Season 6 of The Flash seems ready to introduce Ralph Dibny’s long-time love-interest from the comics, Sue Dearbon. This is a development that has been long-awaited by readers of the classic Flash series, as the romance of Ralph and Sue Dibny is one of the most enduring and endearing in comics history.
Sue’s arrival was first teased in The Flash‘s season 5 finale. During the closing montage, Ralph Dibny, who works as a private investigator when he isn’t defending Central City as the superhero Elongated Man, was shown cleaning up his office. After removing a stuffed giraffe and a bottle of booze from his chair (likely a parting gift from fellow detective Sherloque Wells, who had compared the lanky Ralph to “a baby giraffe“), Ralph picked up a file from his desk and sat down to read it. A close-up, point-of-view shot revealed that the name on the folder was Dearbon – the maiden name of Ralph Dibny’s wife, Sue, in the comics.
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Strangely enough, Sue Dearbon was Sue Dibny when she was first introduced in The Flash #119 in March 1961. It was here that debutante Sue was introduced in a newspaper headline, as she and Ralph were leaving on their honeymoon. Their wedding took place off-panel, but The Flash reportedly served as Ralph Dibny‘s best man. This made Ralph doubly unusual, as one of the rare Silver Age superheroes who operated without a secret identity and one of the first to get married. In fact, Ralph and Sue were a married couple months before the Fantastic Four introduced another Sue and her super-pliable scientist boyfriend.
Ralph and Sue remained together through thick and thin for decades, avoiding the drama that other married couples in comic books often suffered. Far from the typical damsel-in-distress, Sue proved more than a match for Ralph and was a mean detective in her own right. She was also unique in that she was granted membership in the Justice League on her own merits, acting as Bureau Chief and Mission Coordinator for the Justice League International branch in Paris.
It remains to be seen if The Flash season 6‘s version of Sue Dearborn will remain true to her debutante roots of if she will be redefined in the same manner as the Arrowverse version of Elongated Man. In the comics, Ralph Dibny was a nerdy lad with a love of mysteries and a passion for chemistry, which allowed him to devise a formula that made his body super-stretchy. By contrast, the Arrowverse version of Ralph Dibny is far closer to Plastic Man in terms of powers and personality, being a reformed criminal whose metagene made him super-durable and capable of shape-shifting. Given that, it seems that The Flash‘s version of Ralph Dibny will have a much harder time courting the woman of his dreams than his comic book counterpart.
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