Flash is one of the most recognizable and the most beloved DC superheroes of all time. He’s quite amazing and is one of the most powerful DC superheroes of all time, matching or even besting Superman in many ways. That being said, Flash has faced an incredibly powerful rogue gallery over the years, be it as a solo superhero or a member of the Justice League.
Without further ado, here’s the ultimate ranked list of the 20 strongest Flash villains throughout the decades of comic books and movies. Enjoy!
20. King Shark
King Shark is a character that first appeared in Superboy #9 in 1994. Nanaue, as he’s also known, is sometimes a supervillain and sometimes an antihero that faced most of the Justice League members at some point. A particularly humorous version of the character appeared in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad in 2021, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone.
However, a more grounded version of King Shark also appeared in the Flash TV series, named Shay Lamden – half-man, half-shark. Lamden was probably the most physically dominant enemy Barry Allen faced throughout the series.
Not only is he incredibly strong, but durable as well. King Shark can get hurt but has an incredible healing factor that helps him recoup and continue the fight. I love almost every version of the character I’ve seen so far, both in the comics and the silver screen, but there are far more powerful and imposing villains Flash has faced over the years.
19. The Trickster
There have been at least three different characters that used the Trickster mantle, two of which had the Flash as their main enemy – James Jesse and Axel Walker. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) played the Trickster back in the ‘90s version of the Flash TV show and returned for another go in the DC Extended Univers Flash TV series.
The character itself is utterly ridiculous – he has horrible costumes, and his plans are always completely bonkers. Still, all his tricks are always so fun to watch, and the craziness behind him sometimes really gives Flash some trouble.
His main ability isn’t a superpower but the ability to cause chaos and get to his goals within that chaos. He first appeared in Flash #113 in 1960 and has trapped/beaten Flash numerous times since then.
18. Pied Piper
Pied Piper first appeared in The Flash $106 back in 1959, and we haven’t seen him for a while, but he has recently returned in huge style. Hartley Rathaway battled Flash numerous times, sometimes teaming up with other notable villains such as the Trickster.
The Pied Piper uses his flute as the main weapon, using sound for mind manipulation, hypnosis, control, inducing physical paralysis, etc. He can also channel the anti-life equation by playing his flute.
It seems that only recently, he was established, as he was first the villain but later reformed and became a hero that helped Barry Allen’s successor, Wally West, in many situations. He goes back and forth between being a hero and a villain, so the moniker of an anti-hero might be the best way to describe the Pied Piper.
17. Abra Kadabra
Yes, there is a supervillain magician/sorcerer donning the name Abra Kadabra. He hasn’t been a recurring supervillain in DC comics but had some awesome run-ins with the Wally West version of the Flash. And, considering his powers and skills, it would be silly not to include Abra Kadabra on this list.
Abra Kadabra, or Master of Magic, as he likes to call himself, first appeared in The Flash #128 in 1962 and had a significant role in The Flash TV Series recently. He comes from the 64th century and has technology that, for today’s standards, appears as if it were magic.
After a while, not only did he have highly-advanced technology, but he also made a deal with a demon to become a true sorcerer. At one point in the comics, Abra Kadabra trapped Wally West in the Speed Force, but it didn’t last for long. Still, his technology, powers, and skills are well worth the spot on this list.
16. Mirror Master
There were a few versions of the Mirror Master in DC’s history, both in the comics and the TV shows. The first Mirror Master, Sam Scudder, appeared in The Flash #105 in 1959, while Evan McCulloch, the second Mirror Master, first appeared in Animal Man #8 in 1989. In The Flash TV show, the character got a full gender swap and was a female, Eva McCollough.
The Mirror Master has no superpowers, per se, but developed a high-tech gun that allows the use of reflections as weapons. Mirror Master can teleport from one mirror to another, trap others in a mirror, travel to alternate dimensions, etc.
Every version was dangerous, but I believe Evan McCulloch’s Mirror Master was the strongest version of the character. He was an assassin even before obtaining the Mirror Gun and was a part of the Suicide Squad for quite a while. Hadn’t he battled a cocaine addiction, he might’ve been even more dangerous and higher on this list.
Heatwave first appeared in The Flash #140 in 1963 and was also a part of The Flash TV series. Now, Heatwave usually comes in a duo with Captain Cold and is a bit weaker than his partner – hence, the lower ranking on this list. Still, Heatwave is one of the founding members of the rogue and gave the Flash a hard time every time they faced each other.
As the name suggests, Heatwave is a pyromaniac and uses a gun that can reach up to 900 degrees. He tried being the good guy, reform, and at least be an antihero, but his love for fire and watching the world burn always pulls him back to the dark side. His psychotic behavior is what makes Heatwave such a dangerous villain.
Interestingly, Heatwave had pyrokinesis at the beginning of his comic book career but later turned into a more grounded, human-level villain with severe pyromania.
There have been several versions of Cicada throughout the years, but the first time the character appeared was in The Flash #171 in 2001. His name was David Hersch, a guy who was struck by lightning, which ultimately gave him the power to absorb the life force of other people.
Every life he took gave him a hundred more years of life, making Cicada almost immortal. He battled Wally West the most as the leader of a cult. Also, Hersch had limited telepathic powers.
The most popular version of Cicada, however, was Orlin Dwyer, the guy that appeared in The Flash TV series, along with Grace Gibbons, his niece. Dwyers had several awesome superpowers, such as enhanced strength, flight, and a dagger that negates the powers of all metahumans, including Flash, allowing Cicada to kill them.
13. Captain Boomerang
Captain Boomerang became a fan-favorite supervillain in DC Comics despite not being the most impressive guy power-wise. George Harkness first appeared in The Flash #117 in 1960 but was an enemy to both Barry Allen and Wally West throughout the years. The appearance of Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad made him that much more popular.
As the name suggests, Captain Boomerang has a plethora of trick boomerangs in his arsenal and almost never misses. One might say he’s the more rugged and raw version of Marvel’s Hawkeye, who never misses with his longbow and has a variety of trick arrows up his sleeve.
Harkness knows what he wants – get rich, or die trying, and it somehow always puts him on a collision course with the Flash. I mean, trying to hit a superfast guy like the Flash with a high-tech boomerang is really something, especially given the fact that Harkness sometimes succeeds.
Despite the lack of cool superpowers, he’s one of the most notable villains from Flash’s rogue gallery, certainly worthy of the #13 spot on this list.
12. Weather Wizard
I’m surprised Weather Wizard ended only at number twelve on this list, but don’t be fooled; Mark Mardon has some phenomenal skills and abilities in his arsenal. Weather Wizard first appeared in The Flash #110 in 1959, and in the beginning, he wielded a wand that allowed him to control the weather to his will – produce hurricanes, blizzards, lightning, tornadoes, etc.
What makes him so strong, dangerous, and powerful is his incredibly disturbed psyche. He’s one of the most powerful members of The Rogues, capable of battling the Flash and Superman simultaneously and coming out of the fight unscathed.
The guy battled at least three versions of the Flash, Superman, and the entire Justice League, making him a formidable villain to every DC hero, not just our beloved speedster.
11. Killer Frost
Killer Frost is a mantle of several notable supervillains in DC Comics, but the most notable has to be Caitlin Snow. The ice-loving villain first appeared in Firestorm #3 in 1978 as Crystal Frost, but Caitlin Snow only got into the spotlight in Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #19 in 2013. She also appeared in The CW’s The Flash TV series, where Killer Frost had a big role.
She sometimes presented redemptive qualities and served as a hero/antihero, but no one can deny that when Killer Frost goes all-out supervillain, she’s incredibly tough to stop. She is murderous, has no empathy, and has the power to create such icy conditions that they almost instantly cause frostbites.
If not that, Killer Frost creates ice daggers and throws them at her opponents at will, never running out of ammunition. Her tragic backstory gives you empathy toward Caitlin, but when you see her in action, you see she doesn’t hold back if anyone gets in her way.
10. Captain Cold
Another supervillain that uses ice and frost in the Flash’s rogue gallery is Captain Cold, one of the most recurring Flash villains, both in the comics and The Flash TV series. He’s the leader of The Rogues and usually comes in tandem with Heatwave, though he’s the smarter, more dangerous villain of the two.
He first appeared all the way back in Showcase #8 in 1957 as the third villain ever to face the Flash and has now appeared in almost 500 issues of DC comics. Nowadays, he has ice manipulation powers and abilities and thrives in cold environments.
If there’s a villain one could say is the flash’s arch-nemesis, it would be Captain Cold, although he turned to the good side several times, even briefly joining the Justice League.
9. Black Flash
There have been numerous versions of an evil Flash throughout the years, but none are more sinister than the Black Flash. He first appeared in The Flash #141 in 1998, though he had several cameos before (most notably in The Flash Vol. 2 #138).
Black Flash is a dark, sinister part of the Speed Force, serving as death to all those who use it, killing them and returning them to the Speed Force. When outside of the Speed Force, Black Flash can freeze time and run four times the speed of light.
A villain known as Zoom was turned into Black Flash at one point in the comics (Zoom appears later on this list). Black Flash ought not to be mistaken for Dark Flash, who was Walter West from another universe that failed to save Linda’s life, so instead of arresting villains, he began crippling and killing them.
8. The Thinker
Sometimes, the real power lies in the mind, not in the muscle, as is the case with The Thinker. Clifford DeVoe first appeared in All-Flash #12 in 1943 but has been a recurring supervillain in the DC universe for decades now. He was one of the main supervillains in The Flash TV series as well.
He might not look like much of a threat, hovering in his high-tech chair wearing a weird headpiece, but the Thinker’s greatest strength is his mind. He can plan every detail you can think of, and despite the Flash being so darn quick, the Thinker’s mind is always quicker, always one step ahead.
There’s an alternative version of the thinker in the comics – an artificial intelligence created out of the Thinker’s cap technology. Without a physical body you can hurt, the Thinker became that much more powerful.
Hunter Zolomon, also known as Zoom, is one of the best-known Flash supervillains because of his sinister appearance and skillset that can match the Flash in almost any way. He first appeared in The Flash: Secret Files & Origins #3 in 2001.
Zolomon was an FBI profiler who was paralyzed by Gorilla Grodd and ultimately gained powers from the Speed force. He went mad and wanted to make Wally West a greater hero, so he tested him by becoming his greatest supervillain. He can manipulate time, run as fast as the Flash, and much more.
Another version of the Zoom – the original, Eobard Thawne – was so evil that Barry Allen had to kill him to save his girlfriend’s life, ultimately leading to him being on trial for murder. Zoom appeared in the TV series as well, and the comic version eventually became Black Flash.
6. Gorilla Grodd
Easily my favorite Flash supervillain is Gorilla Grodd, who first appeared in The Flash #106 in 1959. The highly-intelligent silverback gorilla also appeared in The Flash TV series. Grodd was experimented on by STAR Labs scientists and transformed Grodd into an almighty Flash supervillain.
He had incredibly powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities, along with the unfathomable strength of a giant silverback gorilla. Grodd managed to access Barry Allen’s mind at one point, tapping into the Speed Force and becoming one of the most powerful villains in DC, albeit it was quite brief.
The comic book version of Gorilla Grodd was the king of Africa’s Gorilla City, had mind-controlling abilities over other beings (especially animals).
Savitar is a character that had several versions throughout the years, and the biggest changes came in The Flash TV series. In the comics, Savitar first appeared in Flash Vol. 2 #108 in 1995 as a test pilot who got struck by lightning while flying a new, experimental aircraft.
After the accident, he grew a connection to the Speed Force, gaining the phenomenal powers it granted, including, of course, unfathomable superspeed. He then took the name Savitar, after the Hindu god of motion, and developed a cult of followers considering him a god.
That made him a huge threat because not only did he have powers similar to the Flash, but he also had a legion of cult members willing to die for him every step of the way.
The show completely changed who Savitar was and made him even more powerful. Here, he’s a dark time remnant of Barry Allen that split off at some point and lived as an individual. He wore an over-the-top metallic suit that was nearly impenetrable and soon got corrupted and went evil.
Not even Barry, Wally, and Killer Frost together could’ve taken him down. That is until he removed the suit.
Godspeed is one of the newest speedsters to ever appear in DC comics, debuting in The Flash: Rebirth Vol. 2 #1 in 2016. His name is August Heart, and he was Barry Allen’s partner for a long time. After he got caught up in a Speed Force storm, lightning struck August and turned him into a speedster himself – but with some extra powers.
Godspeed and Flash worked together, catching speedsters who misused their powers. However, Godspeed had a secret. He sought revenge for his brother’s death, killing the speedsters while Barry wasn’t there and absorbing their speed as they died, making him faster and faster after every kill. He was eventually stopped by Team Flash but did tons of damage.
Godspeed could’ve been so much more in the TV series, but the writers fell short of showing just how awesome the character is in the comics. He had the same ability to gain the speed of others after killing them but lacked the experience needed to defeat Team Flash in the end. Still, there were several Godspeed clones around, making Flash’s life that much more difficult.
Breaking the top three is Anti-Monitor, first appearing in Crisis on Infinite Earths #2 in 1985. Anti-Monitor is an extremely powerful cosmic being, awoken at the dawn of time, controlling the Antimatter Universe with the intention of destroying everything. And I mean – everything. He’s the opposite of his brother, Monitor, who’s there to preserve the universe, not destroy it.
The entire Justice League faced Anti-Monitor during the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, and he was almost unbeatable as a primordial cosmic entity.
In the TV series, Anti-Monitor was just as tough, capable of tearing the Multiverse into pieces and having such ancient knowledge and understanding of the universe that Earthlings couldn’t even understand, let alone comprehend. He was beaten by a sheer miracle, but Flash needed help – and it resulted in the death of Green Arrow.
In the comics, Anti-Monitor remained dormant and unconscious for nine billion years before returning to cause chaos, so I wouldn’t put my money on him being dead now, either.
2. Reverse Flash
Quite possibly the toughest speedster the Flash ever faced was Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash. The character first appeared in The Flash #139 in 1963 but also had a major role in The Flash TV series. Reverse Flash also went by the name Zoom – he was the original Zoom before Hunter Zolomon took the mantle.
Reverse Flash had the same powers as the Flash but was as evil as they come. He became Barry Allen’s arch-nemesis after they were really close friends. You see, Eobard was from the future and adored the Flash, so he used the remnants of the Speed Force to give himself powers. Then, he caused accidents and hurt people so that he could appear as a hero.
When Barry learned that, he turned Reverse Flash in, which led to the guy going full-on supervillain, doing everything in his power to hurt the Flash – such as traveling back in time and killing his mother. As you know, Barry’s mother’s death ultimately made him become a hero, so it’s all just a huge, twisted, paradoxical circle.
Several other characters became Reverse Flash over the years, including David West, but it all comes back to Eobard Thawne.
1. Speed Force
Finally, the strongest enemy the Flash has ever faced is the same entity that grants him the phenomenal superpowers he has. The Speed Force first appeared as such in The Flash Vol. 2 #91 in 1994. It’s a primordial cosmic force based on movement and velocity and is one of the sever Forces that create the universe.
The Speed Force granted the Flash his powers, just like the other speedsters in the universe. However, it has a knack for returning them back to the Speed Force eventually, which was also the case with the Flash.
The clearest representation of the Speed Force as Flash’s enemy probably came in the TV series. The Speed Force usually works with Barry – I mean, it is the source of his powers. However, when he defied her in fulfilling the ultimate goal – destroying all other six Universal Forces – she took on a human form to ensure her cause was finished.
Ultimately, the Speed Force realized she was wrong, which was lucky for Barry because it’s by far the strongest opponent he had ever faced. Fighting an entity that virtually controls you and your powers? It’s a fight one can’t win.