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Could A-Train From The Boys Beat Flash In A Fight?

The Boys makes no secret of its superhero influences — and why should it? By drawing parallels between its original characters and superheroes the world knows and loves, every gut punch the show hits audiences with is that much more impactful. It's all too easy to imagine Superman being capable of the same horrible deeds as Homelander (Antony Starr), or to picture Wonder Woman as an apathetic alcoholic like Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligot). The costumes and the powers are too alike not to see the comparisons.

What would happen if these counterparts came head to head? With just how often superheroes have come to blows in recent media — Captain America: Civil War, for instance, features an all-out battle between heroes siding with either Captain America or Iron Man — it's not an unreasonable question to ask. One would hope that the heroes who stand for justice would come out on top, but that kind of happy ending certainly isn't guaranteed.

Taking the question and running with it, consider A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) and the Flash, the speedsters of their respective superhero teams (The Seven and the Justice League). You'd be hard-pressed to figure out which one would win a fight (or a race) off the bat because of how similar their abilities seem. So, let's take a closer look at the powers and weaknesses of these speedy heroes to best determine who the fastest man alive really is.

Some spoilers for The Boys ahead!

Here comes the A-Train

Super speed is an enviable ability: Just imagine being able to visit friends in other cities in the blink of an eye. Or reaching the last cookie in the cookie jar before anyone else. When it comes to A-Train, envy is indeed the name of the game. As he grows older, he makes it his life's mission to retain the title of the world's fastest man in the face of up-and-coming speedsters, and he'll do anything in his power to keep it that way.

As athletes have done in real life, A-Train abuses a performance drug to keep one step ahead of the competition — but not just any performance drug. He shoots up the dangerous (and experimental) Compound V on the regular, the very drug used to grant Supes their powers in the first place. In doing so, A-Train boosts his already insane speed to the max. It's thanks to his addiction that he defeats Shockwave (Mishka Thébaud) in a highly publicized race to see who's fastest.

Of course, drug abuse comes at a price. The excess Compound V coursing through A-Train's veins isn't ideal for his body long term, and his heart suffers for it. A heart attack nearly kills him toward the end of season 1, and the ramifications of that cardiac injury ripple throughout season 2. Fastest man alive or not, A-Train is slowly but surely becoming more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner, as Compound V-induced heart palpitations cause him to constantly need breaks.

Regardless, just how fast is A-Train at peak performance? Fast enough to break the sound barrier, according to his results in the race against Shockwave; he crosses the finish line at 371 meters per second, or about 830 miles per hour. No one short of Homelander could spot A-Train while he's on the move, since he appears as a blur. In his eyes, however, the world stands still as he charges ever forward, heedless of the obstacles (and occasionally people) in his path.

Compound V also grants strength, endurance, and durability to its users, all of which A-Train boasts in spades. He can knock people through walls, and trains his muscles by pulling actual trains behind him (though, notably, he cannot run while strapped to such immense weight). A-Train's also shown that he can take what he dishes out, taking punches from the powerful Starlight (Erin Moriarty). Still, he's not as durable as Homelander; Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) is able to shatter his leg without much trouble, though he does recover quickly thanks to his Compound V addiction. His greatest strength, it seems, is irrevocably tied to his greatest weakness.

The Flash: a Speed Force to be reckoned with

Since there have been several people to don the Flash's costume, we'll run the course with Barry Allen. DC Comics' lengthy history has seen changes galore thanks to big events, retcons, and more, but at the end of the day, the Flash is best known for his speed, which he gained via a fortunate accident. A forensic scientist, Barry is in the lab one stormy night when lightning crashes through the window, striking chemical vials, which then douse him. The result: He becomes the main conduit of the Speed Force, the source of super speed in the DC universe.

As the Flash, Barry is fast enough to break the sound and light barriers, and can even run straight into other dimensions. Unless the situation is dire, he keeps to the lower end of the speed scale so as not to be a detriment to the surrounding environment. A physical object constantly moving at light speed could be a horrifyingly destructive force, and Barry clearly has more of a conscience than A-Train. Luckily, Barry has the stamina to keep on going at most speeds, as well as the agility and reflexes to act and react no matter how fast he's moving.

The Flash's speed is good for more than just running, too. Barry can use the Speed Force in creative ways, from rotating his arms quickly enough to create powerful gusts of wind to vibrating at such a speed that he can phase through objects. It also allows him to heal from most injuries at an accelerated rate, as as process and understand information at incredible speeds. Despite his lack of super strength, his ultra-fast blows pack a serious punch, and he can even use rapid motion to generate electricity, which can then be discharged at will.

While he has no specific weaknesses, Barry doesn't possess any significant level of durability. The Speed Force grants him enough protection to not suffer any negative effects while running (which also applies to anyone he's holding while running), but were he standing completely still, an A-Train-level punch would hurt him about as much as it would hurt anyone else. He's also afraid to tamper with time travel, which he can do if he's running fast enough. That means no going back in time if he messes up in the middle of a fight.

A-Train vs. the Flash: Who outruns who?

The hypothetical gun has just been fired and the contestants are off! Does A-Train have what it takes to maintain his title of the fastest man alive, or is the Flash just too quick? Considering how the Flash regularly has to slow himself down so as not to hurt anyone, the victor is painfully clear. Barry could probably run the track more than a hundred times before A-Train even left the starting line.

A-Train may be the stronger of the two, but landing a hit on the Flash would be next to impossible — even for someone as quick as him, no matter how much Compound V he shoots up beforehand. Speaking of which, A-Train's drug-induced heart condition would prove quite a hindrance when trying to keep pace with the Flash. Honestly, Barry would probably be more concerned with getting A-Train to a hospital than fighting him in the first place.

Even if A-Train attempted to catch the Flash off guard, the latter is too attuned to the Speed Force not to notice and react to a surprise attack in time. It'd take quite a stretch of the imagination to posit a way in which A-Train finishes first. He may be the fastest man in his world for a while yet, but Barry isn't from his world.