The Flash has fought some of the toughest, most brutal villains in DC Comics. Many of them, like most comic book villains, regularly return to Central City to take another shot at the speedster hero. The Flash is the fastest man alive and all iterations of the hero and those who have taken on the mantle possess the power of super speed. A superhero like the Flash needs villains who can best and overcome him. The Flash’s abilities make him a unique addition to DC’s roster of heroes.
Jay Garrick was the original Flash, who first appeared in Flash Comics #1 in 1940. Although the Golden Age Flash came first, Barry Allen is considered the most popular version of the Flash. Barry has consistently been the go-to version of the character, and fans of all generations have learned to love him. However, for a while, he was missing from the comics. This happened when Barry was killed off in DC’s multiverse shifting event Crisis on Infinite Earths. The publisher elected to move on from Barry and hand off the mantle to the third Flash, Wally West. Every version of the Flash has its unique rogues gallery of ranging villains. However, a consistent set of recurring foes often return, no matter who is the Flash of the time.
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In the coming years, fans can get excited to see more of DC’s newest Flash aka Jess Chambers. They are the first non-binary speedster and member of the Justice League. Jess is set to appear in The Flash‘s upcoming issues, taking their place as a leading speedster in DC’s universe. As they get more and more issues, new villains will be introduced and at some point, they will probably appear on lists such as this. However, for now, these villains are classic threats from the Flash’s rogues gallery that have been around for a very long time.
A recurring villain, Mirror Master is a core member of the Rogues, a Central City-based team of supervillains with a very strict set of rules led by Captain Cold. Mirror Master is usually depicted as a human who uses a mirror gun, which allows him to transport into the Mirrorverse aka the Mirror Universe. This gives him the ability to hop between any mirror in the universe, allowing him to travel extreme lengths just like the Flash. At certain points in the comics, Mirror Master has gained superpowers. Most recently, in The New 52, the Rogues conducted an experiment that gave them powers and Mirror Master became one with the Mirror Universe.
Although having powers can make villains highly dangerous, often the villains with the most advanced tech can be just as powerful. The Mirror Gun is just one example of that. It can trap people, including the Flash, in the Mirror Universe. This provides Mirror Master with an upper hand as he’s able to manipulate the surroundings; he’s captured the Scarlet Speedster in his backwards world on multiple occasions. The icing on the cake is that his Mirror Gun can put people in a state of hypnosis, create holograms and can turn people invisible.
Nothing is more comic book than a talking, intelligent and superpowered gorilla. A stand-out villain, Gorilla Grodd comes from an entirely different slice of life than all of the other villains. From Gorilla City to Central City, Grodd has been a major reappearing threat for the Flash. Grodd boasts an intellect that easily rivals Barry Allen’s smarts. He originally gained superintelligence after he was exposed to a meteor from outer space. This gives him the ability to telepathically control others.
Since Grodd is a gorilla, he is naturally strong and has an advantage over normal human strength. But the power to outthink and use his intelligence is where his true power lies. Over the years, Grodd has attempted to conquer and rule by using his mind control powers to rule over the citizens of the world. However, the Flash is always there to stop him. It’s his sheer intelligence matched with his strength that makes him a formidable recurring foe for the Flash to fight. Every time he returns, Barry must bring his A-game to defeat the supersmart gorilla.
As the leader of Central City’s Rogues, Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold is always around to cause havoc. Sporting his iconic snowsuit and wielding a Cold Gun, the Flash wouldn’t be the hero he is without the practice he’s had in taking down Captain Cold. Just like the other Rogues, Snart is always around and can usually be found robbing jewelery stores. However, over the years, he’s stepped up his game from being a small-time crook to something more of a supervillain.
He’s incredibly tactical and cunning, planning clever traps to stop the Flash from foiling his latest plans. His Cold Gun, as explained by Snart himself, is different from the rest of the cold villains’ weapons of DC: “I don’t freeze things. I eliminate movement altogether. I stop atoms cold.” Captain Cold can slow down Flash’s speed by shooting his gun. Although Captain Cold doesn’t pose the greatest physical threat to the Flash, his ways have often stopped the Scarlet Speedster right in his tracks.
Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom is one of the deadliest speedster villains to ever face the Flash. Although Eobard Thawne has been named Zoom or Professor Zoom many times, the New Earth Zoom is a completely different person. The two villains have crossed paths many times. Originally, Hunter became Zoom when he broke into the Flash Museum and used the Cosmic Treadmill. Now imbued with the power to slow down time, he set off on a mission to kill Wally West’s wife in order to make the Flash a better hero.
Zoom is the archenemy of Wally West, he was first introduced as Zoom in The Flash (vol.2) #197 in 2003. Zolomon’s intentions have always been twisted, and his power to manipulate is what caused DC Rebirth‘s Flash War. His ability to get under the Flash’s skin is evidenced here, as he gets Barry and Wally to enter a war of opposing sides. Zoom’s unique power to get into Wally’s mind makes him even more powerful and destructive, often he doesn’t even have to do much himself. However, just like Thawne, he possesses super speed and can easily keep up with every other speedster. Zoom is one of the most memorable Flash villains to date, as he has affected the Flash more than most other foes.
Arguably, the ultimate villain that the Flash has ever faced: Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash, is Barry Allen’s archnemesis. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Reverse Flash first appeared in The Flash #139 in 1963. Thawne is a speedster from the future who gained powers when he recreated the accident that gave Barry Allen his. Obsessed with the Flash, Thawne time travels to the past and makes Barry’s life hell.
Speed-wise, Reverse Flash is a match for the Scarlet Speedster. Using his intellect, Reverse Flash created the Negative Speed Force, which gives him the same abilities as the Flash but with extra powers. He is the master of time travel and uses it to deliver his promise of making Barry’s life hell on Earth, echoed in the iconic Flashpoint storyline. Like a lot of the Flash’s best villains, Reverse Flash is also a genius. This is a common trend as the Flash’s foes are often found manipulating the hero by using a combination of their abilities and smarts, unlike a lot of DC Comics‘ villains who are deadly because of their pure brute force, like Doomsday for instance. Ultimately, on reflection, it’s clear when looking at the Reverse Flash‘s past actions that he is the Flash‘s toughest villain to fight.
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