With The Flash film finally upon us, positioning Barry Allen as the fastest hero on the silver screen, it has us wondering. Who is the actual fastest Flash in DC comics? While most would say Barry Allen as a certainty, given his positioning as the most well-known Scarlet Speedster, the actual answer might surprise you. We count down the fastest speed heroes in the Flash family, from “least speed” to light speed.
Note: We are only counting the speedster heroes of the main “Earth-0” continuity of DC Comics. So no Flashes from alternate futures or parallel worlds who only appeared a handful of times. And no evil versions of the Flash, like the Reverse Flashes, Godspeed, or the Black Flash.
10. Iris “Irey” West (Thunderheart, Impulse II)
Wally West, the third Flash, has two young twin children with his wife, reporter Linda Park. Their speedster kid is Iris West, named after Wally’s beloved aunt Iris, but she goes by Irey. She and her twin brother Jai grew at a sped-up rate, but stabilized at around age eight. While her brother Jai channels speed energy into his muscles, making him strong, Irey has traditional super-speed powers. She originally took the name Impulse, until Bart Allen took the name back. She currently goes by Thunderheart. Still a small child, she can’t come close to the speed records of the other Flashes. But she has managed to run hundreds of miles in a mere ten seconds. Not bad for a little kid.
9. Max Mercury
Originally an obscure Golden Age hero called Quicksilver (name changed for obvious, Marvelous reasons), Max Mercury returned in Mark Waid’s fun of The Flash in the ‘90s. We learned that Max was a “speed guru,” and actually gained his speed through a magic spell, and not some scientific mishap. Born in 1819, he’s the oldest living speedster. And he was the first to discover and name the Speed Force. Having spent years studying it, he understands the Speed Force intricacies better than most. Able to use acrobatic skills while tapping into his speed, he mentored both Wally West and Bart Allen in using their powers. Despite this, he can only run past Mach-1, the speed of sound.
8. Avery Ho (Flash VI)
One of the newest members of the Flash family, Avery Ho is the Flash of China, and a member of that country’s Justice League. She gained her powers in a Speed Force storm in Barry Allen’s hometown of Central City, which also created the villain Godspeed. After getting a better handle on her new abilities, Avery was asked to join the Justice League of China as their Flash. During a period when Flash Barry Allen vanished, Avery was recruited to take his place on in multi-dimensional team Justice League Incarnate. She can certainly keep up with the veteran Flashes, but is still not quite at their speed levels.
7. Jesse Chambers (Jesse Quick, Liberty Belle, Flash IV)
Jesse Quick, who also goes by the name Jesse Chambers, is a legacy hero like Wally West and Bart Allen. Her father was Golden Age speedster Johnny Quick, and her mother was his fellow superhero, Liberty Belle. Jesse inherited her dad’s speed, which she can access by reciting a certain speed formula as her mantra. She also inherited her mother’s super strength. This made her a formidable member of groups like the Titans and the Justice Society. And although she is pretty darn fast, she can only run at half-light speed. But while other speedsters may be faster, Jesse also has super strength, which gives her a leg up on some of the others. She very briefly took the name Flash from Wally West when he vanished, but this was for just a few issues.
6. Wallace West (Kid Flash III)
Believe it or not, there are actually two speedsters named Wallace West, both nephews of Barry Allen’s wife, Iris West. The elder one goes by “Wally,” and he’s the son of Iris’ brother Rudy West. The second is the son of her brother Daniel West, one of the Reverse Flashes, and goes by Wallace. Teenage Wallace became Kid Flash during the New 52 era of DC Comics, and inspired the Kid Flash we saw in the CW Flash series. Wallace has thus far proven to be pretty fast, able to move at superhuman speeds equal to the speed of light, or 186,000 miles per second. He may eventually surpass the other members of the Flash family in terms of his speed. But he’s still pretty new at this, and has a few miles to go before that happens.
5. Jay Garrick (The Flash I)
Created in 1940, college student Jay Garrick gained super-speed powers when inhaling the fumes of something called “Hard Water.” (Wait, isn’t hard water just ice?) He became the first superhero to call himself the Flash, and was a founding member of the Justice Society of America. But his high speeds were rather tame by modern standards, running at 20 times the speed of sound. Very impressive during World War II, but less so today. His successors would all run far faster than he could. He eventually learned how to run at much, much faster speeds after discovering the Speed Force, but he couldn’t quite match his successors. Who are all, frankly, far younger than he is. But he’s still pretty spry for a dude who’s over 100 years old.
4. Jenni Ognats (XS)
This speedster is the cousin of Bart Allen, a.k.a Impulse. She was born in the 31st Century to Dawn Allen, one of the children of Barry Allen and Iris West-Allen. Unlike Bart, Jenni remained in her future time, and joined the Legion of Super-Heroes, the teen champions of the United Planets. She can run at near-light speeds, vibrate through solid matter, and even time travel and cross dimensions by altering her molecular vibrational frequencies. She has not had as much training as her cousin Bart, so he has the edge on her speed-wise, for now. XS has not been seen for some time, and it’s unclear if she’s even still a part of mainstream DC continuity.
3. Barry Allen (Flash II)
Even though he’s the second hero named the Flash, for years, DC Comics has positioned Barry Allen as the “Prime Flash.” He set the stage for DC Comics’ Silver Age revival, and carried his own series for 29 years. In the 2009 limited series Flash: Rebirth, which resurrected Barry after more than two decades, they revealed that Barry actually created the Speed Force himself, from which all other speedsters derive their powers. That makes him the most important Flash for sure. But does it necessarily make him the fastest?
Barry’s top speed generates a multiversal constant power, allowing him to exist in every time and dimension at once. He once had to travel 9.4 million times faster than the speed of light when saving an entire city’s population from a nuclear explosion. And he’s outrun Death itself not once, but twice. So yes, he is one of the fastest being in existence. But still, Barry Allen is not quite the fastest speedster out there. That honor goes to another Scarlet Speedster.
2. Bart Allen (Impulse, Kid Flash II, Flash V)
Barry Allen’s grandson from the 31st century has had quite a tumultuous history. Born with Speed Force access in his very DNA, Bart was growth accelerated, and educated at hyper speed in the future, sent back in time to become the teen hero Impulse (later Kid Flash). Later, he became the adult Flash for a time, before dying and then regressing to puberty and becoming Impulse again. We know, it’s all pretty convoluted. But while Wally is now on record as being technically faster than Barry, by his own words, Bart will eventually become faster than he is, and is pretty close to it now. We know it’s controversial not putting Barry in the number two slot. But we are taking Wally West’s word for it and saying that Bart Allen is the second-fastest Flash.
1. Wally West (Kid Flash I, Flash III)
For years, Wally West, the original Kid Flash, felt inferior to his predecessor Barry Allen upon taking the Flash mantle when he died in Crisis on Infinite Earths. This was because for many years, he could not match the super speed limits Barry had. He was only able to run at supersonic speeds, but not anything approaching the time barrier. Eventually though, upon discovering the power of the Speed Force, Wally West far surpassed his uncle and mentor Barry Allen in terms of velocity.
In the Flash War storyline, it was determined once and for all that Wally was faster than Barry. Unlike other speedsters, Wally is constantly mainlining pure Speed Force energy. He doesn’t need a cosmic treadmill to travel through time like Barry once did, and has even outrun death (in the form of the Black Flash) just like his uncle. In the series Flash Forward, it was determined that Wally West is the fastest being in the whole Multiverse. At least for now, as Wally is certain that Bart will surpass him one day. But for the moment, Wally West is the Fastest Man Alive.