Zoom, from the cover to The Flash (vol. 2) #197 (June 2003). Art by Scott Kolins.
|First appearance||The Flash: Secret Files & Origins #3 (November 2001) as Hunter Zolomon,
The Flash (vol. 2) #197 (June 2003) as Zoom
|Created by||Geoff Johns
|Abilities||Time manipulation in his reference frame|
Zoom (real name Hunter Zolomon) is a fictional comic book supervillain from the DC Comics universe. He is primarily associated with the superhero Wally West, the third Flash and is the third of the Reverse-Flashes. As Hunter Zolomon, he first appeared in The Flash: Secret Files & Origins #3 and was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins.
Fictional character biography
Hunter Zolomon had a troubled relationship with his parents, who rarely spoke to each other or to him. On the day Hunter was to leave for college, he came home to find the police laying siege to his house. His father was a serial killer who had killed six young girls, and when his mother told the police, his father murdered her, and was subsequently killed by the police after refusing to give himself up.
Hunter became obsessed with understanding the criminal mind to stop people like his father, studying psychology and criminology in college, then joining the F.B.I. along with his girlfriend Ashley, whom he later married, specializing in low-level costumed criminals. One case resulted in Ashley's father being killed (Hunter had thought the criminal they were after was incapable of facing his adult life, and thus would not use an 'adult' weapon such as a gun). Ashley left him shortly thereafter, and the F.B.I. terminated his employment. Hunter was also left with a damaged knee due to the case, requiring a cane for walking and unable to ever run again.
After arriving in Keystone City, he got a job as a profiler, working with the police in their Department of Metahuman Hostilities. His work put him in constant contact with the Flash, Wally West, and the two became good friends. His insight was critical in solving a number of cases, but he always resented being stuck behind a desk.
Transformation into Zoom
Hunter was severely injured in an attack by Gorilla Grodd in Iron Heights, when Grodd staged a mass prison break, and was left paralyzed from the waist down. He asked Wally West to use the time-traveling cosmic treadmill in the Flash Museum to prevent this from occurring, but West refused, saying that he could not risk damaging the timestream. Zolomon, feeling that Wally should be prepared to disregard such fears for the sake of their friendship, then broke into the museum and attempted to use the treadmill himself. The resulting explosion destroyed the museum and shifted Hunter's connection to time – described by Jay Garrick as him being 'derailed' from the timeline by the explosion – thus allowing Zolomon to alter the speed at which he could move in time, giving him the effect of superspeed.
Zolomon decided that West had refused to help because, unlike the previous Flash Barry Allen, West had never suffered personal tragedy, and thus did not understand how terrible it could be. Zolomon decided that if he became the new Zoom and caused a great tragedy in Wally's life, this would help the Flash become a better hero. After borrowing speed from the other speedsters to even the playing field, briefly allowing him to match Zoom's near-impossible speed, Flash succeeded in defeating Zoom, and prevented his former friend from killing his then-pregnant wife Linda Park, although Zoom's attack caused a miscarriage of their twin children. Thanks to Wally using the slight 'rips' in time that were being created by the use of Zoom's powers, Zolomon was forced into a temporal anomaly – being shoved into the rift essentially tied a 'knot' in his timeline – and ended up in a comatose state, continually watching the death of his father-in-law.
Zolomon's ex-wife, Ashley Zolomon, replaced him as profiler and spent a lot of time attempting to communicate with him. Due to a car accident, Ashley was hospitalized for some time. It is around this period that Zoom awoke from his coma, out of concern for Ashley. He cautiously chose to remain in his cell.
Zoom is driven out of his self-imposed imprisonment by Cheetah (a.k.a. Dr. Barbara Minerva) in an attempt to both harness superspeed and induct him into the growing Secret Society. The two share a minor romance, but nothing serious happens as Zoom still considers himself married to Ashley.
Zoom later infiltrates the already-growing "Rogue War" between Captain Cold's Rogues, the Trickster's reformed Rogues, and the Top's brainwashed Rogues. Quickly spiriting his estranged wife Ashley out of danger to the home of Linda Park, Zoom returns to the battlefront to dispatch Captain Cold, claiming that the "Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero" is wasting the Flash's time with his longstanding, self-aggrandizing methods of villainy.
As the Flash and Kid Flash (Bart Allen) attempt to contain the battle, Zoom throttles Kid Flash and threatens to snap his neck in a manner reminiscent of what Barry Allen had done to Eobard Thawne (Professor Zoom). Before Zoom can kill Kid Flash, Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne) himself arrives on a cosmic treadmill, with Jay Garrick chained to the front end, Zoom having earlier captured Jay and forced him to take him back to the day of Professor Zoom's death to recruit his assistance.
A battle ensues between the two Flashes and Kid Flash against the two Zooms (during which Kid Flash escapes Zoom by vibrating to become intangible, the only speedster power Zoom cannot duplicate). In the end, the two Zooms accomplish what they intended, grabbing the Flash and jumping onto the treadmill. Zoom then forces the Flash to watch their first fight, in which Linda is severely injured and miscarries. Zoom tells Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne) to replay the experience as he feels that Wally West should be made to focus on the feelings of sorrow and loss from this experience. As the scene starts to rewind, West's uncle and mentor Barry Allen appears, riding his own cosmic treadmill after searching for Professor Zoom.
Barry removes Wally from immediate danger, telling Wally that he was here to return Thawne to his proper place in time, and that no matter how bad it seems, West can win if he "just pushes himself a bit." He and Thawne then disappear through time. Zoom, enraged, begins to run around the world, building up speed with the intention of killing Linda by colliding with her. Wally rushes to catch up, though he has just a step or two behind. At the last minute, he realizes what Barry's advice means and puts on a final burst of speed, pushing himself, and hitting Zoom in the back. Zoom falls forward and is caught in the sonic boom that his past self-created to kill Linda's babies, causing him to take the brunt of the force. This action creates a "fissure in time" that prevents Linda's original miscarriage and restores her pregnancy just in time for her to give birth in the present. Zoom runs for the treadmill, but Wally forces them back to their mutual present. Along the way, they view scenes of Zoom's life. Zoom realizes his mistreatment of Wally and briefly apologizes before slipping into the timestream. He is later seen as a ghost-like figure apologizing to his wife.
Zoom returns in Infinite Crisis as the Society's chief speedster, claiming that their adversaries would all be stronger heroes if they survive. In Infinite Crisis #1, he is part of the Society strike force responsible for massacring the Freedom Fighters. Zoom himself scars Damage by pummeling him with punches at superspeed.
One Year Later
Zoom later appears at the sacking of Rome, being approached by Bart Allen's grandmother, to help her protect Bart from a great tragedy that the villain Inertia was setting up. It is unknown whether Zoom traveled to this time period himself, or if he became stranded there after his last encounter with Wally West.
Zoom is pursued by the Justice Society of America into Atlanta. Damage is banned from the city, but enters anyway seeking revenge. During a scuffle, he ends up taking Zoom hostage until being talked down by Liberty Belle. Disappointed that Damage is not "improving", he throws a sharp pipe to kill him. Liberty Belle uses her superspeed to catch it and toss it back, knocking Zoom unconscious.
In DC Universe #0, he can be seen as a member of Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains.
In Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge he frees Inertia from his paralysis, inflicted previously by Wally West, hoping to make him his apprentice as a new Kid Flash, teaching how to "improve" his own life and the ones of other by inflicting great tragedies. Inertia learns the lesson too well, and claiming himself to be "Kid Zoom", the new master of tragedies, turns over the Flash's Rogues and Zoom altogether. Employing the timestream manipulation powers Zoom granted him against his master, he reverts the body of Zoom to the crippled, broken body of Hunter Zolomon, stripping him of his powers.
Powers and abilities
Zoom can alter time relative to himself, as opposed to using the Speed Force like most of the DC Universe speedsters do. He can apparently use this ability to move at "speeds" rivaling those of even Wally West, and usually "faster" than the speeds that even Wally can muster in most cases. Rather than actually time traveling, Zoom is controlling the speed at which time flows around him, allowing him to go faster or slower in time than everyone around him. Since Zoom is not actually moving at superspeed (rather, he is greatly slowing down time relative to himself, and can make himself so "fast" that even most of the Flashes look to him to be moving in slow motion), the temporal nature of his speed allows him to avoid the usual problems encountered by other Flash-type speedsters (friction, seeing and hearing at such near-light speeds, et al.), whose automatic and unconscious use of the Speed Force overcomes those problems. As he is moving at a normal velocity, and the rest of the world is "slow", those hindrances simply do not affect him. This aspect also means that he is unable to become intangible like other speedsters can by vibrating their molecules at certain frequencies.
Even if his powers are not tied to the Speed Force, he has twice shown the ability to grant superspeed to other beings, granting Cheetah a speed rivaling Wonder Woman's, and restoring Inertia's speed, freeing him from his Speed Force-induced paralysis to turn him into his apprentice. This ability is related to the manipulation of the timestream, as he can allow others to tap into time through himself, and shut down this connection at will.
In other media
- Zoom was alluded in the DC animated series Justice League Unlimited episode "Divided We Fall". When the hybrid form of Lex Luthor/Brainiac creates artificial replicas of the Justice Lords with the "Dark Heart" device and pits them against their Justice League counterparts, Luthor/Brainiac forms an android replica of Flash (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum) identical to Zoom's design (while the lenses of his cowl remain white instead of black). Additionally, the android replica Flash's comments to the Flash echo Zoom's accusations. This Flash was first of the Justice Lords androids to be destroyed.
- Reverse-Flash appears in the television series The Flash. Though this version is eventually revealed to be Eobard Thawne, it has been theorized that he took the life of Barry Allen’s mother for the same reason Zolomon attempted to bring tragedy to Wally West through attacking Linda Park, West’s then pregnant wife. Throughout the series Thawne, using the name Harrison Wells, provides help and guidance to Barry under the pretext of friendship. This relationship between Wells and Allen bares resemblance to the one between Hunter Zolomon and Wally West, in that Zolomon claims that his actions to bring harm to the Flash are all for the purpose of making Wally stronger.  Though Thawne subsequently reveals that the main reason he helps Barry is to generate enough speed, so Thawne can go back to his own time. In the series Thawne use a wheelchair to disguise himself, while in the comics Zolomon is paralyzed from the waist down.
- Zoom is the fourth level boss in the game Justice League Heroes: The Flash.
- Zoom appears in DC Universe Online voiced by Robert Dieke. He is a boss character in the duo mode of a mission where the players have to rescue Flash from Gorilla Grodd.
- "Zoom is Number 37". Comics.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
- Flash #223 (August 2005)
- "Infinite Crisis" #1 (2005)
- The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #10-#12, 2007
- Sinestro Corps Special #1
- Justice Society of America (Vol. 3) #8
- Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #1
- Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #2
- Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #3
- Flash: Rebirth #6 (February 2010)
- Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #1-#3
- Isnain, Joey. [The Flash: Who is Harrison Wells? Professor Zoom or Hunter Zolomon? "The Flash: Who is Harrison Wells? Professor Zoom or Hunter Zolomon?"]. Moviepilot. Retrieved 2015-02-13.
- Profile on Hunter Zolomon
- Profile on Zoom
- Crimson Lightning – An online index to the comic book adventures of the Flash.