DC Animated Universe

"Flash and Substance" is the fifth episode of the third season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 31st of the overall series. It originally aired on February 11, 2006.


In a bar where all of Central City's Rogues seem to hang out, four of Flash's enemies share grievances over drinks, lamenting how Flash has always foiled their various capers: Mirror Master, Captain Cold, The Trickster, and Captain Boomerang. As a final insult, Central City has declared the next day "Flash Appreciation Day" and dedicated a museum to him. The Rogues decide to work together and toast to killing the Flash.

The next day, Wally West spends the morning at his day job, as a forensic science technician for the Central City crime lab, where he successfully finds evidence from a suspect's shoe to close a homicide case. Reminding his supervisor that he's taking a half-day, Wally ducks into a closet and teleports up to the Watchtower. Seeing that all of the original seven founding members are on assignment except for Batman, Flash drops hopeful hints about the museum opening, and Batman reluctantly agrees to show up, much to Orion's disgust. After Flash leaves the room, Orion begins to chastise Batman for allowing Flash to talk him into attending. Batman shoots Orion a stern look, which is all it takes to convince Orion to tag along for the ceremony.

While making the rounds in Central City, Flash hears a little girl crying for help inside an abandoned disco club. The girl proves to be an illusion, and the disco has been booby-trapped by Mirror Master, with lasers shooting from the disco ball. Flash escapes the trap by throwing a record at the disco ball, severing its cord and causing it to crash to the floor.

Flash receives the key to the city from the mayor and gives a brief humble speech thanking everyone, but the ceremony is interrupted by a barrage of explosive boomerangs. Flash disposes of them safely, but then a giant rocket-propelled boomerang snatches him up and heads for a mountain. Flash manages to tear out its circuitry, causing it to crash prematurely on a street. Batman and Orion find him, telling him there's a plot to kill him, but Flash says he still plans to attend the ceremony.

After Captain Boomerang's plot fails, Trickster proposes an elaborate but deadly prank involving four hundred cases of fake dog vomit and a wall of metal spikes. Ignoring him, the other three Rogues, at Cold's suggestion, decide taking turns is "dumb" and to simply ambush Flash together at the museum opening, and they leave while Trickster remains behind, depressed that "nobody gets me".

The three heroes teleport into Flash's apartment, where Flash changes his costume and cheerily shrugs off Batman and Orion's concerns about the four villains attempts on Flash's life. Following Flash's remark about the four's favorite bar hangout, they proceed to that place, where they find the Trickster moping. Batman and Orion interrogate him in their usual tough style, but Flash takes a more humane approach and convinces Trickster that he needs to continue his psychiatric care. Trickster agrees to spill about the others' plan if Flash promises to come visit him in the hospital, and warns him about the planned ambush at the museum. As they leave, Trickster cheerfully agrees to turn himself in as soon as he finishes his drink, much to Orion's bafflement.

At the museum opening, Batman and Orion stake out the outside of the building after having taking precaution that Mirror Master couldn't use any mirrors inside the building to sneak his way in. Orion wonders aloud at how a "buffoon" like Flash can be considered a hero, or deserve membership in the League. Batman agrees... that Orion doesn't understand. In fact, Flash is a member of the original seven.

Meanwhile, Flash is signing autographs inside the museum, Linda Park, an infatuated TV reporter, slips him her phone number, but he is so distracted that he just signs it and hands it back. Before starting their on-air interview, Linda checks her makeup in a compact mirror – out of which Boomerang, Captain Cold, and Mirror Master emerge. The crowd flees, alerting Batman and Orion to the situation inside. The three heroes engage the villains, but during the ensuing battle, Linda falls into one of the many mirrors Mirror Master has scattered throughout the museum. Flash follows her in, and they both end up trapped in an alternate dimension with millions of mirrors, with their numbers and random interconnections proving too difficult to find the right exit back to Earth.

During the fight in the museum, Captain Cold encases Orion in ice. Batman fires a flare into the mirror, marking the exit for Flash. As Flash and Linda return to the museum, the Leaguers regroup and defeat the Rogues. Boomerang simply gets knocked out; Captain Cold is encased in a block of ice; while Mirror Master tries to escape through a mirror, but Batman shatters it with a batarang, leaving the villain literally in pieces.

In a TV interview, Flash reports that everyone is safe. Linda laments that the museum has been destroyed and pours out her adoration of Flash. Embarrassed, Wally covers with a joke: "Hey, at least I got to be on TV".

Orion realizes that the speedster is actually quite the worthy warrior, and that he only acts the part of a fool to deal with the emotional stress and trauma that goes along with super-heroics. Though the museum has sustained heavy damage, Flash shrugs it off, stating that what matters most to him is that no one was hurt, and the good guys won in the end.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • Teen Titans Line Up

    The Teen Titans line-up.

    The design for Kid Flash's costume as seen on display in the Flash Museum is re-used from Tommy Tejeda's artwork for a proposed Teen Titans pitch developed in 1996.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • One of the men in the background playing pool disappears while Mirror Master is talking.
  • Orion's lips don't move when he observes "You're tied to a very large boomerang."
  • When Flash is in his civilian guise, he has blue eyes, but in his other appearances, his eyes are black.


  • In some form or another, almost every major villain in the Flash's history appears in this episode, making cameos either at the Rogue's hangout or in depictions at the Flash Museum. The rogues at the bar include Weather Wizard, Turtle-Man, Thinker, Fiddler, Doctor Alchemy, Abra Kadabra, and Pied Piper.
  • One particular sighting places Mr. Element at a bar sitting next to Doctor Alchemy. It's a strange sight, considering that for most of the character's history, the two villains had actually been one man with a split personality. However, in DC Comics continuity, a false Mr. Element has appeared at least once, so the presence of both men isn't completely out of the question - as long as Doctor Alchemy's deadly hatred of the impostor is discounted.
  • When discussing the presence of both the Kid Flash costume, Dwayne McDuffie noted that "Flash and Kid Flash exist."
  • A helmet resembling Jay Garrick's helmet can be seen in the Flash Museum, seemingly implying he exists in the DCAU, but according to McDuffie it was never decided on. He went on to explain many other possibilities for the helmet, saying "It's not Jay's helmet, it belongs to Hermes. It's from an old Wally Flash costume. It's a trophy from a completely unrelated adventure and has nothing to do with any Flash costume whatsoever, et cetera... The only reason you think it's Jay's is because you know about Jay. 95% of the audience have never heard of him, and don't care. If we wanted it to be Jays, it would be just as easy to bring into continuity, but we didn't say either way."[1]
  • Batman's interaction with the Trickster is somewhat similar to his encounters with the Joker, though the Trickster is much milder. Both villains are voiced by Mark Hamill, who actually played the Trickster in the live action Flash TV series in 1990. The role ultimately led to Hamill's audition for the animated Joker. The Trickster's appearance here is modeled heavily on Hamill's appearance from the older series. Hamill also guest starred as the Trickster in the 2014 The Flash TV series.
  • This episode marks the final time that Mark Hamill and Ron Perlman voice characters in the DCAU (not chronologically).
  • Linda Park is also a reporter in DC Comics. However, her name in the comic books is Linda Park-West, the wife of the Flash and mother of his twin children. In this episode, she demonstrates a deep attraction for the Flash, perhaps planting a seed for a later relationship.
  • Captain Cold mentions a wife. In DC Comics he's single and is a notorious womanizer. In an odd role switch, the Wally West of DC Comics is married, with children, while in the DCAU, the unmarried Flash is a self-styled ladies' man.
  • Apart from the Flash standee, Wally's apartment also has a treadmill. This is possibly a reference to the Cosmic Treadmill, a time travel device used by several Flashes.
  • Flash mentions his uncle; in the comics, Wally's uncle was Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash.
  • Wally's day job is in the forensic division of a police department. In the comics, Wally never held such a job (though he was a mechanic for the police at one point). It was Wally's uncle, Barry Allen (the previous Flash), who worked in police forensics.
  • When Flash receives the key to the city, the exact same building and plaza was used prior in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Speed Demons".


Actor Role
Michael Rosenbaum The Flash
Kevin Conroy Batman
Reporter (uncredited)
Ron Perlman Orion
Wally's Supervisor (uncredited)
Alexis Denisof Mirror Master
Tony (uncredited)
Lex Lang Captain Cold
Fisherman (uncredited)
Rick (uncredited)
Mark Hamill The Trickster
Donal Gibson Captain Boomerang
Kim Mai Guest Linda Park
Earleen (uncredited)
Little Girl (uncredited)
Lani Minella Mayor
Waitress (uncredited)
Marla (uncredited)
Margie (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances[]


Mirror Master: Gentlemen, we live in brutal times. Last week, to make ends meet, I was reduced to hijacking a tractor-trailer full of sports cars.
Captain Cold: That is so beneath you. At least knock over a bank.
Trickster: You gotta visualize.
Captain Cold: Visualize? What the heck does that mean? If I don't "visualize" a mortgage payment soon, the wife will have me bagging groceries for a living.
Captain Boomerang: She's always been an Ice Queen, that one.

Captain Boomerang: Well, at least he didn't make me eat my own laser kaleidoscope...
Mirror Master: That's a rumor! A complete exaggeration. And anyway, it was a laser pistol.
Captain Cold: It's like that time I stole an entire train while it was moving. The way people tell it, you'd think the Flash shoved my cold gun--

Flash: Oh right, uh, cause it's Flash Appreciation Day. Yeah, it'll be great. I understand if everybody's too busy to come, no biggie. My mom's gonna be there. Let's see, my uncle's flying in. Be great if one of the original seven made it. I mean, okay, yeah, it's the Flash Museum, but to me, the whole League deserves the honor, all of us, like I said no biggie... (sighs sorrowfully)
Batman: What time?
Flash: Six o'clock. Nooooo... You're really coming? Awesome! You're a stand up guy, Bats! Don't ever let them call you a crazed loner.

Orion: I can't believe you let that buffoon manipulate you. You'd never see me at one of these museum openings. (pause as Batman glares at him) It's not black tie, is it?

Flash: Mirror Master!
Mirror Master: You're as quick as ever!
Flash: Yeah? Well, you're... You're not really all there!
Mirror Master: Oooh! Nice try! If you had another minute, you'd probably think of a decent comeback. (the disco ball starts firing random lasers at Flash, who evades) Sadly you don't have the time. (one of the blasts takes Flash down) In another minute you'll be dead!

Flash: While you're waiting for me to come arrest you, why not take the time and reflect on your mistakes? (walks away) Hey, that was pretty good.

Captain Boomerang: Touch of dizziness. You might find it useful to fix on one point on the horizon. For instance, that mountain you're set to crash into.

Flash: Listen, I need to go home and change before the opening tonight.
Batman: We're coming with you.
Flash: You really don't have to.
Batman: We're coming... With you.
Flash: (sighs) OK! You guys are so slow!

(After hearing the Trickster's over-elaborate plan)
Captain Cold: You know what? Taking turns is dumb. Let's just all jump him at the museum.
Mirror Master: Brilliant!
Captain Boomerang: Good deal.
Trickster: But come on. It'll be great. Okay, you don't like the barf? I can make do with 50,000 rotten eggs and a chainsaw. Well, if that's the way you're gonna be, forget about it! I quit! Nobody gets me.

Trickster: I mean what's so special about a "disco of death?" Heck with 'em! I'm an artist! They're just robbing banks. Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang... Probably would have gone for it if I was a captain...

Orion: Talk! While you still have a jaw.

Orion: What about your enemy?
The Flash: Oh, right. (to the Trickster) Dude, as soon as you finish your drink, turn yourself in.
Trickster: (raising his mug) Got me again, Flash!

Linda Park: When we come back, I'll try to get with him... Get to him... For an interview... Are we off? Geez. He's a total babe. Like the entire track team at once. I can't believe you're not into him, Marla.
Marla: Okay... Now you're off. (Linda slaps a paper on her face in embarrassment)

Orion: Central City builds statues to this... fool. Who makes bad jokes. Who concerns himself with pitiful men like the Trickster. I don't understand.
Batman: No... you don't.

Captain Cold: That's it? I was all set to crack some bones.
Orion: Then brace yourself!