The Flash has never been the kind of show that rigidly sticks to the canon of its titular hero. But with the third season premiering October 4, now is the best time to brush up on your comics history, especially since season three has found inspiration for the crux of its arc from one of the most pivotal, inventive story arcs from DC’s recent history — Flashpoint. Written by Geoff Johns, the president of DC Comics who has become an important architect for its extended universe, Flashpoint involves a lot of characters and themes that may veer a bit too dark for the overall optimistic universe of The Flash. But it holds many important clues for what exactly the consequences will be for Barry Allen, due to his selfish decision to travel back in time and save his mother — the same reason that kickstarted the events in the comic arc.
But Flashpoint isn’t the only comic from the Flash’s history that is worth checking out in anticipation of season three. With Wally West as the Flash this season and more obscure villains like Savitar joining the fold, now is the perfect time to dig into the bonkers history of the Fastest Man Alive. Some of these may be tricky to track down if you’re looking for hard copies, and others, like Mark Waid’s Born to Run line, are being rereleased in the very near future, likely due to the success of the show. So your best bet is to buy them digitally.