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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). Dr. Edward Clariss, a professor at the university attended by the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, has recreated the formula that gave Garrick his speed, which he calls "Velocity 9". He had heard Joan 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 Clariss 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 Kid 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 timestream 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.
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 lightwave 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)
- Matt Letscher portrays Professor Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash, the time-travelling archenemy of Barry Allen/The Flash, while Tom Cavanagh plays him in the form of "Dr. Harrison Wells". Eobard was a scientist obsessed with Barry so much he wanted to become him and replicated his powers, only to learn through time travel that he was destined to be his greatest enemy. Driven insane by this revelation Eobard grew to despise Barry and sought to prove his superiority by travelling to his time and killing him, but neither speedster was able to defeat the other. Eventually Eobard learned Barry's name and traveled back to kill him as a child but was defeated by an older Barry and in a fit of rage killed his mother Nora instead, framing his father Henry for the crime. Moments after Eobard's connection to the Speed Force was severed and he was stranded in the past. Seeking to return home but requiring Barry to become the Flash to achieve this he killed Dr. Harrison Wells and took his physical appearance to use the scientist's resources to build the particle accelerator that gave Barry his speed. After Barry gains his speed Eobard helps Barry with co-workers Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow to fight the various meta-human criminals created as fallout from the accelerator explosion. Over time Barry becomes suspicious of Eobard and discovers his real name and motives. After being imprisoned Eobard gives Barry a choice to go back in time and save his mother and the portal created as a result, will allow Eobard to return to his time. However Barry doesn't save her and tries to prevent Eobard from returning to his time, but is overpowered. Before Eobard can kill Barry his ancestor Eddie kills himself, erasing Eobard's existence. Despite this his existence is preserved through time remnants of his younger self, ones who haven't yet traveled back to kill Nora. After Barry defeats Zoom he travels back and prevents Eobard from killing Nora and altering the timeline. Eobard is imprisoned in a cell in the new timeline but to save Wally West's life Barry is forced to let Eobard restore the timeline. However Eobard's actions create yet another new timeline where his existence is restored and events in Barry's life are very different. 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. Additionally he serves as a secondary antagonist of the second and third seasons of The Flash.
- Teddy Sears portrays Hunter Zolomon/Zoom, the Earth-2 archenemy of Jay Garrick/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. Hunter was a serial killer who was affected by Harrison Wells' particle accelerator and became a terrorist named "Zoom". Dissatisfied with his speed he created Velocity-9 to increase his speed allowing him to travel between dimensions, but was also afflicted with an illness that could only be cured by an infusion of pure Speed Force. Hunter captured Jay to harness his speed but was unsuccessful but kept him imprisoned as a trophy and was inspired to be hero and villain, and stole Jay's name and mantle and masqueraded the Flash of Earth-2, using time remnant clones to maintain appearances as both Flash and Zoom. He also became so obsessed with speed he desired to be the only speedster in the Multiverse. After discovering Earth-1 Hunter plotted to steal Barry's speed by sending meta-humans to increase it while infiltrating the team as "Jay". He also kidnaps Harry's daughter Jesse to force Harry into physically stealing Barry's speed. He also becomes romantically involved with Caitlin, which she is unaware of his true nature. After succeeding in stealing Barry's speed Hunter brings every Earth-2 meta-human to Earth-1 to conquer it and steals a Magnatar which could be used to destroy the Multiverse using his and Barry's combined speed. However Hunter is defeated by Barry and is taken away by Time Wraiths for his crimes against the timeline and imprisoned in the Speed Force. He serves as the main antagonist of the second season of The Flash.
- Todd Lasance portrays Edward Clariss/The Rival, the archenemy of Wally West/Kid Flash in the Flashpoint timeline, an alternate reality created by Barry at the end of the second season. After Barry restores the timeline, a mysterious villain named "Alchemy" makes contact with Clariss and gives him the powers he possessed in the Flashpoint timeline. But after being defeated by the Flash again, Alchemy has Clariss killed in prison. He was a minor antagonist in The Flash.
- 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 Injustice Gods Among Us 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.