Reverse Flash – Who is the Fastest Villain Alive?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

[Cisco has found a hologram of Reverse-Flash]
Reverse-Flash:Oh, I’m not like The Flash at all…
Harrison Wells: [entering] “...Some would say I’m the reverse. You’re incredibly clever, Cisco. I’ve always said so.
Cisco: You’re him… you’re Reverse-Flash.
Wells:You and I have never been truly, properly introduced. I am Eobard Thawne.

The Flash “Out Of Time” (Season 1, Episode 15)

A SWAT team arrives at an abandoned factory. They have received an anonymous tip that a supervillain is hiding there. They gather by the entrance and prepare to storm the factory. A gold and red blur speeds though their formation. The officers are hurled back by the sudden displacement of air surrounding them.

Injuries occur faster than the eye can see. Necks are snapped, holes are punched through vital organs, and objects are forced through flesh at hypersonic speed. In seconds there is only one police officer left. The blur slows to reveal a man in a yellow costume. His hand vibrates at super speed before phasing into the officer’s chest to grab his heart. The officer’s last sight is the burning red eyes of the Reverse-Flash.

Eobard Thawne is one of the DC Universe’s deadliest characters. He can outrun the fastest heroes, travel through time effortlessly, and has survived both death and temporal paradoxes. So who is he? How did he get his speed? Why does he hate The Flash? Let’s find out.

In A Mirror, Darkly: Eobard Thawne’s Backstory

Thawne:How’s your mother, Barry?
Flash:It was you, wasn’t it!?
Thawne:I’m every bad day you ever had.

Injustice 2

Thawne debuted in The Flash #139 in 1963. He was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino.

Professor Eobard Thawne was a 25th century scientist who was obsessed with The Flash. He underwent cosmetic surgery to make himself look like Barry Allen and recreated the accident that gave The Flash his powers. He then used his speed to travel back in time so he could meet his idol, but wound up in a museum dedicated to The Flash.

Thawne discovered an exhibit about an arch-nemesis called The Reverse-Flash and was horrified to learn he was destined to become that villain. He snapped and swore that if he couldn’t be The Flash’s ally, he’d be his greatest enemy, ironically taking the first step to becoming the Reverse-Flash. Damned predestination paradox.

Reverse-Flash tried to kill Flash, but quickly discovered that he couldn’t. Readers learned that Flash was one of Thawne’s ancestors and the progenitor of his speed powers. If Reverse-Flash killed him, then he would paradox himself right out of existence. But that wouldn’t stop him from ruining Flash’s life.

Thawne traveled back to Flash’s childhood and murdered Flash’s mother while framing his father for the fun of it. He stalked young Barry Allen for years, using his speed to hurt him. Thawne might push Barry down a flight of stairs or do something petty like destroying his homework. What a reverse-jackass.

The Quick and the Dead: Eobard Thawne’s History

Thawne: “What did I do? Oh, Barry. My idol. My Inspiration. That’s the beauty of all this madness. I didn’t do anything. Not a thing. You see, it turns out… you’re the villain today.”


Not content with ruining Barry’s childhood, Reverse-Flash continued tormenting him as an adult. He murdered Flash’s wife Iris and later tried to kill Barry’s next fiance. This backfired when a desperate Flash accidentally snapped Thawne’s neck to save her.

Reverse-Flash stayed dead for twenty-six years, but it takes more than death to slow him down. He frequently reappeared to fight The Flash with the explanation that this was a time traveling Thawne from prior to his death. Anyone else’s head hurting yet?

Thawne was finally resurrected in The Flash: Rebirth. He came back with some deadly new tricks, all of them powered by his secret weapon: the Negative Speed Force. Reverse-Flash then appeared in Flashpoint, where he was accused of causing a hellish alternate timeline. In a twist, readers learned that Flash was actually the perpetrator, having tried to stop Thawne from killing his mother.

Reverse-Flash recently appeared in Batman/Flash: The Button, where he tortured Batman after the events of Flashpoint. He quickly discovers that someone is manipulating the universe and investigates, discovering Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan has entered the DC universe. Manhattan seemingly killed Thawne to prevent him from ruining his plans, but Thawne survived.

Living Paradox: Eobard Thawne’s Powers and Personality

Thawne: You’ve done such strange things to the timeline. Things I won’t begin to question. And you’ve remained hidden from all of them. But I am not like them. My existence is the only constant in a sea of variables. I cannot be erased. By you. By anyone. Show yourself.

Batman/Flash: The Button

The Negative Speed Force fuels Thawne’s every action. Much like the normal Speed Force, it gives him superhuman speed, healing, vibration powers, and electrokinesis as the starter package. Thawne’s signature technique involves vibrating his hand at super speed and phasing it into his target’s chest to shred their heart. 

The Negative Speed Force gives Thawne temporal powers, including time travel, time manipulation, and the ability to freely change the past. He is resistant to temporal paradoxes and can remember events that have been retconned away. The Negative Speed Force can also damage other people’s connection to the normal Speed Force.

Thawne wanted nothing more than to be The Flash and went mad because he couldn’t be him. He became an obsessive troll, doing everything possible to harm his former idol. Thawne has no redeeming features and is so hated that Flash’s rogues gallery dug him a grave for the sole purpose of desecrating it.

The Actors Who Play Reverse Flash

John Wesley Shipp – Batman: the Brave and the Bold
C. Thomas Howell – Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Suicide Squad Hell to Pay
Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher – The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow

Didya Get All That?

The Fastest Villain Alive

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