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Reverse-Flash is a name that has been used by several fictional characters in American comic books published by DC Comics. Many of them have super speed and are enemies and foils of the superheroes known as the Flash.
Fictional character biography
Dr. Edward Clariss (a.k.a. the Rival and Rival Flash) first appeared in Flash Comics #104 (February 1949). He is the arch-enemy of the first Flash, Jay Garrick. Dr. Edward Clariss, a professor at the university attended by the Golden Age Flash, has recreated the formula that gave Garrick his speed, which he calls "Velocity 9". He had heard Chevaune Reid one night talking about how the Flash gave his speed to another student, which helped him get the last formula. Bitter at the scientific community's rejection of his claims, Clariss becomes a criminal. He wears a darker version of Flash's outfit with a mask concealing his entire head and gives the formula to several other criminals. The Rival's version of the formula proves to be temporary, and he is defeated and jailed.
In JSA #16 (November 2000), a flashback shows a battle between the Rival and the Flash that took place several months after Clariss' first appearance. Through unexplained methods, Clariss has regained the power of super speed. During the fight, Clariss reaches light speed and vanishes into the Speed Force. Following the reformation of the Justice Society of America 50 years later, Johnny Sorrow retrieves Chevaune from the Speed Force and invites him to join the new Injustice Society. The Rival, driven insane by his time in the Speed Force, races across the country on a super-speed killing spree. The Flash realizes that the Rival's path across the country spells out Clariss' name, and that the final murder will be Jay's wife Joan. The Flash absorbs the Rival's speed before he can kill Joan.
The Rival returns in Impulse #88 (September 2002), posing as Joan Garrick's doctor. Now pure speed energy, he possesses Garrick's fellow Golden Age speedster Max Mercury. After battling Jay and Impulse, the Rival/"Max Mercury" escapes via time travel to an unknown destination.
In The Flash: Rebirth #4, Max Mercury escapes from the Speed Force and is rejuvenated by Wally West's energy, allowing him to return to Earth in a new corporeal body. Following the events of Flashpoint that altered the timeline, it is unclear what happened to the Rival and Max Mercury's original body.
Another Golden Age Reverse Flash is a robot who wears a reversed-color version of Garrick's costume. The robot's only appearance was in one panel in The Flash vol. 2, #134 (February 1998), in which he is easily defeated by Garrick. It should be noted that Clariss has never actually been called Reverse-Flash, though he's considered the first of them.
Professor Eobard "Zoom" Thawne, a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash, first appeared in The Flash #139 (September 1963). He is the archenemy of Barry Allen and the first supervillain to be called the Reverse-Flash (though Clariss is considered the first one).
Inertia was a clone of Bart Allen. He originally fought Allen when he was Impulse. Later when Bart aged five years after Infinite Crisis and became the Flash, Inertia fought him again. Inertia was responsible for Allen's death and when Wally West returned he took revenge by paralyzing Inertia and putting him in the Flash Museum. During Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge he was used by Libra and Zoom to try to get the Rogues to join the new Secret Society. He stole Zoom's powers, called himself Zoom and was killed by the Rogues, who blamed him for making them kill Bart Allen.
When questioned as to who created Inertia, Ethan van Sciver wrote that he could only accept five percent of the credit. The rest was offered to Mike Wieringo (twenty percent), Grant Morrison (twenty-five percent) and Todd Dezago (fifty percent). He also states that Inertia's appearance is just Impulse's inverted, like a Reverse-Flash. This fits the character's original role as a "Reverse-Impulse" created to antagonize the title character.
Inertia's initial appearance came in Impulse #50: "First Fool's" (July 1999), followed by #51: "It's All Relative" (August 1999). The most character development came in #53: "Threats" (October 1999). Inertia wasn't featured again until Impulse #62 and #66: "Mercury Falling" (July, November 2000). Inertia would not be notably featured again for half a decade.
Inertia then began making regular appearances, mostly due to his twin Bart Allen becoming The Flash. Inertia appeared in The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #5: “Lightning in a Bottle, Part 5” (December 2006). Inertia acted as an antagonist to Allen. In addition to his Flash appearances, Inertia made repeated appearances in Teen Titans (vol. 3). Teen Titans featured Inertia as part of an enemy team, Titans East. The story arc began in Teen Titans (vol. 3) #43 (January 2007). The arc concluded with Teen Titans (vol. 3) #46 (April 2007). Gathering the Rogues, he attempted to drain Bart's powers for himself, but this plan backfired when Wally West returned at the same time as Inertia's equipment drained the Speed Force, causing the Rogues to beat Bart to death by accident. As he tried to escape, he was captured by Wally, who literally drained Inertia's speed from him to such an extent that Inertia was permanently immobilised, forced to stare at a statue of Bart in the Flash Museum.
Inertia is primarily a speedster. He has not demonstrated any other speed-related powers, such as Bart's resilience to alterations in the time stream. For some time following Infinite Crisis, Inertia remained disconnected from the Speed Force. Instead, he injects himself with Velocity 9, a substance that helps him maintain his speed. Velocity 9 has been notoriously unstable in the past, but Deathstroke's new variant seems to offer no negative side effects. For a brief period before his death, he shares his powers with Zoom, who lends him his speed to pressure him into being a new Kid Flash. His attempt failed, Inertia turns into a maddened Kid Zoom, with absolute mastery over the individual time stream of a human being, able to revert Zoom to the powerless Hunter Zolomon before being killed by the assembled forces of the Rogues.
Daniel West appears at first in Flash #23 (of the New 52), garbed in a primarily black and red costume, as opposed to the yellow and red of previous Reverse-Flashes. Later, in Flash #23, he is revealed as Iris West's brother, who received his powers from a freak combination of a Rogues attack and an incident which involved the Speed Force granting powers to several individuals. He desires to help Barry. Since in the current continuity Daniel broke his father's spine, making him a paraplegic and alienating Iris, he now desires to travel further back in time to kill his father before that incident, altering the timeline and regaining Iris' affection in return. Reverse Flash was defeated and stripped of his powers.
Reverse Flash regained his powers and joined the Suicide Squad. He was killed when he saved some children from a time bomb when the bomb exploded while Reverse Flash was throwing it in the ocean, creating a vortex that tore him to shreds.
While the previous Reverse-Flashes only wore a costume, Daniel West wears armor that he can control, made from shrapnel from the Speed Force-supercharged monorail that was destroyed in the incident which gave him his powers.
DC Rebirth #1 also retconned him into being the father of the New 52 Wally West (therefore retconning the youth as the cousin of the pre-Flashpoint Wally West), with both sharing the common name due to being named after the same great-grandfather.
In DC's Tangent Comics reality, Reverse Flash is an evil holographic duplicate of Lia Nelson (the Flash), created by a sinister government agency. She was charged with negative ionic energy to disperse Flash's photon-based form. However Flash's light-wave powers outmatched Reverse-Flash's and Reverse-Flash was destroyed. This Reverse Flash only appeared in one issue, Tangent Comics: The Flash (December 1997).
In other media
- In Justice League Unlimited, the Brainiac/Luthor fusion creates robotic androids of Justice Lords. But since the Flash died before the Justice Lords came to be, a yellow-suited copy of the Flash was created instead, voiced by Michael Rosenbaum.
- The Eobard Thawne version of the Reverse-Flash makes occasional appearances on Robot Chicken.
- The Eobard Thawne version of the Reverse-Flash appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by John Wesley Shipp (who played Flash in the 1990 live action series)
The Flash (2014)
- Three versions of the Reverse-Flash appear in The CW's The Flash:
- Matt Letscher portrays Professor Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash, a descendant of Eddie Thawne, the time-travelling arch-enemy of Barry Allen / The Flash from the future, while Tom Cavanagh plays him in the form of "Dr. Harrison Wells". He serves as the main antagonist of the first season of The Flash and the second season of Legends of Tomorrow, in which he is a member of the Legion of Doom, as well as being a recurring villain in subsequent seasons of the former. Hailing from the 22nd century, Eobard admired the Flash and wanted to be him and replicated his powers. But to his to dismay, he learnt, through time travel that he was destined to be the Flash's arch-enemy. This drove Eobard insane. He became obsessed with killing his idol to prove his superiority as a speedster, as the "Reverse-Flash". This led to numerous encounters with the Flash with no outcome. As shown during season one, Eobard eventually learned the Flash's real name, "Barry Allen", and traveled back in time to kill him as a child but was thwarted when the Flash brought his younger self to safety. So Instead, Eobard murdered Barry's mother Nora and framed his father Henry for the crime. In causing this injustice he lost his connection to the Speed Force, marooning him in the past and in turn leading him to need Barry's speed to return to his time. Eobard murdered Dr. Harrison Wells and took his appearance to assume the scientist's life and ensure the construction of S.T.A.R. Labs and Wells' particle accelerator, the very source of Barry's powers. While working at S.T.A.R. Labs, Eobard becomes fond of his employee Cisco Ramon and comes to view him as a surrogate son. He also adopts a gorilla named Grodd. After 13 years, Eobard succeeds in causing the accelerator to explode, which gives Barry his speed but also creates countless other meta-human criminals and gives Cisco and Grodd powers. Eobard aids in Barry's heroics in order to make him get fast enough to generate enough speed to send him back to his time. Eobard develops a newfound fondness for Barry which he never expected to develop. Eventually, his true motives are exposed and he offers to send Barry back to save his mother if he agrees to aid him. Barry declines and Eobard is thwarted once again. Before he can kill Barry, his ancestor Eddie Thawne commits suicide, which erases Eobard's existence from the timeline. During season two, a younger self of Eobard appeared due to the Speed Force preserving his past time travels. Barry visits Eobard (as Wells) in 2015 so he can give Barry information on how to increase his speed force. When Zoom kills Henry, a grief stricken Barry travels back in time to stop Eobard from killing his mother. In season three, Eobard is imprisoned in a Carbine cell in the Flashpoint timeline. Though Barry first ignores Eobard's warnings that Flashpoint will end badly, after a battle with The Rival in which Wally (that time line's Flash) is killed, he agrees to release Eobard, allowing him to go back and kill Nora. However, when they return to the present, Eobard informs Barry that there will be changes to his life before leaving, restoring Eobard into existence as a time remnant. Eobard appears in the second season of Legends of Tomorrow, where he travels to the 1940s to aid the Nazis achieve an unknown plot, causing numerous timeline changes, and is hunted by the Legends. He also forms a partnership with Damien Darhk for still unclear reasons.
- Teddy Sears portrays Hunter Zolomon (Zoom), a psychopathic serial killer and rogue speedster from Earth-2, and archenemy of Jay Garrick / The Flash from Earth-3, while Tony Todd provides his disguised voice when masked, and stuntman Ryan Handley portrays him in costume prior to the revelation of his true identity. He serves as the main antagonist of the second season of The Flash. A serial killer who saw his father kill his mother as a child. Hunter gained super speed via Harrison Wells' particle accelerator and became a terrorist called "Zoom". Dissatisfied with his speed, Hunter developed a drug known as "Velocity-9" to increase his speed. But as a side effect was afflicted with an illness that only an infusion of Speed Force could cure. Searching the Multiverse, Hunter encountered Jay on Earth-3 and imprisoned him on Earth-2. Following a failed attempt to harness his speed, Hunter was inspired to act as both hero and villain and stole Jay's mantle and name, falsely operating as the Earth-2 Flash by using time remnants to maintain appearances as both Flash and Zoom. Following the singularity, Hunter traveled to Earth-1 and found Barry Allen (The Flash). While infiltrating the team as "Jay", he began sending various meta-humans from Earth-2 to fight Barry, intending to force him to increase his speed, which he plotted to steal. As part of this plan, Hunter abducts Harry's daughter Jesse to force him to steal Barry's speed for him. While infiltrating the team he and Caitlin fell in love but she remained unaware of his true nature for sometime. After Barry, Cisco and Harry rescue Jesse, Hunter kills his remnant "Jay" so that Barry, motivated by his friend's death, increases his speed further, and later abducts Wally to force Barry to give up his speed in exchange for Wally's life. Succeeding in his intentions, after curing himself, Hunter brings the Earth-2 meta-humans to Earth-1 to invade the planet. He also seeks to corrupt first Caitlin's mind, so they can resume their relationship, and then Barry's, convinced that they are the same, and kills his father Henry. Hunter's true, definitive plan is then revealed to use a Magnatar to destroy the Multiverse minus Earth-1, using his and Barry's speed in a "race", but through the use of a time remnant of his own, Barry is able to foil his plan and beat him. Following his defeat, Hunter is taken away by Time Wraiths and imprisoned in the Speed Force for his crimes against the timeline. According to John Wesley Shipp (Henry/Jay) Zoom has been transformed into the "Black Flash" and is now an unwilling servant of the Speed Force for all eternity.
- Todd Lasance portrays Edward Clariss / The Rival, the arch-enemy of Wally West/Kid Flash in the Flashpoint timeline, an alternate reality created by Barry at the end of the second season. Clariss is a criminal determined to prove he is the fastest and that he has no rival who has frequent fights with Wally, forcing Barry and Wally to team up against Clariss. Clariss is defeated by Barry and killed by Joe but not before he kills Wally. After Barry restores the timeline, "Alchemy" makes contact with Clariss and gives him the powers and memories he possessed in the Flashpoint timeline. Clariss attempts to kill Barry in revenge for his death but is defeated once again. Clariss is later killed in prison by Savitar.
- The Eobard Thawne version of the Reverse-Flash appears in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, voiced by C. Thomas Howell. Inertia's costume is also seen on display in the Flash Museum.
- The Hunter Zolomon version of Reverse-Flash appears in the Game Boy Advance game Justice League Heroes: The Flash as the fourth level boss.
- The Eobard Thawne version of Reverse-Flash appears as a mini-boss in DC Universe Online in the Gorilla Grodd Duos instance. He also appears as a world boss roaming Central City in the "Lightning Strikes" DLC.
- Eobard Thawne has two alternate skins in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. Professor Zoom's Black Lantern appearance is an alternate skin for the Flash (Barry Allen) as an exclusive challenge. Later, Tom Cavanagh's Reverse Flash skin from The CW's TV series The Flash is playable in the mobile version of the game, via purchasing the Most Wanted challenge pack.
- The Eobard Thawne version of Reverse-Flash appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- Blur, a White Martian/Human hybrid who appeared in the Son of Vulcan mini-series
- Johnny Quick, the Flash's evil counterpart from the anti-matter Earth
- List of Flash enemies
- Züm, a White Martian with super-speed and member of the Hyperclan
- "Inertia . . . ! - Page 4 - The Comic Bloc Forums". Comicbloc.com. Retrieved 2011-04-25.