy pre-island personality and see it in the occasional flashback, represented by a bad haircut. But Oliver doesn't have unrequited crushes or worries about getting a date to the prom.

So we have the Vengeful Hero, and the Burdened Hero. And that brings us to the Flash. And he's a new type of hero for the CW. He's... the Fun Hero.

I'm not talking a Booster Gold-style Gloryhound. And Barry certainly isn't without his angst. Essentially an orphan with an unrequited love for a girl he can't have, yes, Barry starts with issues. But he (and the writers) don't really dwell on them. By the end of the pilot, he's reaffirmed his parental issues (awwww), he's more or less over losing the girl because he kinda finds a new one (and has the unmentioned Felicity waiting in the wings). The father-figure in his life accepts him for who he is.

Barry doesn't have to learn how to be a hero, unlike Oliver and Clark. He damn well knows you get superpowers, the next thing you do is you put on a funky costume and you go out, fight crime, and save bike messengers.

Maybe it's just the act of running, but Grant Gustin captures the exuberance of the character. For those of you who have seen the 70s Superman movie, remember a young Clark outrunning along a train and just enjoying his superpowers? That's what Barry is like once he gets his superpowers on.

Oliver is all grim and determined to hit targets, but he doesn't really seem to enjoy being the world's greatest archer. In fact, there's a scene of him swinging around buildings in the Flash pilot that I don't recall him ever doing in his own series. Maybe if he swung around Starling City more, Spider-Man style like he does here, he'd be a more enthusiastic hero.

Clark, burdened with having to hide his powers, never really seems to enjoy using them early on. I'm sure there's a scene or two I'm forgetting, it has been 10+ years. But the general feel he has early on is, "Oh, I have powers and they're such a burden: I can't enjoy them."

It's also nice that the writers speed things up *heh* for the Flash pilot. By the end of the episode, Barry is in costume and Central City's "guardian angel." He's got the costume, he's got the mask, he's got most of his powers. Clark had ten years of costumus interruptus, and Oliver didn't get his mask until season 2.

So it's nice to see the CW didn't give us a retread of their previous two superhero types. But it's even better that they gave us a hero who damn well enjoys being a hero.


* Sorry, "Blueballed by Lana Yet Again Face wouldn't fit in the caption and be readable.
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