The Flash: 15 Dark Differences Between The Show And The Comics

The CW’s The Flash is one of the most popular superhero shows. However, way before the show’s stars were even born, The Flash comic book was one of DC’s more popular titles. The Flash first appeared in Flash Comics #1 in 1940. Over the years, there have been four characters who have taken on the mantle of The Flash -- Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen. The Flash we are following on The CW’s show is of course Barry Allen, with the recent introduction of Kid Flash and second Flash, Wally West. The difference is that on the show Wally is not Barry’s nephew, but Iris’s younger brother.

RELATED: Dead Stop: 15 Shocking Times The Flash Died

And those familiar with Flash comics know that this is not the only change The CW made to the characters and the story. For example, the characters on the show are younger than their comic book counterparts, Barry’s hair is brown and not blond, some characters don’t exist in the comics and so on. These are just some subtle differences. But, there are other points at which the show diverges from the comics. Storylines that were apparently too dark for television. We took a little look-see and found 15 dark differences between the show and the comics.


After having caused Barry Allen's disappearance, Eobard Thawne started impersonating Barry, hoping to take his place as Iris’s husband. However, Iris figured him out just moments before Barry returned and defeated his impostor. But Thawne wasn’t done with Barry and Iris just yet.

Prior to his demise, Thawne implanted a lethal energy-flux in Iris’s body which would essentially destroy the universe if she were to come in contact with Barry’s aura. To make sure this doesn’t happen, Iris was returned to the 30th century in hopes that her biological parents would be able to cure her. When Barry finally tracked her down, he found that Thawne had convinced Iris to marry him in exchange for sparing the universe. Well, at least the Thawne from the TV show kept his hands away from Iris.



The Eobard Thawne from the CW’s The Flash was born in 2151 to a wealthy family of politicians, scientists and captains of industry. Eobard was a distinguished personality in his time. He studied astro-navigation in grade school and became a scientist determined to unlock the secrets of the Speed Force.

His history in the comics is a bit different and richer in detail, albeit one gruesome detail. Genetically engineered to be highly intelligent, Eobard grew up to lack social skills. In order to help Eobard, his parents had another son, with whom Eobard spent time in social bonding sessions. This resulted in Eobard falling behind in his studies and being rejected by the Flash Museum to research the Speed Force. After his brother caught him illegally researching the subject, Eobard traveled back in time and prevented the birth of his younger brother.


Speed Force is responsible for giving the speedsters their super-speed and it was generated by Barry Allen. In the comics, when Eobard Thawne recreated the accident that granted Barry his powers he also created the Negative Speed Force.

At the time, Barry was stuck in the Speed Force after heroically sacrificing himself during the first crisis in the crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths." When Eobard created the Negative Speed Force it resulted in the death of Black Flash (the grim reaper for the speedsters) and turned Barry into Black Flash. Barry returned from the Speed Force unaware of what he was and accidentally killed Savitar and another speedster. Out of concern for his speedster family, Barry ran back into the Speed Force to make sure they don’t get killed.



Everyone who’s watched the show can certainly agree that Eobard Thawne is one sadistic jerk. Along with killing Barry’s mom, the list of horrible things he’s done seems to have no end. Over the years, Thawne has made it his life's mission to do everything in his power to torture Barry Allen in every conceivable way.

After killing Barry’s wife Iris in cold blood, Thawne went after Barry’s new fiancée, a woman named Fiona Webb. He crashed Barry’s second wedding, interrupted the ceremony, made Barry miss his own wedding and caused his fiancée Fiona to have a serious nervous breakdown. Fortunately, Barry was conscious this time and managed to stop Thawne from taking Fiona’s life. Unfortunately though, his fiancée Fiona never recovered from her nervous breakdown.


The Barry Allen we all know and love from the CW’s series is not one to likely use lethal force. After briefly considering killing Zoom, his friends and family convinced Barry that he is not a killer and he needs not become one. However, in the comics, no one stopped Barry from killing Eobard Thawne and we can’t exactly blame him for doing it.

After everything that Thawne put him through, crashing Barry’s wedding and attempting to kill his bride Fiona was the last straw. After chasing Thawne into the future, Barry managed to drag him back to his own time. Desperate to save Fiona’s life, Barry knocked Thawne down at super-speed and the sudden stop snapped Thawne’s neck, killing him instantly. As a result, The Flash was charged with manslaughter and faced a long trial.



One of the most shocking and iconic deaths in comic books history was undoubtedly the horrifying death of the second Flash, Barry Allen. In a crossover event titled "Crisis in Infinite Earths," Barry sacrificed himself to prevent Anti-Monitor from destroying the multiverse. In order to stop the machine, Barry started running against the anti-matter to destroy the weapon and we watched him die a slow and painful death.

A similar thing happened on The Flash’s season two finale when Barry had to stop Zoom from using his machine which aimed to destroy the multiverse. Obviously, the Barry Allen from the CW’s show did not lose his life in this heroic feat. While racing Zoom, Barry managed to create a time remnant who took Barry's place, saving the multiverse and sparing our Barry the difficult sacrifice.


One of the saddest moments on the CW’s The Flash and probably the entire Arrowverse was Reverse-Flash killing Barry’s mother. And every time Barry goes back in time and re-watches the entire ordeal it makes us weep even more.

However, as awful as that scene was, it could have been worse. In case you do not notice the trend, everything Eobard Thawne did on the show, was tenfold more horrible in the comics. Yes, he’s even managed to make killing an 11-year old’s mother more heinous. When Eobard Thawne traveled back in time and killed Barry’s mom, he also pushed Barry down the stairs, left the door open so his dog would get hit by a car and burned down Barry’s childhood home. Talk about overkill.



Twenty years into the future, Barry Allen suffered a horrible personal tragedy which basically made him lose his mind. Future Barry became unhinged, throwing criminals off buildings, beating them severely and resorting to the use of deadly force.

Mentally unstable Barry went back in time and grabbed his younger self in an attempt to take his life. Convinced that killing his younger self was the only way to make things right, future Barry proceeded to savagely beat present Barry. Lacking both experience and skill, younger Barry didn’t stand a chance against his future self. Barry was saved in the nick of time by Wally West from the future. Wally sacrificed himself to the Speed Force, while future Barry was left to cope with the loss of his nephew and the kind of man he’s turned into.


Before our boy Barry meddled with the timeline by creating "Flashpoint", Caitlin Show was just a regular S.T.A.R. Labs scientist, sharing just the name with her villainous comic book counterpart. However, Barry’s little trip to the past affected Caitlin’s life in the worst possible way and in season three we witnessed her transformation into Killer Frost. Although, it looks like Caitlin Snow will be back in season four.

Apart from her being a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist, Caitlin’s comic book counterpart is a far cry from the Caitlin on the CW’s The Flash. In the comics, the villain Killer Frost was captured and forced to join the Suicide Squad. However, after she helped Batman save the world he made her a member of the Justice League of America.



Flash’s menacing season one villain the Reverse-Flash was an evil speedster from the future named Eobard Thawne, who took on the identity of Dr. Harrison Wells and set out to turn Barry’s life into a living hell. But if you think what he did on the show was bad, wait until you hear what he did in the comics.

This sociopathic speedster from the 25th century altered his appearance to look exactly like Barry Allen and set course for the 20th century to meet his hero. However, Thawne arrived after Barry’s death and realized he was destined to become his enemy Professor Zoom. This drove Thawne even more insane and he started to believe he was Barry. Eobard impersonated Barry for several months, until he was finally ousted after beating up a criminal and leaving Wally to die. Following which he became Professor Zoom.


Yet another proof that Eobard was always a monster is a very disturbing story from his life in the 25th century. Considering his reaction when he realized he’s destined to become his hero’s archenemy, it is clear that Eobard does not deal with rejection in the best possible way.

While this is not mentioned in the CW’s The Flash, in the comics Eobard Thawne had a sweetheart back in his own time. Eobard fell in love with a girl named Rose, but she already had a fiancé. Thawne traveled back in time and killed the fiancé, as well as every other guy she dated afterwards. Finally, Rose outright rejected him which caused Eobard to travel back to when she was only a child and traumatize her. This rendered the poor Rose mute and caused her to spend the rest of her life institutionalized.



Much of Barry’s background on the CW’s show has been slightly altered. For example, Barry and Iris were not raised together and Joe West doesn’t exist in the comics. An interesting detail that was omitted from the show, as far as we know at the time, is Barry having a twin brother.

In the comics, Barry’s mother and a woman named Charlene Thawne gave birth to their children at the same time in the same hospital. The doctor that delivered the babies was drunk and failed to deliver the Thawne baby. To “make up” for his mistake, he told Barry’s parents that one of their twins was stillborn and gave the boy to the Thawnes. The boy, Malcolm Thawne grew up to be a resentful man who became an enemy of The Flash named Cobalt Blue.


After turning Barry into Black Flash and forcing him to run back into the Speed Force, Eobard Thawne trapped Barry and Max Mercury inside the Negative Speed Force. He boasted about his villainous accomplishments and went on to attack Wally West’s twins. He attempted to kill them through their connection to the Speed Force, but fortunately he was stopped by the arrival of Jay Garrick and Kid Flash.

Once Thawne defeated Jay he was more than ready to kill Bart Allen. However, Wally managed to free Barry and Max from the Speed Force and they arrived just in time to save Bart’s life. The fight turned into sort of a speedster-fest when Jesse Quick and Impulse joined the fight. Ultimately, the heroes prevailed and managed to restrain Thawne.



Fans of The CW’s The Flash know Zoom as Barry Allen’s nemesis who originated from Earth-2. The meta-human speedster Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom, appeared on the second season of the show, pretending to be Earth-2’s Flash Jay Garrick. In the comics, Hunter Zolomon and Wally West were friends and colleagues until Zolomon turned into Flash’s arch nemesis Zoom.

Zolomon was gravely injured in an attack and asked Wally to go back in time and change what happened, which Wally refused. He thought that Wally didn’t want to help because he never suffered a personal tragedy. This prompted Zolomon to become the new Zoom and go after Wally’s wife Linda. While Wally was able to save Linda’s life, Zoom’s attack caused the miscarriage of their twins.


The CW’s The Flash had Reverse-Flash do some pretty horrible things to Barry, his family, friends and Team Flash. Surely, everyone remembers Reverse-Flash killing Cisco with his creepy vibrating hand. Luckily, Barry accidentally time traveled, altering the timeline and saving Cisco’s life.

In the comics, Thawne fell in love with Barry’s wife Iris and "politely" asked her to either leave Barry for him or die. Iris slapped him right in the face and turned him down pretty harshly. Heartbroken, Thawne had Barry drugged and went after Iris. Vibrating to invisibility, Thawne slipped his vibrating hand through Iris’s skull causing fatal damage to the molecules in her brain. To make things worse, Thawne then took Barry on a wild goose chase around the world in search for Iris’s killer.

So, what did you find to be the darkest difference on this list? Let us know in the comments!


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