If I were to ask you to name your favorite DC Comics villains as seen on TV and film, most of your answers would probably consist of members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. Names like The Joker, Bane, and Catwoman have become household names because of Batman’s popularity and abundance of animated, feature, and big budget films that have surrounded The Dark Knight.

Sure, The Joker may seem at the top of the list of costumed criminals, but I know someone just as sadistic and brutal. I may not be a fan of his name, (I prefer the more ominous Man In Yellow) but Reverse Flash aka Eobard Thawne is not only a great Flash and DC villain but a top 5 villain in any media.

Reverse Flash Wells
The Reverse Flash

Eobard Thawne is as sinister and as dangerous as they come but barely gets any mention when discussing baddies. This is mostly due to the lack of The Flash in media. Once CW created The Flash as a series in 2014, I knew it wouldn’t be long until the Reverse Flash sped his way into our lives. Eobard Thawne is undoubtedly one of the greatest comic book villains of all time, and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. His complex backstory and tragic flaws are unlike any other, and it’s time the Reverse Flash got his due.

Reverse Flash Wanted To Be The Hero

Reverse Flash and Gideon
Reverse Flash admired The Flash. Then he found out he was destined to be his greatest enemy ever.

Most villains in comic books are mild-mannered people who survive a traumatic event in their lives. Riddler had abusive parents. Joker fell into chemicals. Ocean Master felt unloved. They then turn to crime and blame society for their trauma. Eobard Thawne is not the typical bad guy, as he grew up a Flash fanatic and successful scientist. He grew up in an upper-class society in the 22nd century (Yes, he is from the future).

In all honesty, growing up, Eobard wanted to be the hero that Barry Allen was. Thawne used the motivation Flash gave him to become a better scientist. He studied everything that made The Flash great and wanted to be like him in every conceivable way. The guy recreated the circumstances that gave Barry his powers so that he could be afflicted with the same speed force energy as his idol. Good Ol’ Eobard even went so far as to travel backward to the 21st century to meet the man.  When traveling back in time, however, he discovered that he was destined to be the Flash’s greatest rival.

Heartbroken, Thawne snapped, vowing to be the exact opposite of everything The Flash stands for. If Barry saved lives, Thawne would commit to taking them. He changed the now-famous color scheme of red and yellow, to yellow with red, adding some black where he saw fit to match his now darkened demeanor. Equipped with the powers of the speed force, Thawne completed his transformation by taking on the name of “Reverse Flash” – proving his obsession with the scarlet speedster was far from over.

Thawne’s Fate Is Tied To The Scarlet Speedster

Reverse Flash And Barry Allen
Old habits die hard

Since The Flash so profoundly influenced Eobard – going back to kill him isn’t an option. If there is no Flash, there is nobody for young Eobard Thawne to look up to, and thus no future where Thawne is a speedster. No matter how angry Thawne gets, he can never kill the Flash, or he will never become who he is today. That’s what makes him so interesting.

Both Reverse Flash and The Flash have access to The Speed Force — an extra-dimensional energy that powers all of the speedsters in DC Comics. This allows Reverse Flash to mimic The Flash in all ways speedster. He can run at lightning speeds and even time travel just like Barry. Unlike Mr. Allen, Thawne’s plans are always more nefarious and usually have to do with ruining The Flash’s life.

He isn’t looking for money or infamy like most central city’s criminals. Thawne doesn’t care for killing other heroes, having multiple opportunities to kill Green Arrow or The Atom. He doesn’t want to hold Central City hostage or a statue in his name erected in Metropolis. All that drives him is the goal of being the complete antithesis of Barry Allen in every way.  His sole mission in life is to do everything he can to break Barry Allen as a man. This leads him to travel back in time, to murder Nora Allen (Barry’s mom) setting the stage for a life of heartbreak that leads back to Eobard.

The Reverse Flash Is A Cold-Blooded Murderer

Reverse Flash and Christina McGee
The Reverse Flash threatens Christina McGee’s life in search tachyon technology

Reverse Flash has no problem killing those who are in his way. Having mastered the skills of a speedster, Eobard’s methods of murder range from neck-snapping and back-breaking to vibrating his hand at incredible speeds and sending it through the chest cavity of his victims. His speed allows his hand to phase/pass through a person’s body and strike their heart causing instantaneous death.

He perfected this method in the comics and a story, in an attempt to ruin The Flash’s life, uses his speed to phase his hand into the skull of Iris West. Thawne killed the Flash’s one true love! In the CW series, Thawne murders Christina McGee in an alternate timeline by phasing his hand into her heart. This approach is ideal for the serial killer, because the damage is impossible to trace, making it harder for authorities pinpoint the murderer.

Reverse Flash Kills Iris
Reverse Flash debuts a new way to torture Barry Allen by killing his wife. From Flash #275

Thawne’s cold demeanor and background in science allow him to be as cold and calculating as any villain you can think of. Add to that; the fact that he can time travel means virtually no one is safe from his wrath. He can mess with the timeline and rewrite reality as he pleases. He murdered the real Harrison Wells in cold blood and assumed his identity! The only reason Thawne is not viewed as the most powerful villain in the DC universe is because his goal is not world domination. The only thing Reverse Flash cares about is taking everything away from the man he blames for taking away his chance of finally being a hero.

The Reverse Flash Is The Best CW Has Right Now

Reverse Flash
When you want something done right, do it yourself

Put down the pitchforks, and let me make myself clear. I liked Ra’s Al Ghul from ARROW Season 3. The rouges are pretty fun, and there’s also Deathstroke. Even Vandal Savage had a great showing on Legends of Tomorrow. When it comes down to top-notch villainy, however, nothing touches Reverse Flash.

The guy has had run-ins with Oliver Queen, The Legends of Tomorrow, Firestorm, and other villains like Malcolm Merlyn. He was the leader of The Legion of Doom and at one point even rewrote reality itself to fit his needs! There’s no doubt that Eobard tops the list of villains created for the CW’s Arrowverse. With no Joker or Lex Luthor around, Eobard has a clear shot at the head of the villainous mountain.

It does not help that killing a speedster is harder than it looks; but, would you think about out-numbering the canary-colored criminal? Thawne uses time travel to grab prior versions of himself from different periods to amass an army of Eobard. He can then dispose of these alternate versions of him at will. Want to Poison Reverse Flash? He can vibrate his body and have the toxins phase out of his pores.

Reverse Flash can even hide out in the speed force to preserve himself in the case that he needs/needed to. This way he is always around, always ready and always watching. Eobard Thawne is a tragic figure. Discouraged by what the future held, he let circumstances decide his fate. Now he travels through time looking for someone to blame. His story is compelling, and it’s about time people starting to give him the respect, or fear, that he deserves.

Reverse Flash
Any Questions?

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