Run Down: 15 Things Reverse-Flash Can Do (That Flash Can't)


The DC Universe is a place in no shortage of great and popular villains. You have everyone from the Joker and Lex Luthor to Deathstroke, Black Adam and Sinestro, and this is just only to name a select few. These villains are just as fascinating as the heroes they fight, and they have just as many fans as their heroic counterparts. All of these villains hold great power, and they have posed a great threat to the DCU as a whole. Whether it's the planet or unassuming citizens, these villains have left their mark, and for no one is that more true than the Reverse-Flash.

Eobard Thawne has always been one of the greatest dangers of the DC Universe. It's true in the comics, and it's clearly been the case in the Arrowverse as well, where he made his live action debut. The character hails from the 25th century, where his obsession with the Flash led him to harness the power of super-speed for himself. However, while the Flash taps into the Speed Force, Eobard taps into something else: the Negative Speed Force, an equal and opposite force which gives him similar, but also different, powers. Today, CBR lists 15 things the Reverse-Flash can do that Flash can't.

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The Flash Cisco Wells creates a duplicate
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The Flash Cisco Wells creates a duplicate

In The CW's Flash television series, viewers were taken aback when Harrison Wells was revealed to be the man in the yellow costume. It didn't seem possible, considering the two had been seen together at the same time. But this was just the first example of the Reverse-Flash moving so fast that he was able to create duplicates of himself. This isn't a case of time travel, but of unmatched speed.

We have seen Flash be in two places at once before, but this was mostly a case of temporal manipulation (or doppelgängers). Eobard Thawne, however, has such power that he can create another version of himself to interact with. His other self can speak, and it can interact with others. They don't even appear to vibrate at a high speed, a trick that makes him all the more dangerous.


DC Comics Flash Flashpoint Reverse Flash

Eobard Thawne is a time traveler who doesn't have to abide by any set of rules. His connection to the Negative Speed Force makes him different from all other speedsters, and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to time itself. The Reverse-Flash is able to exist out of time, as evidenced by the Flashpoint event series. There, Barry Allen created an alternate timeline where his mother had lived.

However, that single change led to a ripple effect that changed the history of the DC Universe. No one remembered the previous reality. Barry himself, who at first remembered his past as the Flash, was slowly beginning to fall in line with the history of this reality. Only Eobard Thawne was able to exist out of this reality, fully aware of what had led to its creation.



Eobard Thawne has a signature look all his own, and we aren't just talking about his yellow costume. When the Reverse-Flash shows up, he instantly conveys fear and dread, thanks to his bright red eyes that light up whenever he feels like it. It seems that Eobard is able to concentrate the effects of his red lightning into his eyes to give himself a terrifying and threatening look.

While not the biggest power in his arsenal, this is something that the other Flashes don't do. Yes, they have sometimes been drawn to have opaque yellow eyes when they run, but it's comparatively rare. Eobard is the only one who seems to be able to use this feat as he pleases, in order to add to his menace. Surely even he knows that those bright red eyes are their own emissaries of fear.


There aren't many villains that can single-handedly take on the might of the Justice League. Most need either a team of super-villains, while others need entire armies to pose a threat to Superman and the rest of his friends. But not Eobard Thawne. No, the Reverse-Flash is so fast and so powerful that he can take on the entire team by himself – something that the Flash certainly can't do.

Sure, we've come to learn that Flash is faster than Superman in the comics, and that he could put up a good fight against a few other members. But Batman has been shown to take down Flash before, and Superman wouldn't have to run to catch him. Then, it would be all about strength. But the Reverse-Flash has proven to be a threat to the entire team, plus the entire Flash Family combined.


While he doesn't always show it, on account of being a murderous psychopath, Eobard Thawne is actually so smart that he falls on the genius side of the scale. Thanks to his smarts, Thawne was actually able to study and recreate the accident that would give Barry Allen his powers, which is by no means a small accomplishment.

Barry Allen may be a smart scientist, but even he needed the help of Batman (Thomas Wayne) to do the exact same thing. Eobard did it all by himself, and he was able to use his vast knowledge to embrace the full potential of his abilities. What's worse, on his television series, Barry was never shown to be a genius compared to his friends, explaining why Eobard is always five steps ahead.


Harrison Wells in The Flash Season One

For the first half of The Flash's first season, the identity of the Reverse-Flash was a mystery to us. Comic fans knew him to be Eobard Thawne, but in the show's universe, he was also Harrison Wells, who was known by the public in the present day. How could he be two people at the same time? The answer, as it were, was found in the future, where Eobard comes from.

In fact, Thawne brought with him a piece of future tech that allowed him to entirely morph his body into someone else. This is why he had the form of Harrison Wells, and this is why he was able to hide in plain sight for such a long time. With such a device, Reverse-Flash could truly be anyone – male, female, old, young, it wouldn't matter. The Flash would never be able to find him.


Reverse-Flash and Flash New 52

The events of Flashpoint proceeded to create an entire new reality for the DC Universe, with a streamlined continuity. This new reality was used as a jumping on point for new readers, as well as an opportunity to tweak certain characters by giving them more modern twists. Such was the case for the New 52 version of Eobard Thawne, who saw a change in the basis of his superpowers.

The Reverse-Flash was still a speedster, but his power was not technically super-speed. Instead, he was able to manipulate time, to slow it down to a stop and speed it back up, which made it seem as if he could move at super-speed. This made him more similar to the Flash villain Turtle Man, who has a similar power-set. This is certainly something the Flash can't do.


Bart Allen Max Mercury Reverse-Flash sonic boom

In writer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver's Flash Rebirth miniseries, Eobard Thawne was brought back to the forefront as the greatest enemy of the Flash Family. He returned with unparalleled powers, and even more tricks in his Negative Speed Force bag. When going up against Bart Allen and Max Mercury, Eobard revealed that he had learned many new things, like a very special attack he learned from fellow speedster villain Zoom.

With a snap of his fingers, Thawne created a concussive blow that took out both speedsters in the vicinity. It may not be an attack he uses often, but it still is one of the most effective ones in a fight that mostly consists of running. There is no telling the limits of these sonic booms or in general, someone who can create ripples in reality itself. This is one trick that Barry Allen should really master.


Reverse-Flash Jay Garrick Flash Rebirth

Another power that we learned Reverse-Flash had in his arsenal in the Flash Rebirth miniseries was that he was able to remove the protective aura of another speedster. This aura is what protects those who have the power of super-speed from friction. Without it, they would burst into flames – and that is exactly what Thawne did to original Flash, Jay Garrick.

Thanks to his connection to the Negative Speed Force, Thawne was able to manipulate the regular Speed Force and remove Jay's protective aura. Then, pushing him at super-speed and with nothing to protect him from the friction of the air, Jay burst into flames. Bart Allen would arrive to save him, but it doesn't change the fact that this is another deadly power Thawne possesses that Flash doesn't.


Reverse-Flash manipulates his age

In the build-up to the Flashpoint series, Thawne resurfaced in a very surprising manner. In fact, unbeknownst to all, he was disguised as a child. But this was no trick or illusion, nor was it thanks to a device that altered his body. Eobard was able to tap into the Speed Force by seeing what it truly is: pure time. With that knowledge, he learned to control it -- to bend it to his will.

Because of that, Thawne was now able to steal time from his victims, and to age or de-age himself as he saw fit. He could age himself up to be an old, wrinkled man, or rejuvenate himself into a young man. This made him all the more difficult to find in a crowd. With this power that Flash was never able to tap into, Reverse-Flash became an entirely new and different threat.


Eobard Thawne murders the woman he loved

Part of what makes The Flash one of the greatest superheroes out there is his unwavering sense of heroism. He gives people a chance, time and time again; perhaps to a fault, even. However, Eobard Thawne has none of these restraints. He has no moral code, and that makes him absolutely dangerous. To him, there is nothing or no one off limits -- everything and everyone is expendable.

This lack of empathy has led him to kill countless people, not least of which was Barry Allen's own mother. His maliciousness knows no equal, and it's only made worse by the fact that he seems to enjoy it all. This is what separates him from The Flash, but it's also what makes him a threat. Suffice it to say that if the Flash had less restraint, perhaps there would be less villains roaming the street of Central City.


Reverse-Flash Burned Down Barry's Home

The speedsters from the Speed Force -- Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen, Jay Garrick, Jesse Quick and many others -- have the capacity to travel in time, whether simply by running or by using a cosmic treadmill. But when playing with time, they have to be extremely careful. Whatever they do could have lasting effects on the present, and reality itself.

For example, there was the time Barry Allen saved his mother and created the Flashpoint reality. However, Eobard Thawne does not abide by these rules. Since he is cut from a different cloth, he can travel in time, manipulate it, erase people entirely from it, and there won't be any consequences. There will be no ripples: time and reality will simply adjust to what he did. This means that he can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time, and people won't ever notice.


Reverse-Flash Hot Pursuit Road to Flashpoint

Speedsters can not only travel backward and forward in time, it's also possible for them to access parallel realities. This is made possible because all other universes vibrate at different frequencies. Not one universe vibrates exactly the same, which allows them to exist one on top of the other. For example, another version of Barry Allen, code-named Hot Pursuit, arrived in the DCU in the lead up to Flashpoint.

This Barry Allen arrived on a cosmic motorcyle, and he was after Eobard Thawne. When the two came face-to-face, Eobard immediately knew that he was dealing with someone from another reality. He said that he could sense that he was vibrating at a different frequency. This means that even doppelgangers from alternate realities wouldn't be able to hide from the Reverse-Flash.



One of the most defining traits of the Reverse-Flash is that he is simply faster than the Flash -- period. It's been true in the comics, and it was also true on The CW television series. Sure, he has a lot more superpowers than his heroic counterpart, but the simple fact that he is faster is note-worthy in and of itself. Flash can run fast, sure. He might even say that he is the “fastest man alive.” But that isn't true at all.

The Reverse-Flash is ahead of Barry at every turn. In a good old-fashioned race, Flash can't beat his nemesis. We've seen them, in the Speed Force itself, and still Barry had difficulty keeping up. Simply put, when it comes down to it, Reverse-Flash is the fastest man alive.



There is a great bit of irony in the Reverse-Flash's existence. While he will spend his entire life tormenting Barry Allen, there is actually a line he can't cross: killing him. Since Eobard became the Reverse-Flash because of Barry Allen turning into the Flash, killing the scarlet speedster would create a paradox that would negate Thawne's origin. Essentially, killing Flash would mean altering his own timeline.

What's even more twisted is that, once, Barry Allen did cross the line, when he killed Eobard Thawne by snapping his neck (he would be put on trial for the act). Eobard would eventually come back to life years later, but this is an interesting twist of the situation. There are many things that Reverse-Flash can do that Flash can't, but there is only one thing he can't do – and it's one thing that the Flash actually did do. That's a Flash fact for you.

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