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Fighting crime in Central City isn’t just dealing with common thieves and violent murderers--not that those are easy to deal with in the first place. Still, when the particle accelerator that gave Barry Allen his super speed exploded, it also gave others unusual abilities, meaning that Central City’s new protector the Flash was going to have his work cut out for him. On occasion, there were even a few individuals who weren’t Central City metahumans who managed to give Barry a run for his money (pun fully intended). To the titular hero, these were difficult challenges, but to viewers of The Flash, these were visual spectacles that were totally worth a watch.
With cool stunt work and incredible visual effects for a TV budget, the freshman superhero series gave fans a lot of great battles between the Scarlet Speedster and other names from around the DC universe. When it comes to a TV series based off a comic book, that’s one of the best things both hardcore comic book fans and normal viewers who love action could hope for. Here are the best fight scenes The Flash delivered over the course of its 23-episode first season.
Spoilers for some of the big moments from The Flash Season 1 are ahead!
10. Flash Vs. Reverse-Flash (In "Fast Enough")Compared to the other Flash/Reverse-Flash bouts, this one was much quicker (appropriate considering their powers), but certainly not lacking for intensity. In the season finale, Barry jumped to the present through the time portal and destroyed Eobard Thawne’s time machine before he could return to his own era. Furious, Eobard decided the only thing left to was to dish out the pain to his adversary, who had thwarted him yet again. As the two of them fought, Barry managed to get a few shots in, but Reverse-Flash got the upper hand soon enough, and told the Scarlet Speedster that once he finished him off, he would kill all of Barry’s loved ones. It was only due to Eddie shooting himself that Barry managed to survive, because with Eddie dead, the Thane lineage doesn’t continue. Thus, Eobard is never born and is therefore wiped from existence. To quote Doctor Who, a very “wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey” way to end a fight.
9. Flash Vs. Captain Cold And Heat WaveBarry’s first encounter against Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold, didn’t go well, so to have Snart return to Central City with his partner Mick Rory, a.k.a. Heat Wave, in tow made a bad situation worse. As one of DC Comics’ best fire and ice… sorry, cold, duos, these two did what no other baddie had done yet on the series: Called out Flash for the public to hear. When they eventually met on the battlefield (a sectioned off street), Barry attempted to get Snart and Rory to cross their weapon’s energy streams, which would neutralize both weapons at once. When speed wasn’t getting the job done, Barry decided to take the opposite approach and move slower. The result was both villains taking their shots at the hero, and when Barry managed to get the weapons to fire on each other, he sped away and the villains were knocked back by the explosive impact. After losing against Captain Cold in Episode 4, beating both of them at once was just the comeback Barry needed.
8. Flash Vs. MultiplexClyde Mardon may have been the first super villain Barry defeated, but it wasn’t until he faced Danton Black, a.k.a. Multiplex, that he actually had to use his fists. After an unsuccessful bout with Danton’s clones, Barry learned that in order to defeat all of them at once, he’d need to take out the original Danton. Running through the army of clones, Barry knocked each one in his path out of the way until he identified prime Danton, who was using all of his mental energy to control the clones. He then slammed him into a metal bar, simultaneously dazing him and eliminating the rest of the clones. Excluding when the clones were beating him up, the actual fight didn’t last very long, but watching Barry (in slow-motion) charge through the Multiplex army was a great display of the character using his speed offensively.
7. Flash Vs. GroddThe Flash has always done a great job with its visual effects, but the fact that it was able to pull off Barry battling a super-intelligent, telepathic, ferocious gorilla is nothing short of impressive. In terms of the fight itself, things weren’t looking good for Barry during his main encounter with Grodd. Even though Cisco created a headband that blocked the former S.T.A.R. Labs test subject's telepathy, it was broken during the scuffle, allowing Grodd to torment Barry’s mind and leave him incapacitated as a train was about to strike him. It was with Iris’ encouragement and sheer willpower that Barry was able to avoid being hit. When Grodd tried to leap at Barry to take him out personally, the speedster was able to dodge the attack, and the ape was struck by another train. The insane gorilla survived the impact and is still on the loose, but now he knows that not all humans are so easy to kill.
6. Flash Vs. GirderAnyone who has ever been bullied knows how good it feels to triumph over the person who tormented you, and Barry experienced that when he defeated Tony Woodward, a.k.a. Girder. The first time he went by against his childhood bully, it resulted in him breaking his hand against Tony’s steel face. Fortunately for Barry, science triumphed over brute strength in the end. After giving himself miles of running space, fans got to see Barry break the sound barrier and knock Tony out with a single punch to his armored visage, which Cisco nicknamed the “supersonic punch,” and in their old middle school no less. Payback is so sweet. Tony was killed by Blackout the following episode, so Barry won’t get a rematch with Girder in the future. Still, after the way he took out his armored foe before, no other fight would have looked nearly as impressive.
5. Flash Vs. Reverse-Flash ("Tricksters")“Tricksters” may have had James Jesse and Axel Walker as the main villains, but it was a battle in the past that gave us its best action sequence. Fans saw the night Barry Allen’s mother was murdered in the pilot, but this time they saw it from the perspective of the speedsters: Eobard Thawne and an older Barry wearing a costume similar to the one his comic book counterpart wears. As they smashed through the Allen household’s window, we witnessed a slow-motion fist fight between the longtime enemies, though to the average human eye, it just looked like a frantic rush of red and yellow lightning. The fight didn't have a victor, since older Barry’s main goal was to protect his younger self, but unfortunately, we know that the end result was Eobard killing Nora Allen and finding himself stranded in the 21st century.
4. Barry Vs. EverymanTypically Barry’s speed has been enough to defeat the bad guys, but sometimes he’s been forced to get his hands dirty and throw down in fisticuffs. A case in point was a fight with Hannibal Bates, a.k.a. Everyman. After screwing around with everyone by using his shapeshifting ability to disguise himself as anyone he touches, Everyman finally found face-to-face with the Flash, and he wasn't able to use his disguises to elude capture. As the two of them fought, Bates kept changing forms until he finally was able to touch Flash and turn into him. Unfortunately for him, taking the Scarlet Speedster’s form didn’t give him the same superpowers, and Barry was able to use his speed to land several swift punches and administer the cure that took away Bates’ ability. Even though Barry came out on top, it was more fun to see Bates taunting him using all those forms to throw him off his game.
3. Flash Vs. Reverse-Flash ("The Man In The Yellow Suit")When the man who killed your mother shows his face for the first time in 14 years, of course you’re going to chase after him. Well, if you can move at superhuman speed, that is. When Barry pursued the Reverse-Flash in the midseason finale, they ended up at the Central City football stadium, and the fight did not go well for our protagonists. It wasn't surprising, considering that Barry at this point had only been a superhero for a couple months while the Reverse-Flash has had years of experience. As a result, Barry found himself out-paced and beaten, and their second encounter in the episode went even worse, to the point that Firestorm had to intervene. We know now that “Harrison Wells” wasn’t willing to kill Barry at this point because he still had a need for his speed (pun fully intended), but it must have been cathartic for the evil speedster to lay the beatdown on his future nemesis.
2. Flash And Arrow And Firestorm Vs. Reverse-FlashOver the course of the first season, Barry learned how to boost his speed and use his powers in unique ways, but even he knew that Eobard Thawne was too powerful to take on alone. That’s why he brought in reinforcements: Oliver Queen (taking a break from his League of Assassins activities on Arrow) and Firestorm. Together, they worked together to take down the Reverse-Flash; Barry with his super speed, Ronnie with his flame powers and Oliver with his speed-disabling nanite arrows built by Ray Palmer. Although there were moments when Thawne had the upper hand (he nearly cut down Oliver’s projected 86-year lifespan short), teamwork proved triumphant in the end, and they were able to put Barry’s nemesis from the future out of commission. Although it wasn’t the last fight of the season and certainly not the end of Thawne’s grand plan, this showdown was definitely one of the season’s best, not to mention it felt like it just sprung from the pages of a comic book team-up story.
1. Flash Vs. ArrowWe all knew this was coming once the episode’s title was announced, and while the hero-battling-hero plot twist can be clichéd, Flash against The Arrow was one of the season’s highlights. When Roy Bivolo used his rage-inducing powers on Barry, our protagonist subsequently found himself more aggressive and angry towards his friends. Things took a turn for the worse when Barry as Flash attacked Eddie during a date with Iris out of jealousy. This forced the visiting Oliver Queen to suit up and intervene. Despite not having any superpowers, Oliver put up an impressive fight against his mentally unbalanced friend using his combat skills and trick arrows. Oliver was eventually able to restrain him, and when Cisco and Joe turned on the multi-color light device, Barry was back to normal. While these two batting each other again (outside of a friendly sparring match like in the Arrow episode “The Brave and the Bold”) should be avoided for future crossovers, we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t at least think about these two going mano a mano at least once, and this brawl definitely delivered.