Fun 'Flash' lights up Comic-Con

CW's "The Flash" TV spinoff is as self-aware as it is awkward, and it's totally fun.

Caitlin Petrakovitz Director of audience
Caitlin Petrakovitz studies the Marvel Cinematic Universe like it's a course in school, with an emphasis on the Infinity Saga years. As an audience expert, she rarely writes but when she does it's most certainly about Star Trek, Marvel, DC, Westworld, San Diego Comic-Con and great streaming properties. Or soccer, that's a thing she loves, too.
Caitlin Petrakovitz
3 min read

Screenshot by Caitlin Petrakovitz/CNET

On Wednesday night, at San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. treated attendees to a special sneak peek of its newest superhero property, "The Flash," airing this fall on The CW.

The good, and bad, news is that "The Flash" seems to be following in the popular footsteps of CW's "Arrow." It's fun and enjoyable, and thankfully feels more self-aware than its dark, broody sibling show.

Without getting too spoiler-iffic, while "The Flash" will please fans of "Arrow," it's supremely campy and may not find a broader audience unless it changes its fun, light-hearted tone.

OK, spoilers ahead. Turn back now if you want to know absolutely nothing else. Don't even watch this extended trailer that gives you a glimpse of Allen's suit and how he came to be The Flash.

Throughout the first episode, too-corny lines ruin scenes where dialogue isn't even necessary. In one, a barely audible, "I've got a plane to catch!" from an escaping suspect got more than a few loud chuckles from the preview night audience.

To make up for it, there are some great nods to fans in the premiere. At one point, while walking around S.T.A.R. Labs with Harrison Wells (played to endearingly creeptastic levels by Tom Cavanagh), a GRODD nameplate hangs off a busted cage. Nice.

Later, Allen is testing his own limits with Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon (Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes, respectively) at a Ferris Air testing site.

The suit Ramon presents him with later, however, leaves a lot to be desired. It looks more like a Daredevil costume piece than expected, in the same dark red/burgundy tone with the same mask style and pointy gear on the head. Sure, they're not devil's horns, but it's too similar to ignore.

Screenshot by Caitlin Petrakovitz/CNET

Allen also seems to be uncannily good at his job as a CSI (as one officer calls him early on). While looking at a crime scene, we see a "Sherlock"-esque overlay of Allen's view of the evidence, and we see how he calculates the spread of tire tracks quickly and determines what type of car they're from. That happens just the once in the pilot; it's a neat party trick, but it'd be an even better staple. What if we saw those calculations every time he sped up, or anytime he anticipated someone's actions?

It's pretty clear that the writers will be creating Allen's backstory however they see fit. After the death of his mother and the sentencing of his father for the crime, Allen is taken in by Detective Joe West, played by "Law & Order" alum Jesse L. Martin. West's daughter, Iris, also shows up early, as the sort-of sister who misinterprets Allen's feelings (played by Candice Patton).

Allen in his mid-20s, and while he'd like to be so much more to Iris, he's like a best friend/brother to her. Will we ever see them together? It's painfully obvious they'll get to that point eventually, but for the time being, it's...complicated.

"My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive. A friend recently gave me the idea for a new name. And something tells me it's gonna catch on." Cut to the flashy golden title card seen above. Cute and corny, it definitely gets the point across.

"The Flash" is flawed but intriguing, and while Allen's awkwardness is oh-so entertaining, he had better get funny fast or all the speed in the world won't put him on top.