Since each of their first appearances, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have all undergone quite a few costume changes. The Golden Age Dark Knight looks drastically different from the character’s more modern appearances, despite the same basic design scheme remaining similar. To an extent, the same is true for both Superman and Wonder Woman. In many respects, this cannot be said for The Flash. In fact, you would be forgiven for thinking the Scarlet Speedster has essentially worn the same costume for several decades. The hero’s overall look has not deviated much from Barry Allen’s Silver Age attire. Still, little changes to a suit design, regardless of how minute, do often make a difference. Some fans may prefer a certain hue of red for Flash costumes. On the other end of the spectrum are fans far more concerned with the placement of the character’s yellow lightning bolts. As with anything else, it’s all about preference, what appeals to the eye.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that Barry Allen is not the only Speedster to adopt The Flash moniker. There are those who came before him, those who took the mantle after he was gone, and a few who adopted the name in other universes. While they all share a title, very few have similar costume designs. All of the above brings us to the following list, where 20 Flash costumes, even those beyond the usual suspects of Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, and Wally West, will be ranked from the least favored to the subjective best.
20 INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US
It’s easy for the mind to grasp a man who moves so fast that he travels through time. But put armor on him and it’s as though logic ceases to exist. Why doesn’t an armored Flash typically look appeasing? Is it because heavily armored objects aren’t often associated with speed? Regardless, designs of the armored variety have yet to suit The Flash. Such is the case with the Speedster’s Injustice: Gods Among Us attire.
Plated armor pieces and flowing lines make up this suit’s most notable features. Two differing tones of red serve as dominant colors, making the Injustice garb stand out when compared to The Flash’s other suits. All in all, the design isn’t bad. Yet, it seems bulky for a man meant to travel at the speed of light.
19 JOHN FOX
John Fox is the 27th Century’s Flash. Therefore, it’s only fitting his suit bears a futuristic design. While The Flash’s primary colors of red and yellow aren’t abandoned for Fox’s suit, they are noticeably pushed to the background. Blue and black reside at the center of Fox’s Flash apparel. The lighting bolt that sits center mass is still yellow with a stark white background; meanwhile, the color red is relegated to the suit’s lines.
Fox’s cowl differs from that of other Flash costumes, too. Like the cowl donned by Wally West’s Kid Flash, the one Fox wears has an opened top. Would these drastic design changes work for a Flash with Barry or Wally under the cowl? Tough to say; however, it certainly looks good on John Fox.
A handful of DC heroes have been subject to the thrall of Parallax, a being that’s ostensibly fear incarnate. During Green Lantern’s “Brightest Day” storyline, Barry Allen’s Flash finds himself under the evil being’s control. Once Parallax wedges itself into the Speedster, Parallax-Flash is born, complete with a suit redesign.
For this particular suit, barring the red and yellow color scheme, gone is any semblance of Flash iconography. Rings of fire reside in place of the lightning bolts that typically wrap around The Flash’s forearms and waist. There’s a seeming fire in Parallax-Flash’s eyes, too. This look becomes all the more sinister when considering the devilishly toothy grin that adorns the character’s visage. No version of the Speedster is quite this horrifying in appearance alone.
17 BLUE LANTERN
For a transient period of time, Barry Allen adopted the role of Blue Lantern during the "Blackest Night" crossover event. While in stark contrast to the Speedster’s typical red and yellow attire, the two-toned blue suit does look good on him.
As far as appearances go, absent are all of the Flash-related accoutrements. Most notably, lightning bolts are entirely missing from the Blue Lantern suit. Only when Barry activates the Blue Lantern Ring does a blue lightning bolt hover over his chest. The design itself is simple, much like nearly every other suit Barry Allen’s Flash has worn. It pops beautifully on the page, though and Barry makes for an excellent Blue Lantern. In fact, some would argue he should have remained in the Corps.
16 JAY GARRICK (GOLDEN AGE)
As the original Flash, Golden Age Jay Garrick’s long-lasting relevance in DC canon is not to be understated. However, looking back now, especially with a 21st Century lens, the simplicity of the Golden Age Flash’s suit seems quite jarring. Essentially, the Jay Garrick of those days donned little more than fancy blue jeans and a pristine red sweater, complete with a saucer for a helmet.
Still, this design warrants praise, particularly because vestiges of it remain intact with modern incarnations of Garrick. Additionally, the Hermes-derived wings on his helmet and boots serve as proof positive that Garrick, more so than other DC characters of the era, bears true resemblance to the Greek Gods of which many heroes were modeled after.
15 WORLDS OF DC
Ezra Miller’s Flash suit in DC’s film universe has only featured on screen a handful of times. Yet, it’s arguably the most impressive of the Scarlet Speedster’s live-action suits. It’s a tech-savvy build, expensive and finely made. Myriad armor pieces make up the outfit’s outer layer, while thin black cables appear to intricately hold it all together.
Like the Speedster’s Injustice: Gods Among Us garb, however, we’re left to ponder the necessity of the armor and extra pieces. There’s probably a scientific reason as to why someone moving at such high speeds needs such materials. But, aesthetically, it veers a tad too far from the hero’s regular attire. That said, nothing can beat the way this suit looks while Barry’s in motion.
14 THE FLASH (SEASON 1)
The Flash takes liberties with regard to DC lore by deviating from the status quo. To a degree, Barry’s suit, particularly in Season 1, counts as one such liberty. As it appears almost maroon in color, the suit is a darker shade of red than any that typically adorns a Flash costume. In addition, the outfit’s golden accents slightly deviate from the yellow hue of comic tradition. Finally, the red background beneath the lightning bolt situated on Barry’s chest is usually white.
Overall, it’s well-made, and not because of its crafting with a television budget. The costume appeals to the eye, even while Flash races about. Of course, later seasons developed more comic accurate suits, but this served the hero well for a time.
13 JOHNNY QUICK (CRIME SYNDICATE)
As sinister Justice League doppelgängers, the Crime Syndicate reigns chaos across Earth-3. Earth-3’s evil Flash is Jonathan Allen aka Johnny Quick, a criminal who struck by lightning while trying to escape the law. Interestingly, this Flash’s costume appears simultaneously eccentric and simple.
Johnny’s attire doesn’t deviate from the Speedster’s traditional color scheme. However, the suit’s design seems a far cry from Flash’s typical garb. Johnny’s costume lacks a lightning bolt across his chest. Rather, a bolt thickly lines each side of his torso. Thick lightning bolts also adorn his gauntlets and biceps. His cowl, or lack thereof, marks the most notable change, though. A pointed, silver headpiece covers his dome; goggles protect his eyes. The eccentric mad scientist perfectly suits this Speedster.
12 DANICA WILLIAMS
Set in the same universe as the Batman Beyond animated series, Justice League Beyond explores the future adventures of the world’s finest heroes. The comic run’s 19th issue introduces the future time period’s Flash, Danica Williams, who dons a suit both familiar and fresh in its overall appearance.
Similar to Flash suits of the past, Danica’s emphasizes red and yellow. The color black also prominently features, as it colors her pants, gloves, and the background beneath the lightning bolt on her chest. Not unlike a Kid Flash costume, the cowl of Danica’s Flash attire has an opened top. Additionally, the ensemble creatively includes yellow goggles, making her design all the more futuristic when compared to The Flash’s simpler suits.
11 JESSE QUICK
In 1995’s Flash #97, Wally West passes the mantle of The Flash to Jesse Quick. Yet, the move chiefly serves as a back-handed effort to convince Bart Allen to accept the responsibility. As a consequence, Jesse’s time in the role is short-lived. At the end of issue #99, Bart adopts The Flash mantle.
Still, for the bit of time that she is The Flash, Jesse holds her own. Her Flash costume alone seems a marvel. Like her own suit during this era, Jesse’s Flash garb is short-sleeved with an opened top cowl. Everything else on her Flash suit mimics the one Wally dons. It’s one of Jesse’s better costumes to date -- too bad she doesn’t wear it for long.
10 INJUSTICE 2
NetherRealm gave Injustice 2 players the ability to adjust the Speedster’s attire to their liking. However, The Flash in Injustice 2’s promotional material doesn’t don half as much armor as his Injustice: Gods Among Us counterpart. Was this a response to criticism about his attire in the franchise’s first entry? We can’t be sure. Nonetheless, it’s a welcomed change, indeed.
Like The Flash’s Season 1 costume, the Injustice 2 suit incorporates a darker tone of red, which weaves along Flash’s shoulders and legs. Additionally, the white background behind the lightning bolt is abandoned. In its place rests a bolder lightning bolt emblem, apparently inspired by Barry’s New 52 appearance. The Injustice 2 suit, similar to others, proves that simple equals better where The Flash is concerned.
9 RED DEATH
Red Death debuts during Dark Nights: Metal as an Earth-52 version of Bruce Wayne, who absorbs that Earth’s Flash and his powers. The resulting combination is a genuinely nightmarish appearance. Akin to Zoom in The Flash’s sophomore season, Red Death dons a full-faced cowl that makes it appear as though a perpetual scowl adorns his visage. The dark red hue of his suit also feeds into the character’s fear-inducing attire.
As for the emblem on Red Death’s chest, a lightning bolt slashes the bat-symbol in half, perfectly harmonizing the composite character into one. Other accoutrements fill out the suit’s design, small details unlikely to work elsewhere. The exaggerated batwings situated on either side of Red Death’s cowl represent one such addition.
8 BARRY ALLEN (PRE-CRISIS)
From Barry Allen’s first appearance in Showcase #4 (1956) to his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (1985), very little changes about his Flash attire. It’s with good reason, too, as no change is necessary. The red suit accompanied by bright yellow accents just works, and, in many respects, still does. Perhaps sheer simplicity is what has ensured the design’s unmatched, long-lasting appeal.
Barry’s Pre-Crisis Flash suit also birthed the iconic white circular background, overlaid with the yellow lightning bolt, a design component that has consistently stood the test of time. It seems few fans would cry foul, should the emblem maintain its unwavering prominence.
7 WALLY WEST (DC REBIRTH)
Following the events of "The Darkseid War", Wally West escapes the Speed Force, with help from Barry Allen. Upon Wally’s return, Barry encourages him to maintain his title of Flash and get a new suit. Using Speed Force energy, Wally does just that, creating a Flash costume like none before it.
In line with Wally’s Kid Flash attire of the past, the cowl on his new Flash suit features an opened top. Yet, the color scheme truly makes Wally’s DC Rebirth attire shine. Literally. Dark red and silver serve as the suit’s sole colors. When he speeds along, it’s as if a blinding light trails behind him, thanks to the silver lines. This Flash suit will not soon be forgotten.
6 BARRY ALLEN (NEW 52)
The New 52’s advent brought about a reinvention of The Flash, courtesy of Barry Allen’s return during prior events. Naturally, this meant a new suit for the Speedster. However, the Jim Lee-designed attire stayed true to Barry’s garb of old, while also providing something fresh.
Thin lines of lightning run the course of the suit, heightening the visual sense of movement whenever Flash is drawn in motion. Additional changes are notable with Barry’s emblem, too. No longer does a mere white background lie beneath the yellow lightning bolt on his chest. A thick yellow barrier encircles the white, flowing into the design of the bolt. These touches, small as they are, make Barry’s Flash pop on the page, especially when he’s pictured alongside fellow Speedsters.
5 BARRY ALLEN (1990s TV SERIES)
For a television series from the 1990s, this particular suit is surprisingly comic book accurate. In many respects, it’s the Scarlet Speedster’s most comic accurate live-action suit to date. Honestly, it looks ripped from the pages of DC canon. The color of red used by costume designers seems a perfect match, as does the construction of the lightning bolt emblem and stark white background.
For star John Wesley Shipp, however, the suit was a hassle to put on. Apparently, it was also gross due to filming conditions, such as Los Angeles heat and budgetary concerns. Thanks to the Arrowverse’s “Elseworlds” crossover event, the ‘90s suit, hopefully a better made one, will soon return to television. No doubt it will once more become a fan-favorite costume.
4 WALLY WEST (DCAU)
Like much of the DC Animated Universe, simplicity reigns supreme with Wally West’s Flash costume. Given his history in the comics and on-screen, it wouldn’t be better any other way. In retrospect, this suit seems to have influenced the design of Barry Allen’s New 52 attire, particularly where the lightning bolt emblem is concerned.
In Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, Wally’s Flash suit stands out on-screen. The gold lighting bolts that accent his forearms and waist are especially eye-catching, and the same can be said of his gold boots. Interestingly, the bright-colored boots have yet to appear in live-action, but that could be for the best. They serve the hero well in animation, though.
3 THE FLASH (SEASON 4)
When Barry returns from the Speed Force at the start of Season 4, Cisco has a new suit waiting for him. Excepting Season 5, the Season 4 garb is the show’s most comic accurate suit. In addition, many consider it the show’s finest translation of the Speedster’s attire.
Similar to Barry’s appearance in the New 52, the Season 4 suit has golden lines running the course of it. The color also adds to the suit’s being favored amongst fans. Gone is the dark red, almost maroon look of the previous three seasons. The fourth season finally implements a bold red color into the Arrowverse's suit design. It couldn’t look any better on the screen, either.
2 JAY GARRICK (ARROWVERSE)
Depending on the artist, Jay Garrick’s Golden Age suit tends to look overly simple, cheap even. Somehow, The Flash’s costume designers elevated the jeans and red sweater design to something more elegant, refined. It’s beautifully crafted, bold in color with its use of red and blue. The color scheme receives perfect accentuation with fine gold lines, which also underscore the gold lightning bolt gracing the chest of the Arrowverse’s Earth-3 Flash. Even the silver helmet works in live-action.
Maybe it’s the suit itself. Perhaps credit goes to John Wesley Shipp, who eloquently steps into the role of an Elder Statesmen of sorts, donning the suit and role of an older Flash with poise. But, whatever the case, Jay’s costume counts as one of the Arrowverse’s finest.
1 WALLY WEST (POST-CRISIS)
Because most Flash suits appear so similar, particularly those worn by Barry and Wally, preference of one costume over another sometimes culminates in the minutiae of details. Such is the case with the choice for this list’s number one spot, Wally West’s Post-Crisis attire, specifically the suit that debuts in 1991’s Flash #50.
Seemingly, the live-action show of the time inspired the suit. The lightning bolt around his waist is angled in a manner that mimics John Wesley Shipp's '90s suit. The Flash #50 costume also harbors a slightly deeper shade of red than Wally’s previous garb, and features white lenses on his cowl. It’s a sharp look for the Speedster, one we wouldn’t mind seeing return in some capacity.