FANDOM


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

Ralph Dibny was presumed to be one of the fourteen people who lost his life during the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator's explosion. However, Dibny reappeared in the post-Flashpoint timeline, gaining his powers due to Barry Allen's return from the Speed Force.

Biography

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. She was stabbed to death and her husband Reagan was the prime suspect. Dibny planted evidence—a knife with Reagan's fingerprints—to "frame" the suspect for murder, and as a result, Barry testified against him after inspecting the knife and determining it to be a fake murder weapon, resulting in Dibny being kicked off the police force.[1]

Pre-Flashpoint

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]

Post-Flashpoint

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

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

Ralph Dibny with his legs stretched out

Ralph's powers of elasticity

Riding a bus 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. Soon after, 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. 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 reversed his new condition but rather only made it more manageable, which Ralph quickly realizes when he successfully lost weight upon visualizing it. Ralph later met with the mayor, recanting his blackmail and returning the photos he took. He was shot by Bellows, only to find that his powers made him bulletproof. When the Flash came to save him, Breacher appeared to attack him, as he mistook Ralph for one of the 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 to reach the chopper to allow Barry to run up and save Joe. In the end, the two reconciled. Barry offered Dibny a place on Team Flash, which Dibny considered. When Barry, out of interest, asked him about his motive for investigating Bellows, Dibny 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. 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 his elasticity caused two bullets from a mugger's gun to ricochet back into his leg and backside. Barry allowed a metahuman from the bus given powers by Barry's escape from the speed force, Mina Chayton, 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 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. 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]

Personality

Ralph was initially motivated by self-interest and would stoop to morally questionable methods in the pursuit of success. Although, he did have a strong sense of justice, he was willing to go as far as to plant evidence to frame a murder suspect whom he believed to be guilty. He can also be somewhat lecherous. Ralph was also quite rude to his enemy, but ultimately Barry was able to coax him into an act of selflessness and convince him into being a hero.[1] 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 Chayton'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. 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.[4]

Powers and abilities

Powers

  • 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, 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 part 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 was also rendered highly durable. 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 .[1]
    • Superhuman strength: Ralph has also demonstrated considerable strength, possibly attributed to the now substantial bonding of his cells at the molecular level. 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]

Abilities

  • Expert detective: Ralph runs his own private investigation business and is very experienced in detective work. At one point he was Barry's senior for this field.[1]

Former Weakness

  • Lack of Stability: Initially, Ralph's stretching abilities were out of his control, acting instantly was exposed to enough force and would then remain stuck in that state. By analyzing the difference in Ralph's DNA from before and after his dark matter exposure, Caitlin was able to produce a stabilizer, enabling him to instinctively return to his normal shape as a default.

Appearances

The Flash

Season 1

Season 4

Trivia

  • 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.

Behind the scenes

  • In DC Comics, Ralph Dibny was a good friend of Barry Allen and a detective who became the Elongated Man.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "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 "When Harry Met Harry"