"I smell a mystery."
—Ralph Dibny[src]

Ralph Dibny is an ex-police detective of the Central City Police Department, and a private investigator. In the pre-Flashpoint timeline, he was presumed to be one of the seventeen people who lost his life during the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator's explosion. However, Ralph reappeared in the post-Flashpoint timeline, gaining his powers due to exposure to dark matter from the Speed Force.


Detective at CCPD

In 2013, Ralph was CCPD's lead detective during the murder investigation of Judy Gimlin, one of Barry's first cases as a Junior CSI wherein Ralph was his superior. She was stabbed to death and her husband Reagan was the prime suspect. Convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the husband was the perpetrator, but had intentionally and so cleverly arranged to crime scene so that all suspicions would be diverted away from him, Dibny instead planted evidence - a knife with Reagan's fingerprints - to "frame" the suspect for murder, and as a result, Barry (who went through something similar with what happened to his parents, and thus adhered to get the truth out more than anyone) determinedly sought to prove Ralph’s fabrication and ultimately testified against him after inspecting the knife and determining it to be a fake murder weapon, leading to Dibny dishonorably being kicked off from the police force and driving a deep wedge between his once-good and working professional relationship with Barry, who was left with the belief that Ralph did what he’s done, not for justice, but for the glory of it and this threw away what viable respect that Barry once had for his disgraced former superior. Barry’s mentorship under Ralph ended on a sour note and vice-versa.[1]


After the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploded, Ralph was said to have been killed according to Eobard Thawne through unspecified means.[2]


Ralph's timeline changed following Flashpoint, resulting in his survival from the explosion.[3]

Ralph went on to become a private investigator specializing in infidelity cases. Given a lead by a man named Clifford DeVoe, Ralph caught Mayor Anthony Bellows in an affair. Ralph attempted to blackmail the politician in exchange for the photos.[1]

Ralph Dibny with his legs stretched out

Ralph's powers of elasticity

On October 10, 2017, Ralph was on the bus that was exposed to dark matter particles resulting from Barry Allen's return from the Speed Force. Ralph did not exhibit his powers immediately after that, but took a few weeks. He was visited by Barry and Joe West regarding if he had been on the bus that day, but gave them no information since Barry still has Ralph’s ire. Soon after Barry and Joe left, two thugs came to Ralph's office. They hung him by his legs off the top of an establishment to intimidate him, inadvertently causing Ralph's powers of elasticity to manifest and allowing him to descend safely from that height, albeit with his lower limbs now rubbery and exceedingly stretched beyond the limits of their original design. He was later brought into S.T.A.R. Labs where Team Flash there did preliminary tests to his new attributes, all of which greatly disturbed Ralph who just wished to return to normal, but could not as he was still new to his meta-human abilities, preventing him from deliberately returning his outstretched extremities back to their default state. A serum administered by Caitlin soon gave Ralph a measure of control, but was told that the concoction had not fully reversed his new condition instead rather only made it more manageable, which Ralph quickly realizes when he successfully lost weight upon visualizing it - finally letting him see (and beginning to appreciate) the perks of his meta-human condition and most-recent development. Ralph later met with the mayor, recanting his blackmail and returning the photos he took. He was shot by Bellows, only for both of them to find that his powers made him bulletproof. When the Flash came to save him and apprehend Bellows, Breacher appeared to attack him, as he mistook Ralph for one of the elastic invaders that ravaged his planet, so the Flash stopped him as well. While the mayor escaped with Joe on a helicopter, Barry revealed himself to Ralph and implored him to use his powers for good, so Ralph stretched an arm to reach the chopper from afar, allowing Barry to run up and save Joe. In the end, the two reconciled. Barry offered Ralph a place on Team Flash, which Ralph considered. When Barry, out of interest, asked him about his motive for investigating Bellows, Ralph revealed that a client requested him to investigate the mayor over the phone, going by the last name DeVoe.[1]

Ralph went to S.T.A.R. Labs where they began to look into him controlling his powers and he decided to stretch his upper body through the length of the particle accelerator, leaving his lower half behind for Felicity Smoak to find; she quickly scoots, unsure of what to make of the spectacle she was witnessing. When Barry and his friends were throwing him a bachelor party, Ralph decided to crash it but was disappointed that it was simply them sitting at Joe's home and watching home movies. He decided to treat them to a true party and took them at his favorite strip joint, The Golden Booty. They then toasted to Barry getting married to Iris. Ralph started to fool around with his powers, lifting some money from people's wallets though he claimed he was only getting change. Cisco warned him about not showing off his powers so blandly in public though Ralph just pointed off to Barry who was telling people he was The Flash while intoxicated. One of the patrons then accused Ralph of stealing from him and then took a framed photo of him and smashed it in retaliation. Ralph called him a monster and jumped at him, sparking a fight through the entire place that ended up with them getting tossed in jail. Harry soon came and Barry, Joe, Cisco and Ralph (by default) released. Ralph returned to the labs with Barry and Cisco and they were taken by Iris to see Killer Frost.

Barry began to train Dibny as a superhero, though it didn’t go without some good-natured, back-and-forth banter and bickering between the two of them. In their civilian guises, they eventually bump into an armed robber (who had the unfortunate mishap of attempting the same on Barry around three years ago) after buying some coffee and, deeming the mugger and the gun he was brandishing towards them as no particular threat, the two meta-humans turned their backs and plotted on how to deal with the robber; this lead to a very comical situation where, tired of being ignored, the mugger tried to prove his point by using his gun on Ralph — only for his elasticity to cause two bullets from the mugger's gun to ricochet back into his leg and backside. Subsequently, Dibny was taken to Sharon Finkel, a hypnotist, to recover his lost memories help identify the other bus metas. The best Dibny could do was recall a woman with a black bison on the back of her jacket. Soon enough, the two superheroes confront Mina Chaytan, whom Barry allowed to escape while he saved the man she was attacking from a knight statue brought to life by Mina's powers. Dibny questioned why Barry would allow the criminal to escape, as it should well within Barry's abilities to simultaneously save the innocent and catch the perpetrator (and not necessarily in that order), though Barry argued saving the lives of other people comes before the bad guy. Pursuing Mina once more, Dibny chose to prevent her from leaving by holding her car in place with his arm while Barry was fighting a caveman statue. This also caused Dibny to neglect falling debris in the ongoing chaos as a utility pole fell on a young girl. Dibny is wracked with guilt that his actions could have killed a child and admits he's never had to care for other people before since being a private investigator is so simple. Barry promises to be there for Dibny as a friend and that the job is always going to have its hard days. At a museum chasing down Mina, Dibny redeemed himself by choosing to save a night guard from a T-Rex statue over catching Mina; and paid the cheap price of becoming the said extinct dinosaur’s chew toy, and only spared because of Ralph’s rubber-like physiology nullifying the skeleton’s biting force, keeping its teeth from biting and actually cutting through of him. Ralph then uses his own body to wrap around the skeleton cadaver’s maw, keeping it from harming anyone of anything else in the museum. Later that day after Mina's re-capture, Dibny visited the young girl who had been injured in the accident and cheered her up by making balloon animals with his hands and feet. [4]


At his introduction, Ralph was shown initially motivated by self-interest and would stoop to morally questionable methods in the pursuit of success; or rather, in desperation of such. But he certainly wasn't always like that. For even before coming into contact with Team Flash, Ralph harbored an admiration towards the Flash due to his exploits in saving Central City and its citizens from time to time, unaware that the heroic meta-human and his former subordinate-turned-nemesis were one-and-the same, and due to their fallout, Barry himself was firm on the belief that Ralph was a corrupt individual from then and hasn't changed at all up to the present. In fact, he imposed to the other members of the team that Ralph was now a potentially more dangerous individual than before, with the hapless PI now attaining powers of his own, but soon admits it upon himself that he wanted to believe that because, ever since becoming the Flash, Barry has committed morally-gray acts in some semblance to what the ex-police detective did when Ralph framed Reagan Gimlin and that vilifying Ralph was the speedster's way of proving himself better than Dibny and justifying everything he's done so far. But in spite of his apparent readiness to walk the thin line separating lawful elements from the otherwise following his dismissal, Ralph has since proven himself aware of the difference between right and wrong.

However, Ralph was rather horrified at learning that he unexpectedly developed meta-human powers himself and, rather than immediately exploiting them for his own personal benefit like any criminal would after they stabilized, chose to keep them secret and continued on to his indentured existence as he either didn't want to be seen as a "freak" and be ruined (further) because of them - only discovering what an advantageous asset he now has after losing some weight and then surviving a bullet, at point-blank range, to the head - or perhaps that Ralph's moral standards were higher than Barry gave them credit for, if not both.

Ralph expresses distaste when Cisco first presented him with his own customized starter outfit to go along and optimize his elastic abilities, but later respected the suit's functionality (as it was either that or fight crime naked; Cisco begged him not to do the latter). Although, he did have a strong sense of justice, believing that apprehending perpetrators was the most important aspect in law enforcement duty and he was willing to go as far as to plant evidence to frame a murder suspect whom he genuinely believed to be guilty, lest the said murderer walks free. He is rather lecherous, able to quickly determine a woman's measurements and was recognized as a strip club's most regular customer. Given his fall from grace at the CCPD after Barry exposed his tampering of evidence, Ralph was also quite rude to his enemy, but ultimately Barry was able to coax him into an act of selflessness, convincing him into being a hero and moving forward, repairing their broken relationship in the process.[1]

Upon attaining mastery over his powers, Ralph gradually realizes that with such extraordinary gifts comes with an even greater sense of responsibility, which was something that he simply just brushed off in his five years of working as a private investigator; Ralph soon learned the hard way that saving the lives of others must come before catching the bad guy as his determination to prevent Mina Chaytan's escape almost killed a young girl when a utility pole fell on her while Barry was fighting a caveman statue Mina had brought to life with her powers, showing that Ralph is capable of remorse to his own actions and sympathy towards those he fails to protect due to misusing his own abilities, and now whole-heartedly accepting that he has an entire city to look after with the advantages given to him by chance and had to receive encouragement from Barry to keep Ralph from doubting himself.

Ralph began to put Barry's advice to use, choosing to save a night guard at a museum from being killed by an animated T-Rex skeleton rather than pursue Mina. He then does the Sioux people a favor by delivering to them the very artifact that Mina was trying to steal, as it was rightfully theirs and later proceeded to entertain the aforementioned little girl in her hospital room using his powers.[4]

Thanks to Barry's mentoring, Ralph has learned that self-interest isn't the way to go. He learns to be selfless and to help others, including his teammates. After a while, the team begin to trust him to the extent of seeing him as a rightful member of the team. When Barry is framed for Clifford DeVoe's murder, Joe pulls Ralph aside and asks him for assistance in trying to plant evidence on Marlize DeVoe. When their first attempt doesn't work, Joe tries to plant carpet fibres at the DeVoe house to frame Marlize for being in on her husband's "murder" at the West-Allen loft, the night her husband's body was found. Ralph, remembering Barry's teachings, manages to talk Joe out of planting the evidence, showing how far he has come since he joined Team Flash.

Powers and abilities


  • Meta-human physiology: After Ralph was struck by the dark matter energy after the Flash's release from the Speed Force, this altered his DNA and cells in a way that Earth-2’s Harrison Wells found most intriguing (and considering the number of meta-humans and their roster of logic-defying abilities and powers that Harrison encountered thus far, that’s saying something), polymerizing the walls of his cellular structure, causing them to be elasticized to form an unbreakable bond at an atomic level, enabling him to access his newfound powers.[1]
    • Elasticity: Ralph can stretch, contort, and compact various parts or his entire body into a myriad of different shapes and sizes. After taking a chemical stabilizer given by Caitlin, he was able to retain a degree of "muscle memory" and revert to his leaner, fit state (or "default form").[1]
      • Invulnerability: As a side effect of his elasticity, Ralph is also rendered highly durable, mitigating any impact he may receive with little consequence as his body expands and contracts, in and out of his normal human shape, to render said impacts obsolete and even cause projectiles to bounce off from his person, after absorbing the said projectile into or through his body, and immediately rebounding it back to the direction of the source. He took no harm from a bullet to the head, and a punch to the face only inconvenienced him as his body would stretch and cushion the impact to ultimately negate it; though it was implied that certain other forms of assault could still harm him, since a viber meta-human from Earth-19, Breacher, claimed that he can kill Ralph after furiously firing a vibrational blast at him and then followed it with another.[1] It would appear that his insusceptibility to outward and solid physical harm is not limited to blunt assaults, since Ralph took a gargantuan bite to his outstretched torso from the teeth-filled jaws of a mobilized T-Rex skeleton without sustaining much harm to himself, despite something like that would have surely bifurcated a normal person in half.
    • Superhuman strength: Ralph has also demonstrated considerable strength, possibly attributed to the now substantial bonding of his cells at the molecular level which also refines his physical parameters and muscle definition. He was able to grab onto and stop a helicopter mid-flight with his extended arm and allow the Flash to run up his extended arm with ease, although he was somewhat strained by the act[1], and later (quite literally) single-handedly prevented a speeding car from driving away, with only one outstretched arm gripping the car from behind, while anchoring himself to another vehicle with the other arm. [4]


  • High-level intellect/Expert detective: As an ex-police detective of the Central City Police Department, Ralph runs his own private investigation business and is very experienced in detective work, and has shown being able to tell an encountered woman's vital statistics with a simple glance (much to the discomfort of females). At one point he was Barry's senior for this field[1] and was seen successful in closing several cases whilst working as a PI. [4]
  • Peak of human physical condition: As a result of his now-uniquely malleable physiology, Ralph passively maintains himself in top physical condition for a man of his age and (default) size. This was emphasized after his five years of off-duty from police work left him in an undisciplined, slovenly and physically-unkempt bodily state; but upon the stabilizing of his meta-human abilities, and learning that he could use them to re-shape his body in virtually any manner he chooses, Ralph immediately opts into bringing himself back into his body's former glory - instantly losing the size and weight of the bloated mid-section he gained and trading them for fine-honed abdominals. Presumably, his overall musculature was also pushed to their limits as a side-effect of this elastic shape-shifting, greatly optimizing his remarkable flexibility and elasticity in addition to impressive athletic performance, and Caitlin commented that Ralph's vitals are now "above average".[1]
  • Police training: Ralph has received training, as all Central City Police Department members do.
  • Feminine statistics reading: Ralph has the ability to read any women's bra size without them taking off any clothing. Not necessarily a dignified trait, but it just shows Ralph's capacity to effectively exhibit both perversion and observation in one turn.


Former weakness

  • Lack of stability: Initially, Ralph's stretching abilities were out of his control, acting instantly if exposed to enough outside force and would then remain stuck in that state, and was basically an afflicted human on his way to becoming a viscous and amorphous pile of flesh. By analyzing the difference in Ralph's DNA from before and after his dark matter exposure, Caitlin Snow was able to produce a stabilizer, enabling him to instinctively return to his normal shape as a default.


  • Suit: Ralph has a suit to hide his identity. A prototype, meaning that other iterations and artifices are bound to be produced after it in the future, the suit is a blue leotard with a matching mask and black tennis shoes. While the suit may only look like a plain old tarp it actually has an "adaptive nano-weave structure that is malleable on the sub-molecular level" so that, according to Cisco, when Ralph stretches, it stretches and when he squishes, it squishes.


The Flash

Season 1

Season 4

Stretched Scene


  • His meta-human powers seem to be a reflection of his personality; for no matter how harsh the blunt reality of life strikes him, Ralph always seem to bounce back each time regardless of being in no better shape than the last, making elasticity the perfect attribute for him.
  • Harry calls him Disney for his cartoonish personality.
  • In the comics, Ralph is diagnosed with ADHD. While this has not yet been confirmed in the show, he has shown symptoms, such as speaking impulsively and being unable to read the general mood of the room.

Behind the scenes

  • In the DC comics, Ralph Dibny was a good friend of Barry Allen and a detective who became the Elongated Man.
  • In the DC comics, his full name is "Randolph William Dibny".


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 "Elongated Journey Into Night"
  2. "Power Outage"
  3. The Flash: About that Ralph Dibny reference in season 1… - Entertainment Weekly
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "When Harry Met Harry..."