The Flash Season 8 Repurposes An Arrow Season 1 Villain (For The Second Time)

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for The Flash season 8, episode 1, "Armageddon - Part 1."

The Flash season 8 premiere introduced a new version of the Royal Flush Gang, different from the ones that had previously appeared in Arrow season 1 and The Flash season 1. This marks the third time that a group called the Royal Flush Gang has appeared in the Arrowverse and the first time the gang has been seen since Crisis on Infinite Earths reset the timeline and created a new Arrowverse. However, the new Royal Flush Gang is truer to the comics than the earlier incarnations, being made up of metahuman criminals with playing-card-themed costumes.

First appearing in Justice League of America #43 in March 1966, the Royal Flush Gang was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky. There have been many incarnations of the gang over the years, with villains such as Amos Fortune, Green Lantern villain Hector Hammond and The Joker leading the card-themed criminals at one time or another, in the comics and cartoons. Most incarnations of the Royal Flush Gang consisted of five members dubbed Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, but there was one incarnation made up of packs of 52 members each, with franchises around the United States.

Related: The Flash: Armageddon - What The Story Will Be (& Villain Identity)

The first version of the Royal Flush Gang in the Arrowverse appeared during Arrow season 1, in the episode "Legacies." The episode pitted Oliver Queen against the Reston family, who became known as the Royal Flush Gang after Derek Reston, his wife, and his two sons took on the aliases King, Queen, Jack and Ace. The family went on a crime spree after Derek Reston lost his job and his pension because of the dirty business dealings of Oliver's father, Robert Queen. A different Royal Flush Gang appeared in The Flash season 1 episode "The Sound and the Fury," where they were depicted as a gang of thieves who evaded capture using evasive maneuvers on motorcycles — until Barry Allen set up a series of detours at super-speed that corralled the gang for the police.

"Armageddon, Part 1," the first episode of The Flash season 8 crossover event, introduced the new Royal Flush Gang and established them as the first group of metahuman criminals to strike in Central City after the STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion in the new post-Crisis timeline of Earth-Prime. Led by the psychic Queen, whose telepathic and precognitive powers allowed her to convey strategies in a second after reading the minds of her enemies, the rest of the gang was rounded out by the acrobatic Ten, the super-strong King, and the heat-vision wielding Jack. Despite having been around for years, Barry Allen had never encountered this Royal Flush Gang before since he was still in a coma after being struck by lightning, at the time of their first robbery, and they moved around afterward, specializing in daring casino robberies.

While the Royal Flush Gang were not among the characters confirmed for the Armageddon crossover event, their inclusion in The Flash was welcome. The gang posed an interesting challenge that showcased Barry Allen's improved command of his powers in the six months since the finale of The Flash season 7. They were certainly an improvement on the generic robbers who had previously used the Royal Flush Gang name on Arrow. The new season of The Flash should prove exciting if all the villains are as interesting and eye-catching as the new Royal Flush Gang.

More: How The Supergirl Finale Sets Up The Flash Armageddon Crossover Event

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