How do you defeat the Fastest Man Alive?

That’s a question that’s been asked by the villains of Central City for over eighty years, as the Scarlet Speedster and his band of fast-footed friends have only grown in power throughout the decades. Faster than the speed of light, sound and even time itself, the Flash can’t be defeated the same way you’d bring down, say, Batman or Green Arrow. And he doesn’t have a clear, known weakness like Superman. It’s true that some of the Flash’s biggest adversaries also have super speed, but there are plenty who don’t…and remarkably, they’ve occasionally been successful! How? Let’s look at a few of the ways the Flash has been defeated in the past.

Too Heavy to Move!

In The Flash #115, Gorilla Grodd fakes his death and transports his genius mind criminal mind into that of an ordinary human. Now calling himself William Dawson, Grodd has access to technology denied to him in his prison in Gorilla City. Fashioning himself a weapon made from stolen instruments, Grodd attacks the Flash with a ray gun that instantly makes him gain hundreds of extra pounds in fat! Too heavy to move around, Flash is made helpless, becoming little more than a sideshow for a circus.

Yet, while his superpowers may have been taken from him, his scientific mind wasn’t. Flash deduces that the weight gain was largely made up of water weight, so he finds a potato dehydrating plant and plops himself down in the middle of the salty spuds, hoping the ridiculous plan will work in restoring him to normal size. Miraculously, it does! Having returned to normal size, the Flash apprehends Grodd and quickly develops a big appetite, somehow unafraid to regain the insane amount of weight he just lost.

Too Afraid to Run!

This adventure from The Flash #182 starts with the Scarlet Speedster in pursuit of some criminals when he races into an electric alarm system and is thrown off balance. Bringing himself to his feet, Barry is immediately stricken with fear at the prospect of falling again and discovers he’s absolutely terrified to use super speed!

Unable to sleep after confiding in his wife Iris, Barry tries to run through the pain of fear but is unable to reach top speed without having a panic attack. Out at night in his costume, he’s reduced to calling a taxi in order to pursue the thieves he was tracking down. Sprawling and gnashing his way through a brawl in order to apprehend the crooks, Flash survives the night and goes to see a doctor the next day. Upon examination, it’s revealed that the imbalance caused by crossing the electric security system interacted badly with his super speed, affecting the canals of his inner ear. Barry’s phobia was caused by a type of vertigo, which after 48 hours passed with no lingering effects.

The remarkable thing here is that none of this was planned. The crooks completely lucked into discovering a way of stopping the Scarlet Speedster. They likely never even knew what had happened.

Sacrifice at Times of Crisis!

In one of the most famous heroic sacrifices in all of comics, this defeat of the Flash was a price eagerly paid at the cost of saving billions of lives. During the seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths saga, the Flash is captured by the Anti-Monitor, for his ability to race across the multiverse was seen as a threat to the Anti-Monitor’s quest for total destruction.

Biding his time, the Flash escapes his prison and forces the Psycho-Pirate to start a revolt, exposing the anti-matter cannon which was primed to annihilate Earth. Figuring the only way to stop it in time would be to suck out all of its power through a speed vortex, Flash races around it faster than he’s ever gone before, withdrawing its energy to a point of implosion. Barry’s going so fast that he begins to travel through recent points in the flow of time, meeting various characters as he begins to pass away. The energy, the speed and the destructive power proves to be too much for him, and Barry Allen disintegrates into nothingness as the anti-matter cannon explodes.

This wasn’t just a defeat—this was actual death, and it had major ramifications for the DC Universe. One of these was the passing of the torch to Barry’s former sidekick, Wally West, who assumed the mantle of the Flash. Barry’s speed was seen as a warning—a point never to exceed for fear of death. But with Wally’s eventual discovery of the Speed Force and events that expanded his knowledge of his own powers, life and death for speedsters would never be the same.

Super Seizures, Courtesy of Batman!

In the classic JLA storyline “The Tower of Babel,” Ra’s al Ghul enacts yet another plan to take over the world. Using Batman’s tendency to plan for every conceivable contingency against him, the Demon’s Head unleashes what may be the most effective assault against the Justice League in history.

Unbeknownst to the League, Batman had long had a top secret plan in place to incapacitate his friends should they ever go rogue or become mentally compromised…which Ra’s al Ghul discovered and unleashed against them. In the Flash’s case, Wally was hit with a high-tech “vibra-bullet” that caused the speedster to go into seizures at light speed. The only people capable of saving him were the Justice League, but since they were all contending with their own uniquely personal attacks, it took what felt like days for the Flash to be rescued. In actuality, his light-speed seizures only lasted twenty-two minutes.

Can’t Dodge Hits if You’ve Got No Speed!

Central City’s famous Rogues have had to contend with their city’s hero for years, but whether it’s from an unspoken moral code (they are, after all, first and foremost thieves, not murderers) or just an understanding that it’s more trouble than its worth to try and kill someone who is nearly invincible, the Rogues typically try to avoid the Flash rather than confront him directly. But all that changed when Bart Allen temporarily held the mantle of the Flash.

Bart discovered that the Rogues (Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, Abra Kadabra, the Trickster, Mirror Master and the Pied Piper) were working with his evil doppelganger Inertia to build a machine that could freeze time and rob the Flash of his connection to the Speed Force. Panicked that the Flash was about to arrest them, the Rogues attacked Bart as he was powerless and at his weakest. Although he managed to save the entire west coast from the dangers of Inertia’s machine, the attack from the Rogues was too much for Bart and he soon died from his injuries.

The Rogues were less than thrilled to learn that the Flash they killed was the former Impulse/Kid Flash a.k.a. the sidekick. They blamed Inertia for bringing too much heat on them and were extra wary once Wally West returned to the Flash mantle, vowing to avenge his friend (who, fortunately, got better).

So, how does one defeat the Flash? What can we learn from these past victories? Not much, if we’re being honest. Unless you have a plan you can subvert that was dreamed up by the World’s Greatest Detective or you’re living through a multiversal crisis, it feels like it’s largely random, dumb luck. Our honest advice if you have to bring down the Flash is don’t. It’s just a really bad idea for pretty much every reason imaginable. But if you absolutely have to, your best bet is just to sit back and wait for him to get himself in trouble.

As we’ve seen countless times, and are about to see again in this summer’s The Flash, inevitably, if you give him enough time, the Flash will do something extreme like going back in time to save his mom’s life or freaking out because he was erased from existence for five years and that’ll slow him down far more than you ever could. Best of all, it won’t land you and all your cohorts in Iron Heights in the process.

It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to beat the Fastest Man Alive is just to simply get out of his way.

The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, is in theaters June 16th. Visit our official Flash hub for more news, interviews and videos about the Flash!

Donovan Morgan Grant writes about comics, graphic novels and superhero history for Follow him on Twitter at @donoDMG1.