Superman AKA the Man of Steel is often described as being “faster than a speeding bullet.”However, the fact is he is a lot faster than that.
The Kryptonian hero from the pages of DC Comics is generally depicted as being capable of travelling and reacting at light speed.
In a lot of fans’ eyes, this makes Superman the fastest character in all of comic books—but they couldn’t be more wrong.
In the same way that Superman’s power is dwarfed by a plethora of infinitely more powerful characters, his speed is too.
Granted, the levels of what characters are capable of often fluctuates in comic books, but there is usually a general and consistent consensus of what level a character is at when it comes to any given physical attribute.
This article will list just five of the many comic book characters whose speed is superior to Superman’s:
Is DC’s Flash faster than Superman? He is certainly the most hotly debated character when it comes to the question – and the fact is he is (of course, there are a number of characters with the Flash title, but we’ll be focusing on Wally West here).
Superman is certainly stronger, more durable and generally more versatile than all of the Flashes when it comes to his powers, but he simply doesn’t come close in terms of his speed.
Wally casually breaks light speed, as seen in the image above (click on it to enlarge it). The image shows a city in North Korea being destroyed by a nuclear bomb. 0.00001 seconds after it detonates, Wally has evacuated its half a million strong population to a safe point 35 miles away – and he had done it carrying either one or two people at a time.
Essentially, he had ran 70 miles approximately 300,000 times – with the weight of people holding him down – in 100 picoseconds.
He has also done things like break the time barrier through speed alone, rebuilt a huge bridge on his own in about 30 seconds and moved to intercept a light speed attack directed at Wonder Woman so quickly that said attack appeared to be stationary in comparison.
Oh yeah – and he outran Death to the end of the universe.
Bearing in mind that Wally West is faster than Superman, it should go without saying the Hunter Zolomon AKA Zoom is faster than the Man of Steel – given that he is considerably faster than Wally West.
Actually, the term “fast” is being used loosely here. The DC villain doesn’t actually move at superspeed, he can simply manipulate the flow of time around him so that it appears as though he is moving at superspeed (which effectively amounts to the same thing) – and he can do it to the extent that even Wally West appears like a statue to him.
Zoom has launched physical attacks on West that the hero has been unable to react to (see in the image above, which you can click on to enlarge), meaning he has effectively speedblitzed the speedster.
In fact, when he was holding West’s girlfriend Linda Park, West attacked him at full-speed – obviously bloodlusted with anger. Zoom casually swatted every single one of West’s attacks away with one hand.
Zoom has also been in a fight with West that saw the pair circle the Earth twelve times and cover every inch of Earth in less than a second (a fight that saw them pass Superman in a statue-like state). Plus, in spite of having no super-strength, his speed enables him to hit so hard that Wonder Woman explicitly stated that his punches are harder than Superman’s.
3. Silver Surfer
Marvel’s Silver Surfer betters Superman in every way – apart from super-strength that is – but he is more durable, more versatile and far, far faster.
How fast is Silver Surfer?
Silver Surfer has proven time and time again to be able to think, move, and react within nano-seconds. His speed alone has enabled him to travel through time; he has been shown to analyze a situation within a microsecond and act upon his analysis in less time than that. And, he has searched the entire globe, and not just circled it—he covered every inch and looked in every nook and cranny on the planet before someone finished a sentence.
It is often argued that Surfer's speed is simply travel speed related to his board and nothing to do with his reactions, but Silver Surfer has been shown to be well beyond Superman’s limit of light speed in more ways than one. If being able to look in every possible place on Earth (every cave, every room, every basement etc) in a couple of seconds isn’t reaction speed, then we really don’t know what is.
The Herald of Galactus doesn’t often use his speed to its limits (mostly because he is something of a pacifist) – and that can be misleading for those people who haven’t seen him going all-out – but if you’re very familiar with what he’s capable of when he’s pushing himself, you’ll know that he is is considerably quicker than the Man of Steel.
4. The Runner
Marvel’s Runner is a several-billion-year-old traveller and explorer who is a member of the group known as the Elders of the Universe. As his name would suggest, he is incredibly fast.
Such is the level of the Runner’s speed, the Silver Surfer – who himself is multiple times quicker than the speed of light and indeed Superman, thinks in nanoseconds and has cosmic awareness to warn him of things around him – didn’t even know the Runner was approaching him when he met up with him in space (see below and click the picture to enlarge it).
In battle with the Surfer, he has easily dodged the Herald of Galactus’ attacks and was essentially toying with him.
Although he doesn’t really have that many showings, in addition to the above, it has been implied that he can travel several light years in an instant and he has been seen to cross galaxies in mere moments.
On a somewhat related and interesting note (though not reflective of Runner’s baseline abilities), when Runner was in possession of the Space Gem, he was able to get to his destination – even if it was lightyears away – before he’d even realised he’d started running! He was also able to blitz Thanos – a character capable of reacting to Silver Surfer’s attacks – with the gem. Thanos claimed that it wasn’t enhancing his speed in any way at the time.
Makkari is a member of the fictional race of superhumans known as the Eternals in the Marvel universe.
He is a modernisation of the mythological Roman god known as Mercury – a god often depicted as possessing incredible speed – and, as such, that is Makkari’s most notable trait.
Most of the Eternals possess a plethora of versatile powers, including super-strength, telepathy, energy manipulation and molecular manipulation. However, having become obsessed with being fast, Makkari has channelled all of the energies that provide those powers into his speed and, as a result, he is indeed super-quick (with all of his other powers suffering as a result).
Makkari studied the applications of speed in his Eternals-style higher education in the same way students in the real world study subjects at university.
He can run, react and indeed fight faster than light (his combat style has been explicitly stated as incorporating his speed) and, most notably, he beat the Runner himself in a race across space (see picture above for details and quick to enlarge it).
The one major flaw in Makkari’s speed is that he fatigues quite quickly. As a result, he can’t keep it up for very long. However, at his Runner-beating peak, he is obviously quicker than Superman.
What do you think? Are these guys faster than Superman? Which other characters could out-speed the Man of Steel? Have your say below.