The Flash’s New Hero Setup Must Overcome 1 Big

The Flash’s new speedster setup will likely be complicated by Jay Garrick’s Arrowverse role. The Flash season 8, episode 15, titled “Into the Speed Force,” laid the groundwork for a new DC Comics character – Max Mercury – to make his Arrowverse debut in the episodes to come. A line in the episode opened the door for him to appear at any time.

On the heels of losing Killer Frost, the show hinted at a major addition to Team Flash with a reference to Max Mercury from DC Comics. During a trip to the Still Force, Barry was able to see the past, present, and future all at once. This allowed him an opportunity to see several characters, including one whose name sparked many discussions about the show’s future. Barry mentioning someone named “Max” in the same breath as Team Flash heroes such as Cisco and Jesse suggests that not only is this person from the Flash’s future, but it’s also someone who’ll join his inner circle. Thanks to this setup, the Arrowverse’s Max Mercury is in a position to become a valuable ally either at the end of the season or sometime during The Flash season 9. Who he is in the comics provides clues as to how the show will use him. Long before the debut of Marvel’s Quicksilver, the superhero codename belonged to Max Mercury, who was a Vertigo Comics speedster during the 1940s. Later, DC brought back the Golden Age character and integrated him into the Flash’s corner of the DC Universe by tying him to the Speed Force. As a result, the comics were able to utilize him as a mentor figure to modern versions of the Flash, beginning with Wally West in the 1990s. In later years, he filled a similar role in the superhero career of Bart Allen. The Arrowverse’s take on his character has the potential to serve the same purpose, but what stands in the way of that is Jay Garrick, who already has this role. Jay’s presence makes a comic-accurate interpretation of Max Mercury feel somewhat unnecessary.

Like DC’s Max Mercury, the Arrowverse’s Jay Garrick is a Golden Age speedster who has used his years of experience to influence and guide the younger generation of heroes. In addition to being a trusted friend to Barry, who often imparts some much-needed advice, he’s also regarded as an “uncle” to Bart in the future. Given his role, introducing Max Mercury runs the risk of bringing in a character who doesn’t add anything new to Team Flash or the show in general. Plus, Barry is already eight years into his superhero journey. He’s not really in need of a mentor anymore. Given the similarities between Max Mercury and the Crimson Comet, it’s likely that The Flash will make significant changes to his character when it finally brings Max Mercury into the Arrowverse. That may be the only way it can avoid his story feeling like a repeat of Jay’s. To do that, it can focus heavily on the elements of his character that make him unique, such as Max’s constant jumping between time periods or his origin story, which saw him get his powers from a Native American ritual in the 1830s.