The Flash is one of DC Comics greatest superheroes. He’s also one of the most powerful. These days the is also something of a pop culture icon, what with appearing in the Justice League movie and the CW TV show named after him. Additionally, it was Barry Allen, who was technically the second Flash, which ushered in the Silver Age of comic books. Without the success DC realized with Barry Allen and the Flash, it’s likely the comic book landscape we know today, would be a shell of its actual self.
Yet with any great hero, what makes them compelling is their enemies. You need a baddie who can not only go toe-to-toe with the Fastest man Alive, but bring misery outside the field of battle too. The Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, fits the criteria perfectly. Heralding form the future, Eobard would become obsessed with the Flash and Barry Allen. After he acquired speed powers, he believed Barry Allen didn’t derive love, happiness, and just generally needed to die. If he couldn’t do one, he’d do the other; he’s been a skyscraper-sized thorn in the hero’s side for decades. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 of the most offensive things the Reverse-Flash has done.
15 HE KILLED IRIS WEST
Iris West was the love of Barry Allen’s life. With that in mind, there was no one better to kill according to the Reverse-Flash. Surely such a death would cripple the Flash and allow Eobard Thawne to have his revenge. One night, Barry and Iris attended a costume part, with the latter dressed as Batgirl. Iris leaves Barry’s side for a moment to get a drink. Zoom is waiting for her.
Using his speed powers, he vibrates his hand into her skull and then solidifies it, which instantly kills her. Several moments later, Barry finds the lifeless body of his one, true love. Much to Eobard’s pleasure, Barry breaks down and is absolutely destroyed by the terrible loss. This being comics, Iris didn’t stay dead forever and she and Barry would eventually reunite and go live in the future together.
14 HE KILLED BARRY ALLEN'S MOTHER
The death of Barry Allen’s mother is one of the greatest tragedies in the life of the Scarlet Speedster. The modern origin of the Flash involved Barry’s mom being mysteriously murdered when he was a child. A young Barry would arrive at the scene of the crime, only to discover his father being arrested. This moment would inform everything Barry did from that point onwards, including his becoming a policeman.
Much to Barry’s surprise, it was all a result of the Reverse-Flash and his desire to bring an immense level of pain to Barry. The incident also revealed just how much influence Thawne had over Barry’s life. He couldn’t kill Barry as a child, otherwise he’d never become the Flash and Eobard would never learn about the Speed Force and gets powers of his own, so he did the next best thing.
13 HE TRIED TO KILL BARRY'S SECOND WIFE
After Eobard Thawne killed the love of Barry Allen’s life, Iris West, it looked like Barry would never recover from the incident. Yet time heals all wounds and Barry eventually found himself getting ready to marry Fiona Webb. Wedding bells are practically ringing when once again the Reverse-Flash interferes. Again, he’s set on killing Barry’s soon-to-be wife, convinced that Barry does not deserve love. This time around however, Barry is there to stop Thawne and save his loved one.
Unfortunately, Barry’s anger gets the better of him and he accidentally snaps Thawne’s neck. Wracked with guilt, Barry soon finds the whole city has turned against him, putting him on trial for the murder. Even in death, the Reverse-Flash still seems victorious. After a long trial, the court eventually finds Barry guilty. Rather than sticking around, Barry flees to a different time period.
12 HE IMPERSONATED BARRY
After Barry Allen died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally West Attempted to fill the void and he became the new Flash. His tenure as the Scarlet Speedster would apparently be short-lived as a result of the benchmark story The Return of Barry Allen. Wally as shocked to suddenly see Barry come knock on his door. Little did he know, it wasn’t Barry, but Eobard Thawne who had disguised himself.
Thawne has constantly fixated over Barry Allen and wanting to be the Flash. After some futuristic facial reconstruction surgery, Thawne looked exactly like Barry. This was the first post Crisis on Infinite Earths appearance of Eobard Thawne and the villain was crazier than ever before. He took calculated steps to infiltrate the Allen, West and Garrick families’ lives. Though it doesn’t take terribly long for everyone to realize something is wrong, it goes to show Thawne’s diseased nature.
11 RIPPED THE LETTER FROM BATMAN'S DAD
In Flashpoint, Barry met Bruce Wayne’s father, Thomas Wayne, who had become. As the Flashpoint universe begins to unravel, Thomas gives Barry a letter to take back to Bruce. Bruce would covet the letter dearly; it’s a gift of immeasurable value.
One night, while Batman is busy investigating the Comedian’s button he found in his cave during Rebirth, Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, suddenly attacks him. During the fight, the Reverse-Flash happens across the letter from Thomas Wayne and is briefly intrigued. Realizing how much Batman treasure the latter, the Reverse-Flash rips it apart. Even though Batman is beaten half to death, all the physical abuse was nothing compared to the emotional heartache endured at the hands of Thawne and his cruelty in destroying Batman’s most prized possession.
10 FORCED WALLY TO RELIVE HIS WORST MOMENT
Linda Park was to Wally West what Iris West was to Barry Allen. Linda was Wally’s everything. Not content with bringing down ruin on Barry Allen’s life, the Reverse-Flash teams up with villainous speedster Zoom. During Geoff Johns’ The Flash, issues #220-#225, the Rogues go to war with one another. Though Wally tries stopping them, the evil speedsters, having captured Jay Garrick, the original Flash, have siphoned his powers into a newly constructed Cosmic Treadmill and abduct Wally.
All three travel to the past; Zoom forces Wally to forever re-watch the moment when Zoom gave Linda Park a miscarriage. Zoom does this for an undetermined amount of time and Wally nearly snaps. Thankfully, Barry Allen appears from an earlier point in the timestream and saves him. Later, it turns out all the time travelling undid the damage done to Linda.
9 HE MURDERED JOHNNY QUICK
John “Johnny Quick” Chambers was a character who attained super-speed by way of developing a formula. He later learned that his speed powers were tied directly to the Speed Force. At one point, in order to save his daughter Jesse, who’d later become Jesse Quick and Liberty Belle, Johnny has to sacrifice himself.
In actuality, while folks think he’s dead, he’s alive. In Flash: Rebirth, his presence in the Speed Force comes into play with the emerging Negative Speed Force of Thawne. The Reverse-Flash shifts Barry’s connection to the Speed Force into “reverse. This made it so Barry’s touch would disintegrate those with a connection to the Speed Force. Johnny Quick is among the first to die, as Barry meets him in the Speed Force. This signals danger to the other speedsters, indicating the lengths Thawne is willing to go to, turning the Flash’s powers against him.
8 KILLED HIS FAMILY
Eobard Thawne was troubled from the very beginning. He hated his family and hated nearly everyone else in the world. Even before he acquired speed powers, Eobard was on a dangerous road. When he finally gets his speed, his future self goes back in his personal timeline to correct some “mistakes” from happening to him. His first victim was his younger brother. Eobard always perceived him as their father’s favorite and a constant bother to him from an early age, keeping him from his studies of time travel.
When his brother grows up to be in law enforcement he catches Eobard researching the Speed Force. The Future Eobard kills his younger self’s brother, and rewrites the timeline, making himself an only child. He then murders one of his teachers, before finally moving on to taking care of his parents, who have begun to question his obsession with the Flash.
7 ERASED BARRY'S BEST FRIEND FROM EXISTENCE
Killing Barry’s Allen’s mom wasn’t the only way Thawne tried to hurt the hero. When Barry was a child, he fell down a flight of stairs and broke his arm. Barry always felt someone had pushed him, but nobody was at the top of the stairs when he looked back. Thawne would alter reveal that it was he who injured Barry as a boy. In fact, within Flash: Rebirth, Thawne goes on to take credit for much more.
In killing Barry’s mother, he also made sure Barry’s dad took the blame and was force to spend his life in jail. Additionally, Barry had a best friend growing up. Eobard couldn’t stand the notion of Barry being happy, so he wiped out his friend from existence, leaving young Barry a bit sadder than he would otherwise have been.
6 MANIPULATES HIS OWN ALLIES
Eobard doesn’t care about anyone, which means he has no problem manipulating his allies or others who trust him. If it means he gets more power and can kill the Flash, he doesn’t care what he has to do. Even the Rouges, led by Captain Cold, do not trust the Reverse-Flash, as they know he’ll throw them under the bus the second he gets the chance and they are no longer useful to him.
In several issues of the New 52 The Flash, leading up to issue #46, the Reverse-Flash has recruited allies from across time, lying to them to get them to work with him. Telling them the Flash must be stopped; he uses their powers to his own advantage. To make matters worse, he’s ruined his allies’ lives but made them believe it was the Flash’s doing.
5 TRIED TO KILL IRIS A SECOND TIME
Even though Eobard Thawne had already murdered Iris once before, he was not still not content. Rather, he yearned to kill her yet again, this time planning to travel early on in Barry’s history so that he’d be too heartbroken to be the Flash. In The Flash: Rebirth Barry Allen has returned following the events in "Final Crisis". During Rebirth, Professor Zoom, otherwise known as the Reverse-Flash, is seeking revenge on Barry yet again. By accessing the power of a negative Speed Force, Zoom has poisoned the Speed Force, the dimension where all speedsters get their powers.
Realizing his moment of opportunity is at hand, Professor Zoom runs back in time to kill Iris was Barry is dealing with the Negative Speed Force. Luckily, Barry is able to break free, and he and Wally chase after the Reverse-Flash, and stop him from killing Iris.
4 CRIPPLED THE WOMAN HE LOVED
The Reverse-Flash does not take kindly to rejection. Throughout the Brightest Day Flash run that began in 2010, the eighth issue focused on Eobard Thawne and his history. This issue revealed the many-faceted levels of Eobard’s sadism. While living in the future, Thawne met a woman and became unhealthily obsessed with her.
The woman didn’t share any positive feelings towards him and that drove Eobard rather mad. Since she rejects him, he opts to use his speed powers to make her life a living hell. He murders anyone she has any romantic interest her and then puts her into a near catatonic state and renders her a mute. Eobard remains bitter and becomes resolute with the notion that if he can’t have love, then neither can the Flash.
3 TRIED TO MURDER WALLY WEST'S KIDS
For quite some time, the Reverse-Flash focused primarily on Barry Allen, Wally West, and adults in general. Though he wasn’t hesitant to murder a person’s loved ones, he still generally abstained from attacking children. That suddenly changed when the Reverse-Flash decided to change his modus operandi and go after the super-powered children of Wally during Flash: Rebirth. He does this in order to eliminate anyone who’s connected to the Speed Force, and he doesn’t seem to care this time around that some of his potential victims will be kids.
He goes after the two youngsters, attacking them in front of their mother. Though Thawne is not successful in his attempt, it was Zoom, another evil speedster who once gave Linda a miscarriage; the whole thing comes full circle as a horrible reminder for what could’ve been.
2 HE WON'T STAY DEAD
The Reverse-Flash and his powers have always been the source of confusion for many. Sure, he can travel through time and change events, but that’s where things get tricky. Due to his ability to affect the timstream, he seemingly cannot be killed. On account of coming from the future, he can always go back and change something in his favor. Inexplicably, the Reverse-Flash will discover what didn’t work or what led to his demise and then will create a solution to ensure it never happened to him in the first place.
By now, the Reverse-Flash has died almost too many times to count, but the baddie just keeps coming back, Even in the recent story "The Button", where Eobard is murdered, presumably by the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan, and practically disintegrated, he still comes back shortly thereafter to investigate who killed him. So long as the Flash exists, Eobard will too.
1 TRIED TO MURDER HIS FATHER
In the New 52 The Flash #23 and #24, Barry Allen fights the insane and incredibly powerful Daniel West. A speedster like the Flash, Daniel has taken the name of the Reverse Flash. Daniel is Iris’s brother, but unlike his sister, he absolutely hates the hero.
In their penultimate battle the Flash seems to have control of the fight, until Dr. Elias, who also hates the Flash, briefly disrupts the fight, causing a series of events that lead to Iris critically injured. Angered, the Flash charges Reverse Flash, but has his energy siphoned off him and they are propelled them to the past. When they get there, Daniel brutally kills his own father. The Flash is able to reabsorb the stolen power and then reboot the timstream, bringing undoing all the damage Daniel did, including bringing his father back to life.