With five and a half seasons under its belt, The Flash has explored the gamut with regards to the Scarlet Speedster’s rogues gallery. Smaller, lesser known villains have been placed center stage, alongside antagonists who are considered amongst The Flash’s best foes. All are depicted with degrees of faithfulness to the source material from which they are derived. To this end, a few villains that have appeared on The CW’s long-running series seem nearly identical to their comic book counterparts. Meanwhile, several others are portrayed in a fashion that greatly contrasts to their comic book origins. This does not mean character portrayals perceived as faithful to the source material are any better than those that adapt the material loosely.
The above observation merely calls attention to another aspect of The Flash’s adaptation of the DC Universe -- the difference in how Flash comics and the television show convey the powers of some villains. In many cases, differences of this nature seem rather infinitesimal, hardly even worthy of mention. For several other villainous characters, however, their power-set in the comics pales in comparison to what the television series depicts. Without question, the opposite has also proven true. Some villains that have featured on The Flash are far weaker on the show than they appear in the pages of DC comics, or from whichever medium they originate. In the following list, 10 villains from The Flash more powerful than their comic equivalents are acknowledged, alongside 10 villains that seem weaker than they do in the source material.
20 STRONGER: THE THINKER
The Thinker is a DC character who predates Barry Allen’s Flash by about 10 years in the comics. This seems most notably evident in the campiness of the character, particularly in pre-Crisis and post-Crisis continuities. By donning a device referred to as his “Thinking Cap,” the villain’s intelligence substantially improves. With the advent of the New 52 reboot, his intelligence led to his harboring abilities that allowed him to predict the future.
Evidently, the New 52 iteration inspired Thinker’s incarnation on The Flash, as both age rapidly the more their intellect improves. There does exist one notable difference between the two, however. The Flash’s Thinker has the ability to absorb the powers of meta-humans, which made him near unstoppable before he ultimately passed.
19 WEAKER: CICADA
At present this may not be a fair entry, considering Cicada’s run on The Flash has yet to conclude. However, he’s proven formidable enough for Team Flash to doubt whether they can defeat him. At the very least, then, comparing what’s been shown of Cicada, thus far, to the precedent set by his comic analog does seem equitable. With that in mind, the Arrowverse’s version of the villain fails to measure up in many respects.
The most notable difference between the two resides in their special daggers's capabilities. Comic Cicada can absorb life forces, which essentially make him immortal. Contrarily, The Flash’s villain drains the abilities of meta-humans, but only those who gained their powers from dark matter. Live-action Cicada’s powers seem comparatively limited.
18 STRONGER: BLACK SIREN
While Earth-2 Laurel is primarily considered an Arrow character, she did make her villainous debut during The Flash’s sophomore season. Her Earth-2 origins act as her sole connection to the character from which she is derived. Black Siren first appeared in an episode of the Justice League animated series. Unlike the Arrowverse’s version of the character, however, she bore no superpowers. In fact, apart from martial arts, Justice League’s Black Siren didn’t have any abilities of note.
Black Siren’s Arrowverse incarnation completely subverted expectations when introduced. In addition to being a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, she also has the Canary Cry better known as an ability belonging to Black Canary. Black Siren’s scream packs so much power that it has even proven deadly.
17 WEAKER: TRICKSTER
There doesn’t exist an iteration of the Trickster wherein superpowers rest at the nexus of his villainy. However, James Jesse of the Silver Age, the version that inspired Mark Hamill’s character, did have a few tricks up his sleeve that The Flash has yet to explore. The most noteworthy of such tricks is Jesse’s ability to fly, made possible by anti-gravity boots.
Undoubtedly, this would be difficult to portray in live-action, which likely explains this ability’s absence in The CW series. What the live-action Trickster lacks in gadgets, he makes up for in cunning and advanced intelligence. Still, it’s arguably not enough to make The Flash foe any more powerful than his comic book equivalent.
16 STRONGER: MUSIC MEISTER
Music Meister debuted in the DC Universe during Batman the Brave and the Bold’s “Mayhem of the Music Meister!” episode. In his time on the show, Music Meister’s powers hardly exceeded the ability to control others using music. As evidenced by the havoc he wreaks in The Flash and Supergirl’s crossover episode, “Duet,” the Arrowverse takes several liberties where Music Meister is concerned.
Similar to Mister Mxyzptlk, the fifth-dimensional Imp, Music Meister is a being who exists outside of the multiverse’s parameters. Because of this, he can absorb Supergirl’s powers and those of any Speedster. Additionally of note is Music Meister’s prowess with teleportation and hypnosis. In many respects, he warrants recognition as one of the Arrowverse’s most powerful characters.
15 WEAKER: KILG%RE
Kilg%re debuted in The Flash’s fourth season as one of the “bus metas.” This contrasts with his comic origins in both post-Crisis and DC Rebirth continuities, wherein he’s depicted as an electro-organic alien. With regards to power, the only one shared between Kilg%re’s live-action iteration and his comic equivalent is the ability to control technology. Barring this power, The Flash’s version of the villain is rather weak by comparison.
While comic Kilg%re’s robotic body gives him abilities such as flight and enhanced strength, the live-action character has a human form that lacks these gifts. Additionally, because of electrokinesis, the character’s comic incarnation can read minds. Such an ability would likely have made him all the more formidable for TV’s Team Flash.
14 STRONGER: RAINBOW RAIDER
Though Rainbow Raider’s Arrowverse arrival set in motion the first big crossover between Arrow and The Flash, he’s not memorable by any means. Rainbow Raider does, however, seem slightly more powerful than the character from which he is derived. A pre-Crisis character who also appears after Anti-Monitor consumes the multiverse, Rainbow Raider gets his powers from a pair of goggles. The special eyewear gifts him with invisibility and the power to control the emotions of others.
On The Flash, Rainbow Raider is a meta-human who shows no signs of being able to turn invisible. Yet, he can influence the emotions of anyone he chooses without the aid of specially designed goggles. This arguably gives this version an edge over his comic book counterpart.
13 WEAKER: SAVITAR
The comic book and live-action iterations of Savitar are fairly similar. Both have a cult of followers, though the followers of the comic version’s cult seem far more intense by comparison. Of course, and most importantly, both are Speedsters with a nearly identical set of powers. However, comic book Savitar’s power eclipses that of his Arrowverse counterpart, as the former is able to steal speed from other Speedsters.
Another noteworthy difference between the two is in the limitations placed on The Flash’s incarnation of the villainous Speedster. For instance, the metallic armor he dons is necessary for his continued use of his abilities. Historically, Savitar requires no such protection. In fact, comics usually depict him bare-chested, further differentiating him from other Speedsters.
12 STRONGER: EVERYMAN
Everyman is relatively new to the DC Universe, first appearing in an issue of the 52 series in 2006. He debuted on The Flash quite early, though, as one of the pilot season’s villain-of-the-week foes. The two incarnations of the Flash rogue are fairly similar in nature, since both have the ability to shapeshift. How the shapeshifting occurs is what separates comic book Everyman from his live-action analog.
In the comics, Everyman can only shift into the living being of his choosing if he consumes a piece of said being’s DNA. Contrarily, the Arrowverse version can shapeshift by merely making physical contact with whomever he wants to change into.
11 WEAKER: AMUNET BLACK
The Flash’s depiction of Amunet Black seems fairly faithful to her comic equivalent, particularly with regards to the character’s abilities and black market dealings. Both can manipulate metal to various degrees. However, the Amunet Black of comics has been mutated to fuse with metal. Thus, she is able to manipulate and shape such objects at will, seemingly without limitation.
Limitations that can obstruct the Arrowerse’s Amunet Black and her powers are many in number. For example, this version of the villain can only manipulate alnico alloy, which she must have nearby. Though this particular metal is stronger than others, there appears to exist a weight limit for how much she's capable of controlling at once.
10 STRONGER: REVERSE-FLASH
In truth, it’s difficult to discern whether The Flash’s version of the evil Speedster has power that eclipses what he harbors in the comics. Yet, the one manner in which the Arrowverse’s Reverse-Flash may edge out the win lies in the ways he continues to manipulate time. He’s wreaked havoc across both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow on numerous occasions, and had a hand in the events of “Crisis on Earth-X.”
Most importantly, the Reverse-Flash enacts his insidious machinations with total disregard for the rules all Speedsters are to abide by. Given recent teases of his potentially manipulating Barry’s daughter in the future, it seems the Reverse-Flash’s power trip won’t soon cease.
9 WEAKER: SAMUROID
Like other entries on this list, Samuroids are lesser known Flash foes. Spotlighting obscure characters from the annals of DC history remains one of the Arrowverse’s better traits, however. Therefore, one Samuroid took center stage during The Flash’s fourth season premiere.
Samuroids debuted in 1968 as a group of combat androids designed to incite war in the Western hemisphere. Equipped with electric swords and jetpacks, these samurai robots prove unmistakably formidable. The same appears to be true of the one Samuroid deployed by The Flash’s Clifford DeVoe. One intriguing weakness is evident in there being merely a single Samuroid. Another weakness manifests in the Arrowverse’s Samuroid being primarily constructed to slow down and spy on Team Flash. Perhaps it wouldn’t have otherwise been so quickly dispatched.
8 STRONGER: ZOOM
Nearly three years removed from his Arrowverse debut, and Zoom remains one of the franchise’s scariest characters. In an effort to distinguish Zoom from his Reverse-Flash connection in the comics, The Flash creatives elected to completely subvert expectations. In doing so, they crafted a villain who’s somewhat part Savitar and part Reverse-Flash. The Savitar influence seems predominantly evident when considering Zoom’s obsession with speed and his desire to steal it from fellow Speedsters.
Black Flash warrants mention, too. Upon his apparent demise during The Flash Season 2’s finale, Zoom devolved into the Black Flash. In this role, he acted as a Speed Force agent, hunting down Speedsters who have abused their powers by violating the laws of time.
7 WEAKER: GOLDEN GLIDER
At her core, The Flash’s Golden Glider is little more than Captain Cold with a gold gun. Akin to her brother Leonard Snart, Lisa’s intelligence and tactical prowess make her quite formidable. But the Cisco Ramon-created gun she wields gives her inherent skills a biting edge she would not otherwise possess.
In pre-Crisis and post-Crisis continuities, Golden Glider has no meta-human or science-related abilities; she’s a dancer, who descends into a life of crime. However, the New 52 iteration of the character gives her meta-human powers. Specifically, she has enhanced speed, can astrally project herself, teleport, fly, and more. New 52’s Golden Glider is so powerful that she’s able to help Sam Scudder’s Mirror Master escape the Mirror World.
6 STRONGER: DOMINATORS
In many respects, Dominators are an alien race that’s not to be trifled with, primarily because of their bold ambitions. Their advanced sciences make them a huge threat, especially where their creation of the gene bomb is concerned. When Dominators debuted in the Arrowverse, during the “Invasion!” crossover, their threat level exponentially increased.
The Dominators’ comic book counterparts seem to lack powers that allow them to cast illusions and mind control opponents. In the Arrowverse, abilities of this nature are so formidable for the Dominators that they’re able to subject Supergirl to their control. Once the team of heroes has the chance to regroup, dispatching the Dominators becomes relatively easy. Still, for a short while, these alien invaders were more powerful than they’d ever been.
5 WEAKER: GORILLA GRODD
The psionic simian has exhibited countless of his abilities across the Arrowverse in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. A powerful telepath with intelligence exceeding that of the smartest humans, Gorilla Grodd will likely go down as one of the franchise’s more formidable villains. Yet, his live-action antics have hardly scratched the surface as to just how potent Gorilla Grodd’s abilities can become.
In the Arrowverse, Grodd often employs his powers to either telepathically communicate, or mind control his human foes. Skills not yet translated to live-action include Grodd’s ability to control animals and project energy. Interestingly, another aspect of Grodd that’s been absent is his penchant for torture and the creative ways in which he uses telepathy to get what he wants.
4 STRONGER: MIRROR MASTER
Sam Scudder debuted in The Flash’s third season, returning from entrapment inside of a mirror to exact revenge on Captain Cold. Thanks to the particle accelerator explosion, when he emerges from imprisonment, Scudder discovers his mirror-based powers. More aptly, he discovers his reflective surface-based powers.
Scudder’s escape from the Mirror World acts as the basis for why The Flash’s Mirror Master is slightly more powerful than his comic analog. The New 52 Scudder, which the Arrowverse version is seemingly based upon, needs Golden Glider’s help to return to the real world. On television, he returns without assistance. Of course, this can be attributed to technicalities. The Flash doesn’t have a character capable of astral projection like New 52’s Golden Glider. Regardless, wins of convenience wins are still wins.
3 WEAKER: PIED PIPER
Compared to post-Crisis and New 52 versions of the character, The Flash’s Pied Piper seems much less potent. While Pied Piper’s origins differ between the two continuities, both comic incarnations have sound-based abilities. The post-Crisis version is the more powerful, equipped with sound manipulation, super hearing, and a specialized flute for hypnotization.
Barring sound manipulation, The Flash’s Pied Piper harbors none of the above. With sonic waves, he strikes a devastating blow to anyone within a close enough range. He additionally dons powerful sonic gloves to cause untold amounts of destruction. Yet, his weaknesses are known to overshadow these abilities. Without special hearing aids, which interestingly double as explosives, the character becomes painfully sensitive to sound.
2 STRONGER: TOP
Two versions of the Top exists in DC’s ever-expanding universe; neither appear on The Flash. However, the Arrowverse’s Top is partially derived from the Silver Age Top, the earlier of the two versions. Roscoe Dillon donned the mantle of the Top during the Silver Age. His abilities were telekinetic in nature, allowing him to spin at high speeds. He also used a number of top-related gadgets, such as a top that emitted poisonous fumes.
Rosa Dillon is the Arrowverse’s Top, whose meta-human powers induce vertigo, making her the opposite of Roscoe in more ways than one. Rather than spin herself about, Rosa twists and turns the world around her. By disorienting her opponents, she gains an advantage even the Scarlet Speedster has difficulty combating.
1 WEAKER: KING SHARK
Earlier iterations of King Shark appear to leave his origins ambiguous. There’s no such confusion in his more recent comic appearances, however. He’s a demigod, unique in his build and powers. Able to freely traverse land and sea, King Shark has super strength and the benefits of shark physiology, such as fangs and the ability to remain submerged beneath water.
The Flash’s King Shark is meta-human. He seems capable of performing any task that his comic analog would be able to accomplish. His being a meta-human, who in his former life worked at A.R.G.U.S, leaves him susceptible to attacks that King Shark would otherwise find avoidable. Hence his becoming an A.R.G.U.S lab rat and watch dog.