SPOILER WARNING: Multiple SPOILERS from various Marvel and DC stories ahead.
They’re fast. They’re furious. They’d literally kill Time if they could.
From simple working-class villains on the lookout for their next big score to murderous time-hopping psychopaths, it seems like there’s a sadistic super-speedster for every occasion. And they appear to be popping up with increasing frequency. Just ask Barry Allen.
With the recent big reveal of the maniacal Godspeed’s identity in “The Flash” #6 and a bloodthirsty new Rival vying for the title of Fastest Man Alive in the Season Three premiere of the corresponding hit CW show, it was past time to run down a list of the vilest, most despicable bad-asses to lace up a pair of kicks.
So strap yourselves in and drop the hammer as we race towards the finish line with 15 of the most evil speedsters in comics history hot on our heels.
15. Black Racer (Serpent Society)
Very little is known about the Serpent Society’s resident speedster, except that she has a ruthless streak as mean as her namesake reptile. A long-standing member of several iterations of the Serpent Society, Ariana Sidiqqi has remained a thorn in more than one Captain America’s side. On her first outing, she worked for the second Viper in an attempt to turn the President of the United States into a reptile (beating Mr. Trump to the punch by a few decades).
A dynamic fighter with a penchant for using her super-speed to mount multiple attacks, it’s no small wonder that virtually every incarnation of the Serpent Society coveted her mad skills and cool demeanor — even if her ethnicity and appearance seemed to change with each appearance.
Most recently, as a member of the Viper’s Serpent Solutions, she’s plagued Sam Wilson with the help of former Steve Rogers ally Diamondback, who she impaled in the stomach just to lull the Star-Spangled Avenger into a false sense of security. The ploy worked and Wilson awoke a prisoner at the mercy of Serpent Solutions.
14. Baroness Blitzkrieg
Claiming to be the granddaughter of the World War II Nazi mystery man Baron Blitzkrieg, this member of Vandal Savage’s Fourth Reich committed wholesale slaughter as part of an insane scheme to wipe out the family lines of every patriotic hero in the DCU. The Baroness successfully massacres the entire line of Hank Heywood, the original Commander Steel, save for a handful kids and grandson Nathan, who would eventually continue his grandfather’s legacy as Citizen Steel.
During the Fourth Reich’s battle with the Justice Society of America, the Baroness showed her brutal efficiency and ingenuity by using a handful of rubber balls to take out fellow speedster Jesse Quick (in her Liberty Belle identity). Quick would eventually win the rematch, but not before noting Blitzkrieg was the slightly faster speedster — high praise indeed, coming from someone of her pedigree.
Although there have been a couple of reboots since her heyday, there’s no denying the Baroness’s sadistic practicality; she dispatches her victims by running right through them. Literally. Sometimes, there’s just no arguing with expediency.
One of the creepier entries on our list, David Cannon is probably best known for that time he spent years stalking the Wasp, disguised as her chauffeur. Cannon began his criminal career under the somewhat lackluster guise of the Human Top.
The mutant speedster switched gears after numerous defeats at the hands of Giant Man and the Wasp. As Whirlwind, he took to chucking shuriken and other edged weapons at superhuman speeds, eventually joining the Masters of Evil and serving with the infamous team of supervillains through several incarnations.
Here’s where it gets really creepy. After a botched attempt at rehabilitation, Cannon’s obsession with Janet Van Dyne spirals out of control. He begins to hire prostitutes, forces them to dress like the Wasp and then assaults them.
Last seen as a brainwashed teenaged resident of Pleasant Hill during this year’s “Avengers Standoff!” storyline, Cannon sided with the Hood and his Illuminati after coming back to his senses.
12. The Top
Roscoe Dillon may be more familiar to comics readers under his New 52 nom-de-guerre Turbine, but his career as one of the Flash’s Rogues began way back in 1961. The Top was a minor criminal until he discovered his ability to spin at superhuman speeds while languishing in prison, which of course put him on a high-speed collision course with the Flash.
He would eventually become one of the Scarlet Speedster’s most implacable foes, targeting Barry Allen’s personal life, including possessing the body of his father and later desecrating the grave of his deceased wife. After an ill-considered, magically-induced rehabilitation courtesy of Zatanna (who really should know better), the Top would eventually break bad once again, succumbing to madness and waging a war on his former colleagues in the Rogues.
Their combined might would prove too great for the demented dervish and he would meet his end after Captain Cold shattered his frozen body into a million pieces. Speedsters in the DCU have a habit of coming back to life though, and with his ability to possess people already established, we can only wonder how long this classic Flash foe will stay dead.
11. Speed Demon
A perennial member of the Sinister Six, Speed Demon began his career as a villainous incarnation of the Whizzer and a member of the notorious Squadron Sinister. Created by the cosmic entity known as the Grandmaster as a pawn in his first encounter with the Avengers, James Sanders would quickly strike out on his own, tearing up the streets of Manhattan as Speed Demon.
Over the years, he would serve as a member of the Sinister Six, pooling his resources with other like-minded villains versus Spider-Man. He would also serve in the Thunderbolts for a short time, just long enough to betray his old Squadron Sinister comrades, before Songbird kicked his sorry butt out due to a lack of commitment to reforming his criminal ways.
Most recently, his dedication to a life of crime was seen in the pages of “Superior Foes of Spider-Man”, participating in the new Sinister Six’s misguided attempt to steal the head of former NYC crime boss Silvermane.
10. Cobalt Blue
There’s no more bitter a feud than one between siblings. Malcolm Thawne was the estranged twin brother of Barry Allen, switched at birth with the stillborn child of the Thawne family to cover up the baby’s death. While Barry grew up to be a forensic scientist with the Central City Police Department, Malcolm was raised by a family of career criminals.
Nursing a grudge against Barry Allen into adulthood, Malcolm would use the Thawne family’s connection to a strange blue flame to become Cobalt Blue. Using a gem to hone the blue flame’s power, Thawne was granted the ability to steal speed. Malcolm’s first battle with his twin brother would end in the blue flame consuming its own bearer.
Years later, after Barry sacrificed himself during the first Crisis event, he shifted his focus to destroying the Flash’s legacy. Targeting Flashes throughout the timestream, Malcolm sought to erase all vestiges of his twin’s legacy from reality. Wally West defeated Thawne quite easily by using the Speed Force to overload his power gem, but not before being tricked into destroying Barry’s tombstone.
9. Daniel West
The West family possesses one of the most convoluted back stories in all of comics. Featuring time travel, multiple deaths, a retcon or five and two speedsters named Wally, it’s a wonder this particular black sheep of the family didn’t appear sooner.
Daniel West became the latest incarnation of the Reverse-Flash, when he was engulfed by an exploding monorail train powered by a Speed Force battery. Like his predecessor Zoom, the Speed Force battery granted Daniel the ability to negate the procession of time, giving him the illusion of super-speed.
He discovered his power was dependent on the battery’s charge, necessitating the murder of anyone connected to the Speed Force to ensure it remained at full capacity. It wasn’t long before he ran up against the Flash and revealed his grand scheme: To travel back in time to murder his abusive father and reconcile with his estranged sister, Iris.
8. Black Flash
Although technically a cosmic function, serving as the Speed Force’s personification of Death, the Black Flash entity has nonetheless pursued multiple Flashes over the years and at times, seems to require a human host. It first appeared in an attempt to retrieve Wally West, when he cheated death, settling for his paramour Linda Park instead.
During the events of “The Flash: Rebirth,” after finding the Black Flash dead, Barry Allen becomes its new host. Barry discovers he is a danger to all speedsters when he kills Savitar with a single touch. Barry retreated into the Speed Force, where he learned the Reverse-Flash Eobard Thawne had perverted the energy source, causing the Flash to shift in reverse.
Thawne would eventually prove he is the blackest Flash of all, when he becomes the entity’s host and reveals he’s been the cause of all of Barry’s suffering throughout his entire life, beginning with the murder of his mother, an event that continues to drive Flash storylines today, in the comics and on TV.
7. The Rival
Before Eobard Thawne, before Hunter Solomon, there was Edward Clariss. The first of the Reverse-Flashes debuted in 1949, as the inverted foil of the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick.
Clariss gained super-speed through the drug Velocity 9, a derivative of the original formula that granted Garrick his powers. After vanishing into the Speed Force after only his second battle with the Flash, Clariss returned 50 years later to carve a murderous swathe across the continental U.S., as a member of the Injustice Society.
Garrick realized Clariss was spelling his name in blood across the nation, with the gruesome signature’s final flourish intended to be the death of his wife, Joan. The Flash would triumph by draining Clariss of his speed, but not before several lives were lost to the Rival’s rampage.
Clariss displays a similar bloodthirsty side in his recent appearances in the third season of the Flash, attempting to kill a cocky Wally West from behind by impaling him with a piece of rebar.
The man who would become Savitar gained his super-speed powers during the Cold War, after his fighter jet was struck by lightning (an origin similar to the New 52 version of the Top, in his new Turbine persona).
Naming himself after the Hindu god of motion, he became obsessed with exploring the limits of his powers and searched the world for methods to increase his speed. His quest would bring him into conflict with both the Max Mercury and the original Johnny Quick.
Over the years, Savitar became the leader of a speed-worshipping cult and set a plan in motion to steal the speed from all of Earth’s speedsters. Wally West, with the help of Max, Johnny and a host of targeted speedsters, forced Savitar into the Speed Force, where he remained for years until the return of Barry Allen during “The Flash: Rebirth”.
Pietro Maximoff has always had a bit of chip on his shoulder. To be fair though, his has been a life most of us wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. His first appearance was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, serving the man he believed at the time was his father, the mutant terrorist Magneto.
A rehabilitated Pietro would join the Avengers as part of the Cap’s Kooky Quartet, along with his sister the Scarlet Witch and fellow reformed criminal Hawkeye. Later, he would make a heel turn, when his stress-filled life and Maximus the Mad drive him insane, pitting him against the Inhumans and his friends in the Avengers. Although he would eventually return to his senses, subsequent acts of a grotesque nature prove Quicksilver is still a loose cannon of the most dangerous kind.
Case in point: Remember, House of M? That time when the Scarlet Witch rewrote reality so that mutants ruled over an oppressed homo sapien society, under the dictatorship of Magneto? Yeah, that was all Quicksilver’s idea.
The newest evil speedster to make the scene, Godspeed represents a new twist on the tried-and-true Reverse-Flash theme and might just be the Flash’s most bloodthirsty adversary to date. Granted his powers by a widespread Speed Force storm blanketing Central City, Godspeed quickly embraced his new speedster status, even if his fellow civilian speedsters took longer to come to terms with their new abilities.
Unbeknownst to his mentor Barry Allen, Godspeed was still reeling from the death of his brother, a murder victim who was denied justice. Dismissing his fellow speedsters’ desire to lead normal lives, he decided to alleviate their “suffering” by draining their speed, a process that proves deadly for anyone connected to the Speed Force.
One of the fastest foes the Flash has ever encountered, what makes Godspeed so dangerous is not only his ability to literally exist in two places at once, but his willingness to use murder just to make a point. His next intended victim? A helpless Eobard Thawne, who Godspeed decides to kill to prove he is a better Flash than Barry.
3. Johnny Quick (Crime Syndicate)
Traditionally hailing from an alternate universe where supervillains reign supreme, this evil version of Johnny Quick most recently appeared in DC’s “Forever Evil” storyline as a member of the sadistic and brutal Crime Syndicate of Earth 3.
Back home, as Jonathan Allen, Quick was one half of “Johnnie and Rhonnie,” a murderous couple on the run for killing a pair of cops. When an accident at STAR labs grants them tremendous new powers, they embark on a life of true super-villainy, hooking up with the Crime Syndicate to invade the New 52’s Earth.
Quick was instrumental in the Crime Syndicate’s invasion, freeing all of the inmates of Iron Heights Penitentiary. Later, he would run up against the Flash’s long-time foe Captain Cold, who freezes his leg then shatters it, in a brilliant stroke of in-story irony. Quick would meet his end at the hands of Alexander Luthor, who steals his speed powers as Mazahs.
Technically, Hunter Zolomon isn’t really a speedster in the strictest sense. Rather than move at superhuman speeds, the villain known as Zoom manipulates the speed at which time flows around him. This gives him the illusion of speed and allows him to replicate most of the abilities of typical speedsters.
He gains his abilities while attempting to use the Cosmic Treadmill, after his friend Wally West refuses to change the past and prevent Zolomon from losing the loss of his legs. Unlike most of the villains on this list, Zoom genuinely believes he is helping make his former friend Wally a better hero by tormenting him. It is this twisted sense of morality that in some ways makes him one of the most dangerous speedsters on this list.
An expert in psychological warfare, Zoom knows exactly where to slip the dagger in and give it a good twist. Need proof? During the Rogue War, he forced Wally to relive his wife’s miscarriage, just so he could truly understand the feelings of loss and guilt. And they say Leonard Snart is cold…
1. Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne)
At the end of every list, only one person is left standing. On a list of the most evil speedsters in comics history, could there be any doubt Eobard Thawne would be that person? No other villain has negatively impacted their adversaries so completely as the original Reverse-Flash.
Not only is he responsible for numerous tragedies in Barry Allen’s life, he’s also responsible — tangentially, at least — for the debacle that was the Flashpoint incident. Just think, if it weren’t for the Reverse-Flash, Nora Allen would be alive, Barry Allen might never have become the Flash and the rest of the multiverse — fictional or otherwise — would have been spared a DCU reboot or three.
Be that as it may, in terms of sheer villainy, Eobard Thawne has been able to raise the stakes for his sworn enemy in ways most of his contemporaries couldn’t even fathom. His rage-fueled obsession with killing the Flash serves as a limitless source of fuel for his evil ingenuity, sadistic methods and truly catastrophic cosmic tampering.
These speedsters move faster than the eye can track! If you think we missed one, let us know in the Comments section!
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