Superhero novels are a great platform for metaphor and subtext. Rarely, and for good reason, do authors use their work to comment explicitly on current events. Nobody wants to read a Hulk novel about changes in the E.U. general data protection regulations. That would be ridiculous.
But in The Flash: Hocus Pocus, author Barry Lyga can’t help himself. He throws a little shade at Donald J. Trump. And who can blame him? Even in a world filled with weather wizards, mirror masters, king sharks, and giant sentient gorillas, the reality of President Boss Baby is too much to endure.
Before we get to the Trump burn, we have to back up for a moment. At the beginning of the novel, Team Flash (including all your favorites from the TV show) is slightly bewildered by the arrival of a new supervillain in Central City. Hocus Pocus was a weird anachronistic guy. He dressed like an old-timey magician but carried a magic wand loaded with futuristic tech. He’s called a “criminal mastermind” on the book’s back cover, but that isn’t exactly right. More accurately, he’s like the “great and powerful” Wizard of Oz – simply a bully and a bellicose boob.
But he did have one substantial trick up his sleeve. Hocus Pocus could brainwash anyone to do his iniquitous bidding. And what he wanted to do more than anything was take control of Central City. It would be easy. All he had to do was wave his magic wand to convince people that he was worthy of being President Abra Kadabra, No Russian interference or gerrymandering required.
Thank goodness Magic Man wasn’t very bright (“He didn’t seem to understand strategic thinking,” says Barry Allen at one point). Because of his brainwashing powers, Hocus Pocus surrounded himself with bootlickers and brownnosers. He became addicted to applause and flattery. And this was his ultimate folly. “Dude’s obsessed with having people get their worship on,” says Cisco Ramon. “He needs a reality TV show or something.”
Yup, that’s right. Instead of pursuing a life of crime, Hocus Pocus could have been a huge TV star. He could easily have won every season of Survivor, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars. With a flick of his wand, he could have dominated The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice. He could have done anything he wanted. “He could even have run for president,” adds Caitlyn Snow. Perish the thought!
[The Flash: Hocus Pocus / By Barry Lyga / First Printing: October 2017 / ISBN: 9781419728150]