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[Cicada in Flash #172]
Real Name: David Hersch
Known Relatives: Elizabeth (wife, deceased)
Former Occupation: Cult Leader
Base of Operations: Keystone City, Kansas
First Appearance: Flash v.2 #171 (April 2001)
Created By: Geoff Johns and Scott Kollins

During a thunderstorm sometime in the early twentieth century, David Hersch murdered his wife. Regretting what he had done, he sought to end his own life, only he was struck by lightning before he could carry it out... and had a vision: He had been chosen to live forever, and he would bring his wife back as well.

Hersch was able to transfer a person’s life force to himself to keep himself alive. Calling himself Cicada, he began accumulating followers, planning for the day when he would be able to resurrect his wife. Yet he and his followers faced a dilemma: to achieve his vision of immortality, he needed to sacrifice the lives of others; yet how could he truly justify that? Certainly his followers would lay down their lives for him, but would it be enough to raise the dead?

Then the answer came: Cicada learned of the Flash, and saw in him a brother blessed by the lightning. And the Flash had been saving people’s lives. Here were people who, without the Flash’s interference, would have died anyway, and in Cicada’s mind, he could take their lives with a clear conscience.

As the appointed day approached, Cicada sent his followers out through Keystone City, armed with daggers that collected life energy, killing those whom the Flash had saved. The killings overwhelmed the police, and the Flash was kept busy dealing with Magenta, who finally captured him and brought him their sanctum to witness the resurrection. Cicada succeeded, briefly, in bringing his wife back, only to have her reveal the truth of his original crime. The Flash broke free, and in the ensuing fight Cicada drained the life from all his followers.

Cicada now resides in Iron Heights, living a simple life of contemplation and prayer. Of course, he may have a way out: During the battle, he slashed Detective Morillo with his dagger, granting the detective healing powers... and establishing some sort of hold over him.

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Primary Sources

  • “Blood Will Run” parts 3–4 - Flash (second series) #172–173 (May–June 2001), Geoff Johns


  • Flash (second series) #172 (May 2001) - Scott Kolins and Doug Hazlewood


  • Flash Secret Files #3 (November 2001)
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)

Significant Appearances

  • Flash #170–173 (March–June 2001): “Blood Will Run,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash: Iron Heights (2001), Geoff Johns
  • Flash #180 (January 2002): “Peek-a-Boo,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #192–193 (January–February 2003): “Run Riot” Parts 1–2, Geoff Johns
  • Flash #217 (February 2005): “Post-Crisis,” Geoff Johns


Cicada’s last name is spelled as Hersh in The Flash Secret Files #3 (2001), but as Hersch in Iron Heights and The DC Comics Encyclopedia.

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