One of DC's longest-running (pun not intended) heroes, The Flash has been an integral part of the DC Universe since the character was created. Since the creation of the original, the Scarlet Speedster's popularity has exploded, with writers expounding on the mythology behind the super-speedster, and eventually spawning the existence of numerous other Flashes. These other versions of the character run the gamut from good to evil, and from versions that inhabit alternate Earths to people on the main DC Earth simply following in the footsteps of The Flash heroes that have come before.
That's quite a few Fastest Men (and Women!) Alive. But have you ever wondered which of these fearless, fleet-footed heroes was the fastest? Which one of them stands atop the rest as the fastest of the Fastest People Alive -- the one, true "Flash"? If you have, fortunately CBR's got you covered, as this time we count down 15 of the fastest versions of The Flash, starting with the slowest and working our way up to the fastest of them all. For this list, we'll be looking both at members of The Flash family, their biggest rivals, and even some versions of The Flash from alternate Earths.
15 BIZARRO FLASH
The most recent incarnation of Bizarro Flash came from a 2007 Action Comics story, “Escape from Bizarro World”, written during Geoff Johns and Richard Donner's stint on the book. After Bizarro gained the ability to make duplicates of himself after being fused with a blue sun, he created Bizarro World and populated it with a number of inverted versions of famous DC characters, including the Bizarro JLA, which naturally featured the Bizarro Flash.
The opposite of the Scarlet Speedster, Bizarro Flash is sad instead of exuberant, and overweight instead of lean, and can barely run at all, though he does possess the ability to fly at light speed. Still, when strictly talking about running ability, there's no question that Bizarro Flash am slowest of all.
14 SELA ALLEN, THE FLASH OF THE 23RD CENTURY
As the daughter of The Flash of her timeline, Sela Allen was brutally attacked by the 23rd century's version of Cobalt Blue who used his magical control of speed to slow down her nervous system, thus locking her in a state of slow motion for the rest of her life. Looking for a way to save her, her father placed her at the edge of the Speed Force in hopes that it would kick start her, but instead it gave her the ability to project herself to the world as a being of pure speed.
The reason she's at her place on this list is because she hasn't had the exposure to show us exactly what she can do. A being of pure Speed Force sounds like a force to be reckoned with, but because this 23rd century Flash hasn't appeared often enough, she's close to dead last.
13 JAY GARRICK, THE FLASH I
The first superhero to ever name themselves The Flash. In 1938, Jay Garrick was a young college student that inhaled heavy water vapors in his lab, activating a dormant metagene that granted him super-speed. Jay Garrick’s low ranking on this list is to denote his “normal” speed.
When tapped into the Speed Force, Jay can run between 20 times the speed of sound up to the speed of light, but he’s also one of the few people on this list who doesn’t need the Speed Force at all, being a natural metahuman. Still, without the gifts of the Speed Force, Jay’s speed tops out at a mere speed of sound, and it’s been implied that his ability to go light-speed usually comes from working with Flashes who have a stronger tie to the Speed Force.
12 AVERY HO, THE FLASH OF CHINA
Avery is one of the newest additions to The Flash family, debuting during the current run of The Flash’s first story post-Rebirth. First appearing in The Flash vol. 5 #3 in 2016, Avery was one of many members in Central City who gained superpowers during the Speed Force storm incident, and one of even fewer to keep her powers when the story ended. Avery has since made her way to China to join New Super Man and the Justice League of China.
Avery’s relatively low placement on this list is because no one knows the upper limits of her abilities. She’s fast enough to run on water, and can outrun both Superman and Wonder Woman of China, but nothing we’ve seen indicates she can go light or near-light speed yet, though she can steal speed to increase her own momentum, a high-level Flash technique.
11 WALLY WEST II, KID FLASH III
In one of the more convoluted ways a speedster’s ever gained his powers, Wallace Rudolph West somehow attained his Speed Force abilities when an older version of himself from the future died, but his powers traveled through time to a similar conduit and granted them to his past self.
Much like Avery, Wally has neither had the experience nor the time to test the upper limits of his powers. The most impressive feat we’ve seen involved him moving fast enough to stop one of his teammates from being bullied by slipping a bar of soap underneath the bully’s foot. Much like most young Flashes, his potential seems to be great, but he’s nowhere near fast enough to pose a threat to other speedsters on this list, some of whom he’s actually had to go face-to-face with.
10 JESSE QUICK
Jesse Chambers is the daughter of a pair of Golden Age heroes, Johnny Quick and the Liberty Belle. Though she was born with the abilities of her mother, her closeness to her father caused her to want to emulate him, and so Johnny Quick taught her how to use the mathematical formula of 3X2(9YZ)4A to tap into the Speed Force, just like him.
But while Jesse has one of the most unique ways of accessing the Speed Force, she’s also not exactly a heavy hitter when it comes down to the tale of the speedometer. Jesse tops out at roughly half of light speed -- fast enough to trounce most speedsters not connected to the Speed Force, but she’s nowhere near the upper end of what the Speed Force can make people capable of.
9 JOHN FOX, THE FLASH OF THE 853RD CENTURY
John Fox was a future version of The Flash from the 27th century. When the supervillain Manfred Mota threatened his Central City, Fox was sent back in time in an attempt to recruit one of The Flashes to help him. Though his mission failed, being exposed to tachyon radiation granted him a connection to the Speed Force. He would go on to briefly defend the 27th century before bouncing through time and nearly steal Wally’s wife from him, then settling in the 853rd century with the Justice Legion A.
Like many versions of The Flash, John Fox’s top speed has never been stated outright. He’s been stated as “near Wally West’s speed” once, but most of the time he’s simply shown to be operating near-light speeds. And though he’s developed the ability to travel through time, that’s something he’s done through science rather than merely his connection to the Speed Force.
8 JENNI OGNATS, XS
Basically "The Flash of the Legion of Super-Heroes", Jenni Ognats is the bearer of the Speed Force in the 30th century. Grand-daughter of Barry Allen, her mother and uncle were a pair of super-heroes known as the Tornado Twins. Though Jenni initially appeared to have no powers at all, after being kidnapped by the Dominators and exposed to significant stress under their capture, a connection to the Speed Force emerged and allowed her to save herself and her father.
Though Jenni’s powers have never been tested to their fullest extent, she existed during a time where speedsters who exceeded the speed of light would be absorbed into the Speed Force, something she’s never had to deal with. So it’s safe to say her powers operate at near-light speed, though the Allen blood within her means she could likely achieve some of the same heights as her grandfather.
7 LIA NELSON, THE FLASH OF EARTH-9
Lia Nelson is from Tangent Earth, occasionally designated as “Earth-9”, a world where people took on the same names as all our most noteworthy heroes from New Earth, but have vastly different powers, origins, and backgrounds. A popular fashion model and actress, Lia was a born celebrity, and one of the most recognizable people on her Earth because her parents were astronauts involved in Earth-9’s Jupiter Mission.
Lia’s powers essentially transform her entire body into light, so she’s less of a speedster and more of a being of pure energy. In addition to granting her the ability to manipulate and create light, she can also (obviously) move at the speed of light. Unfortunately, moving at light-speed is just the start of any major speedster’s abilities.
6 BART ALLEN, IMPULSE/ KID FLASH II/ THE FLASH IV
Another grandchild of Barry Allen, Bart was born in the 30th century already connected to the Speed Force. But with no control over his speed, Bart aged rapidly, growing 14 years in only 2 due to his instability, before finally being “cured” by Wally West. While in the 21st century, Bart took on the identity of Impulse, and later Kid Flash -- even briefly taking over as The Flash after some events during "Infinite Crisis".
Bart’s intuitive connection to the Speed Force places him fairly high on this list, with his time as both Kid Flash and stint as The Flash making him highly formidable. He’s survived a trip or two into the Speed Force and can move at or faster than the speed of light, but his inexperience leaves him dwarfed by the remaining speedsters in the top five.
5 BLACK FLASH
They say Death eventually catches us all… but what happens when you’re too fast even for Death itself? Well, that’s where the Black Flash comes in -- essentially, an element of Death imbued with the powers of the Speed Force, Black Flash is meant to take speedsters back into the Speed Force when their time is ultimately done. Usually only noticed by other speedsters, the Black Flash is often seen right before the deaths of multiple speedsters, including both Barry Allen and Johnny Quick.
Literally the personification of death itself, the Black Flash is difficult to outrun and most of the speedsters on this list couldn’t even hope to do so. He is capable of surpassing light speed, and has kept up with top speedsters on multiple occasions… but has also been outrun (and outsmarted) by Wally West, meaning his speed clearly has limits.
4 EOBARD THAWNE, THE REVERSE-FLASH
The fanboy-turned-homicidal villain, Eobard Thawne’s obsession with The Flash led to him spending his whole life studying The Flash and the mysterious source that powered him, the Speed Force. After obtaining powers like The Flash, he began creating his own chances to be a hero by endangering the people around him, until he was stopped by Barry Allen when he traveled to the future once.
The engine for the “Negative Speed Force”, Thawne has occasionally been shown to be faster than Barry in certain circumstances -- usually attacking Barry when he’s at a weak moment or when his experience levels are low. But the general consensus is that he and Barry are roughly equal, if Barry isn’t just slightly faster, thus explaining how the Scarlet Speedster is so frequently capable of putting his greatest nemesis away.
3 BARRY ALLEN, THE FLASH II
While working in his CSI lab one night, Barry Allen was drenched in chemicals and struck by lightning in a freak accident that granted him super-speed. Unable to simply go on living his life as a normal person, Barry donned a superhero outfit and decided to become The Flash to protect his town, Central City.
Though he isn’t the “original” Flash, Barry Allen is the one that gave the rest of the speedsters on his Earth what it took to run. Literally. In Flash: Rebirth, it was revealed that Barry’s accident didn’t connect him to the Speed Force… it created it. With every step Barry takes, he generates the energy that all the speedsters get their powers from. This makes Barry one of the fastest speedsters ever to lace up their boots -- capable of exceeding light speed with ease as well as breaking the time barrier.
2 WALLY WEST, KID FLASH/ THE FLASH III
Wally West became the third person to connect to the Speed Force when, during a conversation with his idol The Flash, he was struck by lightning and doused with chemicals the same way Barry had been. Though his position as the "one true Flash" has been usurped by his mentor Barry, Wally is still the fastest Flash of all time, boasting countless ridiculous speed feats that dwarf everyone else on this list.
On top of that, despite Barry being the scientist, most of the tricks that speedsters learn the Speed Force is capable of -- from crafting costumes out of its energy to stealing (and granting!) speed -- are all things that were learned when Wally was the main Flash. And even though he may no longer be DC’s choice for the main Flash, he’s still the undisputed master of all things speed.
1 HUNTER ZOLOMON, ZOOM
Hunter Zolomon started out as a metahuman profiler working in Keystone City, becoming friends with Wally West, and helping him solve cases. But after being injured by Gorilla Grodd, Hunter asked Wally to help him by using the Cosmic Treadmill to go back in time. When Wally refused, he broke into The Flash museum to do it himself, only to have an accident that broke him free from his connection to time.
In terms of pure “speed”, Zolomon actually loses to nearly every speedster on this list, as he moves at normal human speed. But this version of the Reverse-Flash eschews super-powers through motion altogether, and instead alters his own timeline to slow down or speed up, making him capable of keeping up with and exceeding any Flash even at their fastest speeds. Guess not even a speedster can stop the passage of time itself.
Did we happen to skip over a Flash you think should have made the list? Be sure to let us know in the comments!