The Flash (2014-) is a superhero television show starring the scarlet speedster himself, Barry Allen. A forensic scientist with the Central City police, Barry has been searching for out-there cases to help discover what the red and yellow lightning was that killed his mother and framed his father. After getting struck by lightning and put in a coma, Barry wakes up nine months later and discovers he now has superhuman speed. Other super-beings were made from a particular accelerator blowing up, and it’s Barry’s job, along with his friends at S.T.A.R. labs, to stop those who use their newfound powers for evil.
Previously, we talked about villains in Arrow (2012-), the big-brother series of The Flash, which has numerous villains, several of whom were lifted from Batman. The Flash features a lot more traditional Flash villains from the comics. From a woman whose gun can turn things into gold to a talking gorilla, The Flash has quite an enigmatic rogues gallery. Check out How 15 Flash Villains That Appeared On TV Compare To The Comics and beware of some SPOILERS for the show and the comics.
15. Leonard Snart – Captain Cold
Leonard Snart becomes the blue-collar criminal Captain Cold who uses a freeze gun to make things a bit icy for our speedster. He is played by Wentworth Miller (Prison Break, Underworld) in The Flash. Unlike his television counterpart, comics universe Leonard creates the villain team known as the Rogues and helps found the Secret Society of Super Villains. Most of the episodes he appears in during The Flash have the word “Rogue” in them.
Leonard’s relationship with his father is abusive in both the comics and the television show. In both cases, his grandfather is his main source of happiness, and when he passes away, Cold runs away and becomes a criminal. However, in the television show, Leonard’s father gets sent to jail for five years after he attempts to sell the stolen Maximillian Emerald. After he’s released, Leonard’s father takes out his anger on him. His father turns to crime and brought his son along to help him disable security systems.
He reforms in the comics and is even considered a hero after helping to take down Syndicate. With the help of Lex Luthor, his former crimes are forgiven and he becomes Luthor’s head of security. Since Lex Luthor does not appear in Flash, this entire part of Snart’s history has not been introduced in the show. He is somewhat forcefully reformed in Legends of Tomorrow (2016-), which spun out of The Flash and Arrow. He fights through time alongside heroes like Firestorm and his partner in crime, Heat Wave.
14. Lisa Snart – Golden Glider
Lisa Snart is Captain Cold’s sister and a fellow criminal who often helps him out on heists. This family bonding time often leads to run-ins with the Flash. She is played by Peyton List (Flash Forward, The Tomorrow People) in the show. In her Bronze and Modern Age incarnations in the comics, she is a professional figure skater coached by her lover Top, a villain who is able to spin like his namesake. When Top dies, she becomes the Golden Glider and goes after the Flash for revenge. She wears advanced skates that allow her to skate on any surface, even the air!
Unlike her comic book counterpart, Lisa enjoys using guns in The Flash. She uses a gold gun, which creates a beam that turns anything she shoots into gold. She is also a wild child, in opposition to her more mature comic incarnation. She first appears in The Flash when she breaks Captain Cold and Heat Wave out of a transfer vehicle heading to prison. Lisa often flirts with Cisco, tricking him into following her home and into the clutches of her brother.
13. Mick Rory – Heat Wave
Mick Rory, played by Dominic Purcell (Prison Break, Blade: Trinity) in The Flash, is the pyromaniac known as Heat Wave. In the show, he often teams up with Leonard Snart to take on the Flash. Heat Wave has traveled through time with the team in Legends of Tomorrow, both as a bounty hunter called Chronos and as a villain. In the show, we meet his younger self and learn that his parents both died in a house fire.
In the show, Mick is portrayed as an unstable hot-head. However, beneath the surface of someone who seems to just be a dumb con man, Mick can be rather philosophical. He even has a code of honor, refusing to leave Ray Palmer behind when they are captured in a prison during Legends. He’s definitely not a hero in the comics. Mick actually burns a schoolmate and his family to death just because he locked him in a meat locker!
12. Danton Black – Multiplex
Danton Black, played by Michael Smith (Supernatural, Fringe), was nicknamed Multiplex by Cisco Ramone because of his cloning abilities in The Flash. He worked as a bio-geneticist for Stagg Induries and was working on cellular regeneration to save his dying wife. His boss fired Danton and took credit for his work. Unfortunately for Stagg, after the particle accelerator exploded, Danton gained the ability to duplicate himself. He attempted to take revenge on Stagg but was stopped by the Flash. In the comics, he got his power from a nuclear explosion, the same one that gave the hero Firestorm his powers.
A big part of Multiplex’s character is left out in the show, as he is actually the archenemy of Firestorm, not the Flash. He was Martin Stein’s (AKA part of Firestorm) assistant and he was fired by Stein for stealing equipment. The show gave Danton a much more sympathetic story that was noticeably absent in the comics.
11. Digger Harkness – Captain Boomerang
Though Captain Boomerang never actually appeared on The Flash, he did feature in an Arrow/The Flash crossover and is a long-standing villain in The Flash comics. The boomerang-wielding mercenary Digger Harkness was played by Nick E. Tarabay (Star Trek Into Darkness, Spartacus: War of the Damned) in The Flash. In the show, he was a member of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) specializing in weapons and technology, which he was not a part of in the comics. To make more money, Harkness went rogue and sold his services to the highest bidder. He was eventually captured by A.R.G.U.S. and became a member of the Suicide Squad.
Boomerang is portrayed as a much more accomplished character in the Arrowverse than he is in the comics. His comic book counterpart is more of a joke who often butts heads with others. Digger’s family history in the show was not introduced, but in the comics he was thrown out because of his crime sprees by his stepfather. His mother gave him a ticket to Central City to meet his father, the toy magnate W. W. Wiggins. Digger became Wiggins’ spokesman for their new toy line of boomerangs, becoming “Captain Boomerang.” His mother never told Digger that Wiggins was his father, and he found out at her funeral when Wiggins revealed himself. None of his past is introduced in the Arrowverse.
10. Tony Woodward – Girder
Tony Woodward, played by Greg Finley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Star-Crossed) in The Flash, became a meta-human after falling into a vat of molten steel during the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion. In the comics Tony does not fall into the vat; rather he’s pushed when assaulting a female co-worker, which resulted in his transformation. In both versions, he gains the ability to turn into steel and uses his newfound powers to commit crimes. In the show, Tony used his powers to commit armed robbery, bringing him into conflict with the Flash. He even managed to defeat him during their first fight.
Tony was a classmate of Iris West and Barry Allen when they were in elementary school, and he tried to contact Iris after he beat the Flash so that she would blog about him. Girder is eventually beaten by the Flash. He actually tries to save Barry but is killed in the process. He later comes back in a zombie-like state. He’s taken out by electromagnets, possibly a reference to that one time in the comics when Flash used a magnet to capture Girder from his grandmother’s house… sans his George Romero-esque transformation. Tony is also much stronger in the comics, once getting ripped in half but then getting welded back together. Too bad he wasn’t as resilient in the show.
9. Hartley Rathaway – Pied Piper
Portrayed by Andy Mientus (Smash, Chasing Life) in the show, Hartley Rathaway is a former employee of S.T.A.R. Labs. When he found out the particle accelerator may explode, he tried to shut it down, but Harrison Wells stopped and fired him for his efforts.When the accelerator did explode, Harley gained the ability of superhuman hearing. This power unfortunately isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, since his eardrums are extremely sensitive, forcing him to wear a device in his ears to limit sounds for the rest of his life. Without them, he is in constant pain. Hartley tries to get revenge on Wells for firing him by killing the Flash, since he believes Harrison replaced him with Barry.
Unlike in the show, Hartley Rathaway is currently reformed in the comics and dating Barry Allen’s boss David Singh. He does become nice in The Flash when Barry alters the timeline, occasionally helping Flash and the team. The comic book version of Hartley was born deaf. His wealthy father did not accept this and spent millions to give him enhanced hearing. Hartley started creating sonic technology and hypnotized others to help him commit criminal acts.
8. Kyle Nimbus – The Mist
Kyle Nimbus – wonderfully and ironically named – is an assassin of the Darbinyan crime family in The Flash television show. Played by Anthony Carrigan (even more ironic since Carrigan also plays crime family hitman Zsasz in Gotham), Nimbus is scheduled to be executed by gas chamber the night the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploded. The explosion led to him gaining the ability to transform into poisonous gas. With one of the best abilities a hitman could ask for, Mist kills the entire Darbinyan crime family for their part in his execution.
The Mist is not a Flash villain in the comics; he is the archenemy of Ted Knight, AKA Starman. He was a scientist who created the “Invisio – Solution” that could make people and objects invisible. Rather than using his creation for good, Mist tried to sell his serum to the US government during World War I but was rejected. To get his vengeance, during World War II he had invisible agents steal America’s military secrets. His plans to bomb defense factories were stopped by Starman, making him into a long-lasting enemy of Starman’s.
7. Caitlin Snow – Killer Frost
A good friend of the Flash, Caitlin Snow of Earth-One is an important ally. It’s her Earth-Two counterpart that everyone needs to worry about. This alternate version of Caitlin in The Flash, played by Danielle Panabaker (Summerland, Friday the 13th), gained cryokinetic abilities from the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator. After getting her powers, Caitlin left her past behind and went by the name “Killer Frost”. Like her comic book counterpart, Frost has a very cold personality.
The latest version of Killer Frost in the comics is relatively new. There were two previous versions of the character before Caitlin Snow made her first appearance in 2013, only a year before The Flash started. She is a scientist who was sent by S.T.A.R. Labs to an arctic outpost. Snow was working on a Self-sustaining Thermodynamic Ultraconductor engine after the death of its creator, Louise Lincoln (a previous version of Killer Frost). She was trapped in the engine by HIVE agents and unable to escape. She was covered with coolant and electrocuted, but thanks to comic book logic, gave her the power to control the cold instead of killing her.
Snow had to feed on others’ warmth in order to survive and could only be returned to her human state by Firestorm. What Caitlin shares with all of her other frosty friends is that she came into conflict with Firestorm. This is very different from the show, in which Snow’s husband Ronnie develops pyrokinetic abilities and becomes Firestorm. Fire and ice didn’t mix until The Flash show decided to come along.
6. Mark Mardon – Weather Wizard
Mark Mardon, played by Liam McIntyre (Spartacus: War of the Damned, The Legend of Hercules), is able to control the weather because of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion. His brother gained the same abilities and they spent some brotherly bonding time robbing banks together. Mark had essentially raised Clyde, so when he learned brother was killed by Detective Joe West, he was not happy. He went after Joe, but was thwarted by the Flash. Mark’s relationship with his brother was slightly different in the comics, but just as revenge-ridden. His name was not Clyde but Claudio, and they were both the sons of a South American drug empire that Mark left his brother to the drug-running life and went to Central City instead. When his brother is murdered, he returns to run the drug empire and discovers Claudio’s widow is his killer. Mark tries to kill the widow and himself but only murders Claudio’s killer.
During the course of the show, Mark breaks Captain Cold and the Trickster out of prison and formed the villain team known as the Rogues. This team was originally formed by Captain Cold in the comics. He works together with Trickster to try and bring the Flash down but ultimately fails.
5. Bette Sans Souci – Plastique
Kelly Frye (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders) played Bette Sans Souci, a meta-human bomb specialist from The Flash. She was a sergeant in the US military specializing in bombs, a very honorable profession compared to her comic book counterpart, who is a Canadian terrorist. While in Afghanistan, shrapnel from a bomb went into Souci’s body. She was getting the shards removed when the particle accelerator exploded, giving her the ability to combust objects she touches.
In the show, Bette does not really mean any harm, only hurting someone under the order of Dr. Wells. This is very different from her comic book counterpart, who would plant bombs and later became a meta-human with the power of explosives. Bette is more similar to her comic book counterpart during her brief appearance in Smallville as a member of the Injustice League and later the Suicide Squad. In the comics, she is an enemy of Firestorm and not the Flash. She does briefly marry the hero Captain Atom (whose alias, Cameron Scott, is mentioned as Bette’s emergency contact in The Flash), before becoming a member of the Suicide Squad.
4. Shawna Baez – Peek-a-Boo
This meta-human, played by Britne Oldford (Hunters, American Horror Story) in The Flash, became a teleporter thanks to the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion. She uses her powers to break her boyfriend, Clay Parker, out of prison so they can run away together. But the two lovebirds cannot leave until Clay pays off his debt to Marcus Stockheimer, leading to them attempt armed robbery and come into contact with the Flash. Ultimately, true love turns out to be not so true when Clay ditches Shawna and she is taken into custody by the Flash. Showing a loyalty Harley Quinn would have been proud of, Shawna still loves Clay despite his betrayal.
In the comics, Peek-a-Boo’s real name is Lashawn. That’s only one small difference in the midst of several major character changes. Rather than using her powers for crime because of her boyfriend, Lashawn uses her abilities to save her dying father. He needed a kidney and she tried and failed to steal one for him. She was primarily an enemy of Wally West when he was the Flash. Peek-a-Boo would have been a hero if not for how she was treated, but Lashawn still proves she has a heroic bone in her body when she saves Wally’s wife. Blinded by very different kinds of love, Peek-a-Boo never seems to catch a break.
3. James Jesse – The Trickster
Mark Hamill (voice of the Joker and Luke Skywalker of Star Wars) reprises his role as James Jesse, AKA The Trickster from the original The Flash (1990-1991) TV show. He also voiced the Trickster in the Justice League (2001-2006) cartoon. In the show, his son Axel Walker takes up his mantle and breaks his father out of jail, not knowing Jesse is his biological father… of course leading to that none-to-subtle Star Wars reference: “I am your father!” Axel is the current Trickster in the comics, but he is not Jesse’s son… at least, not that we know of.
The Trickster is a psychotic criminal who may remind many viewers and comic book readers of the Joker. In the show, he became one of the most dangerous criminals Central City had ever known, committing terrorist attacks that result in the deaths of ten civilians and two cops before being arrested. When he escapes, Jesse teams up with his son to wreak havok with his son. When they’re stopped by the Flash, Trickster becomes obsessed from that point on with killing him. Just like his comic book counterpart, he has a variety of gags up his sleeves that prove to be deadly to his opponents. On the other hand, the Hamill-portrayed Trickster is not much of an acrobat. Also, this version of the Trickster is much less likely to reform and become an FBI agent like he does in the comics… because apparently anyone can become an FBI agent in the comics.
2. Gorilla Grodd
David Sobolov (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers Prime) voices the psychic silver-back gorilla known as Gorilla Grodd in The Flash. This poor creature was experimented on by S.T.A.R. Labs but escaped after being exposed to the particle accelerator. It gave him psychic abilities which allow him to communicate and control people telepathically. Grodd is a genius with the strength, durability, and agility his kind is known for.
In the comics, he gained his power from a radioactive meteorite that also effected an entire group of gorillas. These gorillas created their own all-gorilla civilization, known as Gorilla City. This was referenced in the show when Grodd was sent to Earth-Two, where he in a jungle surrounded by giant statues of gorillas. There are also several references in the show to the version of Grodd from the Justice League cartoon. This includes a yellow helmet similar to his mind-control helmet from the cartoon and his dislike for bananas.
1. Eobard Thawne – Reverse-Flash
One of Flash’s deadliest enemies, Eobard Thawne is a meta-human with super speed power who is from the future. Played by both Tom Cavanagh (Ed, Bang Bang Your Dead) and Matt Letscher (The Mask of Zorro, Her) in The Flash, Eobard Thawne disguises himself as the wheelchair-bound Harrison Wells, a reference to Reverse-Flash Hunter Zolomon in the comics. He is Eddie Thawne’s descendant and is obsessed with the Flash. He’s so interested in the Flash that he purposely acquires the same powers and tries to kill Barry as a child. Unable to defeat him when the Flash in the present intervenes, Eobard kills Barry’s mother instead and frames his father for her murder.
Reverse-Flash’s obsessions with Barry Allen extends to the comics. He was originally a huge fan of the hero and traveled back in time just so he could get an autograph. Thawne spent all of his money and even killed a man to pull it off! Unfortunately, this time-traveler was late to the party, arriving five years after Barry died. At his mental breaking point, when Eobard discovers the Flash museum and sees he is “The Flash’s Greatest Enemy, Professor Zoom,” he begins his new life as Professor Zoom (also known as Reverse-Flash). And thus, Barry’s greatest fan becomes one of his worst enemies.
The Flash returns for season 3 on The CW on October 3rd, 2016.