In DC Comics, The Flash’s powers can be surmised simply as “super speed,” but the reality is that the Scarlett Speedster’s abilities go far beyond that description. More than just being able to run really, really fast, there are many applications of this power set, and while we’ve already seen a few of them on display in the brand new CW series that has been airing this fall, the truth is that they are right now only scratching the surface.
Looking at both the powers we’ve already seen on Flash as well as the long history of the character in DC Comics, we’ve put together a special feature looking at 10 great abilities that we hope so see in future episodes of the show. Read on!
Time TravelOf all the powers we haven’t seen the television version of Flash exhibit yet, this is perhaps the most notable and the most anticipated. Using a device called the Cosmic Treadmill – which has kinda sorta been introduced already – Flash is eventually able to run so fast that he can travel precisely to moments both in the future and in the past. It’s been hinted at extensively that this aspect of Flash’s powers will be exhibited in the show, what with all of the shady Harrison Wells activities - but for now we’re still patiently waiting.
Quantum Tunneling a.k.a. PhasingIt’s Flash’s tremendous reaction time paired with his super speed that prevents him from slamming into objects every time he starts running, but eventually that doesn’t really become a problem for the hero anymore. In the comics, Barry Allen is able to move so fast and vibrate every molecule in his body so quickly that it allows him to simply phase through what appear to be solid objects. Of course, this is a rather advanced maneuver for the character, so it’s hard to say when it might wind up getting introduced to the show.
Hitting Light SpeedA lot of the power utilizations mentioned on this list haven’t shown up on Flash just yet simply because Barry Allen is just starting to hone his powers and really figure out what he can do. The idea of hitting light speed is something that he will have to work up to, but comic book history tells us it’s very achievable for the character. At this point in the series, Flash is topping out at a little above the speed of sound, but eventually he should find a way to build up to 671 million mph.
The Air CushionAs we’ve seen on the show, Barry Allen has the ability to run so fast that he can run up the side of the building and skim across water – but no matter how fast he sprints he can’t achieve lift off. But while he can’t fly, the good news is that he isn’t totally without luck if he finds himself tumbling off a cliffs or skyscraper. While falling, Flash can rotate his arms/legs so quickly that he can actually generate a cushion of air that slows his descent and lets him land unscathed.
Speed Reading And Knowledge StorageGrant Gustin’s Barry Allen has been shown speed reading in early episodes of Flash, but the show has yet to really take advantage of its narrative possibilities. While he doesn’t have the ability to retain all of the information that he obtains from speed reading, he can temporarily store all of it in his short term memory and utilize it in whatever way his mission requires. This can come in handy in all kinds of scenarios, from disarming bombs to construction. A ticking clock element can even be introduced to keep track of the hero’s memory.
Lending/Borrowing SpeedWithout getting too bogged down in heavy comic book science and details, it’s been revealed that the real source of Barry Allen’s super speed is his ability to tap into what is known as the Speed Force – an extra-dimensional energy that grants super speed to various in DC Comics. One aspect of becoming a master of using the Speed Force is the ability to actually both give and take away the power of super speed. This particularly comes in handy with facing similarly fast foes – such as Professor Zoom a.k.a. Reverse Flash – but Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen may be too young to do this by the time he meets the yellow-suited villain later in Season One.
Resistance To TelepathyFlash’s superpower isn’t merely limited to his physical abilities, as his abilities also have a massive affect his perceptions (it’s the only way Barry can be aware of his surroundings while running). His mind is constantly racing, and it’s something that strangely gives him an advantage over telepaths – as they simply can’t keep up with Barry’s thought process. While there are many mind-readers in DC Comics, we have not yet seen one pop up on Flash, but hopefully we will someday get to see this special ability play out on the show.
Speed SpeakOne of the clever tricks Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen has shown off is his ability to change his voice by vibrating his vocal chords, but in the comics “Speed Speak” is taken to multiple levels. Not only does it allow him to converse with other metahumans who are also moving at super speed, but there is also a comedic side to it that we have not yet seen utilized. It would take some creativity to actualize it, but just imagine Barry Allen getting so worked up and excited about something that he starting to talk at super speed.
Speed ScoutingAdmittedly this would be a trick taken out of the Bart Allen playbook (Barry’s grandson in the comics), but it’s such an interesting ability that we would love to see it play out on the big screen. Essentially a combination of the aforementioned time travel and Speed Force-related abilities the idea is that Flash can actually send duplicates of himself both backwards and forwards in time. There are dangerous potential consequences to doing this, as the scouts are extensions of the hero and mentally linked with him, but down the line this could be a great power to see Barry Allen start to experiment with.
Inter-Dimensional TravelAs a part of having super speed, Barry Allen also has what one might call “super vibration,” and the truth is that this version of the Flash has only just started to explore its potential. Sure, he can distort his face and voice, but in the comics Flash eventually gets to the point where he can vibrate every molecule in his body so intensely that it allows him to travel between dimensions. This might be a bit hard to implement on a television show, but think of the crossover potential!
Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm