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So far on The Flash, Barry Allen has accomplished impressive feats like running up a building and running on water, but his powers haven’t been used much for non-running uses (other than healing fast and disguising his voice). In the comics, Barry is capable of doing more with his powers than just running fast, and fortunately, future Flash episodes will delve into Barry’s extended power set.
According to executive producer Greg Berlanti, we will soon get to see time travel, which has been a crucial concept in Flash comics over the decades.
“That is the one that we deal with directly in the winter. We, obviously, hint at it from the pilot episode. That is a big — “theme” is the wrong word for it — but that is a big part of the DNA of who The Flash was, so we do deal with that.”
The series has been hinting at time travel since episode 1, most notably with series regular Harrison Wells, who seems to hail from the future and has traveled to the present for unknown reasons. Barry’s own time travel has been teased with his treadmill, indirectly referring to the Cosmic Treadmill from the comics, which Barry and Wally West used to travel precisely to a specific date. If time travel isn’t necessarily your thing, not to worry. Berlanti told TV Line that a variety of Barry’s abilities would be explored, though not necessarily right away.
“Oh, he has tons. Definitely. We’re holding back on some big ones still. He famously can phase through things. We haven’t seen him do that yet.”
In the comics, Barry is able to vibrate his molecules so fast that he can phase through solid objects. This makes tracking down criminals holed up in a hideout much easier, although when Wally West, who succeeded Barry as The Flash, was unable to phase through objects without making them explode. Barry’s other abilities range from creating vortexes with his arms to absorbing vast amounts of knowledge to stealing speed from other objects. He’s one multifaceted metahuman!
We're about to get into some serious spoilers for the comics, so click away if you don't want spoilers.
Another character from the Flash mythos that has similar abilities to Barry is Eobard Thawne, also known as Professor Zoom and The Reverse-Flash, who famously used time travel to ruin Barry’s life, specifically by going back and killing Barry’s mother as seen in The Flash: Rebirth. This particular plot is a driving force in the TV series, and viewers may be meeting the “man in the lightning” responsible for Nora Allen’s death soon.
In fact, the Dec. 9 episode of The Flash is titled “The Man in the Yellow Suit, and it is expected to introduce The Reverse-Flash... if the leaked set pictures of Barry fighting a man in a yellow Flash costume are any indication. It’s still unclear who will be wearing the yellow suit in the fall finale, although the two likeliest culprits are Eddie Thawne (going off the name similarity and his secret past) and Harrison Wells (going off his knowledge of the future). Then again, it may be a character that the show hasn’t introduced yet. Regardless, Barry will need these extra abilities if he’s going to take down his bizarre doppelgänger. Running fast won’t get the job done alone.