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Cicada (David Hersch) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.

Cicada (David Hersch).png
David Hersch as Cicada.
Art by Sean Phillips.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceThe Flash #171 (April 2001)
Created byGeoff Johns
Scott Kolins
In-story information
Alter egoDavid Hersch
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
AbilitiesCan steal someone else's energy

Different incarnations of Cicada appear in the fifth season of The Flash, portrayed by Chris Klein and Sarah Carter.


Publication historyEdit

The character first appeared in The Flash #171 (April 2001), created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins.[1]

Fictional character biographyEdit

Born in 1890, David Hersch was an architect and preacher at St. John's Catholic Church, though prone to paranoid, violent outbursts that often took the form of physical abuse of his wife Elizabeth Hersch. After murdering his wife, Hersch (sick with regret) sought to end his own life, when he was struck by a bolt of lightning. He discovered that he had gained the ability to absorb the life-force of others, extending his life-span almost a century. He believed the accident was the same as the Flash's and that they should be linked. The lightning bolt gave him a vision of his own immortality and foretold his wife's resurrection.

Over the subsequent years he operated as the cult leader "Cicada", accumulating many followers planning for the day he would resurrect his wife. Cicada's cult followers were dedicated to use lightning bolt shaped daggers to murder every one that the Flash has ever saved. He teams up with Magenta and manages to kidnap the Flash. Cicada reveals to Wally West that his wife was murdered and he was struck by lightning. Cicada saw a vision that he was destined to live on, together with his wife. By taking the energy left over from all the people the Flash has saved and from the Flash himself, Cicada succeeded in bringing his wife back from the dead. However, Elizabeth revealed being murdered by Cicada. Cicada denied this and killed his wife yet again by absorbing Elizabeth's energy through a kiss. He was eventually stopped by the Flash and Detective Jared Morillo and Officer Fred Chyre, though not before he managed to slash Morillo with his knife. This gave Morillo the ability to heal rapidly from any injury, similar to Cicada's own.[2]

Cicada was put on death row in Iron Heights pending confirmation by S.T.A.R. Labs that he could even be killed in the first place, but escaped during Gorilla Grodd's jailbreak.[3]

Cicada later appeared at Captain Boomerang's funeral after Identity Crisis and accepted an invitation to join Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super-Villains during the "Infinite Crisis" storyline.[4]

During the "Salvation Run" storyline, Cicada is one of the various super criminals sent to the penal colony on the planet Cygnus 4019, which has been nicknamed Salvation.[5]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Cicada has the ability to steal the life-force of other living beings and use it to prolong his own life and regenerate physical damage. Cicada is an immortal and cannot die.


David Hersch carries two hilted blades capable of absorbing the life force of its victims in order to resurrect the dead.

In other mediaEdit


Chris Klein as Orlin Dwyer (top) and Sarah Carter as Grace Gibbons (bottom), the two incarnations of Cicada in The Flash.

Multiple versions of Cicada appear in the fifth season of The Flash:

  • Chris Klein portrays Orlin Dwyer,[6] a lower middle-class individual who gets super strength and a telekinetically controlled lightning-shaped dagger able to nullify most metahumans' powers after being struck by a fragment of the Thinker's exploding satellite. In the same incident, another fragment strikes his niece Grace Gibbons (portrayed by Islie Hirvonen), putting her in a coma. As Cicada, Dwyer vows to exterminate all metahumans, whom he blames for the death of his sister as well as what happened to Grace. Dwyer serves as the Big Bad of most of the season, but eventually agrees to take a metahuman cure developed by S.T.A.R. Labs as it could also be used to cure Grace, now also a metahuman.
  • Sarah Carter portrays an adult Grace Gibbons, also known as Cicada II.[7] After Orlin is cured, the adult Grace appears as a new Cicada, having traveled back in time from a future where metahumans thrive to complete what she believes is still her uncle's mission. She originally adopted Orlin's hatred of metahumans after overhearing him while in her comatose state, but when Orlin shows that he has had a change of heart and tries to get his niece to abandon her plan, Grace kills him. Her plan is to weaponize a lethal version of S.T.A.R. Labs' metahuman cure that would kill all metahumans. Grace's future self is erased from existence when the Flash destroys Cicada's dagger with a mirror gun, while her younger self awakens from her coma, abandons her anti-metahuman feelings, takes the cure and is placed in foster care.
  • Chris Webb portrays David Hersch,[8] the original timeline version of Cicada and someone that The Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl and the Legends all failed to catch. In fact, Hersch exists as Cicada across the multiverse, with Sherloque Wells having captured him on 37 different Earths. However, with XS inadvertently altering Earth-1's timeline at the end of season four, Dwyer becomes Cicada instead with Hersch becoming a serial bomber.


  1. ^ Wallace, Dan (2008), "Cicada", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 82, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
  2. ^ Flash Vol. 2 #171. DC Comics.
  3. ^ Flash Vol. 2 #192. DC Comics.
  4. ^ Villains United #1. DC Comics
  5. ^ Salvation Run #3 (March 2008). DC Comics.
  6. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (July 21, 2018). "The Flash Casts Chris Klein as DC Supervillain Cicada in Season 5". TVLine. Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "(#521) "The Girl With The Red Lightning"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  8. ^ Parker, Malasha (October 30, 2018). "The Flash – The Death of Vibe". Starry Constellation Magazine. Retrieved May 28, 2019.

External linksEdit