"If Flash is so unbeatable, why are all his villains humans?"

Making this blog because a lot of people who don't actually read anything with Flash in it (generalization? maybe) keep insisting that people like Thor and Gladiator and Hulk should be able to tag and defeat the scarlet speedster, simply because 99% of his rogues' gallery consists of humans who don't have super speed but presumably still manage to cope with him. The comments range from.....

I keep telling people this on every Flash thread, if he was so invincible his books would be boring as hell

.....and go all the way to:

SO Deathstroke can Tag Flash but Thor,Or Gladiator can`t ? Dc Fanboys make me sick !

Since I have a major chunk of the second volume of Flash, I've collected showings from Flash's major villains to illustrate how regular humans are able to cope with the fastest man alive. I don't really like the idea of using a few select showings as a concrete indication of how a fight will play out, but these showings have been picked because they give you the general idea of how certain powers can be used by people slower than the Flash to deal with someone as fast as the Flash.

Firstly though, let's get this out of the way: just because Flash can move at speeds faster than light, that does not mean he's always moving at speeds faster than light. Superman doesn't hit Toyman as hard as he hits Darkseid. Thor doesn't hit Ulik as hard as he hits Mangog. So why would Flash move at the speeds with which he fights Superman-level opponents against people like Captain Cold and Weather Wizard? Flash only really gets tagged while moving at slow to moderate level superhuman speeds. Moving at the peak levels of his speed, he is simply too fast for Thor or Superman or Gladiator or *sigh* Hulk to do anything about it. You'll also notice in several of the scans below that Flash is often fighting several members of the Rogues at once. That's because the Rogues aren't like the Batman or Superman villains. They're going up against an opponent who can have them in cuffs before they blink, so they band together most of the time to stand a better chance.

That said, here are the rogues in action:

Captain Cold

Firstly, Captain Cold is very fast for a human. His reflexes are a major aspect of his character that's been brought up in the comics several times. He's commented on them as well:

Cold's strategy is usually either icing the ground that Flash runs on so that there's not enough traction for him to run (scan 1) or creating a "cold field" that greatly slows down the molecules of anything inside it or anything that passes through, including Flash (scans 2 and 3).

Weather Wizard

In the past, the Wizard has taken advantage of Flash not being in a position to let civilians get hurt by creating a thick fog that reduces the area's visibility to practically nothing (scan 1). The extreme heat and lightning that he produces quickly causes leg cramps that make running tough (scans 2 and 3).

Mirror Master

Out of all the Flash rogues, it's easy to see why Mirror Master gives him so much grief. He has one of the most amazing powersets in comics: he can teleport through mirrors, create holograms and vivid illusions, produce a nearly infinite number of mirror copies of himself, and enter and leave dimensions as well as trap people inside them. The following three scans show Flash's biggest problem with Mirror Master: it doesn't matter how fast you can run through a group of opponents if your opponent isn't really there. Flash can't hit McCulloch, but McCulloch can hit Flash.

The Top

Dillon has a degree of superhuman speed that's enough to impress Wally (scan 1) and can alter someone's perception of reality in an area around himself (scans 2 and 3). Get near him and your world turns upside down.

Abra Kadabra

Like a typical stage magician, Kadabra is big on misdirection. He uses illusions and holograms to lure Flash into dangerous traps......and that's pretty much his whole schtick.

Doctor Alchemy

Alchemy's strategy is usually similar to Captain Cold's (making the surface that Flash runs on, hard for him to run on, like in scan 2) but he can also protect himself with transparent, practically invisible walls (scan 1) and create deadly gases that Flash can't safely breath (scan 3).

Grodd

Grodd's not human, nor is he a Rogue for that matter. But I'm including him here because he's a prominent Flash foe nonetheless. Firstly, Grodd has an astonishing level of strength and durability that lets him take several hits from Flash and still stand, even with a shattered jaw (scan 5). Flash can run or accelerate his thoughts to a level where telepathy doesn't affect him or only affects him a bit (scan 4), but he doesn't usually move at those speeds, and so Grodd can stop him from running by sticking nightmares in his head (scans 1 and 2).

Deathstroke

Not a Rogue or even a Flash villain, but I'm including Slade here because he's the one person whose Flash-tagging feats are brought up most often on the battle forums. But there's not that much to add here since it's the same principle at work: Flash usually moves at low to moderate superhuman speeds, and Slade's reflexes are superhuman enough to tag Flash at those speeds. In the most famous/infamous example quoted, the fight in Identity Crisis, you get some idea of how fast Flash was actually moving since several explosions go off before he reaches Slade:

I like to think writers leave in minor details like this to explain feats that seem unlikely at first glance. Devil's in the details.

That's not very fast by Flash's standards. Even Quicksilver's faster than that. I'm not 100% on this, but I think even Krypto's faster than that.

Another factor that goes into this is that Slade is familiar with Wally's movements from his days as Kid Flash, and can thus predict with some accuracy where he'll go:

At the same time though, Slade isn't remotely fast enough to keep up with Flash moving at his best or close to it. This is what would actually happen in a fight between Slade and Flash moving at speeds beyond his ability to react:

You have your Thawnes and Zolomons as well, but they need no explanations. That aside, the majority of Flash foes are people without superhuman reflexes. They can cope with Flash for three reasons:

  • Flash rarely ever uses the upper limits of his speed against them, unless he's pissed
  • They have abilities/powers/skills/tech that affect his ability to run directly (like Top's perception warping and Cold's cold field) or indirectly (Weather Wizard's extreme heat)
  • Failing that, they have abilities/powers/skills/tech that affect his ability to hit them (like Abra Kadabra and Mirror Master's illusions) or that take advantage of his unwillingness to let civilians come to harm (Wizard's fog and Alchemy's poisonous gas)

Thor, Gladiator and the like could only tag Flash if they were moving at their best and he was moving like he normally does. In other words, if the conditions were slanted in their favor. In a setting where they're all moving at their best, they cannot tag Flash. Simple as that. And that's leaving out the more eccentric abilities that the Speed Force grants.

54 Comments
54 Comments
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Posted by RyuHayabusa

You stupid DC fanboy :P

Posted by ReVamp

My mouth is watering.

Posted by Billy Batson

Yeah but Hulk can use a thunderclap.
BB

Posted by RyuHayabusa

@ReVamp said:

My mouth is watering.

Posted by Saren

I have this horrible feeling that people will ignore all the words, steal the scans and spam them in Flash threads to say Hulk wins.

Moderator
Posted by cattlebattle

and yet, one of Flashs villains was this guy    :)
 

The Turtle
Posted by Saren

@cattlebattle: LOL, that guy got an upgrade that made him a bigger threat than any of the Rogues. He could steal kinetic energy, Wally couldn't get near him without having his Speed Force energy severely drained.

Moderator
Posted by Billy Batson

@CitizenBane said:

I have this horrible feeling that people will ignore all the words, steal the scans and spam them in Flash threads to say Hulk wins.

You don't say?
BB

Posted by ReVamp
Flash usually moves at low to moderate superhuman speeds, and Slade's reflexes are superhuman enough to tag Flash at those speeds.

Not saying this isn't true, but none of those scans even begin to support that theory. Identity Crisis, isn't even an instance of Slade tagging Wally, its simply an instance in which Slade had prep and predicted where Flash would go in such a manner that the latter ran into his sword.

Posted by Saren

@ReVamp said:

Flash usually moves at low to moderate superhuman speeds, and Slade's reflexes are superhuman enough to tag Flash at those speeds.

Not saying this isn't true, but none of those scans even begin to support that theory. Identity Crisis, isn't even an instance of Slade tagging Wally, its simply an instance in which Slade had prep and predicted where Flash would go in such a manner that the latter ran into his sword.

There was only one scan, and I mentioned that prediction thing later. Slade obviously had prep since C4 doesn't just lie around on sidewalks. Take this feat:

And apply that rationale to it.

Moderator
Posted by Loki9876

Can I ask how trickster hit him. I just want to know I'm gonna collect flash (new 52) in tpb form. I'm a flash noob. I know captain cold uses his cold field I wonder if he has a trick.

Posted by ReVamp

@CitizenBane said:

@ReVamp said:

Flash usually moves at low to moderate superhuman speeds, and Slade's reflexes are superhuman enough to tag Flash at those speeds.

Not saying this isn't true, but none of those scans even begin to support that theory. Identity Crisis, isn't even an instance of Slade tagging Wally, its simply an instance in which Slade had prep and predicted where Flash would go in such a manner that the latter ran into his sword.

There was only one scan, and I mentioned that prediction thing later. Slade obviously had prep since C4 doesn't just lie around on sidewalks. Take this feat:

And apply that rationale to it.

If you're attempting to use that as a tagging feat, its not really one.

Flash is already on the floor and is getting up, when Slade shoots him with an energy beam.

If you were trying to say something else, then I haven't understood.

Posted by Saren

@Loki9876: Trickster is my least favorite Flash villain, because any time he tags Flash it's because Wally acts like an idiot. Seriously, you'd think after the first encounter he'd realize the guy should just be KTFO'd instead of falling for his tricks, but no.....

Moderator
Posted by Loki9876

@CitizenBane: thanks

Posted by Saren

@ReVamp said:

@CitizenBane said:

@ReVamp said:

Flash usually moves at low to moderate superhuman speeds, and Slade's reflexes are superhuman enough to tag Flash at those speeds.

Not saying this isn't true, but none of those scans even begin to support that theory. Identity Crisis, isn't even an instance of Slade tagging Wally, its simply an instance in which Slade had prep and predicted where Flash would go in such a manner that the latter ran into his sword.

There was only one scan, and I mentioned that prediction thing later. Slade obviously had prep since C4 doesn't just lie around on sidewalks. Take this feat:

And apply that rationale to it.

If you're attempting to use that as a tagging feat, its not really one.

Flash is already on the floor and is getting up, when Slade shoots him with an energy beam.

If you were trying to say something else, then I haven't understood.

Whoops, wrong scan. Flash was on the floor in the first place because Slade got up and threw a cop at him. Morph might have the scan.

Moderator
Posted by Billy Batson

@CitizenBane said:

Whoops, wrong scan. Flash was on the floor in the first place because Slade got up and threw a cop at him. Morph might have the scan.

What issue?
BB

Posted by ReVamp

@Billy Batson said:

@CitizenBane said:

Whoops, wrong scan. Flash was on the floor in the first place because Slade got up and threw a cop at him. Morph might have the scan.

What issue?
BB

^

Posted by The Stegman
Well this is five different kinds of awesome.
Posted by Saren

@Billy Batson said:

@CitizenBane said:

Whoops, wrong scan. Flash was on the floor in the first place because Slade got up and threw a cop at him. Morph might have the scan.

What issue?
BB

IIRC, it's Deathstroke #13. Probably. I know Slade has tagged Wally in New Teen Titans #2, #34, Deathstroke #13, and Identity Crisis #3.

Moderator
Posted by venomoushatred1001

Nice job, Bane.

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

You have done Flash justice

Posted by KenTheProfile

@CitizenBane:

The Flash a one gimmick hero, so he gets one gimmick villians.

Posted by royale_with_cheese

@CitizenBane:

So Wally ran into his sword? Cause that makes no sense, if Wally is able to speed up his thought process and react in time. It's like running right into a stop sign.

Posted by Gambit1024

Awesome thread. I'll admit I was one of those ignorant people, but this certainly explains all the questions I had.

Posted by Saren

@ReVamp: I just realized that I didn't even post that scan to support the idea of Slade tagging Flash because of his reflexes, it was more of an example to show that Flash doesn't move FTL all the time.

@KenTheProfile said:

@CitizenBane:

The Flash a one gimmick hero, so he gets one gimmick villians.

That's.....eh.....one way of looking at it.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Martian

@venomoushatred1001 said:

Nice job, Bane.

Agreed. Excellent article and a great read. :)

Posted by Zoom

Last "Dr Alchemy" scan is actually the Alchemist, a completely different character with a similar power set.

The Turtle could kill half the Avengers no problem.

Posted by Zoom

Wally running into a sword is hardly the most nonsensical part of Identity Crisis.

Posted by blackadamFTW

Good job, you really went into detail. I agree with just about everything here.

Posted by desmond006

I dont get how this proves your point. It actualy makes me take him less seriously.

Posted by Saren

@desmond006 said:

I dont get how this proves your point. It actualy makes me take him less seriously.

I'm curious. What did you think my point was?

Moderator
Posted by desmond006

@CitizenBane: I understood your point as explaining why flash can barely handle his rogues. In regards to battle forum post.

Edited by Hazlenaut

flash's rouges are far more united then the other hero's rouges. They have their acts together by Captain Cold and most are able to take out Batman in one on one fights. they are not martial artist, or have good strategist they know how use their stuff. In alternate reality Top was able put Wonder girl in a coma when he was fighting the other Titans. an army of amazons killed him afterward, but that means they threw an army of Amazons on him

Posted by jnw93

I agree i really cant see flash beating up all these marvel characters people claim he could

someone said to me he could take on the juggernaut LMAO

Posted by madmartin760

I think u did a great job of clearing the Flashes name, I might even pick-up some of his comics next time. With that being said, Thor or Hulk could probably beat him cuz of thier Invulnerability, but that doesn't mean a cross-over wouldn't b a bad idea. lol

Posted by Video_Martian

@cattlebattle said:

and yet, one of Flashs villains was this guy :)


The Turtle

Hey, Turtle was awesome! Having the ability to slow everything around him and steal The Flash's speed... Seriously, if he was used more often in the comics, he could be one of Barry's most powerful enemies...

Posted by Redberry

I'm not a big fan of flash. He's very inconsistent with using his power. Speeforce seems mostly just a PIS device.

Posted by majestic99

Why would anyone think Thor or Hulk can beat Wally West?

Posted by doomsilver

nice blog

Posted by AweSam

@CitizenBane said:

I have this horrible feeling that people will ignore all the words, steal the scans and spam them in Flash threads to say Hulk wins.

I'm going to have fun.

Posted by nickthedevil

I love this.

Edited by Scheiner

The two key reasons the Flash has some difficulty fighting his rogues are he can't use his upper power limits because that might kill them and because his rogues are armed specifically to deal with him. When the Flash is given an oponent who can take it you get this...

The Flash beats Lex Luthor who had gained enough power to take out the rest of the justice league (superman, batman, green lantern, hawk girl, wonder woman, and martian manhunter).

Posted by AweSam

@Scheiner said:

The two key reasons the Flash has some difficulty fighting his rogues are he can't use his upper power limits because that might kill them and because his rogues are armed specifically to deal with him. When the Flash is given an oponent who can take it you get this...

The Flash beats Lex Luthor who had gained enough power to take out the rest of the justice league (superman, batman, green lantern, hawk girl, wonder woman, and martian manhunter).

I agree. He's been fighting his rogues for years. They know most of his tricks and how to deal with them. Whenever someone new enters the picture, Flash handles them in seconds. The problem is, people on the battles forum put down what they think would happen, because it can, but we don't see flash stealing peoples speed or using the IMP in every fight right off the bat. Like every character, he starts off small, then builds up more as the fight progresses.

Posted by PowerHerc

Great point!

Why are almost all of the "invincible" Flash's villains non-powered humans?

Maybe he's not all that invincible after all.

Edited by Redberry

Well, most people are just wagon-jumping after a few posters who made some biased arguments by posting selective scans and arguments. Honestly, depending on the writers, any character can be God-like so saying this character can beat his/opponent in that single instant doesn't mean they can do it again. There aren't a lot of fair arguments on the battle forum when it comes to mainstream DC characters.

Posted by BiteMe-Fanboy

As a Flash fan, I have to say, bravo. Great blog, man.

Edited by Farwind

I always interpreted the Flash-Deathstroke fights as specifically emphasizing Deathstroke's tactical abilities. My theory is that If Deathstroke has reasonable foreknowledge of Flash's presence (for whatever speed the Flash decides to come at him), Deathstroke will be able to tactically position himself such that he will tag Flash (in other words, it doesn't matter how fast Deathstroke can move: he makes up for the speed difference with exceedingly precise planning).

So I've always viewed a match up between the two as a victory for Flash if he gets the correct jump on Deathstroke for whatever speed he's using, and doesn't let off long enough for Deathstroke to prep himself. Otherwise, Deathstroke will be able to hold Flash to a standstill at the least (if not get the upper hand), regardless of how fast Flash decides to move.

EDIT: Changed last sentence because previous version was (more) unreasonable.

Posted by benette_rivera

Great post! Good to know someone of enough intellect to prove this. Marvel fanboys should read this so that they'll stop thinking that thor or hulk can beat him.

Posted by Joygirl

Fabulous. ;D This should be stickied in the battle forums.

Online
Posted by RustyRoy

Great blog. In my opinion Flash is the most powerful JL member or atleast have the potential to become the most powerful.

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