Batman: Arkham game fans might see some eerie similarities in this week's Flash
Comics' Warden Wolfe is taking a page from Batman: Arkham's Warden Sharpe
Wally West and Wallace West – the DC Universe’s current Kid Flash, borne from a reboot of the DCU’s continuity – have teamed up to defend Central City following Barry Allen’s disappearance while exploring the reborn multiverse but a familiar face may be pulling strings to endanger the city.
Iron Heights Penitentiary Warden Gregory Wolfe has always been a figure that never saw eye-to-eye with the DCU’s superhero community, especially the Flash, but he has an even more sinister scheme up his sleeve that could change Central City forever revealed in The Flash #782. And more than just crossing the line into full-blown villainy, Wolfe’s latest plot echoes a similar story beat from the acclaimed Batman: Arkham video games.
Here’s what Wally and Wallace discover about Wolfe during their latest adventure in Iron Heights, how Wolfe’s plan compares to the Arkham games, and how this revelation could impact The Flash and his home.
Who Is Warden Wolfe?
Gregory Wolfe was created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver in the 2001 special one-shot The Flash: Iron Heights #1, with The Flash and Pied Piper investigating a viral outbreak at the supervillain prison. Wolfe and Wally immediately rubbed each other the wrong way, with the warden intensely despising the metahumans imprisoned in the facility, treating them cruelly and threatening them with death if they attempted to escape. Wolfe is secretly a metahuman himself, with the power to cause painful muscle spasms to those in the immediate vicinity around him at will. Wolfe has used this ability to not only subdue Iron Heights inmates but has also used it on Wally.
Wolfe was introduced to The CW’s shared television universe of DC properties, informally referred to as the Arrowverse, in the first season of The Flash. Originally portrayed by actor Anthony Harrison, the role was recast in the fourth season, with actor Richard Brooks. The Flash's fourth season revealed that Wolfe was secretly selling his metahuman inmates to the supervillain Amunet Black before discovering Barry Allen is the Flash. Before Wolfe could share this information, he was killed by the criminal mastermind the Thinker who had broken into Iron Heights to steal the mental powers of its inmates.
How Do Wolfe’s Plans Line Up with Batman: Arkham Asylum?
For all of The Flash and Warden Wolfe’s differences, particularly regarding the treatment of Iron Heights inmates, the two men have a mutual interest in protecting Central City as they work together. However, Wolfe is poised to take the most powerful elected position in Central City if he’s elected mayor, with Wallace discovering a room in Iron Heights containing materials for a planned mayoral campaign. Wolfe’s political aspirations aren’t strange in it of themselves but the warden appears to be deliberately releasing inmates from Iron Heights to fuel voter interest in a mayoral candidate that is tough on crime, giving his campaign the edge.
The 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, developed by Rocksteady Studios, introduced Warden Quincy Sharp, a similarly no-nonsense figure who presided over Gotham City’s most notorious asylum for the criminally insane. One of the game’s most well-hidden Easter eggs had a secret room in Sharp’s office that contained his own mayoral campaign materials along with plans to convert a sizable portion of Gotham into an open asylum space.
This plan would come to fruition in Arkham Asylum’s 2011 sequel Batman: Arkham City, set 18 months after the events of its predecessor. Taking credit for stopping the Joker’s uprising at Arkham, Sharp succeeded in being elected as Gotham’s Mayor, fulfilling his campaign promise to address crime by buying up a large section of the city's slums and converting them into an open prison area monitored by a private security firm. Eventually, Sharp was discovered to be secretly manipulated by Hugo Strange and Ra’s al Ghul the whole time, leading to his downfall and death in a plan orchestrated by Strange.
Warden Wolfe’s full intentions for Central City, should he be elected as its mayor, are still unclear but there are clear parallels - including the very specific notion that both are superhero prison wardens that each have mayoral ambitions AND have secret rooms with their plans displayed on the walls. Both men are unscrupulous jailers, overseeing the notorious supervillains that populate their respective cities. In addition to planning to be elected as mayors, the two men intend to use the villain-driven chaos to their advantage in garnering votes, while their dark secrets place them at odds with each of their cities’ guardian heroes.
What Has Been Happening in The Flash?
The Flash #782 is written by Jeremy Adams, penciled and inked by Fernando Pasarin and Matt Ryan, colored by Jeromy Cox and Peter Pantazis, and lettered by Rob Leigh. Adams began his run on the comic book series at the start of the 'Infinite Frontier' era, DC’s publishing initiative that began after the 2020 crossover event Dark Knights: Death Metal and, with it, the rebirth of the DC Multiverse. Starting with The Flash #768, Barry Allen passed the mantle of the Flash back to his protege and best friend Wally West while leaving to explore the newly formed and expanding multiverse before being abducted by the alternate universe figure Pariah.
Once again serving as the main DCU’s Scarlet Speedster, Wally overcomes his guilt for his role in the controversial 2018 storyline Heroes in Crisis, now reunited with his family, from whom he had been separated due to changes to the fabric of reality. As the rest of the West family begin to develop their own superpowers, including Wally’s wife Linda, Wally supports his family by working at an advanced laboratory run by Mister Terrific. Since retaking the mantle of The Flash, Wally has encountered both familiar foes and new enemies, with an encounter with the supervillain Girder putting him on a collision course with Warden Wolfe.
What Does This Development Mean for The Flash and Central City?
While Wolfe has certainly performed plenty of vicious and underhanded acts while running Iron Heights, his new plot firmly removes any lingering doubt if the unscrupulous warden is an outright villain. Using their newly developed stealth suits, Wally and Wallace are now aware of Wolfe’s political ambitions and remain suspicious of him but are unaware that Wolfe is deliberately unleashing imprisoned supervillains on Central City as part of his grander plot.
Wolfe is hardly in the dark that the Flash is investigating his activities, however, with his surveillance system revealing Wally and Wallace’s infiltration despite their stealth suits. Wolfe is unconcerned by this, confident that they cannot stop him from being elected mayor while planning to rope Captain Cold into his scheme.
The DCU has weathered having Lex Luthor elected as the President of the United States, culminating in him pitting his resources against the superhero community in the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. Wolfe’s planned ascent to become Mayor of Central City will likely put the Flash and Kid Flash on the defensive, with Wolfe preferring to carry out law enforcement without tolerating the presence of heroes he can’t personally control. Wally and Wolfe may be underestimating each other for now but these two are slated to square up, with the fate of Central City hanging in the balance.
As Warden Wolfe continues to plot on how to seize power of Central City, Wally’s adventures take a detour in June 21's The Flash #783 as the crossover event Dark Crisis looms over the DCU.