A few months ago, I wrote an article ranking the members of the traditional Justice League from least to most powerful. In light of the Flash's recent return to television with the start of Season 3, I thought now might be a good time to list the top 10 powers that make him the most powerful member of the Justice League.
10. Speed Reading
Speed reading may seem insignificant, but when applied properly, it can be extremely useful. It can be used to give the Flash the ability to learn new technologies and other important facts. In theory, he could run into the CIA or A.R.G.U.S. headquarters and read all their secret documents, taking note of what is important and using that information to his advantage.
9. Throw Lightning
Flash's ability to throw lightning may not be as refined as Thor's ability in the MCU, but there is also potential for Flash to innovate here. Flash could theoretically use this to power certain places. In Season 1, the Reverse Flash used a device that Cisco suggested could power an entire city to make him faster. All of this speed force energy could have other uses outside of speed, such as powering cities.
In Season 2 of The Flash, Barry Allen learned how to take his speed force lightning and condense it into a bolt of lightning for him to throw. While other speedsters can catch the lightning (something that the flash can probably do as well), this is still a significant power. In Episode 2 of that season, he used it to turn Sand Demon into glass. Lightning can be used to heat things up tremendously, serving as a powerful asset against villains like Captain Cold. It can also be used to electrocute water, as seen in Episode 15, which could be useful in a fight against meta-humans that live in the water.
8. Time Remnants
Near the end of Season 2 of The Flash, the concept of a time remnant was first introduced. The way that the show explains it is that the Flash (or any speedster) can travel back in time and meet himself in the past, like Barry did in Episode 17. The Flash could convince that past version of himself to travel to the present time. The time wraiths do not like this because it can be paradoxical, as we saw in Episode 17 and in the finale, but the Flash knows that they can be defeated with powerful sound waves. They used this to explain how the Reverse Flash was able to retain a version of himself despite seemingly being erased from existence.
In my opinion, this has flaws. If the past version of a speedster dies, then that speedster would be dead as well. In my mind, the way this works is that every time a speedster travels through time, he or she creates a new timeline. The new timeline that is created is essentially a copy of the timeline that the speedster traveled from, but the speedster can make changes to it. In the case of the Flash, he can travel back in time from the original timeline into the new duplicate timeline and meet that past version of himself in that timeline. That past version of himself in the new timeline would be just getting ready to travel through time and he would realize that he is a time remnant. In this explanation, the death of the time remnant would not be paradoxical because it would have no existential impact on the new timeline that the flash created.
Regardless of the explanation for this ability, it still gives the Flash a big advantage. He can create multiple versions of himself, each equipped with the same powers. He can create a team of himself from different points in time to use against any enemy, which can come in handy.
Zoom was shown creating a time remnant in the opening scene of the Season 2 finale. It has proved to be more useful than the Flash's ability to make speed mirages, which was explored in Season 1.
7. Speed Healing
This is pretty self-explanatory. The Flash's ability to heal and regenerate at an extraordinarily fast rate means that few injuries cannot keep him down for long. Even if an enemy is able to inflict harm on him (which is unlikely considering his speed), he won't be down for long.
6. Infinite Mass Punch
This is one ability that hasn't yet been introduced in the TV show. In some instances in the comics, the Flash can run fast enough (close to the speed of light) and punch with the mass greater than that of a white dwarf star. During this process, the Flash's mass moves close to infinity, thus the name.
The Infinite Mass Punch has been used against White Martians in the comics, but it could also theoretically be used against the Man of Steel — likely to great avail. This is an extremely powerful asset for combat.
5. Quantum Tunneling
If the flash is vibrating fast enough, he can excite his molecules enough to the point where he can move through physical barriers. The Flash could be in a fight and decide to quantum tunnel to the point where his enemy would move right through him. In other words, he would literally be untouchable.
Flash can also use this power to vibrate his hand through an enemy and then solidify his hand just enough to kill that person or greatly injure them. This was seen by the Reverse Flash in the TV show. It would seem that many members of the Justice League, including Superman, would not be able to withstand such an attack.
4. Dimensional Travel
When the Flash vibrates his body at high frequencies, he can transport himself into a different dimension — a different Earth, as it is referred to in the comics. This ability could be used to give the flash a hideout. Whenever he gets in trouble, he could seek refuge on a different Earth. He can also imprison his non-speedster enemies in these different dimensions.
He can also extract valuable resources from those dimensions, such as doppelgängers, different technologies, and more.
3. Time Travel
This is perhaps the Flash's most remarkable ability. He can travel through time and change events. If something happens that he doesn't like, he can simply go back in time and change it. Obviously, there are events that he cannot touch, such as the death of his mother, but there have been numerous explanations of this in the comics and on the TV show.
In my analysis of The Flash TV show, there are different types of time travel. As I like to call it, there's internal and external time travel. Internal time travel (I refer to it as circular time travel) is where Barry ghosts. It occurred in Season 1 with Weather Wizard and again in the Season 2 crossover with Arrow. With internal time travel, the Flash essentially gets a second chance at something. So far on the TV show, internal time travel is uncontrollable — the Flash cannot do it at will. External time travel, on the other hand, is where the Flash travels to any point in time, generally at will. This was scene in the Season 1 finale, in which Barry watched his mother die. It was seen when the Flash traveled back in time from Season 1 to Season 2 and in many other instances; it is the most common form of time travel on the TV show.
As mentioned earlier, I think it would make more sense if when the Flash time travels, he creates a new timeline every time he does it. If he were to travel through time and remain in that same timeline, the result would be similar to that seen in Harry Potter 3, in which every action taken in the course of time travel would be seen throughout the timeline. Internal time travel would involve the Flash seeing the two merging points of the different timelines. External time travel would involve the Flash creating a new timeline — an exact copy of the original timeline and changing it. From my understanding, this explanation for time travel was not given on the show or in the comics.
While time can sometimes prove to be the Flash's most formidable enemy, it also gives the Flash a tremendous leg up on most of his enemies.
2. Thinks At The Speed Of Light
Unlike Green Lantern and Superman, who can move at fast speeds, the Flash can comprehend most of what he is doing at those top speeds. People appear to be standing still around him because he can process information so rapidly. He can see virtually anything that is thrown at him long before he needs to avoid it.
Additionally, thinking about things at extraordinarily fast speeds can make him a great strategist. He can develop plans to address a dilemma within nano seconds. In other words, the Flash has a tremendous amount of brain power. Using his brilliant science mind, his great detective skills as a CSI, his ability to read at super speed, and this ability to think at the speed of light, he is a brilliant strategist.
1. Moves At The Speed Of Light
In the comics, on the TV show, and in animated films, the Flash is described as being able to move at the speed of light and yet, there are many instances in which things much slower than the speed of light are able to affect him. Obviously this needs to occur, because there wouldn't be much of a story if he were untouchable. However, given this ability and using logic, he basically should be untouchable. If he can think and move at the speed of light, no one can touch him unless there are very special circumstances.
Additionally, a key reason behind his ability to move this fast is that the speed force aura protects him from friction and other forces that would otherwise kill him at those speeds. Other individuals in the DC comic book world do not have this protection (i.e. Superman). In the case of Superman, it is unclear if he would need that.
Ultimately, most of the Flash's other powers really stem from this ability to run at the speed of light, which he gets from his access to the speed force. This combination of powers ultimately make him the one of the most powerful beings in the DC comic book world and certainly of the traditional Justice League.
What do you think is The Flash's most important and powerful ability?