I am having a dilemma... Flash and Superman are supposed to be fastest superheros in DC universe but I think Green Lantern should be faster than them, and I mean a lot faster. I did some digging and according to Green Lantern Wiki his Flight is about Mach 10 and 80% of light speed in space...

Flight: By the manipulation of anti-gravitons and directed molecular movement, the ring allows the user to fly at incredible speeds. In atmosphere, a Green Lantern has been known to fly as fast as Mach 10 in atmosphere by creating an aerodynamic envelope around his body. Towing others, usually within a bubble, his speed is limited to the twice the speed of sound or 1440 mph. In space, Green Lantern's speed can be significantly greater and has been known to approach 80% of lightspeed in normal space. Flight is possible at velocities exceeding light speed. In atmospheres, air friction is not a hindrance, since heat is either absorbed or reflected by the ring's field.

Now they say speed faster than lightspeed is possible but not explained how. In every comicbook depiction he just fly trough space. So if GL can go to Oa which is in Galactic Center and by wiki Galactic Center range from 7.6 to 8.7 kiloparsecs (about 25 000 to 28 000 lightyears) from Earth and it doesn't take him thousands of years to go there why cant he use just fraction of that speed and beat Superman and Flash in race?

  • It's possible that green lanterns travel through some sort of shortcut in another dimension rather than traveling faster than light through ordinary space--googling a little on this I found some references to them traveling through "transluminal space", but maybe someone more knowledgeable can elaborate on how that's been described in the comics. – Hypnosifl Nov 16 '15 at 16:57
  • @Hypnosifl yeah i was under the same impression that they take short cuts through space. – Himarm Nov 16 '15 at 16:58
  • And GL just happens to be outside of that shortcut every time someone intercept him in space? I mean for someone who can use shortcuts he does a lot of flying in space going places :D – Vanja Vasiljevic Nov 16 '15 at 17:21
  • GL is cheating. Without the ring, members of the core are normal members of their species. The RING might be faster but GL is not. It would be like Batman building a ship that could travel 100 times the speed of light, Batman isn't faster than Superman and Flash, his ship is. – geewhiz Apr 25 '17 at 3:25
up vote 14 down vote accepted

I'm not clear on what the limits of Superman's speed are, but with The Flash, at least, there doesn't seem to be any limit to how fast he can run if needed. He has absolutely been shown to run faster than light speed, and uses that ability to time travel on occasion. However fast The Green Lantern's ring allows him to go, The Flash can go faster.

The key here is that The Flash has access to the Speed Force, which almost by definition means he can go faster than anyone else. If someone tries to outrun him, the Speed Force just "magically" makes him faster, and he wins. The amount of hand-waving involved in explaining how the Speed Force really works is astounding, but the upshot is, The Flash has pretty consistently been identified as the faster person in the DC Universe.

  • Isn't Zoom faster than Flash and Green Lantern caught Zoom? tinypic.com/r/s3elxd/9 – Vanja Vasiljevic Nov 16 '15 at 17:03
  • That depends on which Zoom you mean; I believe the Zoom that you're thinking of doesn't run, but can "teleport" in some sense? "Professor Zoom" in the comics is not always faster than Flash, it depends on the story. – KutuluMike Nov 16 '15 at 17:07
  • So basically faster one is one that story requires him to be... It still doesn't explain why GL doesn't use his speed on Earth and just in space – Vanja Vasiljevic Nov 16 '15 at 17:20
  • 1
    that, I can't explain, other than out-of-universe the writers want to focus more on his other powers and not make him just a green-colored Flash. – KutuluMike Nov 16 '15 at 18:43
  • The Flash cannot time travel in the mainstream comic universes without the Cosmic treadmill. He can use faster than light travel in atmosphere but cannot run in space. While he is considered one of the fastest beings on Earth, when it comes to space travel he is severely limited by his need to RUN to his destinations. – Thaddeus Howze Jun 26 '16 at 3:59

In comics, all speed is relative. So you have to be more specific when you say "faster than" when you refer to comic heroes. Is Green Lantern faster than the Flash when it comes to crossing great intergalactic distances? Yes. He can generate wormholes to cross vast distances instantly and because the Flash can't run in space... On a planet? No one is faster than the Flash.

The specific question should have asked "is one hero faster than another hero, in a specific way." Since I don't know in which way you mean, I will answer all three of the most pertinent ways: Innate reflexes, induced reaction time, and the ability to cover great distances.

From a physiological perspective

  • Green Lantern is likely to be, physiologically speaking, the slowest of the three, given he is just a Human who uses a very advanced supercomputer capable of manipulating fundamental forces and creating electromagnetic constructs. His technology however, is some of the most sophisticated in the DC Universe can can be set to interact at speeds even greater than the Lantern can perceive. (See below)

  • While most Flashes are also only Human, they, by virtue of their connection to the Speed Force, also exist physiologically and psychologically a hairs-breadth away from super-speed. The only reason they don't stay in that state all the time, is it would probably drive them mad with impatience, so they appear to be able to drop down to Human reflex and reaction time, at will. This allows them to be comfortable hanging with their normal friends who cannot accelerate their physiology.

  • While Superman is Kryptonian, in some ways he exhibits many of the psychological states of humanity, likely by choice, rather than by physiology. He slows down to the pace of humanity in order to blend into the group. When confronted by circumstances or threats requiring greater speeds, he slowly ramps up until he is as fast as he needs to be to resolve the problem.

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  • This became a problem for several iterations of the Man of Steel when he refused to fight at his peak of ability using his strength, speed, heat vision and super-cold breath as the devastating weapons they could be. Trained by Mongul to act at his peak, he became capable of destroying an Imperiex probe single-handed.

Innate Reflex vs Reaction Time

Innate reflex time probably goes to the Flash. Since he lives in his super-speed state all the time, he gets to respond to most issues at the speed most comfortable for him. He would be faster in this state than Superman or Green Lantern because for him this is his default state.

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Example: The Flash is sitting at a table and a young woman spills a plate full of food. Superman is also there, but he is sitting there at what we will consider normal reflex action.

  • The Flash will, because he exists in a state of reflexive super-speed, instinctively and reflexively speed his senses up and act to grab everything that's falling and put it back on the plate before anyone else is aware. But first he is going to eat his pie at super-speed and continue his conversation with Superman.

  • Superman, becoming aware of the falling waitress, will actively increase his speed reaction time, basically making himself capable of perceiving and being aware of things moving at super-speed.

  • Superman is now capable of moving at super-speed if he wants to. He, however, must make the conscious decision to do so. He can then see the Flash moving and is also aware that everything else around them has slowed to a crawl. He and Flash continue their conversation while the waitress sits there, between the seconds, and waits, unaware to be rescued.

Which one of them is the fastest when it comes to crossing distances?

  • The Flash will probably get the nod again, given his fantastic relationship with the Speed Force which allows him to move at incredible speeds, provided he can run there. So deep space can be a problem for the Flash unless a technological aid is used or some Speed-Force mumbo-jumbo is applied.

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  • Wally West has managed to empty entire cities during a nuclear detonation in Korea, and tune every radio on the planet in far less than a second, as well as reach near relativistic speeds to utilize the incredible "infinite mass punch" capable of putting a White Martian into orbit. Since Barry Allen is linked to and believed to be the source or primary connector to the Speed Force it is likely none of these feats are beyond him, as well.

  • Superman has often been written to be limited by the effects of the Earth's atmosphere on his super-speed. He, due to the effects of air pressure and density, tries to keep his speed under Mach 20 due to the environmental effects caused by his passage through the air. In space, he has been shown to have incredible speed capable of traversing great intergalactic distances in weeks.

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  • As for Green Lanterns: Using their rings, Green Lanterns (indeed, any of the Lightsmith Corps in our Galaxy) can use their rings to travel at relativistic speeds up to that of the speed of light or can create wormholes allowing them to span great distances instantly, allowing them to travel from star to star in minutes and even to the center of the Galaxy where Oa resides in mere hours. Pre-Crisis, the rings were even more powerful than they are in the present, and allowed for travel faster than the speed of light.

  • As such, it could be said a Green Lantern has the highest degree of mobility given his ring could create wormholes which bypass space entirely allowing them to cross vast intergalactic distances in relatively no time at all. They don't need a surface to run on or a yellow sun to power them, making them likely to be the intergalactic distance speed champions.

  • Given the nature of the Oan power ring as a computer, they CAN be programmed to utilize their abilities faster than a Green Lantern actually could. John Stewart, in an encounter with Superman reminds him if Superman moves faster than sound, the ring would automatically track and attack him. So even if a ring-user is not capable of super-speed interaction, the ring's technology allows for such capacity.

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In summary:

  • For short bursts of speed, or amazing speed feats requiring lots of movement and a very limited (planetary) space to work in, no one can beat the Flash for being able to cover the most ground, the fastest. His feats of speed have by far, exceeded the speed of light, by thousands of times, and he has been faster than teleportation and even nuclear detonations. However, his Human mind and its psychological limitations can make his ability to use his powers less than perfect and this is why he is still able to be challenged by his Rogue's Gallery of villains.

  • For all around super-speed linked to incredible physical capacity, Superman may not be your in atmosphere go to guy, but when you need to bring the complete package of offensive and defensive capacity, a guy who can fly from Pluto to Earth in under ten seconds is definitely on the A team.

  • When you need to travel intergalactic distances on a time budget, the Oan Power Ring has few equals. Capable of generating its own wormholes, a Green Lantern can travel anywhere its wielder (or the Oan database) can conceive of, in the relative blink of an eye. The ring is also capable of at least relativistic speeds and under duress might be able to push out faster than light speeds at great energy expenditures. As long as a Green Lantern can keep their power lantern in a nearby pocket dimension, they can travel anywhere.

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In extremis, a Green Lantern's ring, (assuming the power is available) is capable of generating a wormhole directly to Oa.

Flash is faster than anything, he once raced extra-universal beings who could teleport anywhere in an instant from the edge of the universe to earth and won. That means he's several billion times faster than the speed of light.

If I recall correctly GL can teleport when they need to travel to OA for example and flies pretty fast normally but I'm guessing that Speed is surpassed by supermans own flight-speed if we ignore the teleporting, although that's just guesswork on my part.

This obviously depends on what stage or from what storyline you take the flash and superman from.

At his maximum power superman is able to fly fater than light and travel backwards in time.

The flash can also move faster than light.

i dont have the time to dig up the sources right now i might do that later.

The correct answer is Superman is the slowest. Green Lantern can will himself to fly as fast a Flash travels. This will burn his charge up but there is no way Superman can keep up with these two. The fastest is Flash. And not any Flash Wall West and Barry Allen as both of these guys draw their speed from the speed force. As Fast as Green Lantern can will himself to travel, the speed force will draw on the speed of the Green Lantern or any object near Wally or Barry and make them faster.

If it is strictly a clear race, no battle or trickery involved; and on a planet: Flash, Green Lantern and Superman is how it goes down. Because it is a planet Superman might be able to take second. Flash would be the clear winner. IN space Green Lantern would win and it would be so easy it would not be funny. Which is why when the team often travels in space, they ride with Green Lantern.

If it is a battle, showdown, all bets off even on a planet hopefully uninhabited, Green Lantern can use his power ring to create so much gravitational drag on Superman he would not be able to fly, and the same on Flash but the Speed force would still power Flash to any speed Green Lantern could obtain if Green Lantern were moving at a rapid pace, which at some point would rip the planet apart...

If it were a battle or showdown in space Green Lantern would win easily. Bottom line is Green Lantern can use his ring to enhance himself to match the reflexes of any being, it just takes a thought. Look at Amazo just a mere copycat android, until he snatched John Stewart's power. With just a thought he moved an entire planet... Green Lantern is the most powerful member of the Justice League, but they, they being John, Hal, and Kyle use enough force to overcome their opponent, while protecting other beings. If they were to meet an adversary on a planet with no lifeforms they would unleash full power and make short work of any opponent...

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