DC Comics fans have had lots to look forward to in the past few years, as the company’s characters have invaded both the big and small-screens alike. Okay, so the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) on the film side hasn’t exactly been as warmly received as many would have liked, with critics and fans divided on how well the burgeoning franchise is shaping up so far. However, the “Arrowverse” — as the shows, which began with Arrow‘s debut in 2012, have collectively become known — has continued to grow over at The CW, with four shows based on DC characters set to air in fall 2016.
Of this quartet, perhaps the most beloved has been The Flash. Grant Gustin and company lead the show with such a balance of heart, humor, and superheroics that it has easily picked up the mantle of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in its ability to be both fun and compelling at the same time.
Like that Joss Whedon series, The Flash, of course, is nothing without its ever-growing stable of memorable villains. From the requisite “Big Bads” to the one-off metahuman threat, the folks at S.T.A.R. Labs faced plenty of formidable foes over the first two seasons of The Flash. With Season 3 set to debut soon (and delve into Flashpoint territory), we’re looking back at some of the most notorious baddies to arrive in Central City.
6. The Trickster
Here’s our nostalgic pick, but newer fans to DC Comics TV might not realize why. Sure, Mark Hamill is an easy geek pick, due to his iconic role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga. Yet, bringing him to The Flash actually gave him the opportunity to return to a role he played on the original live-action Flash TV show in the early 1990s.
As James Jesse and his insane alter-ego, Hamill is able to chew up scenery like few characters to appear on The CW show thus far. Moreover, the character’s unpredictability and penchant for chaos give us the chance to see Hamill play a villain not too dissimilar from the Joker, a role he’s played on and off for over 20 years as a voice actor.
5. Pied Piper
Taking his name from the legendary character who could control others with his musical instruments, Hartley Rathaway (Andy Mientus) has emerged as a particularly interesting nemesis to the Flash due to his past as a leading scientist for S.T.A.R. Labs. After Harrison Wells fired him for trying to stop the particle accelerator explosion, Rathaway suffered in the incident and sought revenge with a pair of sonic attack gloves. Though time travel called Rathaway’s villainy into question by the end of Season 2, we expect he’ll find his way back to a life of crime at some point.
4. Gorilla Grodd
One of only two all-CGI characters to ever appear on The Flash (the other being King Shark), Grodd seems like a difficult character to get right in live-action. After all, he is a super-intelligent gorilla with telepathic and mind-control abilities, but despite all that (or because of it?), he emerges as one of the most compelling — and, at times, sympathetic — threats the scarlet speedster has come up against. Part of that is undoubtedly due to the long build-up his story receives in Season 1 and his frequent mentions in Season 2.
Grodd’s history is also closely tied to Wells and S.T.A.R. Labs, and despite his exile to Earth-2, The Flash showrunners are certain to bring him back sooner rather than later.
3. Captain Cold
Few characters in the “Arrowverse” tow the line between good and evil as well as Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold. Leonard Snart started out as simply a master thief on the show but adopted his famous moniker once he got his hands on Cisco’s beloved cold gun. Alongside former Prison Break co-star Dominic Purcell as Heat Wave, Snart — who found his way into the Legends of Tomorrow cast — was initially one of Flash’s primary Rogues but subsequently became one of the most sarcastically funny and ultimately complex figures across any of the shows.
The main villain of The Flash Season 2, Zoom is a mystery wrapped in an enigma for most of his appearance. Though we’ll avoid spoilers here, he travels from Earth-2 to Central City on a quest to sap Barry of his speed and become the most powerful speedster across any dimension. In doing so, he humiliates Flash like few have and hits him in such a personal way that Barry makes an unthinkable decision to triumph, causing a potential cataclysm that we’ll see play out when Season 3 rolls around.
Batman has his Joker. Superman has his Lex Luthor. And the Flash has his Reverse. Most unforgettable superhero and supervillain rivalries hinge on a connection between two characters who are exact opposites of each other.
Eobard Thawne is precisely that to Barry Allen, an individual so hellbent on destroying the Flash that he’ll move heaven, earth, and time to eradicate him completely. Plus, his murder of Barry’s mom kicks off the entire series and sets our hero on the road towards the Speed Force. Of course, there’s no other villain worthy of topping our list.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
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