Since the advent of superheroes, one debate, among others, has never been settled: is super-strength better than superspeed, or is it the other way around? Plenty of heroes make a name for themselves based on their sheer might. Other heroes are known for their speed, and some characters are known for both skills.
They can travel faster than once thought possible for mortals. At least for today, let’s focus on the fastest heroes instead. Several of these characters are part of the DC Universe, but Marvel has some speedsters, too. With that, here’s a look at the ten fastest superheroes.
10 BARRY ALLEN
Barry Allen, or the Flash has to be considered one of the fastest superheroes in comics. He’s the Scarlet Speedster and, arguably, the most iconic character to don the red and gold costume. Surprisingly, other heroes, including members of the Flash Family, can be even faster than Barry (Wally West has outraced him a few times).
The Flash has tried to quantify Barry’s speed on multiple occasions. In the second season, “Trajectory” established that he can reach the speed of Mach 3, or 2,532 miles per hour. The comics have taken Barry’s speed to higher levels but one hero remains faster than the Flash (most of the time).
9 WALLY WEST
Given that both Barry Allen and Wally West have assumed the mantle of the Flash, many fans have often wondered who the fastest version of the Scarlet Speedster truly is. This curiosity is augmented by the long-running relationship between the heroes, which dates back to Wally’s debut in 1959.
When DC pitted the former allies against each other during "Flash War", this aforementioned curiosity reached an all-time high. Finally, fans got their answer in The Flash #50; when the Flashes tried to stop Zoom, Wally left Barry in the dust. The two heroes will likely continue to battle for the title of "Fastest Man Alive".
Superman, or Clark Kent, always wins -- he’s usually depicted as the strongest hero, the most durable and so on. It’s fitting, then, that the Last Son of Krypton is also one of the fastest. Superman has raced the Flash several times through the years and each hero has emerged victorious at various points.
Both Barry Allen and Wally West proved too fast for Superman in The Flash #49, when the Man of Steel acknowledges he can’t keep up with the two speedsters. But Superman can fly at the speed of 2000 miles per second, which ranks him among the fastest heroes in comics.
7 BART ALLEN
It’s practically impossible to answer the question, “who are the fastest heroes in comics?” without including several members of the Flash Family. In addition to Barry Allen and Wally West, Bart Allen is also near the top of the list. It’s natural to compare the speeds the Flash and his allies can reach with each other.
Though Bart may have somewhat faded into obscurity before the revival of Young Justice, Bart can hold his own in a race with his mentors. Bart enjoys a number of abilities due to his connection to the Speed Force; for example, he can time travel because he’s faster than the speed of light.
Quicksilver, or Pietro Maximoff, isn’t always a hero but, in recent years, he has fought alongside the Avengers so he can be considered one of the good guys. Pietro is essentially Marvel’s answer to the Flash. Both characters are incredibly fast and fans have often wanted to see the two heroes race because they are so similar.
On the rare occasions that DC and Marvel produce a crossover, the speedsters usually run together (for a variety of reasons). The Flash usually emerges victorious but, for a demonstration of Pietro’s speed, just watch the fan-favorite scene at the mansion in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
5 SILVER SURFER
As a result of possessing some of the Power Cosmic, the Surfer can fly unbelievably fast. He can even reach hyperspace, which means he can surpass the speed of light. Being able to reach these speeds allows the Surfer to be where he needs to be faster than you can say “Galactus.”
Shazam often seems like an underrated superhero; he’s been around for almost 80 years but, excluding the release of his upcoming solo movie, he’s never graced the silver screen. The original Captain Marvel, for all intents and purposes, is as powerful as Superman because he has access to a range of abilities.
Recent iterations of the character have focused on his connection to magic but, originally, the hero’s powers came from mythological beings. The “m” in Shazam stands for the Roman god Mercury; in other words, Captain Thunder has the speed of Mercury. At one point, Shazam could previously travel faster than the speed of light.
Few Marvel heroes are genuinely known for their speed but Northstar and Aurora hold a consistent place among the company’s fastest characters. These two twins have been members of Alpha Flight, among other teams, and they can both fly almost as fast as light.
The true definition of their powers is unknown; Northstar can run faster than his body can handle while Aurora rarely displays her unlimited powers because they could have devastating consequences. Northstar can reach Mach 10 but, as with Aurora, he rarely tests his true limit. Hopefully, these characters will get more attention beyond an Easter egg on The Gifted.
As a Kryptonian, Supergirl has the same powers that her cousin Superman is known for. For example, the Girl of Steel can fly and she has both super-strength and superspeed. In recent memory, the most impressive display of Supergirl’s speed came in the conclusion to the “Elseworlds” Arrowverse crossover.
In the finale, Kara Danvers, along with the Flash, raced to save the day. Supergirl flew around the world to slow down time in order to stop John Deegan. The Flash and the Girl of Steel succeeded, as they managed to slow the Earth’s rotation by running and flying at phenomenal speeds.
For a character who once led the Avengers (with Captain America’s approval, no less) Monica Rambeau doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Thankfully, the former Captain Marvel is set to join the MCU in the near future after Carol Danvers’ first solo movie.
While Rambeau isn’t a speedster in the traditional sense, she’s still one of the fastest characters in the Marvel Universe. As Spectrum, she gained the power to transform into various forms of electromagnetic energy, like visible light. This change gave her access to a variety of abilities which made her, at times, as fast as light and sound.