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Friday, August 12, 2016

Gray Damon is Mirror Master in Flash Season Three

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Edited by Robert Beach

As the Summer continues to slip away, major news has finally started filtering through about the upcoming fall seasons of the various superhero TV shows that have emerged out of society’s new favorite genre.  This means news from the CW; they’re the reigning gods of this arena with a quadruple shot of hit shows in Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  I’m going to be dedicating a ton of coverage to CW announcements, so you might as well settle in for this stuff because it’s going to get cacophonous. 

Starting out with The Flash, the recent definitive news to come out of season three is that Gray Damon of Aquarius and Star-Crossed will be coming to the show as the villainous Mirror Master. In and of itself, this isn’t necessarily huge news, but the nature of this character and the things he relates to in the Flash mythos could spell major upheaval for a new season already steeped in altered timelines and weird time-travel hooliganism. 

Mirror Master is the 4th and final member of the core Flash villains to be adapted by the show. His adaption completes the villainous Rogues, a group of super thieves who routinely face the Flash and have unionized to improve their chances.  

Originally, the Rogues were all technology-based villains, but that’s become a lot more obfuscated in the wake of the New 52 giving them all metahuman abilities. On The Flash, some of the Rogues are tech-based villains like Heatwave and Captain Cold, who both use high-tech guns for their powers; others like Weather Wizard and the up-and-coming Mirror Master have metahuman powers from the particle accelerator explosion. 

Honestly, I’m a little disappointed by that decision as Mirror Master’s weird and freaky sci-fi tech was always a great part of his adventures. In the comics, Mirror Master was a thief named Sam Scudder who stole a ton of mirror-based weapons and technology. When the Flash first showed up, he used the tech as an advantage against the scarlet speedster. 

His tech was amorphous, falling under the umbrella of “anything to do with mirrors or light.”It was always cool and a great excuse for the writers to do whatever they wanted so long as it involved mirrors.  These were the glory days of the Flash in the late ‘50s and ‘60s when he was one of DC’s most popular heroes and was routinely redefining sci-fi as we know it (the idea of parallel universes in popular fiction STARTED in the Flash.)

The Sam Scudder of The Flash Season three will apparently be a thief who gained the metahuman power to travel through mirrors thanks to the particle accelerator explosion.  That’s not a bad idea for power set, and at the very least, it preserves one of the more interesting elements of Mirror Master’s identity.  See, Sam Scudder wasn’t the only Mirror Master.  

In 1989, DC introduced a new Mirror Master in the pages of Animal Man, a Scottish mercenary and assassin named Digger Harkness who adopted the name and gear of the previous super villain. Digger’s honestly the better character between the two mainly because he had an identity beyond just looking cool. He was also unique in reviving general knowledge and interest in the Mirror Universe.

I’ve spoken about this before in the Evil Duplicates Guide, but if you missed that, here’s the skinny: as established in the Flash TV show, the DC universe exists as one world in a Multiverse of 52 universes. Each of these universes is different in some unique way with one of the most popular worlds being Earth-3, the world of the Crime Syndicate of America. This is a whole universe of inverted morality and power where the villainous Ultra Man and his crime syndicate stand for villainy and duplicity as lone heroes like Alexander Luthor fight for goodness.  

However, Earth-3 was the second iteration of this idea.  The original pitch came in the pages of The Flash when the Mirror Master discovered that mirrors are gateways to an alternate mirror dimension where everyone looks exactly the same with one caveat: good guys are bad, and bad guys are good. The main difference is that the mirror dimension isn’t governed by inverted morality. Even though mirror Flash is a bad guy, he’s routinely defeated there, unlike the Crime Syndicate’s world where evil always won. 
Plunder was one such mirror-verse duplicate
This mirror reality was forgotten after its introduction in the ‘60s, mainly because the Crime Syndicate world completely overshadowed it in popularity. However, when current DC Entertainment President Geoff Johns took over the Flash comics in the 2000s, he reintroduced the concept along with bringing Digger Harkness’s Mirror Master into the new Flash comics. 

Johns had the mirror universe come back with a vengeance introducing evil duplicates sneaking into the main reality and replacing good guys.  It was a creepy idea, with super villain Plunder working as the freakiest example of this when he killed and replaced his main universe self without anyone noticing.  

That kind of replacement would be a neat addition to the Flashpoint story arc of the new season and go well with the show’s lingering question of whether or not Barry’s meddling with time makes him a villain. Forcing Barry to confront his own evil doppleganger, possibly through the form of that new black-costumed Flash, would be a smart way to tie Mirror Master into the primary plot of the season. 

All of this is also assuming that Mirror Master will emerge as part of the Flashpoint story, which is itself a pretty big leap of logic. As much as I’m looking forward to the altered-reality Flashpoint stuff, I doubt it’ll add up to the entire season of the Flash. There just aren’t enough unique stories to be told with this set-up.  

There are plenty of cool ideas and elements to play around with. Ultimately, the show will probably return to the status quo well before the mid-season finale. If that is the case, I do still hope they use Mirror Master’s mirror-dimension as it’s too good an idea to let go to waste. Bare minimum, they should put together a Rogues team-up episode now that the four big Flash names are finally assembled. 

The Flash Season three starts October 4, 2016.

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