THE SERIES "The Flash"

WHEN | WHERE Second-season premiere Tuesday night at 8 on CW/11

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Central City was about to get sucked into a black hole, when Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) saved the day. He's about to get the keys to the city when a metahuman breaks up the party. The big twist: Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) -- the Flash, from the '40s comic series -- arrives from a parallel universe, Earth-2, to warn Barry and the gang at S.T.A.R. Labs of a great danger.

MY SAY The great TV battle of our time has begun. The superheroes have taken position, and charrrrrrged. Over there -- on ABC and Netflix -- the Marvel ones have begun their conquest. Over here, on The CW, the DC ones have. Who's winning? A case could be made for . . . DC, thanks to "The Flash."

This is one of the hottest shows on television -- not reflected in sheer audience bulk, but sheer audience passion. It won the People's Choice Award this year for favorite new TV drama, and if you think the PCA is a joke, best not share that opinion with the people who voted. Or, by the way, with The CW, which is using this (and "Arrow") to launch "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" in January.

Last season, the world seemed to explode -- or maybe that was just Twitter and a few thousand fan sites -- when the guy who killed Barry's mother was revealed to be none other than Eobard Thawne who was none other than the dastardly Reverse Flash who was none other than . . . Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh).

Or sort of. Believe me, it's complicated.

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The world -- again, meaning Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram -- exploded all over again when Gustin smiled . . .

Don't dismiss audience passion -- it's what drives TV these days, and "The Flash" is in the driver's seat. Here's why: There are gorgeous special effects here. This show, more than "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," actually looks like a comic book. That's a good thing.

It is amusing in the right places. Recall last season's Grodd, the gorilla, who admitted to a dislike for bananas.

It's also reasonably smart without being show-offy. Tuesday's launch, meanwhile, is a nice reminder that nothing -- at least that good stuff -- has changed.

GRADE B+