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"You just tell me where to stretch."
—Ralph Dibny[src]

Ralph Dibny is an ex-police detective of the Central City Police Department and a private investigator. He is the son of Debbie Dibny and an unnamed man, the grandson of an unnamed woman, and the close friend of Barry Allen, Cisco Ramon, Iris West-Allen, and Caitlin Snow.

In the pre-Flashpoint timeline, Ralph was one of the 17 people who lost his life during the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator's explosion. However, he reappeared alive in the post-Flashpoint timeline, gaining his powers due to exposure to dark matter from the Speed Force. Using these superpowers, Ralph joined Team Flash and began acting as a meta-human vigilante and superhero, initially referred to by the media as the Stretchy Man, but shortly thereafter being named the Elongated Man.[1]

Biography

Original multiverse

Early life

When Ralph was 10 years old, his father walked out on him and his mother Debbie, which caused Ralph to start making jokes whenever he felt afraid and to cheer up his mom.[2]

Detective of the CCPD

In late 2012, Ralph was CCPD's lead detective during the murder investigation of Judy Gimlin, one of Barry Allen's first cases as a Junior CSI wherein Ralph was his superior. Judy was stabbed to death and her husband, Reagan, was the prime suspect.

Convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the husband was the perpetrator, but had intentionally and so cleverly arranged the crime scene so that all suspicions would be diverted away from him, Ralph instead planted evidence - a knife with Reagan's fingerprints - to "frame" the suspect for murder. However Barry Allen (who went through something similar with what happened to his parents, and thus, adhered to get the truth out more than anyone) determinedly sought to prove Ralph's fabrication and ultimately testified against him after inspecting the knife and determining it to be a fake murder weapon.

This led to Ralph dishonorably being kicked off from the police force for good and drove a deep wedge between his once-good and working professional relationship with Barry, who was left with the belief that Ralph did what he'd done not for justice, but for the glory of it and this threw away what viable respect that Barry once had for his disgraced former superior. Barry's mentorship under Ralph ended on bad terms and vice-versa.[3]

Ralph spent years telling himself that he was doing the right thing, during this time, his friends, family and associates severed him from their lives, and he eventually realized he did the wrong thing and by breaking the law to achieve what he wanted, even if it was a noble cause; he became the very thing from which he swore to protect the citizens of Central City from.[4]

Pre-Flashpoint

After the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploded, Ralph was said to have been killed, according to Eobard Thawne, through unspecified means.[5]

Post-Flashpoint

Ralph's timeline changed following Flashpoint, resulting in his survival from the explosion.[6]

Ralph went on to become a private investigator specializing in infidelity cases. Given a lead by a man named Clifford DeVoe, Ralph caught Mayor Anthony Bellows in an affair. Ralph attempted to blackmail the politician in exchange for the photos.[3]

Ralph Dibny with his legs stretched out

Ralph's powers of elasticity

On October 10, 2017, Ralph was on the bus that was exposed to dark matter particles resulting from Barry Allen's return from the Speed Force. Ralph did not exhibit his powers immediately after that, but took a few weeks. He was visited by Barry and Joe West regarding if he had been on the bus that day, but gave them no information since Barry still has Ralph's ire. Soon after Barry and Joe left, two thugs came to Ralph's office. They hung him by his legs off the top of an establishment to intimidate him, inadvertently causing Ralph's powers of elasticity to manifest and allowing him to descend safely from that height, albeit with his lower limbs now rubbery and exceedingly stretched beyond the limits of their original design. He was later brought into S.T.A.R. Labs where Team Flash there did preliminary tests to his new attributes, all of which greatly disturbed Ralph who just wished to return to normal, but could not as he was still new to his meta-human abilities, preventing him from deliberately returning his outstretched extremities back to their default state. A serum administered by Caitlin soon gave Ralph a measure of control, but was told that the concoction had not fully reversed his new condition instead rather only made it more manageable, which Ralph quickly realizes when he successfully lost weight upon visualizing it - finally letting him see (and beginning to appreciate) the perks of his meta-human condition and most-recent development. Ralph later met with the mayor, recanting his blackmail and returning the photos he took. He was shot by Bellows, only for both of them to find that his powers made him bulletproof. When the Flash came to save him and apprehend Bellows, Breacher appeared to attack him, as he mistook Ralph for one of the elastic invaders that ravaged his planet, so the Flash stopped him as well. While the mayor escaped with Joe on a helicopter, Barry revealed himself to Ralph and implored him to use his powers for good, so Ralph stretched an arm to reach the chopper from afar, allowing Barry to run up and save Joe. In the end, the two reconciled. Barry offered Ralph a place on Team Flash, which Ralph considered. When Barry, out of interest, asked him about his motive for investigating Bellows, Ralph revealed that a client requested him to investigate the mayor over the phone, going by the last name DeVoe.[3]

Ralph went to S.T.A.R. Labs where they began to look into him controlling his powers and he decided to stretch his upper body through the length of the particle accelerator, leaving his lower half behind for Felicity Smoak to find; she quickly scoots, unsure of what to make of the spectacle she was witnessing. When Barry and his friends were throwing him a bachelor party, Ralph decided to crash it but was disappointed that it was simply them sitting at Joe's home and watching home movies. He decided to treat them to a true party and took them at his favorite strip joint, The Golden Booty. They then toasted to Barry getting married to Iris. Ralph started to fool around with his powers, lifting some money from people's wallets though he claimed he was only getting change. Cisco warned him about not showing off his powers so blandly in public though Ralph just pointed off to Barry who was telling people he was The Flash while intoxicated. One of the patrons then accused Ralph of stealing from him and then took a framed photo of him and smashed it in retaliation. Ralph called him a monster and jumped at him, sparking a fight through the entire place that ended up with them getting tossed in jail. Harry soon arrived and Barry, Joe, Cisco, and Ralph (by default) were released. Ralph returned to the labs with Barry and Cisco and they were taken by Iris to see Killer Frost.

Barry began to train Dibny as a superhero, though it didn't go without some good-natured, back-and-forth banter and bickering between the two of them. In their civilian guises, they eventually bump into an armed robber (who had the unfortunate mishap of attempting the same on Barry around three years ago) after buying some coffee. Deeming the mugger and the gun he was brandishing towards them as no particular threat, the two metahumans turned their backs and plotted on how to deal with the robber; this leads to a very comical situation where, tired of being ignored, the mugger tried to prove his point by using his gun on Ralph — only for his elasticity to cause two bullets from the mugger's gun to ricochet back into his leg and backside. Subsequently, Dibny was taken to Sharon Finkel, a hypnotist, to recover his lost memories help identify the other bus metas. The best Dibny could do was recall a woman with a black bison on the back of her jacket. Soon enough, the two superheroes confront Mina Chaytan, whom Barry allowed escaping while he saved the man she was attacking from a knight statue brought to life by Mina's powers. Dibny questioned why Barry would allow the criminal to escape, as it should be well within Barry's abilities to simultaneously save the innocent and catch the perpetrator (and not necessarily in that order) though Barry argued saving the lives of other people comes before catching the bad guy. Pursuing Mina once more, Dibny chose to prevent her from leaving by holding her car in place with his arm while Barry was fighting a caveman statue. This also caused Dibny to neglect falling debris in the ongoing chaos as a utility pole fell on a young girl. Dibny is wracked with guilt that his actions could have killed a child and admits he's never had to care for other people before since being a private investigator is so simple. Barry promises to be there for Dibny as a friend and that the job is always going to have its hard days. At a museum chasing down Mina, Dibny redeemed himself by choosing to save a night guard from a T-Rex statue over catching Mina, and paid the cheap price of becoming the said extinct dinosaur's chew toy, only spared because of Ralph's rubber-like physiology nullifying the skeleton's biting force, keeping its teeth from biting and actually cutting through him. Ralph then uses his own body to wrap around the skeleton cadaver's maw, keeping it from harming anyone or anything else in the museum. Later that day after Mina's re-capture, Dibny visited the young girl who had been injured in the accident and cheered her up by making balloon animals with his hands and feet.[7]

After Barry was sentenced to prison, Ralph took over as the hero of Central City as Elongated Man.

After a few weeks of fighting meta-humans such as Matthew Kim, Jaco Birch, and some others, Ralph eventually found himself with a desire to kill DeVoe when he discovered the new bus meta, Edwin Gauss/The Folded Man.

Presumed demise and subsequent return


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When Harry created the Sonic Scepter which can incapacitate someone with one strike and kill them with another, he planned on using this weapon against DeVoe. When he and Edwin Gauss A.K.A. The Folded Man attempted to go into DeVoe's dimension using Folded Man's abilities, he was stopped by Barry. After a long talk with Barry, it was revealed that he wanted to stop and kill DeVoe for Team Flash. DeVoe managed to get the upper hand and was able to teleport himself to S.T.A.R. Labs and trap Caitlin (while she was in her Killer Frost persona), Barry, and Cisco. When all three of them escaped, DeVoe caught up to Ralph and made him fight the dinosaur skeleton. After defeating the dinosaur, Ralph found all of the recent metas laying on the floor dead with DeVoe now in Edwin Gauss's body. They then teleport to the Speed Lab where DeVoe caused Ralph to have an aneurysm. Ralph took the Scepter out of his chest and used it against DeVoe, then raised his hand above DeVoe one more time. When Barry went into the Speed Lab, he saw a "defeated" DeVoe and Ralph smiling. DeVoe then broke out of his cuffs and started implanting his consciousness into Ralph. When Barry implored Ralph to resist DeVoe and swore to save him, Dibny replied that Barry already had just before DeVoe finally took over his body.

Ralph's apparent death impacted Barry the most to the point where he tried to numb himself to the emotional pain. Only with the aid of Leo Snart did Barry find it in himself to mourn Ralph.

Barry and Ralph

Ralph reunites with Barry Allen in the subconscious of DeVoe.

In a last-ditch attempt to stop DeVoe's Enlightenment, Barry, with the aid of Marlize and the Thinking Chair, ventured into DeVoe's mind, where he encountered Ralph's surviving consciousness. When asked how Ralph even survived, DeVoe appeared, explaining that Ralph is alive because he allowed it. Escaping the Thinker further into the mindscape, Barry explained his objective to find the good part of DeVoe that existed before the Thinker. Recalling that DeVoe was a history professor, Ralph and Barry arrive at a recreation of DeVoe's classroom, only to find the personification of the good DeVoe dead. Falling into despair again, Ralph urged Barry to leave and save his family. Barry told Ralph that he was part of that family too and refused to abandon him. He then got the idea for Ralph to regain control of his body to purge the Thinker by entering what Ralph described as the "hellmouth" to the nexus of his brain. Unfortunately, DeVoe created clones of himself to stop them. Shapeshifting his mindform into the Elongated Man, Ralph joined Barry in fighting DeVoe but their foe used his telepathy to anticipate their attacks. So Ralph told Barry to think of something else while attacking; he did so by shouting out different shrimp entrees. Ralph soon hung onto Barry like a cape as they ran for the portal and returned to reality. Ralph then took back his body and seemingly purged DeVoe. After returning to S.T.A.R. Labs, they barely had time to relax before it was revealed that DeVoe transferred his consciousness to his chair to restart the Enlightenment, but Marlize pulled out the power source, putting an end to the Thinker. Unfortunately, this triggered a literal dead man's switch as one of DeVoe's satellites began falling towards Central City. Getting back into the Elongated Man suit, Ralph helped Cisco protect civilians while Barry destroyed the satellite. After Barry and another speedster destroyed the satellite, he applauded Barry near Cisco and Captain Singh.

As Team Flash celebrated Jenna West's birth, they are suddenly greeted by the same girl Ralph and Cisco met at Jitters, who identified herself as Barry and Iris' daughter Nora and admitted she did something terrible.

Finding Thomas Snow

After the defeat of Gridlock, Ralph got Caitlin and showed the latter her dad's death certificate, explaining that the person who signed off on it, "Cameron Mahkent", didn't exist. After looking into it further and finding more clues, they finally discovered that Caitlin's dad was in a Tannhauser black-ops which had been abandoned. Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin later found him and rescued him from the site. Although he seemed to be kind and caring, Thomas was revealed to have been secretly transformed into his second personality, Icicle. Team Flash went after Icicle, but all except Caitlin began to suffer from hypothermia. At that moment, Killer Frost finally emerged from her coma induced by DeVoe, defeating Thomas and stopping him from becoming Icicle permanently, though he escaped. Having speed-healed, Barry used concentrated energy to save Ralph, and they reassured Killer Frost that they would find Icicle again and that she wasn't alone anymore. Killer Frost peacefully returned Caitlin to their shared consciousness, and the team returned home.[8]

A moral lesson

One day while Cisco was away working on the team's meta-human cure, he sent Caitlin, Ralph, and Barry findings that the cure would work by neutralizing the dark matter in the meta's pituitary gland. However, he needed something to help keep Cicada still so that they could administer the cure to him. Caitlin settled on a neuro-stasis field generator but discovered that they had been stolen. Ralph and Barry spoke to Earl Cox, who told them of Goldface and his black market. The boys eventually decided to go infiltrate the market together with Caitlin/Killer Frost as backup, agreeing that the ends justified the means, but when Ralph recited the password, they were dropped through a hidden trapdoor, given power-dampening cuffs, and wiped off of Caitlin's GPS. They did some digging in the black market, which greatly unsettled Barry, but were eventually confronted by Goldface himself, who asked Barry and Ralph who they were. Barry called himself "the Chemist", telling a fake story of crime which convinced Goldface to let them live. He then made a deal: if Barry and Ralph helped him steal a hospital's 3-D organ printer from a lab, he would give them the field generator. Ralph asked Barry if he really wanted to accept the deal, which he believed was more than they'd bargained for, but Barry decided that he was willing to commit a crime if it meant stopping Cicada. Just as they were pulling up to the lab, Ralph tricked Barry to get into a van by himself and locked him inside. Barry begged Ralph not to go in alone, but Ralph argued that the Flash couldn't do this but he could.

Ignoring Barry's cries, Ralph entered the heist by himself, eventually being the first to find the printer. However, he discovered that the clients were all small children who needed new organs. His heart changed, Ralph knocked out the henchman with him and prepared to bring the printer to the hospital, but he was caught and held at gunpoint by another squadron.

Barry and Ralph team up to fight Goldface

With their powers dampened, Ralph and Barry settle on fighting Goldface with blasters.

As Ralph was being taken to be killed alongside Barry, the latter escaped from Ralph's trap and knocked the henchmen unconscious. Ralph explained that stealing the organ printer was too big a crime, as the patients it was going to help were all little kids. Barry and Ralph agreed to go back in together to rescue the printer from Goldface's gang, using the "stun" setting on their blasters so they wouldn't have to kill anyone. Dodging "kill" blasts and shooting to stun, the two fought their way through the lab and were on their way to the organ printer when Goldface summoned them back to the garage. They attempted to shoot him down but were horrified to discover that he was a meta-human with a layer of literal gold under his skin. Goldface subdued each of them in turn, eventually strangling Ralph with a golden whip, but Barry used an empty "kill" gun to distract Goldface, free Ralph, and trick Goldface into electrocuting himself, knocking him unconscious and disabling his gold skin. Though they were disappointed to have lost their key to the meta-human cure, Ralph praised Barry for their success in escaping from the criminal world while leaving everyone alive, though he teased Barry for his criminal code name. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs and free from Goldface's cuffs, Ralph sat by Barry's side as Caitlin tended to Barry's wounds from the fight earlier, and Barry reminded a distraught Ralph that they'd still had a win by taking down a powerful meta without their powers, which would help them keep fighting even if Cicada's dagger dampened them. They suddenly got an anonymous call from Iris, who had sneaked into Orlin's house in search of a story for her newspaper. Back in their meta-human egos, the three joined Iris at Dwyer's abandoned house, and she revealed that she knew Cicada's weakness.[9]

Defeat of the Cicadas


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Due to his interest on pairing Cisco with Kamilla, he gave him suggestions on what to do with a book he brought to the team.[10]

After Nora West-Allen changed the timeline 53 times to prevent Cicada from killing a metahuman from Team Flash, the team found a way to regroup by using Nora's time rewind. About his date with Kamilla, Cisco decided to be himself because he saw that the times he used fake personas she lost interest on him.[10]

When the team persuaded Orlin to take the cure and he was a normal human again, another Cicada took him away and killed Vanessa Ambres.

The new primary protector


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Frost and Ralph watch the black hole

With Frost helping citizens

Frost and Elongated Man were together helping the citizens as the Flash entered the black hole that was threatening to engulf Central City.[11]

Barry decided that Ralph would replace him as the primary protector of the city should he fall in the upcoming crisis.

Anti-Monitor Crisis

During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, Ralph as well as everyone in the multiverse except for the seven Paragons, was killed in an antimatter wave by the Anti-Monitor on December 10, 2019,[12] only to be restored a month later, after the Paragons and the Spectre created a new universe.[13]

New multiverse

On the new Earth-Prime, Ralph's life is basically the same; two years earlier, Ralph, as he describes it, was a "real crap-bag".[14]

Ralph's father abandoned him and his mother when Ralph was ten.[15]

The case of Sue Dearbon

Ralph and Barry met in Midway City the arms dealer January Galore.[14]


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For days, Ralph was so depressed that he hadn't bothered to bathe; he had no leads or brainstorms on the whereabouts of Sue Dearbon. He stayed within the detective agency day and night, staring at his whiteboard, hoping inspiration would come. Cecile Horton did arrive though, wondering how he was. Though she criticized the smell of the place and held her breath as he spoke, Ralph got an idea on how to track the missing woman.

Retreating to Jitters to get their thoughts together, Ralph and Sue saw Cecile getting her order. Cecile was happy that Ralph was in a better mood and was out in the world. He introduced her to Sue and Cecile could feel that Sue was attracted to Ralph and told him so; Ralph feigned that it was not mutual and allowed Cecile to leave.

Elongated Man and Sue Dibny about to battle Utraviolet

Ralph and Sue talking before fighting Ultraviolet

Sue locked Ralph in the vault and took the diamond. To escape, Ralph used his powers to enter the sprinkler system of the bank; upon exiting as Elongated Man, he saw Sue surrounded by John Loring and his thugs. Before they could shoot her, the hero covered her with his body, disgusting Sue but saving her from the hail of bullets, as she changed into a protective suit of her own. The bullets suddenly stopped; Ultraviolet had knocked the foes unconscious and demanded the diamond. Ralph was knocked out of the fight and could only observe as Sue and Ultraviolet fought, because he chose to protect the bank manager from a blast sent by Ultraviolet. Sue then slid the box of the diamond to Ralph; when the assassin approached Elongated Man to get her quest, he showed her the empty container, causing her to scream in frustration and vanish. John and his thugs awakened and threatened to kill the still hurt hero, but the Flash suddenly arrived with the real Joe West and the police to stop them. The bank manager was then convinced that he had not met Joe previously.[16]

Ralph continued his research into Sue and realized that she was robbing banks while they were having brunches and interviewing for new investors. He learned that the First National Bank was having such an affair and that it fit Sue's M.O.; Ralph asked Cisco to his agency to assist him with the building's surveillance to see if Sue would come.

While Cisco Ramon was hacking the security system, Ralph checked the selection of the foods offered at the brunch. When Cisco returned, he told him that he met "January Galore"; they then both noticed that the security feed was disabled. When they reached the bank's computers, Sue was there, dressed in her protective suit; she was January Galore all along. She then escaped using a grappling hook.

Ralph entered the investment firm while Sue was having a meeting with a financial adviser; in the process, he blew her cover identity as "Genoa" but he did verify to her that Sue was an heiress. When alone, the two talked; Sue verified that she was a thief because she was stealing anything that could help her research into Joseph Carver and to stop him from extorting money from her parents. Sue, attracted to Ralph, gave him the Black Hole diamond and asked him to research it, as she had done.[14]

Team Flash had a meeting where Barry revealed that Iris, Kamilla, and David Singh were missing, kidnapping victims of Eva McCulloch. While Ralph was doing research, S.T.A.R. Labs was invaded by Godspeed, but before Ralph could get involved, he was summoned by Frost who wanted to thank him for being her life coach before she and Carla Tannhauser left to heal Frost's wounds. Frost revealed that she felt less than Caitlin and was not close to Carla, though she was Frost's mother. Ralph told Frost that she was a valuable member of the team and that she should not fear Carla. He gave her a "dib-ploma" as a graduation present.

Ralph listened as Barry rallied the team to think of ways to free Iris and Kamilla from the Mirrorverse; Cisco departed to go to Atlantis.[15]

Case closed

While attending the meeting that Team Flash was having, Ralph revealed that he was in possession of a large diamond. Allegra Garcia noted that it was emitting radiation; harnessing the energy, the diamond showed the team where a Black Hole warehouse was hidden. As he and Barry exited to go to the warehouse, Ralph got the diamond back.

At the warehouse, the Elongated Man and the Flash saw crates of files with various names on them; one was labelled Dearbon, so Ralph was particularly interested in it. Meanwhile, it was noticed that the security guards were dead and the smell of gasoline was strong. Upon inspection, the heroes saw David Singh pouring gasoline. However, they failed to stop him and the warehouse with the files burned.

Ralph called the parents of Sue Dearbon into his office; he was surprised that she was with them, not only pretending that she had just met Ralph, but that for the whole time, she was on a religious sabbatical. The Dearbons wanted to pay Ralph for his time on the case, but he was more interested in how Sue planned to handle Black Hole.

Ralph and Sue vs Sunshine and Doctor Light

Ralph and Sue v Sunshine and Dr. Light

Later, Ralph joined Team Flash as the bodyguards of Joseph Carver; ultimately, they found themselves in combat with the second incarnation of Eva McCulloch's team. Sue was there also because she had planned to kill Carver as well, but helping Ralph was more important to her. The heroes found themselves surrounded, but Eva McCulloch was victorious, so the battle was declared finished.

Ralph went to see Sue, who was jubilant that Carver was dead, because she believed his threat to her and her parents was now over. Ralph showed her footage that, at a press conference, Eva blamed Sue for the death of Carver and now she was a wanted woman.[17]

Personality

"Just that everything that we've done, we did because we were trying to help people. Keep them safe. Is that all Dibny was trying to do back then?"
"Good people don't destroy lives and call it noble."
"Did I make a mistake back then? Did I cost a good man his life?"
"I don't know, Barr. He did break the law. Crossed a line. And you didn't make him do that. And you didn't make him blackmail the mayor. But, maybe Caitlin was right. Everyone who's gone what you, and her, now Dibny's gone through... maybe he deserves a second chance.
"
Barry Allen and Joe West about Ralph Dibny[src]
Ralph Dibny

Ralph in his civilian persona.

At his introduction, Ralph was initially motivated by self-interest and would stoop to morally questionable methods in the pursuit of success; or rather, in desperation of such. But he certainly wasn't always like that. For even before coming into contact with Team Flash, Ralph harbored an admiration towards the Flash due to his exploits in saving Central City and its citizens from time to time, unaware that the heroic meta-human and his former subordinate-turned-nemesis were one-and-the-same, and due to their fallout, Barry himself was firm on the belief that Ralph was a corrupt individual from then and hasn't changed at all up to the present. In fact, he imposed to the other members of the team that Ralph was now a potentially more dangerous individual than before, with the hapless PI now attaining powers of his own, but soon admits it upon himself that he wanted to believe that because, ever since becoming the Flash, Barry has committed morally-gray acts in some semblance to what the ex-police detective did when Ralph framed Reagan Gimlin and that vilifying Ralph was the speedster's way of proving himself better than Dibny and justifying everything he's done so far. But in spite of his apparent readiness to walk the thin line separating lawful elements from the otherwise following his dismissal, Ralph has since proven himself aware of the difference between right and wrong.

However, Ralph was rather horrified at learning that he unexpectedly developed meta-human powers himself and, rather than immediately exploiting them for his own personal benefit like any criminal would after they stabilized, chose to keep them secret and continued on to his indentured existence as he either didn't want to be seen as a "freak" and be ruined (further) because of them - only discovering what an advantageous asset he now has after losing some weight and then surviving a bullet, at point-blank range, to the head - or perhaps that Ralph's moral standards were higher than Barry gave them credit for, if not both.

Ralph expresses distaste when Cisco first presented him with his own customized starter outfit to go along and optimize his elastic abilities, but later respected the suit's functionality (as it was either that or fight crime naked; Cisco begged him not to do the latter) although, he did have a strong sense of justice, believing that apprehending perpetrators was the most important aspect in law enforcement duty and he was willing to go as far as to plant evidence to frame a murder suspect whom he genuinely believed to be guilty, lest the said murderer walks free. He is rather lecherous, able to quickly determine a woman's measurements and was recognized as a strip club's most regular customer. Given his fall from grace at the CCPD after Barry exposed his tampering of evidence, Ralph was also quite rude to his enemy, but ultimately Barry was able to coax him into an act of selflessness, convincing him into being a hero and moving forward, repairing their broken relationship in the process.[3]

Elongated Man suit

Ralph as Elongated Man.

"As new threats arise, you'll need more than me. Which is why I'm proud to recognize a hero who's put his life on the line for this city time and time again. A hero who deserves our recognition: the Elongated Man. Now, Central City has another symbol of hope."
The Flash about Ralph Dibny[src]

Upon attaining mastery over his powers, Ralph gradually realized that with such extraordinary gifts comes with an even greater sense of responsibility, which was something that he simply just brushed off in his five years of working as a private investigator; Ralph soon learned the hard way that saving the lives of others must come before catching the bad guy as his determination to prevent Mina Chaytan's escape almost killed a young girl when a utility pole fell on her while Barry was fighting a caveman statue Mina had brought to life with her powers, showing that Ralph is capable of remorse to his own actions and sympathy towards those he fails to protect due to misusing his own abilities, and now whole-heartedly accepting that he has an entire city to look after with the advantages given to him by chance and had to receive encouragement from Barry to keep Ralph from doubting himself.

Ralph began to put Barry's advice to use, choosing to save a night guard at a museum from being killed by an animated T-Rex skeleton rather than pursue Mina. He then does the Sioux people a favor by delivering to them the very artifact that Mina was trying to steal, as it was rightfully theirs and later proceeded to entertain the aforementioned little girl in her hospital room using his powers.[7]

Thanks to Barry's mentoring, Ralph has learned that self-interest isn't the way to go. He learns to be selfless and to help others, including his teammates. After a while, the team begin to trust him to the extent of seeing him as a rightful member of the team. When Barry is framed for Clifford DeVoe's murder, Joe pulls Ralph aside and asks him for assistance in trying to plant evidence on Marlize DeVoe. When their first attempt doesn't work, Joe tries to plant carpet fibers at the DeVoe house to frame Marlize for being in on her husband's "murder" at the West-Allen loft, the night her husband's body was found. Ralph, remembering Barry's teachings, manages to talk Joe out of planting the evidence, proving just how far he has come since he joined Team Flash.

Ralph is proven to have good morals, at first, he considered killing Clifford in order to prevent him from hurting anyone else, but after remembering Barry's advice, he remembered that killing his enemies wasn't the proper way.[2]

Powers and abilities

Powers

"No, I don't stretch, I contort. I elasticize, I elongate, man."
—Ralph Dibny[src]
  • Meta-human physiology: After Ralph was struck by the dark matter energy after the Flash's release from the Speed Force, this altered his DNA and cells in a way that Earth-2's Harrison Wells found most intriguing (and considering the number of meta-humans and their roster of logic-defying abilities and powers that Harrison encountered thus far, this is saying something), polymerizing the walls of his cellular structure, causing them to be elasticized to form an unbreakable bond at an atomic level, enabling him to access his new-found powers.[3]
    • Elasticity: Ralph can stretch, contort, and compact various parts or his entire body into a myriad of different shapes and sizes. After taking a chemical stabilizer given by Caitlin Snow, he was able to retain a degree of "muscle memory" and revert to his leaner, fit state (or "default form").[3] He can even do things such as enlarging his fists or transforming his arms into blades.[7][18]
      • Shapeshifting: Ralph gained the ability to physically change the bodily form of anyone he can clearly picture within his mind. This was discovered when Ralph was describing his old business partner, Earl Cox, to Team Flash, and while doing so, he gradually started changing form from body part he described to body part, including his voice and accent, until he was in the full form of Earl. Ralph further on used this ability to masquerade as Gregory Wolfe and Clifford DeVoe, the latter of which he used to successfully testify for Barry Allen's freedom. However, as he was still unused to this new facet of his elastic capabilities, maintaining himself in the likeness of another's form taxes Ralph to the point where, apart from not being able to retain the said alternative likeness for as long as he would have liked, showing signs of gradual reversion until snapping back into his true form eventually, the assumed form also somewhat hampers Ralph's natural mobility - causing him to experience some difficulty in both movement and locomotion.[19]
      • Superhuman durability: As a side effect of his elasticity, Ralph is also rendered highly durable, mitigating any impact he may receive with little consequence as his body expands and contracts, in and out of his normal human shape, to render said impacts obsolete and even cause projectiles to bounce off from his person, after absorbing the said projectile into or through his body, and immediately rebounding it back to the direction of the source. He took no harm from a bullet to the head, and a punch to the face only inconvenienced him as his body would stretch and cushion the impact to ultimately negate it; though it was implied that certain other forms of assault could still harm him, since a Viber meta-human from Earth-19, "Breacher", claimed that he could kill Ralph after furiously firing a vibrational blast at him and then followed it with another.[3] It would appear that his insusceptibility to outward and solid physical harm is not limited to blunt assaults, since Ralph took a gargantuan bite to his outstretched torso from the teeth-filled jaws of a mobilized T-Rex skeleton without sustaining much harm to himself, despite something like that would have surely bifurcated a normal person in half. Ralph managed to withstand enough explosives to destroy a city block, though he did comment that it gave him heart burns right after doing so. Later, Ralph exhibited a marginally reasonable resilience against Axel Walker's Axid, sustaining only moderately superficial damage on his knee that did not impair Ralph in any way. Later, Ralph was able to survive Allegra Garcia firing undiluted ultraviolet radiation at his face, a feat Cisco Ramon attributed entirely to his powers.
      • Superhuman strength: Ralph has also demonstrated considerable strength, possibly attributed to the now substantial bonding of his cells at the molecular level which also refines his physical parameters and muscle definition. He was able to grab onto and stop a helicopter mid-flight with his extended arm and allow the Flash to run up his extended arm with ease, although he was somewhat strained by the act,[3] and later (quite literally) single-handedly prevented a speeding car from driving away, with only one outstretched arm gripping the car from behind, while anchoring himself to another vehicle with the other arm.[7] Ralph later showed being able to knock down a mobilized T. rex skeleton with a single hit from an enlarged fist.

Abilities

  • Peak of human physical condition: As an ex-police detective turned vigilante, Ralph is in top physical condition, particularly since his powers allow him to keep fit.
  • Keen sense of smell: Ralph has a very acute sense of smell, capable of detecting and distinguishing scents, even behind a concrete wall.
"I promised there wasn't a single case I couldn't crack. And a promise made is a promise kept. Dibny detects."
—Ralph Dibny[src]
  • High-level intellect/Expert detective: As an ex-police detective of the Central City Police Department, Ralph runs his own private investigation business and is very experienced in detective work, claiming to have never had a case he couldn't solve, at one point, Ralph was Barry Allen's senior for this field[3] and was seen successfully closing several infidelity cases whilst working as a PI,[7] Ralph even discovered that a woman's husband was still alive after being presumed dead, having remarried, relocated and conceived two children,[3] he was able to uncover that "Cameron Mahkent" was a non-existent judge used to fake Thomas Snow's death.[20] Ralph is also very good at reading people's honesty, as he saw through Carla Tannhauser's lie about her husband's status,[21] despite being oblivious to the existence of the multiverse and failing to notice that Harry Wells was from Earth-2, Ralph was able to deduce upon meeting Nora West-Allen how time travel and the multiverse existed.[20] Sherloque Wells has even referred to Ralph as a "master detective".[22]
    • Feminine statistics: While not necessarily a dignified trait, Ralph is able to tell an encountered woman's physical vital statistics with a simple glance (much to the discomfort of the mentioned women).[7]
    • Skilled deceiver/Manipulator: Using his powers of elasticity, Ralph was successfully able to impersonate Clifford DeVoe to get Barry out of jail for his framed murder.[19] He also tricked Earl Cox into giving up Janet Petty by impersonating Joe West.[2]
  • Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Ralph is proven to be a proficient hand-to-hand combatant, as he had received training, as all Central City Police Department members do. When Barry was briefly given the much stronger physique of Oliver Queen, Ralph easily knocked him out with a single punch (although Barry was caught off-guard and unfamiliar with his new body).[23] Ralph was also able to defeat several of Goldface's thugs with little struggle[9] and could fight on par against Grace Gibbons for a while with help from Killer Frost.[18]
    • Expert marksman: As a former police detective, Ralph is highly skilled in the use of firearms. He was able to effectively fire multiple effective shots at Cicada to subdue him.[24] Ralph and Barry also once used guns stolen from Goldface to fight and knock out all of the latter's forces, as well as briefly stun Goldface himself.[9]
    • Skilled knife wielder: Ralph is experienced in using blades in combat; during his fight with Grace, Ralph blocked all of her strikes with his arm blade, but was eventually defeated.[18]
  • Indomitable will/High tolerance for pain: Ralph does not give up on his private investigations. He spent 274 days (nine months) searching for Sue Dearbon.

Weaknesses

  • Extremely corrosive chemicals: As demonstrated with a powerful acidic solution called "Axid" invented by Axel Walker, such advanced corrosive substances can still hurt and very much harm Ralph. When exposed to some of it the first time, Ralph was left with a severe burn on his skin that had him yelling in agony.[1]
  • Limited replication: Like Hannibal Bates, Ralph's shapeshifting is purely cosmetic and thus he has no knowledge from the person he is shapeshifting into. This means that his impersonation relies solely on his acting abilities and that anyone who knows the person he's imitating well enough will not be fooled by the change. Also, unlike J'onn J'onzz, Ralph lacks the ability to produce donned items, such as clothing and wearable accessories, on his person in lieu with his own brand of shapeshifting - forcing Ralph to improvise by acquiring such items in order to make his ruse believable when impersonating someone.
  • Coulrophobia: Ralph has coulrophobia, a fear of clowns.[25] Ironically he's a fan of Tim Curry, who played Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the miniseries It.[25] Ralph is also a fan of John Stamos.[26]
  • Power-dampening tech: If Ralph is wearing power-dampening cuffs, he can't use his powers.[9]
  • Mirror gun: Due to his cellular structure being unbreakable at the atomic level, instead of his body being destroyed when hit by the mirror gun, it caused his cells to turn inside out and resulted in his body to enter into a vegetative state and appear deformed. The only way to bring Ralph out of this state was by having Cisco use his vibration blasts, triggering Ralph's body to return to its "default" form.
"Look at his face. Most UV radiation gets absorbed by the ozone layer; this was entirely undiluted. If it wasn't for his powers, that "sunburn" would have killed him."
Cisco Ramon[src]
  • Intense ultraviolet radiation: Unfiltered ultraviolet radiations, such as those generated by Allegra or Esperanza Garcia, are able to give nasty burns to Ralph's skin and cause him pain, despite his body's immense resistance to harm. His powers only prevent the burns from being fatal.[27]
  • Injection immunity: Ralph's skin is so elastic that it is unable to be pierced by needles or injections even to save his life. When Ralph was dying from blood loss, the only way for Team Flash to save him was by having Barry phase a needle into him to donate blood.

Former weaknesses

  • Lack of stability: Initially, Ralph's stretching abilities were out of his control, acting instantly if exposed to enough outside force and would then remain stuck in that state, and was basically an afflicted human on his way to becoming a viscous and amorphous pile of flesh. By analyzing the difference in Ralph's DNA from before and after his dark matter exposure, Caitlin Snow was able to produce a stabilizer, enabling him to instinctively return to his normal shape as a default.
  • Fear: After Ralph ended up getting a burn on his knee in a battle against the Trickster due to the "Axid" the latter had created, Ralph realized he isn't invincible and was ready to give up on trying to be a hero, as he was afraid of getting hurt or perhaps even killed while operating in the field. However, after visiting Barry (who was in prison at the time; for a crime he didn't commit) and talking to him about his fear, Barry told him that's part of what being a hero is; that no one is fearless and that a real hero finds a way to overcome that fear and still make a difference in spite of potential danger.[1]

Equipment

Original multiverse

  • Second Elongated Man suit: Ralph has a suit to hide his identity. The suit has a adaptive nano-weave structure that is malleable on the sub-molecular level so that, according to Cisco, when Ralph stretches, it stretches and when he squishes, it squishes. Cisco later remade the suit colored black with a hint of burgundy. The new suit also comes with a black domino mask,[1] but otherwise works the same as the first suit. When DeVoe stole Ralph's body he took the second suit, which Ralph had been wearing, with him.[28] After Ralph regained control over his body in the final battle against DeVoe, he donned the suit once again.[29]
  • Tie-mounted camera: Ralph obtained this through unknown means while undercover in Midway City in the summer of 2019. Both Remington Meister and Barry have mistaken Ralph's use of it for adjusting his bow tie.[30]

Former equipment

  • First Elongated Man suit: Ralph has a suit to hide his identity. A prototype, meaning that other iterations and artifices are bound to be produced after it in the future, the suit is a blue leotard with a matching mask and black tennis shoes. While the suit may only look like a plain old tarp it actually has an "adaptive nano-weave structure that is malleable on the sub-molecular level" so that, according to Cisco, when Ralph stretches, it stretches and when he squishes, it squishes.
  • Sonic Scepter: It was a device created by Harrison Wells to use against Clifford DeVoe. This device is not reliant on electronics, so Kilg%re's powers would not work on it. It can produce a powerful sonic wave when strikes to the ground similar to those used by Izzy Bowin. While Barry Allen and Ralph Dibny were searching the bus, Harry called them back to S.T.A.R. Labs to see what was going on. Harry presented the device to Team Flash to help defeat DeVoe. Ralph used his elastic body to form a mold for the sonic scepter, so that he could store it in his body for use at a second's notice and managed to use the device on DeVoe. Having DeVoe incapacitated, Ralph contemplated killing DeVoe, but he ends up resorting to cuffing DeVoe instead. However, once DeVoe took over Ralph Dibny's body, the device was rendered useless.

New multiverse

  • Elongated Man suit: Ralph has a suit to hide his identity. The suit has a adaptive nano-weave structure that is malleable on the sub-molecular level so that, according to Cisco, when Ralph stretches, it stretches and when he squishes, it squishes.

Appearances

The Flash

Season 1

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6


Stretched Scene

The Chronicles of Cisco


Novels

Gallery

Concept artwork

Trivia

  • Ralph's meta-human powers seem to be a reflection of his personality; no matter how harsh the blunt reality of life strikes him, Ralph always seems to bounce back each time regardless of being in no better shape than the last, making elasticity the perfect attribute for him.
  • Ralph is the only bus meta-human to survive Clifford DeVoe's parasite-like possession.
    • Ralph is the second character in the Arrowverse who was seemingly killed by a main antagonist but survived by the season finale, the first being Thea Queen.
  • Along with his mother, Ralph openly considers Team Flash to be his family.[28]
    • Ralph's actor, Hartley Sawyer, thinks of Barry as a surrogate brother to Ralph.[31] In the show, their friendship is highly acknowledged by Marlize DeVoe and Joe West.[29][32][33]
    • Ralph used to have a habit of calling Barry "Rookie", as it is the same nickname the former used when he was still a police detective and Barry had just started as a Junior CSI.
  • Ralph is a fan of the Netflix TV series Stranger Things.[4]
  • Harry Wells called him "Ralph Disney" due to the latter's cartoon-ish personality.[34]
  • Ralph wears a night retainer and sweats in his sleep.[35]
  • Ralph despises country music, claiming it to be "music's tone deaf stepchild". However, Ralph appeared to have changed his opinion after meeting Izzy Bowin, as he listened to her music after her death.[35]
  • Apparently, Ralph doesn't always wear underwear with his clothes.[36]
  • He loves shrimp.[29]
  • Ralph has died/been thought to have died on at least 5 occasions:
    • The first is the pre-Flashpoint timeline, in which Ralph was among the victims of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion. Barry changing the timeline resulted in Ralph surviving.[6]
    • The second is when DeVoe seemingly killed Ralph by transferring his consciousness into the latter's body.[28] A couple months later, with the help of Marlize DeVoe and Cecile Horton, Barry found Ralph in DeVoe's subconsciousness and helped him regain control of his body, killing DeVoe in the process.[29]
    • The third is one of 53 timelines created by Nora West-Allen to save Team Flash, including Ralph, from their deaths at the hands Cicada.[10]
    • The fourth was when Ramsey Rosso absorbed Ralph's blood, leaving him in a near-death state before Barry managed to save him by giving him a transfusion of his own blood.[37]
    • The fifth is the destruction of the Multiverse in the Anti-Monitor Crisis.
  • At 6'4", Ralph is the tallest member of Team Flash.
  • With Hartley Sawyer being fired from The Flash, the character will simply be recast.
    • In-universe, the recasting could be played off as a delayed side-effect of the Crisis (with Ralph taking on the appearance of multiverse counterpart) or a delayed side-effect of Ralph getting hit by the Mirror Gun in Season 5 finally kicking in, or him using his ability as a shapeshifter.

Behind the scenes

  • Similar to the TV show, Ralph Dibny of the DC Comics was a good friend of Barry Allen and a detective who became the Elongated Man.
  • In the comics, Barry was the Best Man at Ralph's wedding to Sue Dearbon.
  • In the DC comics, his full name is "Randolph William Dibny".

References


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