Three Different Reactions to Attaining Super Powers on The Flash

Barry, Joe, Cisco, Martin, Henry, Jax - The Flash

As any fan of Spiderman knows, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Although the exact origin of that phrase is not clear, the concept actually predates the comic book. In fact, a similar quote can be found in the New Testament of the Bible; Luke 12:48: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Regardless of the source, it is a very powerful notion which any aspiring superhero must consider before adopting the mantle of power.

I have seen many articles asking what super power a person would want. Many people seem attracted to the idea of being able to fly. Still others want strength, or x-ray vision or the ability to read minds. However, I think it would be interesting to explore whether or not the ordinary person would truly want any super powers at all, especially since it would be a major life changing event!

On The Flash, we have recently seen disparate reactions by three different characters to the idea of having super powers. These three people react in distinctive ways to the concept of becoming something – someone – different. It is very common in TV programs involving super heroes or people with extraordinary powers to see them reject the powers at first. Typically, after a period of time or some seminal event, the powers bestowed on the individual are finally accepted and a new super hero is born!

Barry Allen, who at first was hesitant about accepting his powers, has come to embrace them, and in a recent voice-over said: “sometimes great possibilities are right in front of us but we don’t see them because we choose not to. I think that we need to be open to exploring something new” and “these opportunities don’t come around every day so when they do we have to take a chance and grab them while we can.”

Let’s take a look at the issue of having super powers through the eyes of three other characters.

Fearing the Powers – Cisco Ramon

Cisco and Martin - The Flash

Cisco Ramon has been an important member of Team Flash since the beginning. His expertise in mechanical engineering has been a huge asset and major contributor to the success they experience. At the end of season one, Cisco learns that he is not an ordinary human anymore, which comes as a great surprise. Consequently, and perhaps uncharacteristically, he is afraid of his powers and hides them from the team. He is afraid that since Wells gave him his powers, somehow Wells’ evil will rub off on him!

In season two, Earth-2’s Harrison Wells reveals to Team Flash that Cisco is able to see into alternate timelines and locate other metahumans by touching something that belongs to them. Cisco is not happy about this revelation, since he has not yet accepted his powers and worries about their implications. However, Martin helps convince Cisco to accept what he has become when he says, “I know you’re scared, but this ability you have is a gift, not a curse. It’s natural to be apprehensive about the unknown. the very thing that makes you different is what makes you special.”

Ignoring the Powers – Jefferson Jackson, aka Jax

Jax and Barry - The Flash

As seen in the second season episode, “The Fury of Firestorm,” Jax was a high school football player the night of the blast at S.T.A.R. Labs. He was on the football field, and in the process of saving others from the blast, he was the last one off the field, caught in the blast as he was closing the door. His promising football career was ended because of injuries sustained in the blast.

When approached by Team Flash, he is not particularly interested in what they have to say. But, he goes to S.T.A.R. Labs thinking maybe they can help with his knee troubles so he can play football again. When he gets there and they explain that he is a metahuman and would be one-half of Firestorm, he outright rejects their proposal. His departure is not under the most cordial terms. He clearly wants nothing to do with his powers. Of course, this denial is how the viewers know that he will definitely be the person that does merge to become Firestorm, but I digress. After some more persuasion, and a visit from Caitlin where Henry tries to kill them both, Jax finally gets on board the super hero train. And, Martin once again shares his wisdom by saying, “look at Jefferson. He took a leap of faith, and it changed his life for the better.”

Embracing the Powers – Henry Hewitt

Henry and Martin - The Flash

The other blood match for Martin is Henry, a brilliant physicist and bioengineer. When approached by Team Flash, he eagerly accepts the idea of being a metahuman, and willingly comes to S.T.A.R. Labs to find out more. It is true that he and Martin are more compatible than Martin and Jax on an intellectual and scientific interest level. In fact, Henry is so willing to become half of Firestorm that he agrees to try the merger immediately.

Unfortunately, the merger does not work. It does however leave Henry with residual energy since his powers have now been triggered. In fact, Henry is so disappointed that he was not able to merge to become Firestorm, that he becomes enraged. He really wanted to become a super hero! He has a history of violent outbursts so his powers make him even more of a danger. Thwarted from becoming a super hero, he decides to become a super villain. I guess he feels anything is better than nothing!


Which of these three stances would you take if you had the chance to be a super hero? Personally I think I might ignore the powers, since the lives of super heroes seem very complicated. I don’t want life to be more complicated at the moment! Please let me know your opinion in the comments section below.