In the DC universe, every hero, and more than a few villains, respect Batman. The Dark Knight is a mortal man with no special powers, but has time and again proven himself worthy of standing next to gods, all-powerful aliens, and the most amazing beings in the multiverse. And while they really do respect him, there’s also a sense from some heroes that if they were in Gotham, a lot of the problems there would disappear.
Flash, for example, may think that as a fellow detective, he could handle Batman’s rogues with little problem. After all, how dangerous is Two-Face when you can move faster than light? And for most of Batman’s foes, Flash may be right, but there are some who would soundly defeat the Scarlet Speedster. Here are 10 Batman villains that could beat Flash…
10 Mister Freeze
While Flash has his own freeze gun-based foe in Captain Cold, Mister Freeze is a different type of criminal. For one thing, Captain Cold’s main goal is to rob banks. Sure, he may break away from that goal every now and then, but Leonard Snart and the other Rogues always return to that simple plan; rob banks, make Flash look dumb, and get rich.
Mister Freeze is a vastly different type of adversary, one that is driven not by a want for money or fame, but for vengeance and love. Mister Freeze is far more willing to kill than Captain Cold, and he also prefers to keep his theatrics down to a minimum. Passion and a willingness to murder are two things most Flash foes don’t possess, and something he’s always had trouble dealing with.
Flash is as smart as he is fast, but at the end of the day, he solves problems with his fists. When Gorilla Grodd shows his ugly mug in Central City, Flash just punches that big ape a few thousand times in the blink of an eye and wins the day. Clayface, as his name suggests, has a face of clay, and punching it won’t do much to slow him down.
Add in Clayface’s ability to look like anyone or anything he wants, and that adds another problem that Flash doesn’t deal with often. For the Fastest Man Alive, his foes always look like his foes. Clayface can look like anyone he wants. This wouldn’t be the easiest fight for Clayface, but he has an advantage here that he doesn’t usually have.
8 Flashpoint Batman
Thomas Wayne, from the Flashpoint reality, has shown himself to be quite the planner. In Tom King’s controversial run on Batman, we saw Flashpoint Batman plan and plot for over a year to break down his son’s world in the hopes of getting Bruce Wayne to quit dressing up at night.
Flash’s villains aren’t against planning, but for the most part, they don’t play the long game. The only one who really does, the Turtle, once captured the third Flash, Wally West, and nearly killed him after toying with Wally’s life for months. The only thing that saved Wally was Elongated Man and his other pals investigating his disappearance. These aren’t the kinds of villains the Flashes deal with well.
7 Poison Ivy
Because of his speed, Flash is immune to telepathic mind control. The idea is that his mind moves so fast that it counteracts the attempts by the telepath who is trying to take over.
Sadly for the Scarlet Speedster, the rest of his body doesn’t work the same way, as we’ve seen that toxins or other concoctions can turn Flash into someone’s slave faster than his metabolism can fight it off. Poison Ivy has taken control of Flash before, and there’s no reason to think she couldn’t do it again if she wanted to.
While he started off as a Teen Titans villain, Deathstroke the Terminator has made his way into the Batman Rolodex in recent years and has quickly made himself one of the Dark Knight’s more troublesome foes. And while a sword-wielding mercenary may not seem like a problem for the Fastest Man Alive, it’s important to remember that Deathstroke has plenty of experience fighting, and beating speedsters.
This one-eyed assassin has gone up against Wally West numerous times, and on more than one occasion, Wally found himself getting the sharp end of a sword to the gut. Barry Allen may be a more cautious Flash than Wally, but he also suffers from the overconfidence of dealing with criminals that plagued Wally, and Deathstroke would take advantage of that.
5 Court of Owls
If the Court of Owls were sneaky enough to work in the shadows of Gotham City for years without Batman knowing they exist, there’s little question that they could do the same in Central City if they wanted to. Flash may be a detective, but he’s not on the same level as Batman, who runs around holding that “World’s Greatest Detective” nickname over everyone else’s heads.
Like Flashpoint Batman, the Court of Owls would work quietly, making sure that they never call attention to themselves until they want the attention. Flash would have lost his city without even know there was a battle for it.
Just like Poison Ivy, Scarecrow‘s toxins would have little trouble infecting Flash just so long as the Teacher of Terror can find a way to sneak the gas into Flash’s space. Of course, that probably isn’t hard to do since Flash is a pretty visible hero around Central City.
The Scarlet Speedster makes a fair share of personal appearances, and all Scarecrow would need to do is get there first and set things up. Once the fear toxins have gotten into Flash’s system, it’s pretty all over for the Fastest Man Alive. He’ll run himself right into a wall at mach 3 sooner or later.
3 Hugo Strange
With his love of creating monsters, the mad scientist Hugo Strange has long been a thorn in Batman’s side. Almost every time the Dark Knight has faced off against Hugo Strange, he’s needed the help of the Batfamily to take him down. If this madman turned his attention to Flash, he would surely create superspeed monsters to take on the Scarlet Speedster. Flash does fine when he’s dealing with one or two evil speedsters at a time, but when you have half a dozen super strong creatures moving almost as fast as the Scarlet Speedster, everyone’s favorite runner is going to find himself in a heap of trouble.
2 Ra’s al Ghul
Ra’s al Ghul alone probably wouldn’t be much of a challenge for Flash, but they don’t call Ra’s the Head of the Demon for nothing. As the leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s has the greatest killers in the world at his command, and with a little Velocity-9, a drug that gives people superspeed, those ninja assassins would become ninja assassins with super speed.
Wally West has some experience fighting speed ninjas from the time he went up against Savitar, but Wally has actual martial arts training and had the Flash Family with him. Alone, and with no real fighting knowledge, Barry Allen wouldn’t stand much of a chance against a slew up League of Assassins.
At first blush, Batman’s best-known rival may seem like an easy win for any superpowered hero. After all, Joker isn’t known for being hard to beat once you find him. So how could the Clown Prince of Crime be a serious threat to Flash? The exact same way he’s a serious threat to Batman; nothing Joker does makes sense.
Flash is a scientist at heart. Everything he does is based on logic, and even the most insane of his villains works within some form of logic. With Joker, that all goes out the window, leaving Flash with little to fall back on. Sure, the Scarlet Speedster is faster than Joker, and a flower that shoots out some acid won’t be a big deal, but Joker doesn’t play small these days. If he shows up, you know things are going to go dark, and Flash doesn’t handle dark well.
The Flash may be the fastest Speedster in the DC universe, but there are some Batman villains that could still beat him in a fight.