Evolving Abilities: A Closer Look at Vibe and Firestorm

Exploring two new powers recently displayed on ‘The Flash’ and ‘Legends of Tomorrow’
A recurring theme throughout The Flash is Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) exploring new abilities: running on water, running up buildings, traveling through time, phasing, and throwing lightning, just to name a few. Even in the Season 2 finale, the only way Barry could defeat Zoom (Teddy Sears) was if he learned how to create a time remnant of himself–something he’d seen his enemy do countless times.

However, when it comes to other superheroes in the Berlanti-verse, it’s rare that we see them acquire new abilities. (Heck, the only new thing the eponymous Supergirl did all Season 1 was go supernova–which was just an amplified version of her heat vision.) That’s why it was so significant and surprising when, not one, but two heroes displayed new abilities back in May: The Flash‘s Vibe (Carlos Valdes) and Legends of Tomorrow‘s Firestorm (Franz Drameh and Victor Garber).

To be fair, we saw one of these new abilities debut on its respective show several months before the character unlocked it for himself. When Cisco traveled to Earth-2, he met his doppelgänger, Reverb, and learned just how powerful he truly could be. (“We could be gods,” Reverb forebodingly told his counterpart.) Seconds before the villain bit the dust at the (vibrating) hands of Zoom, he even told Cisco that he could show him how to control his powers and project sonic blasts. Suffice it to say, that lesson never happened.

Flash-forward nine episodes later and Cisco and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) are cosplaying as their evil doppelgängers in an attempt to stop Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) from taking down another building and killing hundreds of people. When she discovers their charade, though, she’s about to scream them into oblivion when, out of nowhere, a powerful blast emanates from Cisco’s hand and sends Laurel 2.0 flying. Cisco attempts to do it again before Black Siren can attack but to no avail.

Sadly, as there was no way the season finale was going to focus on anyone but Barry, that was all we’ve yet to see of Cisco using that ability–although the canon tumblr blog, The Chronicles of Cisco, reveals that Cisco has indeed been actively trying to perfect that power ever since.

The other ability, transmutation, made its debut in ‘Legendary’, the Legends Season 1 finale. Surprisingly, though, this was a whole year later than when we were first supposed to see it. Robbie Amell revealed in an interview with Comic Book Resources that Ronnie and Stein were originally going to turn a thermometer into a flower to give to Caitlin in the Season 1 finale of The Flash. Unfortunately, it had to be cut for timing and we were forced to continue waiting.

Luckily, the wait wasn’t for nothing because when Jax accidentally turned a Nazi’s rifle to dust in the middle of WWII, he was just as surprised as we were. Later in the episode, though, when he and Stein attempted to transmute Ray (Brandon Routh) and Kendra’s (Ciara Renée) lucky vase, they just ended up shattering it. During the third act final battle, however, in a race against the clock to destroy a meteorite, they successfully turned the rock into water.

Thankfully, at San Diego Comic-Con last month, Drameh announced in an interview with TVLine that when we first see Jax and Stein in Season 2, they’ll be attempting to perfect their new ability, assuring us that, after a year of waiting, there will be no shortage of transmutation from here on out.

I don’t know about you guys, but these two developments have made me extremely excited for the upcoming seasons. These are abilities that are synonymous with these characters in the comics. In fact, despite us being introduced to Cisco’s powers on the show through his vibes, the character is mainly known for his sonic wave projection. (Actually, he’s mainly known for the amount of times he’s been killed off…but that’s besides the point.)

In the New 52 run, Cisco stepped into a Boom Tube created by Darkseid. His oldest brother, Armando, pulled him out (sacrificing himself in the process) but not before Cisco’s body was forever altered. He could now sense beings from other dimensions and emit powerful sonic waves. A side effect of his powers, though, was that his body was constantly vibrating, so he couldn’t be captured by a camera.

Five years later, A.R.G.U.S. director Amanda Waller recruited Cisco to be one of the founding members of the Justice League of America. She believed that due to his ability to sever a speedster’s connection to the Speed Force, he could subdue The Flash if the superhero ever went rogue.

To get into Firestorm’s history, on the other hand, is too long and complicated to go into detail as he’s had several incarnations, so I’ll just get straight to the important part: his powers. We were first introduced to the character on The Flash through his ability to fly and manipulate nuclear energy. Then, as stated above, he learned how to transmute matter at a cellular level…but that isn’t all of Firestorm’s powers. In the comics, he also has the ability to become intangible–something Jax would probably find as cool as the audience if the show decided to explore that, as well.

The next chapter of both shows are shaping up to be pretty thrilling as we’re also being introduced to the Justice Society of America over on Legends and entering the alternate ‘Flashpoint’ timeline on The Flash (where Cisco most likely won’t have his powers but it won’t be long before everything’s back to normal…for the most part).

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