- "I have no rival!"
- —Edward Clariss[src]
Edward Clariss (died October 11, 2016) was a meta-human speedster, during both the "Flashpoint" timeline and the current timeline. Named by the public as The Rival, he acted as the archenemy of Wally West/The Flash in the Flashpoint timeline and was ultimately defeated thanks to the joint efforts of Barry Allen, Wally West and Joe West, guided by the other members of Team Flash. In the current timeline, Clariss, having flashbacks to the Flashpoint timeline, met with Alchemy, who gave him the same powerset and costume he wore in that timeline, sending him to kill Barry. However, he was defeated by Barry and Cisco Ramon and incarcerated in Iron Heights Prison, where Alchemy condemned him for his failure and Savitar killed him.
Under unknown circumstances, Edward Clariss achieved the access to the Speed Force, granting him incredible speed, which he used to terrorize Central City. He often faced off against Wally West/The Flash with the goal of seeing who was truly the fastest and the strongest speedster.
In the fall of 2016, The Rival and The Flash battled yet again but when they came to a stop The Flash asked why Rival hated the city. The Rival replied that it was just fine but the people in it needed to learn he had no rival, especially not him. Rival launched a series of lightning attacks at the nearby cops and almost killed a bystander though The Flash saved him, but Rival then took off with The Flash in pursuit. The next day The Rival and The Flash fought against inside an office building, which ended with him hurling him out of the building.
The Rival encountered both his archenemy and another Flash at the sawmill on Williamson where he had been hiding out. In an effort to prove that he didn't fear either of them, the Rival unmasked himself and revealed his identity as Edward Clariss. He proceeded to challenge the two incarnations of the Flash, taunting the duo by asking which one of them would want to meet the Speed Force first. Unbeknownst to any of them, the public appearance of both The Flash and the Rival drew the attention of the Central City Police Department, which made plans to try and contain the battle to the sawmill.
Clariss initially faced off one-on-one against Wally West, but was quickly subdued; however, when Wally turned his back on his opponent in a moment of pride, the Rival impaled him, leaving his nemesis mortally wounded. Though Barry came to his ally's aid, Edward proclaimed that he would only allow the "unworthy" Flash to be taken away to receive medical attention if Barry could defeat him, proving himself a worthier rival. The Rival and the Flash proceeded to engage in a battle that raged throughout the sawmill, where the Rival would once again come up short. However, Barry suffered a sudden and untimely erasure of many of his memories as the Flash, a result of having rewritten the timeline, and Clariss took advantage of his opponent's moment of weakness, creating a pair of powerful tornadoes by utilizing his speed. However, he was shocked when the Flash managed to pull himself together and unravel the tornadoes by running inside each of them in the direction opposite their spin, after which he used his own speed to bring the Rival down. Defeated, he conceded to the Flash that he was indeed the fastest man alive. After Barry turned his back to Edward to check on Wally, Clariss again attempted to backstab his foe, but was shot by Joe West, who had arrived on scene in conjunction with the CCPD.
One night, Edward awoke in his house to a voice telling him that it was time to wake up. After he got out of bed to investigate, the word "Alchemy" was scratched by an unseen force into a mirror.
The following night, he took a bus. He began to get visions of his life in the Flashpoint timeline, again seeing "Alchemy" being scratched into the bus window. He got off the bus and stumbled down an alley, into a building. Inside, he came across a group of cloaked figures worshipping, the leader introducing himself as "Alchemy". Wishing to regain his powers from the alternate timeline, Alchemy promised Clariss his powers back. Alchemy returned his powers to him, causing Edward to shed a layer of skin. He donned his suit again and went to the Central City boardwalk, where he met The Flash. They entered into a short chase around the city, before the Flash knocked him over, causing him to go tumbling back to the boardwalk and out of sight.
The following day, he met the Flash again, this time at Prescott Sawmill, bringing Alchemy with him. Alchemy knocked him over, giving the Rival the chance to stab the Flash and drag him all around the mill. They eventually began fighting again, but before the Rival could impale him, Vibe intervened, allowing the Flash to get up and assist him. The Rival was subsequently taken to Iron Heights Prison and incarcerated. However, during his incarceration, he heard Alchemy's voice, speaking his disappointment in his failure, before Savitar entered his cell and attacked him as he screamed. Joe, Julian Albert and Barry later saw security footage of the attack, which showed an invisible force that repeatedly sent him flying around the room, killing him before he hit the ground.
Clariss' death was avenged when Iris West fatally shot Savitar as he prepared to attack Barry Allen, before Savitar was erased from the timeline (due to the actions of H.R. Wells, who sacrificed his life to ensure that Savitar would never be created).
- "Oh, and Flash? A little quaking in your boots wouldn't be inappropriate"
- —The Rival to The Flash[src]
Matching the Flash of Flashpoint, Edward Clariss was a boastful and confident personality albeit without the heroic nature. Like most speedsters, he is arrogant about his own abilities but under the delusion that there is no rival to his own speed - though he is willing to admit his betters if bested such as with Barry Allen by claiming he, in fact, was the fastest man alive.
Clariss had an underhanded and sadistic style of fighting, incapacitating Wally though stabbing him in the back and thrashing Barry around during their fight, at one point stabbing him in the abdomen with his own lightning bolts due to his anger at correcting the Flashpoint timeline.
In the current timeline, Clariss seemingly lived a normal life, though he believed that something was always missing. Plagued with visions of Flashpoint, Clariss embraced the opportunity to throw away his old life and become a speedster yet again, utterly revelling in the rivalry between him and the Flash. Angry at the life that he considered “stolen“ from him by Barry, Clariss showed great rage and cruelty while beating up Barry, though his arrogance ultimately defeated him when instead of killing his rival he taunted him about his victory which allowed Cisco to ambush him.
Powers and abilities
- Speed Force connection/Meta-human physiology: Due to unknown circumstances, Edward gained access to the Speed Force, which allowed him to handle extreme physical performances. While losing his powers after The Flash reset the timeline to its near-original setting, Alchemy was able to restore Edward's powers with the Philosopher's Stone and increase them.
- Aerokinesis: By running in a circular motion, Edward can create size F3 tornadoes.
- Bodily vibration: Edward has the ability to vibrate any part of his body at different frequencies on command, with varying effects. One way he accentuates this ability is distorting his whole body in a haze that normal people couldn't perceive properly. It can also distort his voice to disguise it.
- Electrokinesis: As a speedster, Edward can generate powerful red electricity from his body when generating enough momentum. He can also project the lightning, even one right after another, by building up enough kinetic energy.
- Superhuman durability: Edward possesses superhuman durability. This greatly increases his bodily resilience to inhuman levels, allowing most speedsters to develop inhuman resistance to lack of breathable air, exposure to toxins or sedatives, and impact with physical forces that would easily crush or kill normal humans. Users of the Speed Force can withstand great amounts of physical damage and sustain little, to no injury. This allowed him to notably survive being rammed into by the Flash, sent flying across several blocks, bouncing along the streets while doing so, and finally landing in the Central City bay, all without being harmed.
- Superhuman momentum: Edward could generate great amounts of physical force through kinetic energy, simulating superhuman strength. His speed allows him to channel the force into powerful strikes, propelling targets several feet. He notably was able to throw Kid Flash across an entire office space and out a window.
- Superhuman speed: Edward can run at incredible speeds, presumably by tapping into the Speed Force. He is powerful enough that he can run along buildings and structures. While in the Flashpoint Timeline, Edward was shown to be as fast as Wally, if not faster. After gaining his powers back in the new timeline he was equal to Barry, who could move at over Mach 13 at that point.
- Superhuman agility: Edward possesses inhuman agility, coordination, balance, equilibrium, and dexterity, which allows him to not be tripped by great forces at super speed.
- Superhuman reflexes: Edward also possesses reflexes that are enhanced to inhuman levels. This allows him to react instantly to almost anything, including other speedsters.
- Superhuman stamina: Edward possesses stamina that's enhanced to inhuman levels. He is able to withstand the stresses of moving at superhuman speeds, without tiring or becoming weak.
- Skilled hand-to-hand combatant: As the Rival, Edward's superhuman speed and reflexes combined with his intelligence made him a formidable opponent in close combat, managing to defeat Wally numerous times and proving himself able to hold his own against Barry, who was more experienced and trained in using his powers, for a little while before eventually being defeated by the Flash.
- Tactician: Edward would utilize dirty tactics to achieve victory in battles against his rivals, pretending to be defeated before getting up and stabbing them in the back. He would also taunt his opponents, counting on them losing control over the battlefield.
- Novice marksman: Edward proved himself skilled at throwing lightning, and would have hit Barry Allen if Wally West hadn't saved him.
- The Rival suit: A protective suit filled with black and orange colors that Edward used to hide his secret identity as the Rival, allowing him not to leave any hair or skin samples at any of his attacks on CCPD. It is unknown how he gained this suit to begin with, and how he later regained it after having his powers restored by Alchemy.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
The Chronicles of Cisco
Behind the scenes
- In DC comics, Edward Clariss/The Rival is the nemesis of Jay Garrick/The Flash and considered the first Reverse-Flash. Debuting in the 1940s, he replicated the formula that gave the Flash his powers, and was later characterized by his use of speed serums to enhance his speed, eventually completely dissolving in the Speed Force. Clariss was eventually brought back from the Speed Force in the form of a malevolent, unstable serial killer that Jay forced to dissolve into pure energy, though this backfired as Clariss possessed Max Mercury, gaining more power than ever and being able to take on both Jay Garrick and Bart Allen simultaneously. After the New-52 reboot, Clariss and Mercury have yet to appear.
- This is the first time that Edward Clariss has made his official debut on television, though the show's Hunter Zolomon was a more accurate adaptation of the character.
- Edward's suit bears a resemblance to the New 52 iteration of the Black Racer. This is likely because unlike the Rival of the comics, he has nothing to do with Jay Garrick so it wouldn't make sense for it to be a dark version of Jay's on the show (though Jay's enemy on the show, Zoom, somehow made his costume a dark version of Barry's instead of Jay's before even knowing of Barry). However, it should be noted that like the comic book Rival, he is the only evil speedster to have the unreversed lightning bolt symbol on his chest, a trait not shared with the New 52 Black Racer. However, the winglike ears and elongated lightning bolt symbol with no circle, reminiscent of Jay but not Barry or Wally, do hint at whose rival the original comics character was.
- The Flashpoint timeline version of Clariss had traits of three villains that Barry fought before him. Zoom, for dictating police and those who oppose him to fear him and stand down from pursuing him, as well as wearing a dark suit that has a demonic appearance; Reverse-Flash, for the same red-colored lightning; and Clyde Mardon, for creating two tornadoes that Barry had to subdue before defeating him and then ending up killed by Joe West before he could kill Barry.
- Despite having red-colored lightning like the Reverse-Flash, his distorted voice is less of a garbled growl and his eyes do not change color.
- Interestingly, although Clariss became a speedster naturally, he does not appear to have an accelerated healing factor, with a similar case being Wally West. This is referenced when Joe shoots and kills him in the Flashpoint timeline, and his death in the current timeline. However, his "husk" showed rapid cell regeneration, which may suggest that the ways he died were immediately or almost immediately fatal, causing him to die before he could heal or begin to heal. It's more likely that the rapid cell regeneration resulted from Clariss's metamorphosis to regain his powers.
- Initially, due to Savitar being announced recently at the time, some thought the black-suited speedster in the set photos was Savitar. That was the case for a while until Greg Berlanti confirmed that the black-suited speedster was not Savitar and was a different speedster.
- As seen in concept art, The Rival was originally conceived as having a more demonic appearance, generating orange lightning and having vents on his mask that would expel steam when he ran or spoke, like a locomotive. These plans were altered when it was decided that his planned appearance was too similar to Zoom.