The Flash may have faced his most challenging villain yet this last season when he faced off against Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker, but when it comes to bad guys on The CW's DC Comics inspired series being the most challenging may not make you the best. Over the course of four seasons, Barry Allen has faced a ton of villains -- and we're ranking them all.
That's right, from the very first metahuman Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) fought all the way back in the series' pilot episode through to the Season 4 finale, we're taking a look at the bad guys who have menaced Team Flash and Central City over the years to come up with as close to comprehensive list and rating as we can. Because there are a lot of villains on the show, we have come up with a few general guidelines in order to do this. For starters, we've divided the villains into categories: Not Really Villains, Largely Unnoteworthy, Dishonorable Mentions, and then the Top Ten.
In the Largely Unnoteworthy category rank is somewhat arbitrary and largely based on how well we could recall the character without a ton of research and rewatching. The same is largely true for the bottom ranks in the Dishonorable Mentions category though as the ranks get closer to the top ten, it starts to get a bit more organized. For each villain in the Top Ten we're listing out why they rank where they rank. It's important to note that these rankings aren't necessarily based on number of episodes they appeared in, power levels, or anything concretely measurable. Our rankings look mostly at the villain's impact on story and -- perhaps overwhelmingly so -- how we reacted to them.
So, want to know where we placed your favorite Flash villain? Read on to find out and be sure to let us now your favorite villain in the comments below!
Every season, Team Flash deals with adversaries or challenges that aren't quite villains. Season 4 might be the best example of this, with most of the Bus Metas being more victim than villain, but there are also characters who have appeared on the show who either aren't actively trying to hurt anyone or commit crimes, who have no control over their powers, or are simply entities trying to keep the timeline or the Speed Force following the rules. Here are those that we've identified as non-villains and, therefore, did not rank.
Hazard - her brief redemption arc lands her here
There have been a lot of "villain of the week" type characters who have appeared on The Flash and that's the category most of these fall into, though there are a few that are more significant yet we didn't feel really made enough of an impact to rank higher -- or in the case of Kilg%re, were just kind of annoying.
55. Clyde Mardon
54. The Mist
52. Sand Demon
51. General Eiling
50. Lewis Snart
49. The Turtle
45. Rainbow Raider
44. Veronica Dale
42. Doctor Light
41. Tar Pit
40. Clock King
38. The Rival
37. Clive Yorkin
36. Black Bison
35. Trickster Jr.
33. Doctor Alchemy
31. Gregory Wolfe
30. Golden Glider
25. Amunet Black
21. Black Siren
This category is for the villains that were awesome, but just didn't quite make the Top Ten. Some of these villains have appeared on other Arrowverse series, so don't be surprised if they show up in villain rankings for those shows, too.
19. Jaco Birch
17. Pied Piper
16. Bug-Eyed Bandit
13. Mirror Master
11. Music Meister
And now? Here's the Top Ten...
Of the major villains in our Top Ten, Barry Allen is the worst. Seriously.
A time remnant of the original Barry Allen from an erased potential future, Savitar reigned supreme as Season 3's Big Bad. After being shunned by Team Flash, Barry Allen remnant decided to become a god, declared himself to be the God of Speed, started his own cult, and decided to kil his original self and ended up part of a causal loop in which the thing he was created to help stop ends up being the thing he becomes, round and round forever.
Don't think about it too hard, it will break your brain.
While the idea of Barry being literally his own worst enemy is cool -- and it's often indirectly true anyway on the series -- Savitar was the third straight speedster villain in a row for The Flash and, compared to Season 2's Zoom or even Season 1's Reverse Flash, Savitar just can't hold a candle.
We've put Season 4's two major villains together, The Thinker and The Mechanic.
The first non-speedster villain to be a Big Bad on the series, The Thinker was a massive breath of fresh air and it was interesting to see Barry go up against someone that he could outrun, but not outwit. However, the inability to outwit The Thinker combined with the villain becoming massively overpowered as he absorbed the powers of the Bus Metas, quickly became tedious and we were glad when the The Thinker was defeated once and for all.
As a sidenote, we included The Mechanic here because of how integral she was to The Thinker's plan. While she did redeem herself by aiding in his defeat, realistically there's no way she should have been able to just walk away. She also stabbed Iris and that's not cool.
Okay, so King Shark isn't some Earth-shattering major bad guy, but when it comes to Flash villains we think he's pretty cool. A humanoid shark-monster who escapes A.R.G.U.S. custody to terrorize Central City, King Shark resulted in a team up between Barry and Arrow's John Diggle and Lyla Micheals in the episode. While that was cool by itself, what makes King Shark so fun is that he's is utterly unlike any other villain on the show.
Also? You have to rank a villain that literally tried to eat The Flash in the top ten. You have to.
One of the first villains The Flash faced, Weather Wizard/Mark Mardon is one of those bad guys who has left an impression on the show even years later. He's been mentioned every single season thus far and his weather manipulation powers have definitely given Barry a run for his money. The fact that Weather Wizard has also worked with the Trickster also helps his rank significantly.
A criminal time traveler from the 64th century, we loved that Abra Kadabra appeared to have magic but really just had crazy advanced science and technology on his side when he showed up in the 21st century. An unusual villain, Abra Kadabra made for a nice break in the battle against Savitar during Season 3 but he is far from the distraction that he is often considered to be. Abra Kadabra, by being from so far into the future, gave audiences and Barry hints about the future that played out even into Season 4. After all, it was Abra Kadabra who first mentioned Clifford DeVoe.
He's also responsible (indirectly) for turning Caitlin into Killer Frost as it was him stabbing her that forced Caitlin's metahuman powers to activate.
Speaking of Killer Frost, while the Earth-1 version of Caitlin Snow's alter ego has become a friend rather than a foe, Earth-2's version is one of our favorites. Her powers alone are impressive and were a delight to watch in action, but what really earns her her place on the list was how ruthless she was as an agent of Zoom. Sure, she eventually double crossed him but it didn't really change her ways. Killer Frost even tried to kill Earth-1's Caitlin Snow in order to keep herself useful. It takes a pretty cold villain to try to kill a version of themselves -- no pun intended.
As villains go, Zoom has it all. An Earth-2 serial killer who gained super speed and then decided to terrorize his home world, then went on to steal the speed from speedsters across the multiverse to keep himself alive. This lead him to Earth-1 and opened up a literal Multiverse on The Flash.
Beyond simply opening up a world of possibilities on the series, Zoom was a complex villain who challenged every single member of Team Flash though his manipulations -- remember, he pretended to be "Jay Garrick" and Caitlin even fell in love with him. He was also downright terrifying in a way that was completely different than any villain before him. While previously villains were either simply criminals or had something direct against Barry, Zoom was bent on global domination -- on multiple worlds. He planned to create a multiverse doomsday event with Barry's powers before being taken down and dragged away by the Time Wraiths.
What's not to love about the Trickster? Played by Star Wars legend Mark Hamill in a reprise of the villain he played on the original 90s The Flash series, the Trickster is so iconic that of course he's in the top three. What we love about this character -- and to be honest, there's not anything we don't love about him -- is his legacy. Not only is he a great nod to the previous series, but his villainous deeds continue on The Flash. In Season 4, his son Trickster Jr. and his former partner and lover, Prank (incidentally also a reprise from the original 90s Flash) popped up to continue the wacky, demented villainy. It doesn't get much better than that.
Leonard Snart may have gone on to be a hero of sorts on Legends of Tomorrow, but he will always be one of our absolute favorite Flash villains. Admittedly, he fell more into frenemy territory before he died, but Wentworth Miller's delightful portrayal of this multi-faceted and completely unrepentant thief is one of the very best things in the entire Arrowverse.
Well, that and his team up with Barry to get the Dominator power source that King Shark was guarding. That was pretty great.
When it comes to the best villain on The Flash, we have to go with the original Big Bad, Reverse Flash. When the series revealed that Barry's mentor, Harrison Wells, was really Eobard Thawne and that Thawne had orchestrated the series of events leading to Barry becoming the Flash in the first place -- complete with murdering his mother all those years ago -- it was one of the greatest comic book moments on television ever. Thawne's evil literally set the stage for everything that's happened on The Flash since and despite being defeated multiple times (including being erased from existence) he keeps coming back. No Flash villain will ever be better than Thawne and we can't wait to see how he'll turn up next.