Occupation: Former financial tycoon/syndicate boss
First Appearance: Flash v.1 #290, October 1980
See Also: Cobalt Blue
Business tycoon and crime syndicate boss Ross Malverk was convicted on murder charges largely due to the testimony of one of his secretaries, Beverly Lewis, who witnessed him killing an associate. After the trial, Lewis escaped into the Witness Protection Program. Eventually, Malverk escaped from prison, tracked Lewis to Central City, Missouri, where she lived as Fiona Webb—next door to Barry Allen, a man who looked exactly like Malverk himself!
Malverk hired the assassin and master of disguise Sabertooth to kill Fiona, then showed up himself when the assassin was foiled by the Flash. However, he made a mistake in hiring assassins to kill Sabertooth for failing—because Sabertooth went after him! He turned himself in rather than risk being stalked by Sabertooth.
Nothing is known of Malverk’s fate since being recaptured. It is possible, however, that he is an alias of Barry’s twin brother, Malcolm Thawne, better known as Cobalt Blue.
Note: The rest of this entry was written prior to the unmasking of Cobalt Blue and records my speculation tying Cobalt Blue, Ross Malverk, and Barry’s lost twin together. Since the Malverk incident was not explicitly tied in, I have chosen to (a) keep the entries separate, and (b) preserve my past theories on this page.
Barry Allen was “one of twins,” and never learned about the other twin, who was raised separately. It is possible that this yet-unnamed twin might resent the Allens for turning him away.
It is also known that, at some point during Barry Allen’s career as the Flash, he encountered a villain calling himself Cobalt Blue, who knew the secret of Flash’s and Kid Flash’s identities and had set out to steal their speed: “Your power should be mine, Allen. Your power and Wally’s. That’s why I’m taking it.” After the battle, when Cobalt Blue’s power turned against himself, Wally remarked: “For a split-second, I even thought I got a glimpse of the face under the mask...a familiar face...” The Cobalt Blue name is also associated with the Thawne family and enemies of future Flashes.
A possible connection between these threads is if Nora Allen’s maiden name is Thawne. Her family takes in Barry’s psychotic evil twin, who develops a grudge against the Allens for raising Barry but not him. This twin could later call himself Ross Malverk, and later still discover the Flash’s secret identity and develop a fixation, becoming Cobalt Blue (supposing the “familiar face” was Barry’s). The separation of twins with one gaining super-speed could be the start of the Thawne/Allen feud.
Update November 1998! It looks like my speculation is at least partially correct, given that Cobalt Blue/Malcolm Thawne looks rather like Barry Allen at the end of #143, and is quite likely to be Barry’s twin brother. If next issue confirms that he was also the murderer who pursued Fiona Webb, I will be combining this entry with the Cobalt Blue page.
Update December 1998! I was at least partly right—Cobalt Blue is Barry’s evil twin, though it happened in a different way than I expected—but it’s unclear at this time whether he was also Ross Malverk.Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- “Will You Believe Me When I’m Dead?” - The Flash (original series) #290 (October 1980), Cary Bates
- “Burning Secrets” - Speed Force #1 (1997), Mark Waid
- The Life Story of the Flash (1997), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- “Like Wildfire” - The Flash (second series) #143 (November 1998), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash (first series) #290 (October 1980) - Don Heck and F. Chiaramonte
- Flash #290 (October 1980): “Will You Believe Me When I’m Dead?” Cary Bates
- Flash #291 (November 1980): “The Saber-Tooth is a Very Deadly Beast!” Cary Bates
See entry on Cobalt Blue.