When the Flash faces off against Danton Black, he's hit several times throughout the episode by Danton's fists. Yet, in many other episodes, when shot at, he can dodge bullets and react in time as if his reflexes are sped up. Why is it that he can dodge a bullet but not an obvious punch which is coming his way?

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    Because, plot. ;) – NVZ Jul 31 '16 at 7:24
  • Isn't that like the second episode or something? If you need an in-world justification, I'd say chalk it up to inexperience. Also, Flash is DC not marvel. – j4eo Jul 31 '16 at 9:16
  • @j4eo he time and again has troubles with punches. so NVZ is right....plot always plot – Thomas Jul 31 '16 at 9:40
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    The same way Oliver is able to hit him with an arrow early on - Barry believes his speed is more important than strategy or being aware. – phantom42 Jul 31 '16 at 13:04
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    Probably for the same reason a Matrix agent can dodge 20 bullets, but not a single bullet. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/155211/… – RichS Apr 16 '17 at 4:58

I can think of a few possibilities:

  • Restraint: A speedster's fist should be able to hit with much more force than an ordinary human's. If Barry hit someone without nigh-invulnerability or a healing factor of some sort at super-speed, he could easily kill them. Therefore, in close combat, he holds back on using his full speed. When grabbing bullets out of the air, he has no concerns about causing damage to the bullets.
  • Overwhelmed: In the Danton Black situation in particular, Flash was being hit by multiple assailants (even if they were all the same guy). With multiple hits coming from multiple directions (all in close proximity), it's hard to dodge. When handling bullets, they're usually all coming from roughly the same direction.
  • Interaction: In order to talk to someone, he basically has to slow down to normal human speed. In at least some instances, this may have delayed or prevented his reacting with full speed.
  • Speed of thought: There is evidence in the show that, while Barry can do things at super-speed, his brain is not necessarily running as fast as his body. In Season 2, we saw him using his speed to read books - but being unable to retain the contents well. If his brain was truly running as fast as his body, then he'd retain what he read as well as anyone would - because, to him, he's reading at normal speed - everyone else is just a lot slower. This may happen at a variable rate. When Barry sees a gun, he knows to expect bullets, and is prepared to shift into full speed mode to catch them; punches aren't necessarily as predictable.

And, of course, yeah, it's all plot device - if the story's more dramatic (or fits into 42 minutes better) if Barry gets the living snot beat out of him, then he'll get the living snot beat out of him.

  • The "if he is not in speed mode he has no better reactions than normal humans" and his compulsive "first try to talk" behaviour can explain away a lot of this situations. But it still can't explain several situations where they need an elaborate plan to distract the villian(s) just to enable the flash to take them out with super speed, what he could also easily have done without the distraction. For example when he makes Captain Cold and Heatwave fire on each other so their weapons cancel out each other. – Hothie Mar 19 '18 at 14:26

if a bunch of bullets came at him he probably wouldn't be able to block all of them but he can dodge one or two punches. when he is fighting with other speedsters he can dodge and block those punches though

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    You seem to be disagreeing with the question, it says he can dodge bullets? – Edlothiad Apr 16 '17 at 3:20

The answers seem to be a bit skewed in this field. The Flash has been clocked at speeds of at least Mach 2 but he seems to have problems catching and dodging many slower objects and attacks.

Simple convenient plot lines, that is all.

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