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Lost: Superman vs The Flash

Believe it or not, but there are still some things out there that are even too nerdy for me. The whole ‘examine every friggin thing on the screen during an episode of LOST in search of a hidden meaning’ thing being one of them. However in the last episode of LOST there was a certain scene in which two of the characters discuss the notion of a race between The Flash and Superman: As you can imagine that sequence was right up my alley and for the record, in my opinion in an uninterrupted foot race — where Superman was forbidden to fly — The Flash would win hands down!

Hurley: I’m moving as fast as I can. In case you haven’t noticed dude, I’m not exactly the Flash.
Charlie: The Flash is pathetic.
Hurley: You got something against the fatest man alive?
Charlie: You’re insane mate. Superman can fly around the entire planet in the blink of an eye.
Hurley: Dude, if we’re going by a pure foot-race, Supe would’a got dusted by the Flash.
Charlie: But, why would the Man of Steel agree to a sodding foot-race?
Hurley: Er, for charity? And Flash would totally win cause he can like, vibrate through walls and stuff.
Charlie: Oooh vibration, and what would Superman do if he came up against a wall?
Hurley: Well… no smashing allowed.
Charlie: No flying, no smashing, any other restrictions I need to know about? Perhaps we should fit Superman with a pair of Cryptonite ballet slippers.

Like I said before I don’t normally let myself get caught up in this sort of thing — Believe me, I know how nauseating it can be, I have to put up with hearing all of Furious’ crack-pot theories each week! — but I thought I’d make this post (even if it is a little behind) to point out some things that I thought were interesting about the content of that discussion and how it may relate to LOST itself.

When Hurley suggests that Superman may agree to a foot-race against The Flash ‘for charity’ he does it in a nonplussed manner and as though he’s making the suggestion off hand. Well, Supes and Flash have raced (several times actually)…. And guess what, at least one of those times it was for charity! Which is the comment that got me thinking.

Back in 1967, in an issue of ‘Superman’ the two heroes were approached by a representative of the United Nations and asked if they would participate in a charity event, with all proceeds going to needy causes. They both agreed and the rules of the race were established: It was forbidden for Superman to fly, Flash was allowed to use his hyper-vibration to travel through obstacles while Superman had to run around (or over) them – while these rules seem skewed in favour of the red team they even out a little when you take into account that the race’s course took the two through some extreme conditions. While travelling through snowy mountain peeks the Flash would be severely effected by the cold temperatures, while Superman would not.

As you can see, while the conversation during the ‘Catch-22’ episode of LOST played out as an off the cuff exchange between a couple of nerdy characters, the details were at least somewhat accurate. However, the connection doesn’t end there!

When Superman and The Flash agreed to the charity race, a couple of shifty organisations saw the opportunity to make a quick buck and what followed was something resembling a comedy of errors. Unbeknownst to each other one group placed a large bet on The Flash to win and the other placed an equally large sum on Supes. Each organisation then set out to capture the hero that they had bet against and replace them with a doppleganger who’s job it was to lose the race.

Now, maybe I’m stretching things a little here, but it seems that LOST episode parallels some of those elements too! Hurley and Charlie’s conversation is rudely interrupted when Charlie triggers a trap (one can pretty safely assume that it was one left by that whacky French chick) – In the comic Superman and The Flash are both captured when they unwittingly fall into traps set for them by the criminals trying to fix the outcome of the race.

To stretch things a little further, for the entire course of the episode Desmond believes that the island’s new arrival will be his former fiancee, Penny. It turns out that it isn’t Penny, which is a real pity because I’d have been able to work in a witty “then the Penny dropped” gag about the chopper pilot being released from her ‘landing’ spot in the trees. However there’s an argument to be made here that she can be considered — at least until her helmet is removed — Penny’s doppleganger.

Ok, I realise that the whole doppleganger thing is a stretch, but are LOST’s writers trying to tell us something? Is someone else not who they say they are? Is one of the characters actually a doppleganger? Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Jack!

Now, let me stretch the whole thing even further! The race between Superman and The Flash that I’ve outlined in this post happened in SUPERMAN issue no.199, that same year there was a rematch in issue no.175 of FLASH. The rematch saw The Flash and Superman once again fall into a trap… this time it was set by beings who were not who they initially appeared to be. See a common thread developing here?

Something else that may make the mind of a LOST fan ponder, is that the title of the rematch issue was “The Race to the End of the Universe”.

Oh! And for the record, both races ended in a draw! [source]

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    thin threads… and even thinner plotline!!
    Not a big fan of LOST.

  • It’s funny Macca, I’ve actually become a ‘fan’ of the show as a result of the last half dozen or so episodes. Prior to that I’d have considered myself to be, at best, a ‘viewer’.

    I completely understand why it is that many people have been put off the show and how others have become frustrated with the lack of answers presented in the show and the piss poor programming schedule (if you can call it that) which has meant that, to keep up, you’ve had to jump through hoops and put up with long breaks between new episodes. However, for me, the show has never been stronger than it is at the moment… IMO, the plot thickens!

  • It’s sad, but I managed to sit through the first season of LOST but the second season just frustrated me. Don’t mention the third season!! What with flashbacks and unexplained developments.
    They never did explain what the ‘beast’ was that killed the pilot.
    Call me fickle, but I like my plotlines in the same way I like my pizza. Salivation waiting for it to arrive, enjoyment while I eat and finally after I get over digesting it, looking forward to the next time I get to order again.
    Funny how pop-culture and fast food go hand-in-hand…

  • Didn’t Clark race Barry in an episode of Smallville, and The Flash won.

    Also, Clark tries to keep up with Aquaman in a Smallville episode, and can’t. Apparently he swims faster than Superman.

    It seems sort of obvious to me though. I mean, if their major power isn’t able to beat Superman, it means Superman is better in every way. So it is a rule that if you have only one real major power (running fast/swimming fast for example) and you are a super hero, then you must be the best in the universe at that one power.

    There you go.

  • Give the man a cigar! I’m in 100% agreement with you Jamie.

    The way I see it – Superman has powers beyond that of mortal man, but not beyond that of other super heroes.

    The Flash is faster (at least SHOULD be). In water Aquaman is not only a faster swimmer, but probably stronger than Superman too (I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but there was an Aquaman issue a while ago where Aquaman lifts a whole building – underwater of course) I’m not saying that Superman can’t lift a building, I’m just pointing out that in his element Aquaman is superior.

    Collectively, undoubtedly Superman is superior to them all – that’s the point, he’s SUPER *man*.