The Flash: Every speedster ranked from slowest to fastest

The Flash featured many speedy superheroes and villains throughout its decade-long run, but which speedster was the fastest of them all?
The Flash -- "Nora" -- Image Number: FLA501b_0004b.jpg -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved
The Flash -- "Nora" -- Image Number: FLA501b_0004b.jpg -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved /

Speed is the name of the game on The Flash. The CW's second Arrowverse TV series was based on the DC Comics character of the same name, showcasing the Scarlet Speedster's adventures in Central City for almost a full decade. It was an incredible time for fans of the character, as well as those who enjoyed seeing other DC speedsters on their screens.

Even though Barry Allen opened every one of those early episodes telling us he was the Fastest Man Alive, there were multiple points in time that he actually wasn't. Whether that was down to him not quite reaching the levels of other more tenured speedsters in the beginning of his career, or just his temporary loss of speed, he was always competing with other heroes and villains to hold onto that title. But at which point did he finally hit the ground running, and which other characters were chasing him?

The show has unfortunately come to an end after nine seasons, but that does mean we can look back on it and appreciate the journey. With that in mind, let's take a look at all of the speedsters to race through Central City and decide, once and for all, who is the fastest of them all.

19. Trajectory

Trajectory is undoubtedly one of The Flash's most tragic characters. Introduced in what seemingly was a random villain-of-the-week episode, she proved more pivotal to the overall storyline than anyone could have imagined; unfortunately, the thrill-seeking speedster wasn't around to find out how important she actually was.

An alternate personality of Eliza Harmon intent on making herself as fast as she possibly can, the character became addicted to the Velocity 9 drug, constantly injecting herself with it to gift her with speed. She enhanced herself every time, becoming even faster than Barry Allen himself (or at least where he was on his speed journey in season 2). But that came with consequences as she eventually ran so fast that she disintegrated.

Trajectory was far faster than fans expected her to be, reaching pretty shocking levels of speed at the time, but her speed wasn't natural. She had no connection to the Speed Force as her abilities were engineered by the Velocity 9 drug, and thus her body just couldn't sustain it for a long period of time.

Team Flash tried to appeal to her to get her to stop but she couldn't resist the thrill of the run. Unfortunately, it ended up killing her.

18. The Rival

The Rival has gone down in Flash history for having one of the worst costumes the Arrowverse has ever seen. With his long ghoulish ears and wrinkled bodysuit, he made all the wrong kind of first impressions when he first surfaced in the season 3 trailer. That said, he quickly proved himself to be a formidable foe for Wally West's Kid Flash in the Flashpoint timeline.

We don't know how Edward Clariss gained his connection to the Speed Force in the Flashpoint timeline, but when things were reset, Doctor Alchemy used the Philosopher's Stone to restore his powers and magnify them, making him that much quicker. And The Rival was quick, for he could go toe-to-toe with Barry Allen in the show's third season, proving to be quite the rival to him, too.

He was absolutely physically stronger than Barry and was able to manhandle him - an ability that was also enhanced by his speed. However, he wasn't quite as fast and that ultimately proved to be his undoing as the Scarlet Speedster could intermittently sidestep his attacks; allowing him (and Cisco Ramon) to defeat him.

Honestly I feel like The Rival had more to give. With a better suit, he would have been taken more seriously. Seeing him turn into one of The Flash's more powerful enemies might have been fun. He certainly had the potential.

The Red Death, The Flash
The Flash -- “Rogues of War” -- Image Number: FLA903fg_0003r -- Pictured (L - R): Javicia Leslie as Red Death -- Photo: The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

17. The Red Death

The Red Death was one of the villains we were all longing to see on The Flash and he was finally adapted in the final season. The result was met with a mixed response. While the idea of having Batwoman's Javicia Leslie play the character (as there was no Batman in the Arrowverse at the time) was inspired, the presentation of the Red Death that we met let her down a bit.

The villainess was certainly a sight to behold. Sporting a rather comic-accurate armor, she sped onto the scene early on in season 9 and quite quickly proved to be a force-to-be-reckoned with. She had no problem keeping up with The Flash, which didn't necessarily make sense because of how fast Barry actually was at this point, but that could also be attributed to the fact that she spent years studying the speed of The Flash on her earth and knew how to use it to her advantage (even if she wasn't as fast as him).

The thing that holds her back on this list is the fact that her speed was artificial. It was derived from an artificial speed force created by her suit, and the one time that the evil Ryan Wilder did attempt to hide in the real Speed Force, it threw her back out.

Artificial speed is a limited high, and even Barry Allen himself knows that there is just no beating the real thing.

The Flash, Fast Track, Meena Dhawan
The Flash -- "Negative, Part One" -- Image Number: FLA819a_0492r.jpg -- Pictured: Kausar Mohammed as Dr. Meena Dewan/Fast Track -- Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW -- 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

16. Meena Dhawan / Fast Track

Meena Dhawan showed off just how innovative she was when she designed her own speed source. It was never meant for her, but her beloved Eobard Thawne, who had reformed after falling in love with her. However, due to her heart condition Eobard allowed her to use the speed source instead, which resulted in her accelerated healing curing her condition. The only problem was that the speed was temporary. Well, that... and its connection to the Negative Speed Force.

While Meena proved herself to be a formidable ally (and temporary adversary), her time as Fast Track was a reminder that no artificial speed source is as strong or as fast as the real thing. Sure, when the Negative Speed Force corrupted her, it enhanced her speed, but her speed source and the limits of it never allowed her to fully break out of the temporary speedster category.

That said, Fast Track was an enjoyable part of the show during its less enjoyable years, and watching Meena become a hero was a very rewarding experience.

The Flash, Iris West-Allen speedster
The Flash -- "Heart of the Matter, Part 2" -- Image Number: FLA718fg_0007r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Candice Patton as Iris West - Allen and Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /

15. Iris West-Allen

Iris West-Allen accidentally ended up gaining her husband's speed in an episode of The Flash season 4. With Barry's help, she learned how to use it and ultimately stopped The Hotness from destroying Central City in a blaze of, well, not glory. It was an epic moment to get to see The Flash's Lightning Rod become The Flash herself for a day.

For the longest time, that was the start and end of Iris' Speedster journey, and if that had remained the case, she might have been a bit lower on this list (though, to be fair, it was Barry's speed that she had and he was pretty fast in season 4). However, in season 7, her powers returned when the Speed Force recharged the spark of itself that remained within her. And it wasn't just a normal recharge, it was a super charge, which magnified her abilities significantly.

The love that Barry and Iris share also served as a spark to ignite a new Speed Force, so there is no denying that the "(Speed) Force is strong with this one". While we didn't see her get to use her temporary speed enough to place her above some of the more veteran speedsters on this list, a super-charged Iris West-Allen with all the power of the Speed Force radiating through her was indeed a sight to behold.

14. Accelerated Man

One of the coolest cameo appearances on The Flash was that of the Accelerated Man. A speedster from Earth-19, he has a brief conversation with Gypsy, who breached there as part of her duties as an interdimensional bounty hunter.

We didn't see him for more than a few seconds, so that makes it impossible to judge exactly how fast he is, but given that he's apparently the Flash of Earth-19, we're gonna say that it's a safe bet that he's pretty fast. With that in mind, we're going to place him here, higher than some of the more recurring speedsters but not quite in the realm of the show's core group of speedy heroes.

From his comic-accurate appearance to the epic way in which he sped off (with purple lightning!!), it was an awesome moment for both the show and fans. If only we had seen more of the Accelerated Man, we would have a better idea of just how fast he is.

The Flash, Jay Garrick
DC's Stargirl -- "Summer School: Chapter Nine" -- Image Number: STG209b_0156r.jpg -- Pictured: John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick/The Flash -- Photo: Kyle Kaplan/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

13. Jay Garrick

Jay Garrick is also known as The Flash of Earth-3 and that figures because he was the original Flash in the comics. The Crimson Comet was the only man to hold that mantle until the creation of Barry Allen years later, so it's nice to see The Flash series feature him in such a significant capacity - especially since he's portrayed by John Wesley Shipp from the original Flash series in the '90s.

A veteran speedster in every sense of the word, Jay was an incredible speedster in his day. He might have even earned himself the title of The Fastest Man Alive on Earth-3. However, he revealed in the show's fourth season that he had been slowing down due to age, and thus couldn't run as fast - or for as long - as he used to. That eventually forced him to retire.

The interesting thing about Jay is that he had his backstory rewritten a bit after Crisis On Infinite Earths changed everything. He was now a regular of Earth-Prime who quickly came out of retirement to help Team Flash take on the army of Godspeeds and the Negative Speed Force. In his battle with the latter, he was able to siphon off the energy from the Negative Speed Force - a pretty neat nod to Shipp's Barry Allen from the '90s series. What's even more interesting is that he's still speeding around from time-to-time in 2049. Clearly retirement didn't take.

If we were just going by the original timeline, Jay might be a bit lower on this list, but clearly post-Crisis Jay still has some gas left in the tank.

12. Jesse Quick

Jesse Quick was a pretty tricky character to find a place for on this list. On one hand, she didn't have an awful lot of screentime after she became a speedster, so we never got to find out much about her abilities, but on the other hand, there were signs that she was extremely fast.

Jesse's speed was on par with where Wally West's would have been in season 3; it was new, it was exciting, and it was full of potential, but she had the edge as she had been on Earth-3 training with Jay Garrick. We can assume that this training continued to improve her speed too, because when she returned in season 4, she was able to maintain Flashtime for an incredibly long time, even outlasting Jay himself before she eventually had to stop.

With that in mind, we know she was faster than Jay in his veteran years. We don't know whether that means she was faster than him in general or if everything changed post-Crisis On Infinite Earths. One of the great mistakes that The Flash made was killing the character off off-screen during the Crisis as it prevented her from ever making a comeback in its later years to show us all what she had learned over the years.

The Flash, Godspeed
The Flash -- "Godspeed" -- Image Number: FLA518d_0001b.jpg -- Pictured: Godspeed -- Photo: The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved /

11. Godspeed

The villain that The Flash got the most wrong in its decade long run, there were too many Godspeeds to count (or maybe even care?).

The original version of the character who ran into Nora West-Allen in the future was undoubtedly the best, but he wasn't a natural speedster as he relied on Velocity 9 to give him abilities. He was eventually defeated by Nora, with the help of Eobard Thawne.

The main timeline's version of Godspeed spent a long time teasing his arrival, sending clones of himself back through time to toy with Team Flash and steal Barry Allen's speed; because that's what August Heart really wanted: More speed. He was obsessed with being the God of Speed, but the storyline never really made him feel like that, and unfortunately, he came off as a very one-note Power Rangers-esque villain. And his monotone robotic clones certainly didn't help with that.

Taking all of that into account, it's hard to find a place to rank Godspeed. Yes, he was powerful enough to pose a challenge to Barry when he was nearing his maximum speed, but he also didn't do anything remotely impressive to suggest he was on the same level as him. The fact that he was defeated by a lightning-bolt lightsaber also didn't go a long way in strengthening his case.

Oh how I wish Godspeed could be higher on this list, but the version(s) we met on The Flash just didn't live up to his formidable reputation.

The Flash, Impulse, Bart Allen
The Flash -- "Heart of the Matter, Part 1" -- Image Number: FLA717a_0041r.jpg -- Pictured: Jordan Fisher as Bart/Impulse -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved /

10. Bart Allen / Impulse

Bart Allen quite literally sped his way onto screens towards the end of The Flash season 7. It was a major moment for the series as it was the live-action debut of the comic book character. Though Impulse is actually Barry and Iris' grandson in the comics, the show reimagined him as their son; but honestly, he's every bit as delightfully chaotic as his comic book counterpart.

Bart is fast. He's really fast and he has no problem showing that when he's speeding, skidding and sliding his way through any Central City street he wants to. He and his sister Nora share the unique honor of being born with a connection to the Speed Force; so they didn't gain their abilities from an experiment or an accident, they were always within them as they were the children of The Flash. And Bart likes the thrill of being a speedster, adding his own flare to his abilities, such as phasing through his enemies or throwing lightning stars.

Ironically, the one thing that often holds Bart back is his impulsive nature. He's not as experienced as his sister and he often speeds into situations without thinking about the consequences. This is undoubtedly something that will change with time, but from what we saw Nora had the edge.

The Flash, XS, Nora West-Allen
The Flash -- "Nora" -- Image Number: FLA501b_0054b.jpg -- Pictured: Jessica Parker Kennedy as XS -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved /

9. Nora West-Allen / XS

Throughout the course of The Flash's run, we met two versions of Nora West-Allen. The first was from an erased timeline and she had a connection to the Negative Speed Force due to her training with Eobard Thawne. The second was from the new timeline that fell into place and she had a natural connection to the Positive Speed Force.

By the end of The Flash's run, Nora is a fully-accomplished speedster capable of pulling off some remarkable feats. Yes, we saw her run up a building in season 4 to destroy The Thinker's satellite (which suggested that she was every bit as fast as Barry in season 4) but this version of Nora's natural connection to the Speed Force has seen her come on leaps and bounds.

While she's not as equipped as her father when it comes to harnessing those abilities, the thing that gives Nora the edge over the other speedsters on this list is how natural her connection to the Speed Force is. She wasn't struck by lightning and she didn't develop speed as the result of an experiment; she's a natural speedster whose abilities began to manifest early in life.

8. Wally West / Kid Flash

Wally West is a character that never really got the development he deserved on The Flash. He was a fan-favorite and Keiynan Lonsdale delivered a great performance, but Kid Flash wasn't always given the opportunities that he should have been. His departure midway through season 4 is proof of that.

Wally became a speedster in the third season when he inherited the abilities he had in the Flashpoint timeline. He always had a need for speed, so when he was gifted with those abilities, he was ready to put them to use. And he did, growing immensely during his time on the show as a full-time character and mastering the skills of how to use his speed. He even took over the role of The Flash when Barry was trapped in the Speed Force.

Most of Wally's growth, however, took place off-screen as he learned so much about himself and his abilities. Each time he returned, he was more at one with himself and that allowed him to be more in control of his speed. He formed a strong spiritual connection with the Speed Force, which allowed him to do things that few others could, including running so fast that he left behind after-images and crafting shapes out of electricity.

If I had written this list years ago, Jesse would probably have been above Wally as she managed to beat him in a race when they both developed their abilities. But by the time season 9 rolled around, Kid Flash was a much more accomplished speedster. It's just a shame he wasn't on-screen enough for us to see it.

The Flash, Cobalt Blue
The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913fg_0008r -- Pictured: Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne/Cobalt Blue -- Photo: The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

7. Eddie Thawne / Cobalt Blue

Another character who deserved much better from The Flash's final season was Eddie Thawne. Don't get me wrong, bringing him back as Cobalt Blue in the final season was absolutely the right move; it was the one thing that fans of the show had been waiting to see happen for almost a full decade. Unfortunately, the rushed storytelling format completely undercut the nuance of it all.

In spite of the underdeveloped story, Eddie Thawne is undoubtedly one of the fastest speedsters to ever grace Central City. There wasn't very much in The Flash itself to showcase that (another casualty of the "graphic novel" format) but he was the final avatar chosen for the Negative Speed Force by the entity itself, which possessed him via the blue crystal, making him perhaps the most powerful of all the avatars.

Even if the context wasn't given, Eddie's return was designed to make him the ultimate threat to Barry Allen. He couldn't always keep up with the Scarlet Speedster on the streets, but that was likely down to his lack of experience (he had just gotten his powers after all!); he was incredibly fast - not-to-mention motivated by grief, tragedy, and loss over the life that he sacrificed all those years ago.

Cobalt Blue could have been the fastest speedster of all the villains if the show had taken its time to tell his story properly, but we just can't place him any higher due to the underdeveloped storyline.

6. Zoom

The entire mood changed every single time that Zoom sped onto the screen. Never has there been a more terrifying speedster in the Arrowverse than the ghoulish figure from Earth-2 craving The Flash's speed. Hunter Zolomon was a monster and he was damn sure that he was going to look like a monster too. Like I said terrifying.

Zoom was a force to be reckoned with. That's not just a figure of speech; he was virtually unbeatable for the whole of season 2, enacting a dark reckoning on anyone who got in his way or even crossed his path. And if you tried to run away, he would catch you every single time.

His arrival forced fans to question whether Barry Allen would ever be The Fastest Man Alive as he was the second speedster who was faster than him. And it's true; Zoom was faster than him for some time, but the thing that held him back was it was artificially enhanced (hence the blue lightning). While Zolomon was given powers after a particle-accelerator explosion, he used Velocity 9 to continually increase and enhance his speed so that he could become the fastest man alive. When that was only providing him with short surges, he decided he would steal the real thing instead, going straight after Barry's speed.

Yes, Zoom is a horrifying villain who has earned himself among the ranks of the Arrowverse's greatest antagonists, but he just couldn't get faster naturally (whereas Barry did). So while he was faster than the Scarlet Speedster for a time, Barry eventually outpaced him.

5. Savitar

They don't call him the God of Speed for nothing!

Savitar showed up in The Flash's third season and I would say you couldn't miss him, but he moved so quickly you could not see him. The silver speedster had built himself a robotic-like body armor that was sleek and resilient as it allowed him to move at such a speed that would have any other speedster disintegrating. That's how fast he was.

We haven't even gotten to the fact that he's the Future Flash, a.k.a. Barry Allen. The Fastest Man Alive gone rogue is the stuff of nightmares and Savitar was living proof of that. He was already fast, but his descent into madness didn't just push him towards the dark side, it pushed him to become faster than ever - which is exactly what he did.

When he was connected to (or, well, trapped in) the Speed Force, he could appear and reappear in different locations, using it to move through time and space. It made him so incredibly fast that he very well could be the fastest speedster The Flash has ever seen (remember that scene when he dragged Barry all over the city, or when he destroyed Jay Garrick in a matter of seconds?!). When he was fully released from it, however, his speed decreased significantly.

While Savitar on a normal day might not have been as powerful as Savitar on a Speed-Force-infused early day, he was always worthy of the title "God of Speed".

4. Black Flash

This guy is so terrifying that even The Flash and the Reverse-Flash are scared of him. Heck, even the God of Speed Savitar knew he couldn't beat him alone. That says all you need to know about Black Flash.

Perhaps the only person not afraid of him was Killer Frost, and that's because she had history with him. For Black Flash was once Zoom, who had been taken by Time Wraiths and turned into a mangled slave for the Speed Force to capture and stop anyone who tries to manipulate it for their own needs (or outrun something they can't).

Zoom was fast on his own, but he wasn't charged by the Speed Force; Black Flash, on the other hand, was. His speed was limitless as he was designed to stop other speedsters, meaning that he always had to be faster than them. His death at the hands of Killer Frost was unexpected, but it makes sense considering he was fixed on a speedster and didn't see her coming.

While the Arrowverse certainly could have done more with Black Flash, the sight of the ghoulish figure was more than enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. When he came for Barry in the Speed Force, you could see the fear in his eyes. When he showed up to collect Thawne's soul in DC's Legends of Tomorrow, you could see the fear in his eyes too.

Black Flash inspired fear because he came to collect his victims. There was no outrunning him. Not for any speedsters at least.

There's some irony for you.

The Flash, Reverse-Flash
The Flash -- "Legacy" -- Image Number: FLA522c_1147b.jpg -- Pictured: Tom Cavanagh as Eobard Thawne -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved /

3. Reverse-Flash / Eobard Thawne

That brings us to The Man in the Yellow Suit, the Man in the Lightning, the man who completely changed the course of Barry Allen's life: Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash.

Thawne is a crazed speedster from the future intent on destroying The Flash and he was willing to do anything to achieve his goals... even if that meant mentoring his enemy and helping him become that legend in the past so that he could get him home to the future. Yes, Eobard is a committed kind of evil.

His placement on this list needs little explanation; He is The Flash's equal in every way. He's the man who trained him to become the speedster that he is today, but he's also the avatar for the Negative Speed Force. He's the yin to The Flash's yang, and the universe needed the two of them for balance reasons.

Given that there were multiple versions of Thawne throughout the show's long run and many, many convoluted explanations for why he kept returned, he always seemed to get faster every time he made a comeback. Like I said, he was committed to making Barry's life hell and he could only do that if he stayed one (or several) steps ahead of him. When he found out that his archenemy had gotten faster than him, he promised to do the same - and in the season 8 finale he did, channelling the power of all of the Negative Forces to do it.

Thawne exists to outmatch The Flash. It was ultimately his undoing, but it took a very long time for Barry to stop him. His final appearance on the show was underwhelming, so who knows, maybe one day (off-screen) he would return to race his adversary one more time. While he might not be able to outrun Barry this time, you know he would do everything in his power to figure out a way to do the impossible. Again, committed.

The Flash, John Wesley Shipp
The Flash -- "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three" -- Image Number: FLA609b_0422b.jpg -- Pictured: John Wesley Shipp as Flash 90 -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

2. The Flash (Earth-90 version)

It's still unbelievably wild to me that we can include The Flash from the 1990 TV series on this list, but the multiple crossovers he appeared in has established the show as being Arrowverse-adjacent. And with that, all of what we learned about him from the 22-episode series is indeed canon.

First thing's first: This man is The Flash, so of course he was going to rank highly on this list. From the time we saw him developing his speed in the original series to the veteran speedster we meet in the Elseworlds and Crisis On Infinite Earths crossovers, he knows how to use his speed like a musical instrument; it's his greatest ally and his connection the Speed Force allows him to become his Earth's greatest hero.

Perhaps his greatest attribute is his ability to absorb any sources of electricity around him, which also allows him to steal other speedsters' speed. He ultimately did this in his final ever act of heroism when he sacrificed himself to save The Flash of Earth-1. It was just one of the examples of the great hero that this Barry Allen was and how skilled he was when it came to using his abilities.

They don't call him The Fastest Man Alive for nothing; and he proved that he was worthy of that title in more ways than one!

The Flash
The Flash -- "When Harry Met Harry..." -- Image Number: FLA406b_0127b.jpg -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

1. The Flash

The Fastest Man Alive might be a moniker for the Scarlet Speedster, but it's also the truth: The Flash is The Fastest Man Alive.

Now, he wasn't always, and that led to a number of fans voicing their gripes with the show over the course of its nine season run, but it was always about the journey with The Flash. Sure, he spent much of his first three years desperately trying to keep up with the Reverse-Flash, Zoom, and even his future self in Savitar, but Barry Allen had yet to reach his peak speedster status at that point. And everytime he did, a new rival came along.

That's part of the superhero life; you'll always find someone who wants to take you down or outdo you. But Barry kept running, and at some point, he outran all of the competition; leaving them in the dust.

By the end of The Flash's run, Barry could move so fast that even the Reverse-Flash - the man who trained him and had long outmatched him in the speed department - looked like he was moving in slow-motion. As he so eloquently put it, he "got faster".

Over the course of nine seasons, Barry advanced his speed over and over again, became one with the Speed Force and eventually made his own too. He could outrun anything and even phase a nuclear bomb out of existence; there was just no stopping him. He was a force of nature himself, and most of all, The Fastest Man Alive.

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