Season Eight of The Flash officially kicked off last week and the premiere episode did quite a bit of work. it seemed as if Episode 1 of The Flash had to tie up some loose ends from the end of Season 7 while also introducing viewers to what the new season is going to involve. Among the things that the new run will feature is a brand new big bad. While the CW show does quite a bit of rehashing when it comes to the enemies Barry Allen fights, the Season 8 premiere introduced the audience to brand new big bad in the form of Despero.
Unsurprisingly, Episode 1 introduced the man/monster that appears to exist in two different forms but also left quite a bit of mystery to be solved as to just why he's come to Century City and why he's gunning to take down The Flash. Of course, he did shed a bit of light about where he comes from. He also did explicitly say shy he's wanting to kill Barry. The question is why in the world would he think he needs to take out the crimson speedster? According to Despero, The Flash is one of the biggest villains his world has ever seen. That is of course, well out of the realm of where fans know Barry to fall. So not only will the show be unraveling the bigger mystery of Despero, but the bigger mystery of what really happened in the future.
The Dawning Of Despero
While there isn't a great deal known about the version of Despero that showed up in The Flash, there are some very obvious similarities between the character and what's been seen in other formats over the years. Right off the top, there's the fact that he sported the big fin on the top of his head. There was also the characteristic red tint of his skin. At least when he was in his full-on "monster" form. He also makes mention of being "born in the stars" which is in line with the DC Comics version of the creature, who hails from the planet, Kalanor.
The main powers that Despero exhibits in the first episode of Season 8 of The Flash are also in line with what's known about the character in both animated movies, television episodes, and the comics. That includes the ability to both get into the heads of people and seemingly control how they behave, as well as convince them of illusions he uses when he's going toe-to-toe with his enemies. This was demonstrated when Barry shot a beam of energy where he thought Despero was standing, only to have bystanders wondering what he was shooting at, as the villain was standing behind him. That's exactly the kind of fighting style he's exhibited plenty of times when he was going up against the Justice League in the comics.
There are a number of different versions of Despero over the years, depending on which comics or shows are being talked about. However, his general appearance and temperament are usually the same. More often than not, the Kalanorian is described as a conqueror who has grown bored with taking over other planets and came to earth to try and dominate that planet as well. Running into the Justice League on more than one occasion, he's unsurprisingly been turned back more than once. Perhaps the biggest showdown between the two sides involved the Martian Manhunter, who actually used his own mental powers to convince Despero he'd actually killed several superheroes. Certainly, the character has no qualms about killing super-powered heroes he views as a threat, considering he made it clear that he was in town specifically to kill The Flash before the speedster could cause a kind of armageddon.
Another version of Despero appeared in the animated Justice League series as a bit of a conman. However, he's still very powerful, exhibiting super speed, strength and the mental powers garnered from his third eye that were front and center in the comics and The Flash. This version of the villain carried a weapon known as the Flame of Py'tar that he used to take down several members of the Green Lantern corps. However, in one battle the Martian Manhunter discovers that the weapon is actually something that contained the life essence of Kalanor and once it was freed, it spread across it's home planet turning it from a desert to a lush, green land.
Hero Or Villain On The Flash?
There are two big differences between the Despero that made an appearance on The Flash and the one that's well known in DC Comics. The first is this particular character spends far more time in a "human" form. In fact, it's how he first appears to Central City when he announces his arrival. The more alien form that he took on when he was doing battle is far closer to the comic version, but it appears secondary this time around. It might even turn out to be more of a disguise to try and fool his foes than anything else.
The other big difference, at least The Flash wants its audience to believe it's a big difference so far, is that this Despero doesn't appear to be a villain at all. Yes, he has no problem turning to killing but it appears he's doing so in order to try and protect the city. He only wants to take on the speedster because Barry Allen had gone bad in the future. The big question is going to be whether or not the Arrowverse version will stay on that path and turn into a formidable ally for The Flash eventually against the real baddie, or whether he's going to be an antagonist throughout his run on the show. If he turns into a good guy in this version of Despero, it will be a pretty massive departure from his origins. On the other hand, The Flash has some leeway here in the wake of the reshuffling of the universe that took place last year.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.
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