The Flash is back with the start of its third season, and per usual, it starts out running (ha, see what I did there?). With this fast paced, Flashpoint-driven storyline, it would be easy to dismiss the villain this week without too much thought. But let’s dive into a little more about who Edward Clariss, aka “The Rival,” is and what his role in The Flash may be.

The Golden Age Reverse Flash

Edward Clariss is originally an enemy of the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. He was a professor at the university that Jay Garrick attended, and he believed that he had replicated and perfected the formula (Velocity 9) that had given Jay Garrick his speed. However, when he was mocked and rejected for his findings, Clariss decided to turn into a criminal and wear a darker version of Jay Garrick’s Flash costume.

His formula proved to be temporary and he was easily subdued after his formula had run its course. He had many battles with Jay Garrick, and during one battle he disappeared into the Speedforce, believed to be gone. Johnny Sorrow retrieved him from the Speedforce and Clariss came back with a vengeance. The Rival came to be known as “The Reverse Flash of the Golden Age” and had ties with the Injustice Society (a league of supervillains bent on bringing down the Justice Society).

A Rival for Kid Flash

It seems “The Rival” will be slightly different in the Arrowverse. Instead of being a Jay Garrick villain, the Rival (played by Todd Lasance) was instead the archenemy of Kid Flash in the Flashpoint reality. Unlike the comics, it seems like the Rival has speed powers without the use of Velocity 9 or any other external force. Even though Clariss was killed by Joe West in the Flashpoint reality, it was revealed at the end of the episode that Clariss was still alive in the Pre-Flashpoint reality.

The Rival
Image Credit: DC Comics

It will be interesting to see if Edward Clariss will gain powers now that the Flash has returned to his Pre-Flashpoint reality (although whether Barry is actually back to that said reality is yet to be seen).

The Return of The Rival?

So there you have it! A little history of who The Rival is and some food for thought as to what may be coming in the future.

With so many speedsters cast for Season 3 of The Flash, you can probably expect to see more of The Rival, perhaps in relation to the new villain Doctor Alchemy. He made his presence known at the end of the episode via a very creepy whisper accompanied by somehow carving “Alchemy” into Edward Clariss’s mirror in the middle of the night.

Keep an eye out and expect to see more of the Rival as the season continues on!