While Arrow might have jumpstarted the Arrowverse on the CW, it was The Flash that took the world by storm. When Arrow introduced Barry Allen, comic book fans couldn’t have been happier; they eagerly anticipated seeing the Flash. Thanks to the character’s popularity over on Arrow, the CW opted to give the Scarlet Speedster his own TV show. It was a massive success and in relatively short order. Currently, The Flash might be the CW’s most successful DC Comics property they have going for them. Sure, they have Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, and while it’s true that The Flash has had its issues, the success of the show has far outweighed the problems.
Like with any TV show, movie, etc. not only do you need a compelling hero, but captivating villains are just as, if not more, important. Boasting one of the best rogue's galleries in comic book history, The Flash had plenty of characters to choose from. However, while some bad guys were faithfully adapted, others weren’t so lucky and came out looking abysmal. Today at CBR we’re taking a gander at 15 villains from The Flash and seeing who are the best and worst looking of the bunch.
15 BETTER: CAPTAIN COLD
An incredibly satisfying character on The Flash was actor Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold. One of the the Flash’s most iconic and well-known antagonists out of his entire rogue's gallery, Captain Cold and his Cold Gun have proved time and again that he doesn’t need fancy powers to take on the Crimson Comet. He’s clever enough to finagle ways to outsmart the Flash or take him on; it’s a rather mean feat.
The Flash also took time to accurately depict their rivalry from the comics.
Though it’s true early Flash comics might not have displayed mutual respect between the two, later comics did, and it’s these stories that the show took from. Additionally, The Flash didn’t flinch at giving Captain Cold his infamous parka. It might sometimes look out-of-place or goofy, but that’s the way it was in the comics too.
14 WORSE: GOLDEN GLIDER
If you’re going to call yourself the Golden Glider, then you’re outfit better include gold and there should be some gliding on your part. Lisa Snart is the younger sister of Captain Cold. Like her big brother, she took a path that led to stealing, committing all sorts of cries, and battling it out with the Flash. The comics version of Golden Glider was a professional figure skater, coached by her lover the Top. When he died, she became the Golden Glider and went after the Flash for revenge.
She wore skates that let skate on the air, and the New 52 Golden Glider had astral projection powers that allowed her to phase through or glide across objects. In The Flash, Lisa uses a Gold Gun and thinks that’s enough to call herself Golden Glider. Alas, a leather jacket and a golden firearm do not a Golden Glider make.
13 BETTER: HEAT WAVE
Coming out of left field, Mick Rory, the pyromaniac villain known as Heat Wave, quickly became a fan-favorite character. In both The Flash and the comics, not only does he often team up with Captain Cold, but the two are close friends. Leonard Snart watches over his fire-loving companion and tries to make sure he doesn’t get too out of line. After being featured on The Flash for a bit, Heat Wave has moved on to the Legends of Tomorrow TV show, time travelling with a bunch of superheroes to protect time and space.
Though Heat Wave initially seemed like an odd choice to be aboard a time machine spaceship, he fit in rather well.
In both TV shows, the producers made sure Heat Wave retained his iconic goggles. His outfit isn’t of central importance; a Heat Wave is one of those guys who’s the same person no matter what he’s wearing.
12 WORSE: MULTIPLEX
Cisco Ramone gave Danton Black, played by Michael Smith, the moniker Multiplex due to his cloning abilities in The Flash. At one point Danton worked as a bio-geneticist for Stagg Industries and was working on cellular regeneration to save his dying wife. Things didn’t go well for him, especially once the particle accelerator exploded. Rather than discovering a cure to save his ailing wife, Danton gained the ability to duplicate himself.
This was pretty different from his comic book origin where he got his powers from a nuclear explosion. In fact, it was the same explosion that gave Firestorm his abilities. While Multipelx usually looks like a character out of a Daft Punk music video, The Flash gave him a zip-up biker jacket and somebody thought to call it a day.
11 BETTER: REVERSE-FLASH
Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, is one of the Flash’s greatest enemies of all time. The Reverse-Flash comes from the future and was obsessed with Barry Allen. After he acquired speed powers and had a run-in with the actual Flash, that obsession turned deadly. Played by both Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher, Eobard Thawne on the TV show disguised himself as the wheelchair-bound Harrison Wells. There’s plenty of confusing time travel and alternate realities that keeps the Reverse-Flash a prominent threat in the Flash mythos.
The Flash and the Reverse-Flash are effectively two time travellers who meet and fight in the wrong order.
On TV, the Reverse-Flash looked amazing. The character was allowed to keep his yellow costume and while it might look silly on anyone else, the gravitas and powerhouse performances given by Cavanagh and Letscher instilled fear, rather than a sense of corniness.
10 WORSE: GIRDER
The character Girder first appeared in Flash: Iron Heights. After he was thrown into a vat of molten steel at S.T.A.R. Labs (because what don’t these people have in their labs) Tony Woodward was turned into a hulking, walking piece of metal.
Unfortunately, whoever was in charge of production and costume design over on The Flash clearly confused Girder for Colossus, the Marvel Comics X-Man. Colossus could sheathe his body in organic metal at will, giving him super strength, durability, etc. and on The Flash, Girder not only has the same abilities, but looks exactly like Colossus in both the X-Men movies and comics. The same person who signed off on Girder’s look, likely thought no one would notice the striking similarities; we did. Heck, if you can have bipedal sharks and talking gorillas, then why can’t you have Girdier look like he does in the source material?
9 BETTER: ZOOM
While the Reverse-Flash would prove a fearsome foe, he wouldn’t hold a candle to the terrifying nature of the evil speedster Zoom. Zoom rushed into the show's second season like a demonic force of nature, cleaving through anyone who got in his way and leaving a trail of carnage in his wake. Zoom’s arrival introduced the Multiverse as Earth-1 met Earth-2, but he was best known for breaking The Flash's body and running it around the city, manipulating Caitlin Snow, and killing Barry’s father, in turn nearly shattering the Flash’s spirit.
All season long, Zoom’s identity was shrouded in mystery and the revelation that he was "Jay Garrick" didn’t help matters.
Though it turned out he was Hunter Zolomon all along. In spite of the confusing narrative, Zoom was a beast and well-welcomed addition to The Flash; audiences genuinely questioned how their hero would beat such an opponent.
8 WORSE: SAVITAR
From the moment he debuted, Savitar failed to add any actual pizazz to The Flash. Firstly there was the problem with Savitar’s identity. Like with Zoom, the question about who was Savitar carried on far longer than it probably should have. When all was said and done, it was revealed that he was a time remnant from the future that had turned evil. His complicated history was delivered in only one short expository scene.
Then there was his costume. The Flash has come under fire over it’s over usage of CGI, and Savitar was the root of many problems. He wore a large metal suit that not only looked dumb, but whenever he used his speed powers, the show had no choice but to use a shocking amount of special effects. It didn’t look organic, like with the Flash and other speedsters, but noticeably, and disappointingly, fake.
7 BETTER: CAPTAIN BOOMERANG
When you’re dealing with a character like Captain Boomerang, you have to accept that the villain commits crimes while wearing boomerangs on his chest. That’s just how it is and nothing should change. Though Captain Boomerang never actually appeared on The Flash, he did appear in an Arrow/The Flash crossover and is a long-lasting villain in The Flash comics.
While the comics typically presented Captain Boomerang as a goofball, the TV show realized him as an incredibly lethal adversary.
A former member of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), he specialized in weapons and technology, which he used to fashion groovy boomerangs. To make more money, Harkness went rogue and sold his services to the highest bidder. Overall, this Captain Boomerang was pretty cool and more accomplished than his comic book self.
6 WORSE: THE MIST
The assassin Kyle Nimbus acquired his mist-like powers on an evening he was scheduled to be executed via gas chamber. That same night the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploded and gave him the power to transform into poisonous gas. All in all, it worked out pretty well for Nimbus, but he was so inconsequential and bland, viewers have already forgot him.
He didn’t have a fancy costume and there was hardly anything distinguishable about the Mist. To make matters worse, in the comics, the Mist isn’t actually an enemy of the Flash. Rather, he’s the archenemy of Ted Knight, aka Starman. Those two would slug it out on several occasions. The Mist’s inclusion on The Flash could have been a good segue to introducing Starman, but the opportunity was lost.
5 BETTER: PIED PIPER
The Pied Piper had an interesting history in Flash comics. While he might have originally debuted as a villain, he joined the side of angels when Wally West was the Flash and convinced him to be a good guy. Portrayed by Andy Mientus, Hartley Rathaway, through a series of shenanigans, gained the ability of superhuman hearing.
This power made his eardrums extremely sensitive, forcing him to wear a device in his ears to limit sounds for the rest of his life.
This was a slight departure from the comics, where he could hypnotize opponents with a flute, but making sound gauntlets wasn’t too unacceptable, seeing as they could preform a similar function and hypnotize people. The TV Pied Piper also looked the part, what with his dark green hoodie and glasses. Thankfully, he didn’t require much in the way of costumes design.
4 WORSE: WEATHER WIZARD
For a character as powerful as the Flash, a lot of his villains surprisingly either don’t have powers or are limited in their power sets. The Weather Wizard is not such a baddie. Rocking yellow and green spandex, and sporting spikey hair, the likes of which would make anyone from Dragon Ball Z jealous, Mark Mardon is one of the Scarlet Speedster’s mightiest foes.
The Weather Wizard on The Flash is a pale fascicle of his comic book self; at least where appearances are concerned. Played by Liam McIntyre, it was good to see they gave the Weather Wizard his due in terms of raw power. He, along with his brother, was able to control the weather because of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion. Throwing on a bland jacket and calling it a day, this unassuming Weather Wizard attempted to form the Rogues and bring down the Flash.
3 BETTER: TRICKSTER
Mark Hamill first appeared as the villain the Trickster back on the original Flash TV show in the early ‘90s. When the new series of The Flash debuted, it was a breath of fresh air to see the show’s creators taking to a nod to everything that had come before, bringing back classic actors to reprise their roles. Similar to the Trickster he played in the ‘90s, Hamill’s performance was spot-on.
He demonstrated he could challenge the Flash with nothing more than a keen intellect and silly, but dangerous, gags.
The Flash had no problem dressing him up in any number of kooky outfits. In season four of The Flash, Hamill wasn’t available, so they brought in the character’s son as the new Trickster, similar to the comics, along with the Hamill’s on-screen evil wife Zoey Clark, played by Corinne Bohrer, who also was in the original Flash show.
2 WORSE: KILLER FROST
Killer Frost, or at least her more amiable personality Caitlin Snow, has been a part of The Flash since season one. Even back then, audiences knew Caitlin would eventually turn into her supervillain alter ego. The only question was when and how. At one point, while the Flash is running through the timestream, audiences got a quick glance of Killer Frost in the future. People were excited to witness the transformation. What fans didn’t realize is that when the metamorphosis finally happened, not only would Killer Frost look neither killer nor frosty, but viewers would be subjected to endless hours of indecisiveness on both the screenwriters’ part and Caitlin’s.
The melodrama that followed Caitlin and Killer Frost got old quickly. It didn’t help that her appearance was basically albino skin, blue lipstick, and white hair. After years of waiting, the payoff was all but disappointing.
1 BETTER: GRODD
Gorilla Grodd is easily one of the Flash’s scariest foes. With hardly a shred of compassion in his massive gorilla body, Grodd is vicious, cruel, and powerful. When The Flash TV show was announced, fans of the Scarlet Speedster desperately hoped they’d get a chance to see the telepathic ape on the small screen.
After a couple teases, audiences figured Grodd would disappear into the ether, but luckily, he became a prominent villain on The Flash.
Voiced by David Sobolo, Gordd ended up looking better than anyone could have hoped. Though essentially one massive mound of CGI, Grodd’s presence is overwhelming and the actors on the show do a phenomenal job interacting with what’s in actuality, likely a tennis ball on a stick. At the end of the day, Grodd is one of the best-looking villains on The Flash.