10 Best Flash Comics

Posted on June 1, 2023

by Eric S

Fans of the Flash have been waiting for his solo film for years, and we’re finally getting it (although let’s be honest, Michael Keaton’s return as Batman is a big selling point). While there’s certainly been plenty of recent controversy surrounding the star of the upcoming Flash film, various incarnations of the character have been loved by comic readers ever since Jay Garrick took up the role in 1940’s Flash Comics #1. Like many heroes of the Golden Age of comics, the Flash began as a rather one-dimensional character who would develop much more depth and nuance in decades to follow. While various heroes would don the red tights over the years, the Flash has always stood as a beacon of hope in the DC universe when it is needed the most. These ten selections represent some of the character’s most significant moments, regardless of who holds the title of Flash.

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Born to Run 

A personal favorite of mine, Born to Run by the brilliant Mark Waid does what so many of the best Flash comics do: remind you how much you love Wally West. An origin story of sorts for Wally, who would become DC’s main Flash after spending years as Kid Flash in the Teen Titans, this comic tells the tale of a hero who’s trying to find his way when the shadow of the beloved former Flash, Barry Allen, looms large. Wally would go on to be a huge fan favorite, but his early stories are especially endearing. If you’ve ever wondered why comic nerds love Wally West (or Flash in general), this is a great place to start. 

The Death of Iris West

While Flash comics are typically more lighthearted fare, even the Scarlet Speedster has been involved in some dark storylines. “The Death of Iris West” took the Flash to the grimmest place possible with the murder of his wife. What followed was an uncharacteristically depressed Barry Allen trying to hunt down the killer. Much like “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” a few years before it, this story would push mainstream superhero books in a more mature direction and bring The Flash more in line with the darker, more cynical comics that would eventually define the 1980s. In addition to being a huge turning point in the life of Barry Allen in the comics, this arc would also go on to influence the CW’s Flash show. 

The Flash of Two Worlds

You’d be hard pressed to find a comic these days that doesn’t involve the multiverse in some capacity, but it was “The Flash of Two Worlds” from 1961 that truly got the ball rolling. Everyone knows Barry Allen, the most iconic Flash in DC history, but what about his predecessor, Jay Garrick, the Flash of the 1940s? As it turns out, Barry and Jay come from totally different universes, but they eventually encounter each other after a bizarre accident transports Barry to Earth-2, the home of the original Flash (apparently vibrating too fast can take you to other universes?). Not only would “The Flash of Two Worlds” rejuvenate interest in Golden Age heroes like Jay Garrick, but also set a precedent for multiversal stories that continues to this day—notably seen in DC comics like Final Crisis, Rebirth, and Crisis on Infinite Earths (more on that one later), but also films like Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness  

The Flash By Geoff Johns Book One

At a time when readers were raving about Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, Geoff Johns did something incredible with his run on The Flash: make people care about a character as unhip, uncool, and uncynical as, well… the Flash. The genius of Johns’ take is that it doesn’t try to be cool, nor does it try to compete with Marvel. It’s a comic that fully embraces the bright colors and absurd situations of superhero comics, while still maintaining a lot of heart. Sure, Peter Milligan’s X-Force and Bruce Jones’ Incredible Hulk had more to say about society and the human condition, but Johns reminds us that comics are not only fun, but a medium in which one’s imagination can run wild. And I think we need that sometimes

The Human Race

Grant Morrison and Mark Millar don’t seem like the most obvious choices to write The Flash, considering their tendency to veer into much darker, violent, and postmodern territory. However, they nonetheless manage to weave one of the greatest Flash stories of all time with “The Human Race.” During this particular run, in addition to confronting the mysterious Black Flash, Wally finds himself face to face with an alien being who forces others to race for the fate of their respective planets. Much like Geoff Johns’ run on The Flash, “The Human Race” embraces the weirdness and limitless possibilities of comics.   

Terminal Velocity 

For the second time on this list, we have a story by Mark Waid, and with good reason: he really understands the Flash. “Terminal Velocity” is great because Waid shows us how not only characters can grow and change, but also how someone like Wally West defines himself in relation to other Flashes.  While for most people, Batman is always Bruce Wayne and Superman is always Clark Kent, the Flash is a legacy hero whose title is passed down from generation to generation—a fact that becomes even more apparent when a vision of the future causes Wally to prepare for his own demise. With great appearances by Jesse Quick, Johnny Quick, Max Mercury, and Impulse, this comic is a perfect encapsulation of what makes the Flash great.  


Rogue War

I have a theory: people who claim they don’t like the Flash haven’t actually spent much time with his villains. One of the oldest, most beloved rogues galleries in comics, characters like Captain Cold, Mirror Master, and Weather Wizard, among others, bring a lot of fun and relatability to Flash’s cast of foes. Compared to the Darkseids, Magnetos, Brainiacs, and Dr. Dooms of the world, the Flash rogues are working class and just trying to make a living (granted, they go about it in a rather questionable way). “Rogue War” sees many of the Flash’s greatest villains facing off: those still living a life of crime versus those who are reformed. It’s an exciting showcase of the various supervillains that still retains the heart and humanity Johns’ Flash run is known for.  


A spiritual successor to “The Death of Iris West,” Geoff Johns’ “Blitz” storyline establishes one of Flash’s deadliest (and fastest) villains ever. The original Zoom, Eobard Thawne, made Barry Allen’s life a living hell, but now Wally West must face his own Zoom in the form of Hunter Zolomon. After Barry refuses to use the time-travelling Cosmic Treadmill to prevent an attack by Gorilla Grodd from paralyzing Zolomon (yes, comics are weird), Zolomon dedicates his life to making the Flash suffer—and the results are extremely tragic. In many ways, “Blitz” is a celebration of Flash history, even as the Flash’s life is torn apart.  


Crisis on Infinite Earths 

If The Flash of Two Worlds got things started with stories of the multiverse, Crisis on Infinite Earths took things to another level and set the standard. When the evil, elusive being known as the Anti-Monitor sets out to destroy absolutely everything, heroes from across the multiverse must assemble to stop him. Barry Allen is among those to help fight back against the Anti-Monitor’s rampage, but as you’ll discover, it comes at a huge cost. Crisis on Infinite Earths is a rather zany book that has some surprisingly emotional moments, and definitely worth checking out if you want to see where the big, universe-spanning epics of today draw their inspiration. It also features some incredible art from the legend George Pérez.


If we’re being totally honest, Flashpoint is essentially one, big, elaborate plot device. In 2011, DC was planning to reboot their entire line, and used Flashpoint as a way to transition from the old continuity to the new one. However, for a transparent, in-universe plot device, it’s shockingly great and left an impact that is still felt today. We get to see alternate timelines, the weird side of Barry Allen’s powers, the depths of Reverse Flash’s depravity, and a version of Batman you won’t soon forget. Ignore the reviews and check out this fanfavorite comic.

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