How do we know the Flash is faster than Superman?

  • I have heard from many people that the Flash is faster than Superman.
    But how do we know this? Can you give me the comic issue/continuity and the basic plot summary?

    This is a fascinating article describing some of the times Superman and various Flashes actually went head-to-head

    They have raced lots of time.. in various continuities.

    You may find this interesting: . Flash seems to be faster than Superman, but this manages to catch the Flash, apparently predicting his movements

    The latest Flash#49 confirms that flash is faster than Superman

  • It's already been established that all of the Flashes can move past light-speed via the Speed Force. As for Superman, he's never shown to move at light-speed while running inside a planetary atmosphere.

    • This image should answer your question, though. This scan was taken from Flash v2, #220.

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    • Flash states that Superman is moving at over 2000 miles/sec, which is also over 120,000 miles/minute, and also 7,200,000 mph. That's Mach 9350. I believe this is that fastest that I've seen Superman move under the Earth's atmosphere. He can, however, break light speed in the vacuum of outer space.

    • Superman has raced the Flash several times over their history but it is considered a given that if the Flash decided to run at his maximum, Superman who lack the environmentally-protective speed-force aura, is unable to move at his maximum without causing catastrophic environmental damage due to his moving near light speed.

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    • Barry Allen reminds Kal-El, even though we have raced several times in the past, ultimately, "I allowed you to participate and ultimately YOU CANNOT beat me in a race. Not now, not ever."

    An important caveat to this statement is that Superman CAN move faster than light in space and has been shown to do that on several occasions in the New 52.

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    • Outside of a planetary atmosphere he has proven to be able to achieve speeds faster than light, traveling from Pluto to Earth in a matter of minutes. Whether this is due to him achieving superluminal speeds or by warping space around him has not been discerned or disclosed. His current top speed is estimated by this travel time at 16 to 20 times the speed of light!

    As to why Superman cannot move faster than light in atmosphere, I submit to you an XKCD article explaining what happens when something moves at near-relativistic speeds in atmosphere: Relativistic Baseball. Totally worth the read.

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    `That's Mach 9350` I know the speed force allows Flash to move really fast without creating harmful sonic booms... What's Superman's excuse.

    You may want to point out that the Flash in the top panel is Wally West, while the one in the lower panel is Barry Allen. Not a huge deal, but the uninitiated may be confused by the dialogue otherwise.

    Superman hasn't been limited to the speed of light since 1949, when he went faster than the speed of light and "broke the time barrier".

    The operative word is limited to the speed of light in ATMOSPHERE!

    _limited to the speed of light and no faster_... What a loser!

    The new 52 solar system is 1000th the size of ours. Otherwise, the scope-creep on superman's abilities is beyond any project I've worked on. "He needs to be faster than a locomotive! Able to leap small buildings in a single bound!" became "He needs to be able to be at least Mach 9000, and able to leap from Pluto to Earth in a single bound"

    "His speed is over 9000!" - For those who understand... I just had to do it :D

    The question isn't limited to the New 52 so you might want to add these to your answer I don't see any instances of Flash breaking the bonds of infinity!

    I very clearly remember Superman in old comics running faster than light on Earth to go back in time with the Justice League or maybe the League of Superheroes.

  • False, Superman can move faster than lightspeed. On Earth he won't fly at lightspeed because this could be catastrophic to the planet Earth, Flash doesn't have that problem because part of his powers prevent any damage to the planet. In Space Superman does not have that limitation and can let it rip. In a recent issue of red Hood and The Outlaws , Superman flew from Pluto , back to Earth in the same amount of time, or faster , than the Outlaws were able to teleport back to earth. That is 4.67 billion miles , in seconds

    The thing here is that people are concentrating on the running... yes... Flash can outrun Superman because Superman does not need to run, therefore he is not used to it. On the other hand.... if he was flying, it might be a different story.

    Earth-Pluto (4.67 billion km of distance) in minutes is in the bases of the 17 billion km/h that Batman refers in the JLs (aprox.16xlightspeed). Maybe aprox. 20 billion km/h.

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  • In Superman #309, Superman flies 11 light-years in a couple of minutes/hours -- that is: thousands of times lightspeed. Not sure if Flash ever did that.

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    He flew so fast that he became Spanish?

    Not to poo poo on these kinds of questions but nothing in the DC universe makes any sense. This means that until DC definitively states who is faster there is absolutely no sense in arguing it. Since flash has been stated to be the fastest (if he wants) the only possible conclusion is that flash could move even faster than superman's superluminal speeds.

    Flash moved from the ends of the universe to Earth in less than a plank time. - He beat cosmic beings that could teleport instantly anywhere. In a bet.

  • In The Flash: The Human Race (1998), the Cosmic Gamblers get the Flash to run in a race for the fastest being in existence, where losing means the destruction of planet Earth. The Flash counter bets with the Gamblers that he can run faster than they can teleport. The Flash then gathers more Speed Force than ever and makes a move in less than a Plank Instant (smallest unit of time), arriving at destination before instant transportation of the Gamblers is achieved.

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    Being faster than teleportation is certainly faster than Superman, as we've never seen Superman able to catch up with teleportation. This is all scaled by the end of this interesting video:

    In The Flash Rebirth #3 (2009), Direct competition between the Flash and Superman did clearly demonstrate and acknowledge that during a chase where the Flash easily outruns Superman. See Thaddeus Howze answer for the illustration.

    And in Flashpoint (2011), the Flash does even better as he uses the Speed Force to travel back in time (some speed overflow you could say). Modern Age Superman can't time travel with his speed alone. See Can Superman reverse time in comics by flying faster than speed of light?.

  • In Smallville there is an episode where the character Impulse beats Clark in a running race. By a considerable margin.

  • Everyone here doesn't realize Flash is faster then superman by a lot no matter space or earth. People are saying flash can run at the speed of light and superman can do it, then others are saying superman flies faster in space. Regardless flash is able to run so fast he can go back in time and he can travel through dimensions because he is so fast regardless. There have even been recent flash comics were Mr and Ms Quick run so fast they can fly. Flash is the fastest Man alive friends.Flash traveled at a speed faster than a planck second which is the smallest period of time so basically flash is able to beat time it self in a race

    Well, which "recent Flash comics"?

    @Null I found the reference; The demonstration of the fastest speed in the Universe is done in where the Flash can literally run _faster_ than instant teleportation. And it dates from "1998", so ain't quite "recent" indeed.

  • There are to many references to list as to why the flash is faster than Superman. But the common consensus is that Superman can not move at the speed of light and the flash does. I will have to do some searching but i can get you issue nums that reference it.

  • Superman is the fastest, because if Batman can find the parallel Earth where life is no more once again and send both heroes to that planet, Superman will surely beat the Flash because he won't have any lives at risk of his speed.

    Do we know that for sure? Have Superman and the Flash ever raced in those conditions?

  • Superman is faster than Flash. Please realize that just because Flash says I've been holding back or Flash leave superman shocked or stunned at how fast he is does not represent an admission on superman's part that he agrees. Superman holds back also and for good reason. Superman has unlimited strength or close to, which means his sheer will determines how fast he can go. If required superman can push himself to run faster than he ever has so his limits has never been shown. At those times Flash let loose and zooms way out ahead of superman superman could have dug in and catch up. Instead he marvels at how fast flash is. How often would superman encounter a human that fast? He will always underestimate flash's limits because he himself cannot know if there is another level until it happens. I'm sure one day the writers will write it correctly. I even believe that superman will also discover the speed force whether with flash help or not. Just recently Superman has discovered a new power cause super flare... even that he has psionic powers The reason superman has to always be the greatest is because he is history... the first super hero in comics as we know it. plus, it makes sense... superman has a healing factor which is why he defeated doomsday. he and doomsday fell and he and dooms day came back. I believe doomsday is the experiment on krypton that created the modern kryptonian. We all know that the gold superman prime is superman highest form and flash could not run fast that that version of superman. That version of superman would likely be able to access the speed force. How far away is current superman from that superman (superman prime) ?

    The bottom line is Superman is faster, but that's ok... flash is still the fastest Earthling, but not determined to be fastest human since kryptonian are human too.

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