- "I told you that the Enlightenment would come for you, Marlize, and it will. Remember, I thought of everything. Even this moment."
- —Clifford DeVoe's final words to his wife[src]
Clifford DeVoe (May 8, 1975 - May 22, 2018), nicknamed The Thinker by Cisco Ramon, was a former history professor at Central City University, and a criminal mastermind who was also an extremely knowledgeable enemy of Barry Allen/The Flash. Before he lived in Central City he lived in South Africa.
DeVoe worked alongside Marlize DeVoe, his now-estranged wife, and ex-partner-in-crime, whom he met at the University of Oxford. DeVoe eventually transferred his consciousness into the various "bus-metas", siphoning their respective powers into himself. He eventually managed to take control over the body of Ralph Dibny, whose powers made him immune to the negative effects that his ever-expanding mind was having on his body's physical well-being.
DeVoe also used Dibny's powers to revert to the appearance of his initial body. He then went on to attempt to achieve his ultimate goal; to reset the intelligence of every person on the planet, which he called the "Enlightenment". Marlize, after realizing how insane his plan was, had ultimately aligned herself with Team Flash to stop him. After Ralph regained control of his body, DeVoe managed to live on via a hologram created by transferring his consciousness into his hoverchair but perished once and for all when Marlize removed the chair's power source.
Studies and teachingClifford DeVoe was born on May 8, 1975, and raised in South Africa. When he grew up, he studied history and econometrics at the University of Johannesburg. Clifford first took a teaching position at the University of Oxford, specializing in the history of warfare and military strategy, focusing largely on the early Middle Ages. At the university, Clifford met Marlize, and the two fell in love and got married. Circa 2006, while at Oxford, DeVoe was a member of the debating society, debating the morality of Sun Tzu and the principles of Machiavelli. At that time, he also held a number of lectures in Central City University: on Japanese political fragmentation in the 15th century on June 13, the Menji Restoration of 1868 in September and the Battle of Hakusukinoe in October. He would later accept an invitation to become a professor at CCU, moving to live in Central City, United States.
Becoming The Thinker
DeVoe and his wife, now living in Central City, worked on adapting to their new lives and saw progress for human development through the acceleration of mind, with DeVoe thinking that his own genius was not enough to achieve their plan of "distributing knowledge" throughout society. Coincidentally, the couple followed the progress of S.T.A.R. Labs under Dr. Harrison Wells, specifically his S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator project. Thawne, well aware of Clifford DeVoe and his future from his own timeline and its results, wished him luck. Upon realizing that the particle accelerator would explode, the couple developed a machine to amplify DeVoe's intelligence by using the dark matter from the particle accelerator explosion to power his "Thinking Cap" device. While the experiment was a success, DeVoe began to suffer from degeneration in his body, slowly paralyzing him and causing him seizures and pain. With his body trying to maintain the vast intellect, the rest of his body was not receiving the energy it needs. DeVoe's wife has thus built a machine that plugs into his brain to slow down his deteriorating body.
DeVoe kept watching over Team Flash's exploits, eventually learning all about The Flash's identity as Barry Allen, as well as their foes and the multiverse. He then formulated a plan and started to watch over 12 individuals that he marked as potential meta-humans. He manipulated the events in all of their lives to ensure that they would all be on the same bus, at the point of time that he would need them to be. In October 2017, DeVoe and Marlize built a samurai droid to force the Flash to make his return to Central City, causing dark matter to spill out and transform a busload of twelve people into meta-humans. After the samurai robot was defeated, DeVoe used it to anonymously welcome the Flash back. After rebuilding another Samuroid in his hideout, he mused on how everything was going according to plan with the Flash's return and began to plan his next move.
Later, DeVoe got up early in the morning, researched all of Schubert's 600+ works and used this knowledge to finish his unfinished eighth symphony, playing it on a holographic piano. Marlize approached him, musing how she enjoyed the song as a child. DeVoe proceeded to ask her for an update on the meta-humans, to which she showed him she managed to locate Ramsey Deacon locked up at Iron Heights Prison. DeVoe then decided it was time to locate the others.
Shortly after, as DeVoe and his wife watched over an incarcerated Becky Sharpe, Marlize remarked on how Team Flash had found her significantly quicker than they'd anticipated, suggesting they were smarter than they (the DeVoes) had originally thought. DeVoe, however, was sure that he was smarter, revealing a live feed to S.T.A.R. Labs from the seemingly inert Samuroid head.
He tracked down a meta-human called "The Weeper" a week later and told him that he went through a lot of trouble in creating him and that he couldn't die until he completed the task he was created for.When Marlize came to him, saying they needed to talk, he responded that it would end the only way it could; with his victory. She seemed confused and he said that they would have to take the conversation the long way. She then alerted DeVoe to the fact that Team Flash was close to discovering his identity earlier than they had anticipated. He assured her that everything was fine as he had calculated every possible variable, as well as all possible outcomes of their conversation and how it would end. When she asked how it would end, he repeated his earlier statement that it would all end with his victory. Not long after, they were visited by Joe West and Barry Allen, who asked to speak to Clifford, who appeared in simple clothes and in an electric wheelchair, away from his mechanized hovering chair. After letting Joe and Barry in their home for being questioned, he denied knowing any of the meta-humans that were in the bus the day when Barry exited from the Speed Force, except for Mina Chayton but he explained his earlier life and about how he met his wife Marlize at the last university he taught at. After a few questions, Joe and Barry decided to leave, in which Barry doesn't trust DeVoe and continued his investigation into him.
DeVoe was teaching at a classroom at the University when he saw Barry again. When the students were dismissed, Barry posed several questions to him on his whereabouts on January 7, 2014 (the date of the particle accelerator explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs). Clifford claimed that he had no clue where he was that night. Barry asked him if he took any public transportation (wondering if DeVoe was a bus-meta) and DeVoe said he only got rides from people he knew were "wheel-chair friendly.” DeVoe also asked Barry why he was inquiring such information. Barry told him he wasn’t at liberty to disclose why and handed him his contact card, while secretly super-quickly swiping Clifford's mug to conduct a DNA test to determine if DeVoe was a meta-human.
Hours later, DeVoe filed a complaint against Barry to David Singh. He lied, claiming that Barry was harassing him and his wife, prompting Singh to force Barry into apologizing to Clifford and Marlize for prying them.
The following day, Barry broke into DeVoe's house and found that he was spying on Team Flash, and Marlize subsequently went to Singh again to deal with Barry's behavior. Barry was suspended from work for two weeks, and the DeVoes acquired a restraining order against Allen, forbidding him from coming into further contact with them.
Later, Barry defied the order and sought out DeVoe one more time, asking him who he really was. DeVoe revealed to Barry that he knows his superhero identity, how the Flash was “born”, that he, Clifford DeVoe, was "born" that same night, and that he's smarter than Barry and all his friends combined. DeVoe specifically told Barry that while he may be the fastest man alive, he is "the fastest mind alive". DeVoe promised to think about Barry as he left to begin a class.
DeVoe told Marlize about his encounter with Barry and talked about his friends until his seizures started again, due to not connecting to his hover-chair for a long period of time. Marlize took off his wig, revealing his brain and connected him to his hover-chair. While watching live footage of Barry and Iris sitting on their sofa together, Marlize asked her husband if he's going to let them get married. DeVoe replied, "What is knowledge without love?".
Evolution of the Thinker
Sometime after Barry and Iris's wedding, DeVoe attacked Barry using his hoverchair. He was able to capture Barry and take him to his lair, where he puts Barry in a speedster trap. He confronted Barry and told him that he is here to teach him and that the lesson was there are no such things as Happy Endings. When Joe West and Harrison Wells arrived at DeVoe's house, DeVoe met them, but showed no real hostility to them and allowed them to look through his house. He returned to Barry, but found him gone, shocked that Barry could have escaped, he put down the trap, only to discover that Barry had not moved at all, but had stood still so very fast that the eye couldn't see. DeVoe tried to launch the trap back up but was too slow and Barry escaped. Barry confronted DeVoe, who teleported the pair of them over the city. In the air, DeVoe attempted to use his mechanical arms to capture Barry but accidentally damaged his chair, which sent him into the water. DeVoe survived and when Dominic Lanse was brought to him by Marlize, he then transferred his consciousness into Dominic, fully taking over his body. In Dominic's body, DeVoe attended Joe West's Christmas Party, having planted his previous body in Barry and Iris's apartment and stabbed it with a knife that Barry had held prior. He had the alarm go off in the apartment so that Barry would go there. He contacted him and told him that he has taken over Dominic's body. He said his goodbye to the rest of Team Flash before being reunited with Marlize, they kissed and put his ring on his finger. DeVoe then told her that the age of enlightenment is to begin and the pair left in their car while Barry was arrested for DeVoe's "murder".
DeVoe then used his chair to take the lives and powers of the four bus metas in Iron Heights, killing them. When Gregory Wolfe tried to stop him, DeVoe killed him as well after taking the body of Becky Sharpe. He taunted the Flash about his failure to save Sharpe and teleported away.
DeVoe then took the body of Izzy Bowin, or The Fiddler, with the help of Becky's luck-altering powers. During this incident, Izzy placed the cerebral inhibitor Harry Wells had built on Sharpe's forehead, but DeVoe simply stated, "Call me Kilg%re". He burnt out the neural inhibitor and took Bowin's body, escaping after taunting Team Flash once more, especially Harry, for his device's failure. Afterward, he performed using Izzy's fiddle in his sanctuary with his wife applauding his work, then asking him what the next step is, and DeVoe replies, stating there are three more metas to find.
While planning on catching the three remaining bus metas, he drugged Marlize numerous times to keep her by his side when he discovered that she saw the Weeper's tears in her drink and revealed to her that she has been finding out about him using her over and over again.Harry Wells created a Sonic Scepter to generate sonic waves, which, as they learned when they met Izzy Bowin, could hurt the Thinker. While Team Flash searched for Edwin Gauss, Clifford sent a Samuroid to stab Caitlin. The Samuroid was easily destroyed by Barry, but it sent irritating comments. When Caitlin was healed and Edwin is supposedly safe, the main field agents go to the pocket dimension to attack The Thinker, but he was not actually there and just put a mirage there. Clifford and Marlize attacked S.T.A.R. Labs. Another Samuroid fought Joe unsuccessfully, while Marlize fought Iris. To distract Ralph, DeVoe sent the bony structure of a T-Rex to attack him while he stole the powers from Matthew Kim and Janet Petty, he then took the body of Edwin Gauss. Ralph Dibny thought to have outsmarted him by putting cuffs on him, but DeVoe quickly hacked the cuffs, then immobilized Barry by pulling him down to the floor with gravity and possessed Ralph's body while making everyone watch. Caitlin and Cisco went to attack him to no avail, and DeVoe used Kim's powers to Caitlin, stripping her from Killer Frost.
The Beginning of the Enlightenment
After humiliating Team Flash, he and Marlize celebrated. He used Ralph Dibny's body to recover his initial likeness, which leads to Marlize and him kiss passionately. Harry Wells' idea of asking Gideon to put dark matter in his thinking cap backfired for him, as DeVoe got a container with a key element for "The Enlightenment" and Harry was losing his knowledge gradually.
DeVoe's change, however, did not mean he was the loving man he used to be: he rejected Marlize's plans to please him and he also rejected love.
DeVoe intended to intercept Neil Borman's transport. He went to their location, and when Barry and Leo Snart faced him, it was shown that the scepter was no longer effective against him after he got Ralph's body. DeVoe went to mimic Ralph's voice by saying "Right, rookie". This broke Barry and made everyone distracted from Siren-X, who was catching everyone off guard and abducting Neil. DeVoe was frustrated that Barry allowed Siren-X to escape with Fallout but Marlize made him realize he hadn't taken human emotions into account since Barry came face to face with the man who killed his friend and teammate in front of him while he was helpless to prevent it.
Abandoned by his wifeAs Clifford was stupefied by his wife's exodus, his plans came to a halt. As Team Flash tried to figure out his reasons for stalling, Iris West started an investigation into DeVoe's activities to compile materials for an article that she eventually published on her blog "Saved by The Flash" after consulting with her husband and the rest of the team. Iris's investigation gave people information on DeVoe's activities and was positively received by her readers, who immediately started gathering information on DeVoe themselves, bringing note of the mad scientist's sightings to Iris's comment section.
Using Ralph's shape-shifting ability, DeVoe impersonated John Diggle in order to kidnap Fallout from the A.R.G.U.S. facility holding him. After Barry destroyed one of "The Enlightenment" satellites, DeVoe used the shrunken Fallout as a battery to power the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite and begin the final stage of his mission. Marlize, who'd defected from DeVoe and was assisting Team Flash, established a mental connection with Barry and DeVoe's mind using Cecille Horton's telepathy in order for Barry to bring out the good still left in Clifford.
Final Scheme and Death
In the Thinker's mind, Barry discovered Ralph still alive and the pair set off to find the "good DeVoe" only to discover him dead in his classroom. Knowing that Ralph escaping DeVoe's mind would cause the latter to cease to exist, the pair attempted to escape but clones of DeVoe tried to halt this, as DeVoe wanted to trap Barry inside of his mind, stating that Barry's connection with the Speed Force also gave him control of him. Barry and Ralph escape DeVoe's mind by thinking of other things so the DeVoe clones couldn't read their minds as Barry wakes up while DeVoe is strangling Cecile with Null's powers. DeVoe began to weaken and collapsed to the floor while also activating a dead man's switch on the back of his chair. DeVoe screamed in frustration over being outsmarted and defeated but Marlize reminded him once again of his inability to consider human feelings. Ralph regained control of his body, seemingly defeating DeVoe for good. But then, using Kilg%re's powers, he returned via a hologram. A dead man's switch activated after Marlize pulled the power source from the chair, defeating DeVoe once and for all. DeVoe's death activated said switch, knocking the S.T.A.R Labs satellite out of orbit, but the combined efforts of Cisco, Ralph, Barry, and Nora Allen were able to stop the satellite from crashing to Earth, leaving Clifford's plans a complete failure.
Savitar remembered the "cerebral inhibitor" being used on DeVoe while touring S.T.A.R. Labs in 2017. While it was apparently an invalid solution because DeVoe hacked it with Kilg%re's powers, it still was important, allowing to generate a connection between Barry and DeVoe's mind.
At some point in the future, both Eobard Thawne and Abra Kadabra became aware of DeVoe's role as one of the Flash's enemies. Thawne became a fan of the man's "work". Abra Kadabra regarded the Thinker as one of the Flash's greatest enemies alongside the Reverse-Flash and Zoom; however, none were as bad as Savitar.
DeVoe had initially succeeded in ruining Barry's reputation, as the public believe that he had harassed the latter for no apparent reason. However, after Iris West had released her article revealing all of DeVoe's misdeeds, as well as his plan to reset the mind of every human on the planet (albeit she remain anonymous), the public now knows that Barry never harassed DeVoe, as well as the fact that Barry's suspicions regarding that the latter may be dangerous, ultimately proved correct.
DeVoe will go down in history as a psychopath and murderer.
As a result of the Enlightenment and DeVoe's attempt to use the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite which Barry was forced to destroy, Team Flash found themselves slightly handicapped when Gridlock showed up, as the satellite was how they usually found metas. Iris in particular thought of this as a "parting gift from DeVoe."
Prior to his transformation, Clifford was a fairly ordinary but socially awkward man who genuinely craved knowledge and wanted to reach people so he could pass on his love of knowledge to others, becoming frustrated with how so few of his students seemed to actually respect or listen to what he was trying to teach them. He at the same time had a relatively extreme outlook on life. Believing that such technological advances have corrupted the morality and reduced the personal drive of man, he became rather outspoken to his disdain on such over-usage of technology, even writing a thesis on how the world would be better off without technology. Feeling that their minds had become too small whilst his own ability to convey information effectively was lacking, Clifford began his efforts to construct the "Thinking Cap" with his lover in the name of bringing forth an "age of enlightenment".
- "You could gather every genius on any planet and you still couldn' outthink me. You have done wonders all these years, punching gorillas with rudimentary powers, chasing madmen shooting icicles... Those were children! With playguns; Savitar, Zoom, Thawne... their powers are nothing compared to the power of limitless thought"
- —Clifford DeVoe to Barry Allen[src]
Since becoming "the Thinker", Clifford's personality had changed; though still craving knowledge, he was now more ruthless and brutal in his willingness to hurt innocents to get what he wants. Clifford was a calculating and patient man, very much focused on his current objective all the time, not having much emotional reaction while doing so. He was very confident in his abilities and did not hesitate to emphasize just how thoroughly he has accounted for every possibility and every outcome, even to his own wife.
Clifford also possessed an ambitious nature even before his transformation, wishing to advance the human consciousness to instill change in humanity. Whether as a façade or not, he can be a nice person towards people, especially to his students, but he also takes advantage of this trait when he lied to David Singh about Barry harassing him and his wife in which the latter was actually investigating him.
However, even at his worst, Clifford was not without a romantic side; he feels the need to be the great man his wife needs despite his condition and noted that he would be nothing without her. He also allows Barry Allen and Iris West to have their wedding without any intervention.
Clifford's superhuman intelligence had made him quite arrogant to the point of having a massive ego, this is evidenced by the fact that after Barry confronted him, as he wanted to know who he really was, he not only revealed to the latter that he knows he is the Flash, but Clifford also boasted that he has nothing to fear from Barry, this new-found intellect of his, also causes him to sometimes underestimate his opponents, like Barry.
Clifford retains a polite edge, despite his arrogance, even referring to his adversaries as "mr" and "mrs" though with various levels of condescension.
Ultimately, Clifford's arrogance and ego led to his downfall; at the hands of Barry Allen and Team Flash respectively.
It appears Clifford's constant body change may be affecting his mind as theorized by Marlize. This was evident by the fact Clifford seems to be cruel towards his wife especially when she points out potential flaws in him, something Clifford in the past never did. His immoral and selfish nature has even reached the point of viewing his wife as nothing more than a tool for his needs, going so far as to repeatedly alter her memories to keep her docile.
However, he was proven to be even more cruel to his wife after she find out about him drugging her and erasing her memories and he comes out of nowhere to telling everything he's done to her and when she was about to turn against him he uses his chair to shoot out one of the claws to stab her on the side of the neck drugging her and leaving his wife unconscious on the floor and later on she wakes up having her on his side as his partner. He was also not above killing and could even take sadistic pleasure in it, as he did to Gregory Wolfe, without any reason. Ultimately, his discuss on the world had evolved to believe that it was emotional views and personal ties that have weakened people's understanding.
Powers and abilities
- "There is not a decimal, a fraction, an infinitesimal variable beyond my thoughts... beyond my mind!"
- —Clifford DeVoe[src]
- Meta-human physiology (brain only): After being struck by the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator while wearing his "Thinking Cap", DeVoe's already high mental capacities were enhanced to superhuman levels. The Thinking Cap also shielded him from being directly exposed to the gene-altering energy, which allowed DeVoe to retain his normal human DNA, despite his enhanced physiology which enabled him to hide from S.T.A.R. Labs' meta DNA test.
- Superhuman intelligence: The vastly augmented parameters of his mentality have pushed his ability to process, react, memorize, deduce, analyze, and simply comprehend to surreal levels, able access any thoughts far faster and more efficiently than normal human levels, even exceeding any speedster. Even more, his intellect is continuously expanding, quite possibly ranking him the greatest mind in the multiverse, even making the intellects of other recognized geniuses seeming pathetic in comparison. To his credit, he solved many mysteries with his intelligence, including Riemann's hypothesis, Hilbert's 15th problem, and Jack the Ripper's true identity. DeVoe claims he can calculate and deduce the answer to almost any question and anticipate any potential outcome, and to his credit has anticipated ever action his enemies have taken several steps ahead of him as if being clairvoyant. He is even able to condition his thought patterns and general brain activity to mimic others, enabling him to perform feats like completing Schubert's unfinished eighth symphony by extrapolating the remaining movements after he familiarized himself with the body of his other 600 works in a single morning. DeVoe's meta-human powers are implied to be contained in his meta-human mind, as Ralph Dibny displayed no signs of any powers besides his own, once DeVoe's consciousness was erased and he regained control of his body.
- Absorbed powers: Between transferring his consciousness and current powers into other bodies or siphoning other people's powers into his current body, DeVoe has gradually expanded the number of meta-abilities he possesses. Between the continued assimilation of extra dark matter and his heightened mental parameters, DeVoe's control, range, and versatility in using these stolen abilities greatly exceed their original owners. He is also revealed to have retained the memories and knowledge of each individual he absorbed via the transferral technology. According to Marlize, Devoe's manipulations of events included calculating the exact combination of specific powers needed to counter any allies the Flash might have brought to bear against him.
- Dimensional Manipulation: From Edwin Gauss, DeVoe is able to create portals to other pocket dimensions, essentially "folding" the boundaries between them. This action also acts as a powerful defense, able to absorb any attack through one portal and then simultaneously redirect it through another portal.
- DNA Manipulation: From Matthew Kim, DeVoe's powers allow him to dissolve the bonds of DNA in a subject upon physical contact with them to alter its nature.
- Power transferral: DeVoe can manipulate the metahuman DNA markers of individuals, allowing him to siphon and transfer the powers of one person to another host, even into himself.
- DNA Simulation: DeVoe managed to manipulate his DNA to simulate another person's DNA to the point that any DNA test that comes his way can be fooled. When used with his shapeshifting abilities he would be genetically and physically indistinguishable from the individual he's impersonating.
- Effigy animation: From Mina Chaytan, DeVoe can temporarily animate effigies by leaving a psychic imprint of his dark matter on the molecular level of the target, controlling their movements as if genuinely alive. He can continue controlling these animations from a considerable distance and even outside of his field of vision. DeVoe can also control dead bodies in his vicinity as they become an effigy upon death, allowing him to reanimate their forms.
- Energy absorption: After absorbing Caitlin Snow's separate half of "Killer Frost" through Mathew Kim's powers, DeVoe also obtained her powers. With them, he can absorb all existing heat or energy around him. However, since Killer Frost actually lies in a cryogenic anomaly in Caitlin's DNA and not dark matter, he only displayed energy absorption and redirection as a power.
- Gravity manipulation: From Janet Petty, DeVoe can manipulate gravity. While Petty only demonstrated the ability to remove one's natural gravity to make them weightless through physical contact, DeVoe can also apply this power in the opposite manner by increasing a target's weight. He is also able to apply this power without direct contact. Also, DeVoe seems able to control the direction of gravity, as he was able to freeze Ralph in place. His control of this can be used akin to telekinesis, as he was able to restrain Gypsy in mid-air while using intense gravity to choke her throat.
- Jinxing: From Becky Sharpe, DeVoe can emanate a quantum field, giving good luck to himself while also spreading bad luck to anyone in close proximity to himself.
- Psychoactive fluids: From The Weeper, DeVoe is able to produce a psychoactive solution upon entering the person's body, which he used repeatedly on Marlize as her loyalty towards him began to waver.
- Size alteration: From Sylbert Rundine, DeVoe can alter the size of any target by manipulating the space between their atomic bonds.
- Mass offset: When DeVoe shrinks an object, he also offsets most of the mass in the object to make it light enough to pick up and store in his pocket, even objects as massive as a building. DeVoe gained this ability when he stole Rundine's powers.
- Sound Manipulation: From Izzy Bowin, DeVoe can project sound waves, able to focus them as powerful shockwaves or deafening vibrations that subdue foes in anguish. Moreover, he can control and direct any projected sound based aspect in the desired direction at whatever decibel range he can imagine. This was evident when he used a disabled guard's screams as a weapon against A.R.G.U.S. troops during his invasion.
- Technopathy: From Ramsey Deacon, DeVoe can sense the presence of and control any form of technology by imprinting his own encryption like a biological virus. When doing so, his eyes and all lightings affected by his powers glow purple. Whereas Deacon could only control a single target at a time and within the immediate vicinity, DeVoe can control all technology in the area, as he took control of all of S.T.A.R. Labs's technology.
- Telepathy: From Dominic Lanse, DeVoe gained telepathic powers. Whereas Dominic could only hear the thoughts of people he was aware of, Devoe can detect the presence of all, as he immediately became aware of Cisco Ramon "vibing" him. He can also delve into their minds, allowing him to alter people's memories. Alternatively, he can launch psionic blasts at people, able to repel his target or even cause physical harm their minds, such as producing an aneurysm. He can also manipulate the movements of those near him.
- Elasticity: From Ralph, the walls of DeVoe's cellular structure are polymerized, causing them to be elasticized to form an unbreakable bond at an atomic level, enabling him to stretch, contort and reshape his molecules in a near-endless myriad of choices. However, since Ralph could still use his stretching powers after regaining control of his body (thus forcing DeVoe out of it), DeVoe presumably lost his ability to use Ralph's powers.
- Superhuman Durability: DeVoe's elasticity also makes his body extremely resilient, mitigating practically any impact he may receive with little consequence as his body expands and contracts to render said impacts obsolete The sheer resilience of this power on his body also allows him to even withstand the ravages caused from other powers he is simultaneously occupying.
- Shape-shifting: Should he desire, DeVoe's stolen elastic powers enable him to take the physical likeness of whatever he desires and even perfectly replicate the person's voice, as he chose to make his new body of Dibny's take the form of his original body, in its healthy pre-meta state, and make it his default. DeVoe can even mimic other's voices without taking on their appearance, as he used Ralph's voice while still taking his original form.
- Expert historian: Even before gaining his augmented intellect, DeVoe was an accomplished and well-known professor of history in all its forms.
- Master of deception: DeVoe can be very deceptive, effectively convincing David Singh that Barry was harassing him; resulting in the latter being (unfairly/wrongfully) suspended from the CCPD. His ability to fabricate evidence led to Barry being convicted for his murder. He was able to fool Ralph that he was defeated long enough to take him by surprise and subdue him.
- Master tactician: DeVoe's intelligence makes him a near-flawless planner, able to assess and account for the numerous variables, both natural events, and people's instinctual reaction, and from this effectively manipulate the situation to unfold as he sees fit. His talent for planning enables him to prepare dozens of steps ahead, as shown from anticipating when Team Flash would discover his identity. Clifford is also a masterful chess player, as he regularly plays on his hover chair.
- Multilingual: DeVoe is capable of fluently speaking English, Japanese, French, Italian, Mandarin, and several other languages.
- Musical acumen/Pianist/Violist: By conditioning his brain activity to replicate Schubert's, DeVoe is a skilled pianist, able to piece together the full composition of Schubert's unfinished 8th symphony. After transferring his mind into Izzy Bowin, DeVoe became skilled violist as well.
- Polymath: In addition to history, DeVoe has demonstrated to be expert in various other subjects such as mathematics and engineering; this has become even notable since attaining his superhuman intellect. As an engineer, DeVoe was able to create the schematics of the designs of the samurai robots and the "Thinking Cap". Despite his growing knowledge and skillset, he openly acknowledges his wife as a superior engineer.
- Lack of empathy: With his growing immoral mentality, DeVoe has become unable to appreciate emotional connections with others. To which, his continued cold demeanor began driving Marlize away from his single-minded drive for the "Enlightenment". Even more, despite his ability to miraculously calculate various potential outcomes for whatever even he is presented with, he is unable to account for the emotional aspect of it. While able to anticipate the general thought pattern of an individual, he can perceive how one with process more complex emotions like personal anguish. To which, while calculating that the Flash would defeat Siren-X upon their first encounter, Barry's guilt at losing Dibny conflicted with DeVoe's deduced outcome and instead lost to Siren-X. DeVoe was also unable to anticipate Marlize's betrayal of him, as she was easily able to escape.
- Mental instability: As a consequence of the excess dark matter absorbed from the various meta-humans and his continually growing intellect, DeVoe has become increasingly arrogant, erratic, cruel and unstable. Believing himself of such a higher clarity compared to the rest of the world and so committed to the "Enlightenment", he has abandoned all form of restraint and morality with not the slightest hesitation or regret. Even his love for his wife, once his defining redeeming quality, has devolved into a possessive and controlling attitude where he tells his wife outright that she is nothing without him. In addition to this, he has also become increasingly impatient and a perfectionist, becoming so absolutely confident in his perception that that takes no further caution beyond his initial plans and becomes very unhinged should something happen beyond his expectations.
- Conscience: Since his mind transferral into Dominic Lanse, DeVoe is like a parasite. He keeps his host body's consciousness alive until the next takeover; in the case of Ralph Dibny, as he needs it to control their body. As he accumulated more and more dark matter by absorbing the bus metas' powers, his arrogance has increased to the point where he had no problem killing the "good DeVoe", thereby losing any chance of being redeemed or physically staying alive. This weakness proves to be his undoing, as Ralph was able to take control of his body back with Barry's help and wipe DeVoe away completely.
- Power-dampening tech: Like most meta-humans, if DeVoe is exposed to power-dampening technology, he'll be unable to use his powers. However, if he has already accessed Kilg%re's powers, the dampening effects will ultimately prove useless against him.
Weaknesses of absorbed powers
- Particular shape: Despite the versatility and fine-tuned control of his effigy animation, Devoe's choices on what to manipulate with his powers are limited to only targets that are shaped with features that would allow self-mobility, such having limbs and similar appendages.
- Virus: Because DeVoe's powers work similar to a computer program, if injected with a biological computer virus, he will be immediately incapacitated.
- Extremely corrosive chemicals: As shown by Axel Walker, having invented a powerful new acidic solution called Axid, such advanced corrosive substances can still hurt and very much harm Ralph. DeVoe inherited this weakness when he took over Ralph's body.
- Hydrogen-electron charge: After a hydrogen and electron collision, a charge is given off that is enough to temporarily negate DeVoe's luck manipulating powers temporarily.
- Retractable essence transference ring: DeVoe managed to create a portable ring device that allows him to easily transfer his essence to any victim he subdues, without the use of his hoverchair.
- Thinking Cap: In 2014, just before the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion DeVoe designed the thinking cap to boost his own intelligence. He had his wife build it and he put it on his head during the explosion and it was struck by lightning, it is unknown what happened to the cap after that.
- Wheelchair: Due to his severe ALS, DeVoe used a wheelchair when he was required to appear as a civilian in public. After taking control of other meta-humans' bodies and faking his own murder, he no longer uses the wheelchair, since none of his new host bodies have a need for it.
- Hoverchair: DeVoe uses a mechanical chair, connected with wires to his hideout's computer system. The chair is also able to hover in mid-air and has offensive capabilities in form of blasters. After a battle with Team Flash, Marlize used it to heal, then stole it, leaving The Thinker.
The Chronicles of Cisco
- The Thinker is the first main antagonist of The Flash who is not a speedster.
- At the same time, he's the first main antagonist who didn't join Team Flash first.
- Also unlike the previous main antagonists of The Flash, Clifford's identity as a villain was revealed to the audience very early in the fourth season in his first appearance in the first episode and to Team Flash in the seventh episode of the fourth season, "".
- Clifford shares many similarities with Damien Darhk:
- Both were mentioned twice in the third season of their respective shows and became the main antagonist in the following season.
- Unlike all other villains, Darhk and DeVoe were both revealed in the first episode of their shows’ fourth seasons, with no mystery surrounding their identity.
- They are first villains on their shows to not have a costume, both wearing simple black suits most of the time.
- Both of their respective wives share their ambitions and aid them in their villainous crusades.
- Both aimed to cause global catastrophes (Genesis and the Enlightenment), believing it was the best for humanity.
- Clifford used his gravity manipulation powers like how Darhk used his telekinesis.
- Both were the first to have public conflict with the heroes’ civilian identities.
- Both masqueraded as normal citizens to the public, only to be exposed as criminal psychopaths by the protagonists.
- Darhk killed Laurel Lance, deeply impacting Team Arrow and leading Oliver to blame himself for her death. DeVoe “killed” Ralph Dibny, deeply impacting Team Flash and leading to Barry blaming himself for it.
- Darhk obtained his powers from Lian Yu, which is also where Oliver trained to become the Arrow. Similarly, DeVoe obtained his power from the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, which also gave Barry his powers as The Flash.
- Both Darhk and DeVow lost their respective wives near their shows' ends, which only made them nihilistic and they proceeded with their plans anyway.
- Ironically, the actors that portrayed Darhk and DeVoe, Neal McDonough and Neil Sandilands, have first names which sound the same but with different spellings.
- Both were mentioned twice in the third season of their respective shows and became the main antagonist in the following season.
- DeVoe is very also similar to Eobard Thawne/The Reverse-Flash.
- Both are scientific geniuses.
- Both take another individual's body for various reasons.
- Both spent years planning their endgame against Team Flash.
- DeVoe admitted that in his many predicted future scenarios, one of Cisco's supervillain names for him would have been "The Teacher".
- The Thinker was aware of what Barry was up to in all of the show's previous seasons, which means that he knows everything about him; the enemies which he dealt with, his true identity and his life as both as the Flash and a civilian.
- It is shown on the restraining order that DeVoe has against Barry in "", that DeVoe's birthday is May 8, 1975 while Neil Sandilands', who portrays DeVoe, happens to be just one week earlier on May 1, 1975.
- Unlike other metahumans whose DNA and physiology is altered to handle their new powers, DeVoe was not directly exposed to the dark matter when he gained his powers. The dark matter powered the Thinking Cap, which gave DeVoe his powers and as such, did not alter his DNA or physiology to handle the power. This lead to DeVoe developing ALS as his body couldn't produce enough energy to handle the super brain and maintain his body.
- He seems to enjoy music from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods.
- DeVoe is shown to have an affinity for his wife's macaroni and cheese.
- He is the only main antagonist that at one point was played by a main actor from another Arrowverse show, as David Ramsey briefly played DeVoe in "", when DeVoe impersonated John Diggle.
- DeVoe is the only main antagonist of The Flash who is killed by his former accomplice, in his case Marlize.
- DeVoe is the first main antagonist of The Flash to not successfully kill off a member of Team Flash.
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics Clifford DeVoe was the first villain known as the Thinker, a genius inventor corrupted by Hunk Norvok and enemy of Jay Garrick, whose brain-boosting "Thinking Cap" invention went on to gain artificial intelligence and become an enemy of the Wally West Flash, using DeVoe's name after his demise, which was caused by the Cap's detrimental effects on his body over the years. Similarly, DeVoe's counterpart television series struggles to keep his body healthy with his overclocked mind slowly killing him.
- While in the comics that he was a failed lawyer, in the series he is a history professor.
- The Arrowverse version of DeVoe bears a similarity to another DC Comics villain—the original depiction of The Ultra-Humanite, the first supervillain to face Superman. Like DeVoe, Ultra-Humanite was a man with an incredible mind but a crippled body. Additionally, both developed techniques for transplanting their minds into the bodies of others.
- In the series, Clifford DeVoe has a wife name Marlize DeVoe and she helps him when ever he needs her and helped him make the thinking cap and he also used his hover chair to take over the body of Dominic Lanse, a.k.a. Brainstorm. The DC Comics versions of the Thinker and Brainstorm, specifically the Axel Storm and Fred Storm versions had costume designs very similar to one of DeVoe's costumes, with a purple suit with pauldrons and massive silver headgear used for amplifying their powers.
- The functions of DeVoe's hover chair are reminiscent of the one used by Lex Luthor of the Justice League: Gods and Monsters continuity. Both have an assortment of gadgets and a teleportation like device. However, the key feature was to aid both geniuses in movement due to both of them having a form of ALS.
- The chair is also very similar to the Mobius Chair created by Metron, which can teleport, create force fields or tractor beams, and act as life support to its user. Additionally, the Thinker has incredibly high intelligence, mirroring the omniscience granted by the Mobius chair.