Who is the Fastest Flash?

Flash v.2 #75 cover: Barry Allen, Jay Garrick and Wally West together.It’s the eternal question among fans. Who’s faster, Flash or Superman? (Answer: Flash, just barely.) Who would win in a fight, Wolverine or Batman? And of course, which Flash is faster? Wally West? Barry Allen? Jay Garrick? Bart Allen?

The truth is that which Flash is fastest changes over time, but there’s an easy pattern to follow: unless he’s been deliberately de-powered, whoever headlines the current series is the fastest Flash. After all, why focus on the second-fastest man alive?

When Jay Garrick was the one and only Flash around, he was, of course, the fastest man on Earth. When Barry Allen burst onto the scene, Jay was a little older, and had slowed down. So Barry was faster. When Wally West first took over as the Flash, he’d been pushed down to near the speed of sound…but as he kept going, breaking through his psychological blocks and eventually learning about the speed force, he reached that #1 rank. Then during Bart Allen’s brief tenure as the Flash, he absorbed the speed force and became not just the fastest man alive, but the fastest man who had ever lived.

All signs point to Barry Allen being the star of the Flash series that’s sure to spin out of The Flash: Rebirth. No doubt once the dust settles, he’ll once again be the Fastest Man Alive — and even faster than his fellow Scarlet Speedsters.

Until the next relaunch, of course…


18 thoughts on “Who is the Fastest Flash?

  1. Luke

    I am not sure, as I only have a handful of issues from the second volume from before the Waid/Augustyn (and if I spelled his name wrong, I am very sorry!) run, but didn’t it take Wally quite a while to overcome the psychological blocks and get past the speed of sound? Of course, considering that at that point Jay was still a old man and Barry was dead, he still was the Fastest Man Alive, I believe!

    .-= Luke’s latest blog post: What I Read This Week, Continued! =-.

    1. Kelson Post author

      Yeah, it took several years (real-time). IIRC during William Messner-Loebs’ run he ramped up to about Mach 3 or so. Jay was MIA with the rest of the JSA until around #70 or so, right before “The Return of Barry Allen.” IIRC they established Wally, “Barry,” Jay, Max and Johnny Quick as being in the same league at that point, with each of them having a different edge — endurance, agility, etc. By the end of that story, Wally was back up to full speed, and then later in “Terminal Velocity” he got his powers upgraded by learning about the speed force.

  2. fastest

    I don’t know if I’d necessarily say that Barry will hands down be the fastest Flash once Flash: Rebirth starts. I mean, if the current situation with the speed force stays like it is (which I don’t think it will, but) all Flashes are pretty much tapped at the speed of light, because beyond that they travel into the speed force. Bart Allen became the fastest man who had ever lived because that tap wasn’t there for him. Now that tap is back.

    To say that Barry comes back and is the fastest Flash is to take Bart and Wally’s speed and decrease it, which I don’t think will happen. Even though this speed of light tap may not exist post Flash: Rebirth, I do not see there being limits, like Okay well jay can go .99996 times the speed of light, and Bart can go .99997 and wally can go .99998 but Barry can go .99999. First of all that’s not how Geoff writes, and second of all, we know that Wally and Bart and Barry (and probably Jay) can increase to 1 times the speed of light at least. Because it has happened.

    I think, from now on, what will define the greatest Flash will be the super speed heroics they perform, the more skills they have using the speed force, and the faster they think. And in this way, Geoff can make a case for everyone. Jay has the most experience, Bart has the sharpest mind, Wally has the speed force skill set he developed over the years. Barry has some catching up to do with these guys.

    Wow, what a long rant. But in conclusion, I don’t think that it’s going to be as simple as their being 1 fastest Flash post-Rebirth. There might be, but it seems unlikely to me. I think Geoff is familiar enough with the Flash mythos that he’s going to make each Flash an individual, and then show why each of them are great Flashes in their own way.

  3. ElfGrove

    “I think Geoff is familiar enough with the Flash mythos that he’s going to make each Flash an individual, and then show why each of them are great Flashes in their own way.”

    This is exactly what I’m hoping to see.

  4. West

    None of us could tell the difference between one Flash and another if not for the super-slowed-down perspectives that comics offer us. It almost seems like a paper-thin, irrelevant distinction – especially considering how many times speedsters have said something like “if I go any faster, I’ll be absorbed into the Speed Force.”

    That suggests, of course, that they’re capable of going faster AND that NO ONE can go any faster than that without being absorbed.

    .-= West’s latest blog post: Mary, Mary, Mary =-.

    1. Speeed

      Well according to research, Bart Allen is the only flash that could control the speed force as he has mastered it.

  5. xinesi

    Hey “tank”; It’s not that Barry is returning, as much as Johns will be writing for his confirmed favorite character. Great stories pending. So SHUT UP.

  6. Kelson Post author

    Well, Geoff Johns turned in great stories with Wally for years, and we just learned that Barry is coming back mainly because Dan Didio wanted him to.

    Now, xinesi, are you saying that anyone who is not enthusiastic about Barry’s return should shut up? Or that anyone who expresses an opinion rudely should shut up? I’m just trying to clarify things here.

  7. Ajjbultd

    I have always loved the flash in all his guises, but (there had to be a ‘but’)the thing that annoys me is the low ranking ‘criminals’ he has problems with..someone holding a gun to his loved one ..hand on explosives etc..surely someone moving as fast as the flash is capable, he could grab the gun, go shopping, circle the world..tie up the baddie etc…before the villains monologue had started…I hope when geoff starts writing he makes it a bit more believable..

    1. Kelson Post author

      Sorry to break it to you, but this post is from three years ago. Geoff Johns already returned to the title and left again.

      But you may be happy to learn that the new writers, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, are making an effort to upgrade the Flash’s Rogues Gallery and make them a more credible threat.

    1. Wade

      The fastest man alive is Barry Allen because he is the speed force. Though many debate it is Wally West because he had a better understanding of the speed force but that was only because Barry was dead and stuck in the speed force. Because Barry is the the origin of all other speedsters power he can essentially do what Wally West can and more. I also want to say, before I get too long winded, it is similar to compare Barry and Wally relation like Master and apprentice. Yes it is an honor to won day surpass ones master but when it comes to a completely new concept or technique never seen before you can never be greater or know more than the creator himself. Bart Allen had the greatest potential but didn’t know how to truly master his power.

  8. Lucabrasi

    None of the beat a teleporter from the end of space to earth in a race but barry, so Barry is the fastest to me. They tell you that all speedsters legs move at the same speed so it depends on the skill of the speedster

  9. Colby powers

    Wally west in kingdom come! Or barry i mean has taken his place as my flash now

  10. Yusuke

    wally west in the “human race”. enough said. according to feats atleast wally is the fastest.

  11. Dominik (The Flash)

    Well, for all you people that read The Flash comics a lot, I will say that no matter what version, THE FLASH IS THE FASTEST THING EVER CREATED IN COMICS. I will give a Run down of all 4 Flashes and their best speeds to determine which is the best…First Wally has beat a Teleporting Cosmic Gambler to earth from the total opposite side of the universe, “The Flash: The Human Race” Vol 2 #138 Part three… so… Wally reached Trans-Time Velocity which is…”23,759,449,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 x C~”.Now next is Jay Garrick. Jay Garrick is Obviously, The First Flash… and the oldest. He has gone toe to toe with… Reverse Flash, The rival, Barry Allen, Etc and WON. But how fast is he? Without the SPEED FORCE he can only run at 770 mph or 344 m/s but with it he is just short of light speed so he is out of the debate…Next Bart Allen he was the 4th Flash… his top speed was never in comics. I would have to guess 5x C~, but i still have no clue… Last but not least my favorite speedster… Barry Allen is the generator of the SPEED FORCE (discovered by Max Mercury)
    that means that with every step that he takes he generates the SPEED FORCE, and we really have never seen Barry’s Full potential yet. So In conclusion The Fastest Flash Is BARRY ALLEN he has never shown his full potential and… He Generates the speed force. though his fastest has only been… 15x C~ that is nowhere near his fullest potential.

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