From comic book drawings to the big screen, we’ve seen tons of TV adaptations of some of the most beloved superhero series. The CW’s The Flash is just one of the many. But, any fanatic knows that changes to the DC Universe are inevitable. From secret identities to new story lines (*the plot thickens*), behold, all the ways The Flash TV series differs from the original comic books.
In the comic book series, journalist Iris West holds the key to Barry Allen’s (AKA the Flash’s) heart. In the TV show, she is just another character (played by Candice Patton) who is constantly pressing Barry, played by Grant Gustin, for the inside scoop. The two go on a single date, but the romance is put to an end soon after.
In The CW’s TV series, Barry Allen is in love with police detective and scientist Patty Spivot, played by Shantel VanSanten.
Not quite a difference, but in the comic books, Jay Garrick stars as the first Flash from 1940-1950. It isn’t until years later that the character, Barry Allen, takes the role of the Flash. Although this is part of the TV series, we miss out on the entire arc of the first Flash.
The particle accelerator had nothing to do with the origin of how Barry Allen got his superpowers. To jazz up the TV series, the particle accelerator AKA The Pipeline is the cause of the lightning strike that makes Allen, and several others “meta humans.”
Although there are tons of S.T.A.R. Lab locations in the DC Universe, the main headquarters are in Batman’s home of Metropolis. However, in the TV series the lab becomes the headquarters for the Flash Team and is frequently in use.
Team Flash was created for the TV series to help Barry discover his powers. Sadly, he had to figure them out all on his own in the comics.
In the TV series, Allen is struck by lighting, sending him into a nine-month comma. He wakes up to find that he’s gained extraordinary powers, like super speed. The cause of the lightning strike was due to a malfunction of the particle accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs, which caused a massive storm.
In the comics, Allen is working with chemicals in the lab and a bolt of lightning strikes, shattering and spilling a case of chemicals all over him. This causes him to gain superpowers.
In the original comic book series, Allen is much older and has his life together. He’s already engaged to Iris West—which we now know he is, sadly, just friends with her in the show.
And, we like that. Candice Patton, who plays Iris West, is an African-American actress. The comic book series has West drawn as a caucasian woman with brunette or reddish-brown hair.
A small, almost insignificant difference between the TV show and the comics is the color of Allen’s hair. In the comics, his hair is a bright blonde, but in The Flash, he’s got brown hair.
In the comics, Allen’s foster father is Darryl Frye.
Joe West, father of Iris West, wasn’t originally a character in the comic book series. Weird to think that in the comics Iris and Barry were engaged. In the TV series, he’s her adopted brother (yikes!).
In the comics, Caitlin Snow (AKA Killer Frost) and Ronnie Raymond (AKA Firestorm) were not in anyway romantically tied together. In the TV series, they are engaged before the explosion of the Particle Accelerator.
Snow, portrayed by Danielle Panabaker, discovers her identity as Killer Frost, but she seems to be far opposite of evil. Originally, she was solely a villain in the comics. She is a part of Team Flash and takes care of Barry Allen while he is in a comma.
In the comics, Firestorm (played by Ronnie Raymond) has a costume similar to the Flash and the Reverse-Flash—think, tight, latex bodysuit. But in The Flash, he dons a leather jacket with a similar spider-like figure on his chest.
Leonard Snart (AKA Captain Cold) is portrayed as a bank-robbing, heartless criminal in The CW’s The Flash. While he’s still villainous in the comics, it is noted that Captain Cold does in fact have a moral compass. He doesn’t kill women or children. His moral compass is not explicitly shown in the TV series.
Rather than create his own gun like he does in the comics, Captain Cold gifts him the flame gun in the TV show. Coincidentally, Cisco Ramon made both their guns.
But, he’s an important character in the TV series. He’s a companion to Barry Allen (the Flash) and on the force with Joe West. Also, suspicions rose about Eddie’s last name being Thawne because it’s the same last name of Barry Allen’s evil twin brother Eobard Thawne.
We already know Iris isn't with Barry. But, Eddie, who is also works with Joe West, is the new apple of Iris' eye.
In the TV series, it is revealed that Eobard Thawne (AKA the Reverse Flash), is actually Dr. Harrison Wells. Fans think this extra name was given as a nod to science fiction writer, H.G. Wells.
But, really, only a little nicer. The Reverse Flash still kills Barry’s mother by traveling back in time. But in the comics, on top of killing his mother, Reverse Flash leaves the door open so his dog runs out and gets hit by a car, pushes Barry down the stairs, and burns down his childhood home. Not all of that happens on the screen.
In the original comic books, Barry’s parents both live to see him married. But, in the TV series, Barry’s mom is murdered (by Reverse Flash) and his dad is framed for the crime and goes to jail.
The CW’s TV series The Flash poses Barry Allen as a likable vigilante, who wouldn’t use lethal force as a means of heroism. But, according to the comics, as the Flash, Allen snaps the neck of Eobard Thawne (Reverse Flash/Zoom), killing him.
As a co-leader of Team Flash and mechanical engineering genius, Cisco Ramon (AKA Vibe), creates the suit that the Flash wears. The suit Ramon designed can withstand the Flash's super speed, and has the ability to monitor his vitals and energy output. In the comics, Barry makes his own costume (not to copy the original flash, but of his own design) and treats the costume with chemicals of his own concoction that, when combined with electricity, allows the suit to shrink into a ring.
Fans were quick to notice that the Flash’s suit was a not quite the same firetruck-red it was in the comics. The onscreen costume is a less vibrant, burgundy color, and the material looks to be more like leather than it does spandex.
In the comics, Vibe has the ability to create massive vibrations that can injure people. However, in the TV show, he can retain memories from different parallel universes which means is he able to "see through the dimensional vibrations."
According to the comics, Central City is located in Missouri. But, this theory says it is likely impossible that is where it's located in the TV show. Felicity Smoak, also a character on Arrow, travels frequently between Central City and Starling City (supposedly in California). That's a lot of travel time. But, it's just a theory.