SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from The Flash comics which may appear in the television adaptation. Proceed at your own risk.
The CW may be steering clear of speedster villains for the time being, but they haven’t ignored Speed Force villains in their entirety. Similar to how Flashpoint gave us Savitar, the newly revealed Nora Allen’s trip back in time may have created a new enemy.
Not as fast as the Flash or as powerful as Vibe, Cicada (played by Chris Klein from American Pie) will be The Flash‘s new big bad in Season 5. Cicada is a little-known villain from Wally West’s rogues gallery who made quite a splash during his short tenure at the start of the millennium.
Here’s everything we know about Cicada based on his appearance in the comics.
Who Is Cicada?
Born David Hersch, the DC rogue, Cicada, is one of several villains who has been granted abilities by the same energy as Barry Allen, the Speed Force. The trans-dimensional source of all speedsters powers could be used by both the heroes and villains in Season 5. But, unlike key members of Team Flash, Cicada is not a speedster.
Speed Force powers can manifest in many ways. Jai West developed the ability to accelerate his muscle growth, whereas his sister gained the ability to become intangible. In Cicada’s case, when he absorbed the Speed Force’s energy, he received limited regenerative powers. Unable to directly tap into the Speed Force, he used varying methods, such as siphoning energy from the Flash, to get what little energy he could get.
The CW has described their version of the character as “a grizzled, blue-collar everyman whose family has been torn apart by meta-humans.” It’s possible this new take on the character could lack any powers of his own. Instead, he might use plain human ingenuity — coupled with stolen Speed Force energy — to fight his war. Few other characters — outside of The Thinker — have relied on pure intellect over sheer power.
This may not be the only change from comics. In the comics, Cicada ends up murdering his wife, but the trailer shows a different story. During the last few seconds, we see Cicada walking through a seemingly abandoned family home. Perhaps his family fell victim to a meta-human attack or they left as a result of one.
What Does Cicada Want?
Thanks to his cobbled-together powers, Cicada was unable to keep up with the Scarlet Speedster in the comics. So, he discovered another way to get what he needed. Whenever a speedster uses their powers, they leave residual Speed Force energy behind. Cicada harvests that energy to increase his abilities.
In the comics, Cicada assembles a cult of followers who worship the Flash. He then sends them to murder anybody who has been saved by their new god. Using specially crafted daggers, they absorb latent Speed Force energy from their victims and return it to their leader. Cicada uses this energy to keep his loyal acolytes — and himself — young as they continue their grisly crusade.
The CW’s version is slated to begin a war on meta-humans as a man who “seeks to exterminate the epidemic — one meta-human at a time.” Given this statement and Cicada’s background, it appears that Season 5 of The Flash will feature a hunter of meta-humans. Even if Cicada’s background changes on the show, with so many meta-humans abusing their powers and causing people harm, it would make sense for him to take matters into his own hands.
There are numerous ways to utilise Speed Force energy. We have already seen evil speedsters steal it for their own gain, and Cisco used it to create a Speed Force Bazooka to force speedsters in and out of the Speed Force. The CW’s Cicada could have gadgets that run on the lightning or possess the know-how to use it himself. All we know for certain is that Cicada wants to see every meta-human gone for good, and the Speed Force will somehow help him with that.
Can Cicada Stop the Flash?
Thawne and Zoom gained Barry’s trust, and the Thinker used his superior intellect to outsmart Team Flash. Depending on what powers Cicada receives in Season 5 of The Flash, it’s possible, but unlikely, he’ll win. During his DC Comics stint, Cicada was only able to capture Wally West with the aid of mentally unstable meta-human Magenta.
With hundreds of Flash-saved victims to choose from, it’s more likely he will use them as bait to lure Barry into a trap instead. It wouldn’t be the first time Barry risked his life to save others, as he’s done so to save Cisco (in “Rogue Time“), Wally (“Versus Zoom“), and Joe (“The Race of His Life“). We’ll have to wait until Season 5 airs to see how Team Flash will overcome their newest foe.
The Flash Season 5 will begin airing October 9th on The CW.