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Reverse-Flash is a name which has been used by several fictional supervillains in American comic books published by DC Comics. Many are fast, and are enemies and foils of the superheroes known as the Flash.
Edward Clariss (also known as 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, has recreated the formula which was behind Jay Garrick's speed as Velocity 9. He heard Joan Williams talking about how the Flash gave his own speed to another student, which helped him develop the formula. Bitter at the scientific community's rejection of his claims, Clariss becomes a criminal. A darker version of Flash with a mask over his head, he gives the formula to other criminals. The Rival's version of the formula is temporary, and he is captured and jailed.
JSA #16 (November 2000) contains a flashback to a battle between the Rival and the Flash several months after Clariss' first appearance. Clariss, who has inexplicably regained super speed, reaches light speed during the fight and vanishes into the Speed Force. After 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 Injustice Society. The Rival, driven insane in the Speed Force, races across the country on a killing spree. The Flash realizes that the Rival's path across the country spells out Clariss' name and the final murder will be Jay's wife Joan Garrick; Jay 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, Max time-travels to an unknown destination. In The Flash: Rebirth #4, Max Mercury escapes from the Speed Force and is rejuvenated by Wally West's energy; this allows him to return to Earth in a new body. Another Golden Age Reverse Flash is a robot whose only appearance was in one panel of The Flash vol. 2, #134 (February 1998), where he is defeated by Garrick.
Hunter Zolomon, also known as Zoom, first appeared in The Flash: Secret Files & Origins #3. The archenemy of Wally West, he is the second supervillain to be called Reverse-Flash and thus Eobard Thawne's self appointed successor.
Thaddeus Thawne (or Inertia) first appeared in Impulse #51, created by Todd DeZago and Mike Wieringo. Inertia, a clone of Bart Allen, first fought Bart as Impulse. When Bart aged five years after Infinite Crisis and became the Flash, Inertia fought his genetic template again. Inertia was responsible for Allen's death; Wally West returned, taking revenge by paralyzing Inertia and installing him in the Flash Museum. In Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, he was used by Libra and Zoom to try to get the Rogues to join the Secret Society. Inertia stole Zoom's powers, called himself Kid Zoom and was killed by the Rogues, who blamed him for making them kill Bart.
Asked who created Inertia, Ethan van Sciver wrote that he could only accept five percent of the credit; the remaining credit belonged to Mike Wieringo (20 percent), Grant Morrison (25 percent) and Todd Dezago (50 percent). According to van Sciver, Inertia's appearance is an inverted Impulse.
Inertia initially appeared came in Impulse #50: "First Fool's" (July 1999), followed by #51: "It's All Relative" (August 1999). His greatest character development was in #53: "Threats" (October 1999). Inertia was not featured again until Impulse #62 and #66: "Mercury Falling" (July, November 2000), and again for another five years.
He then began making regular appearances, primarily due to Bart becoming the Flash. Inertia appeared in The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #5: "Lightning in a Bottle, Part 5" (December 2006) as Allen's antagonist. In addition to his Flash appearances, he appeared in Teen Titans (vol. 3) as part of Titans East, an enemy team, beginning in Teen Titans #43 (January 2007). The storyline concluded with #46 (April 2007). Gathering the Rogues, he attempted to drain Bart's powers for himself; the plan backfired when Wally returned when Inertia's equipment drained the Speed Force, making the Rogues accidentally beat Bart to death. As Bart tried to escape, he was captured by Wally (who drained Inertia's speed).
Inertia is primarily a speedster, remaining disconnected from the Speed Force after Infinite Crisis and injecting himself with Velocity 9. Although Velocity 9 has been unstable, Deathstroke's new variety seems to have no negative side effects. Inertia briefly shares his powers before his death with Zoom, who lends him his speed to pressure him into becoming a new Kid Flash. As a maddened Kid Zoom, he masters human time streams and reverts Zoom to the powerless Hunter Zolomon before he is killed by the Rogues.
Daniel West, who first appears in Flash #23 (of the New 52), is Iris West's brother. Having received his powers from a combination of a Rogues attack and an incident in which the Speed Force granted powers to individuals, he wants to help Barry Allen. Since Daniel broke his father's back (making him a paraplegic and alienating Iris), he wants to travel back in time to kill his father before the incident—altering the timeline and regaining Iris' affection. Reverse Flash was defeated and stripped of his powers.
Regaining his powers, he joined the Suicide Squad. Daniel was killed while saving children from a time bomb, when the bomb exploded after Reverse Flash threw it into the ocean (creating a vortex which killed him).
In DC's Tangent Comics, 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. The Flash's light-wave powers outmatched Reverse-Flash's, and she was destroyed. This Reverse Flash appeared in one issue: Tangent Comics: The Flash (December 1997).
In other media
- In Justice League Unlimited, the fusion of Lex Luthor and Brainiac creates robotic androids of Justice Lords, including a yellow-suited copy of the Flash (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 the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster" voiced by John Wesley Shipp.
- A Reverse-Flash will appear on Justice League Action.
- Matt Letscher portrays Professor Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash, while Tom Cavanagh portrayed his disguised form of "Dr. Harrison Wells" as the main antagonist of the first season of The Flash. The time-travelling archenemy of Barry Allen/Flash from the future and a descendant of Eddie Thawne, he serves as a major recurring antagonist on The Flash, as well as a main antagonist in the second season of Legends of Tomorrow as the leader of the Legion of Doom, hunting for the Spear of Destiny to make the Black Flash stop chasing him.
- Teddy Sears portrays a loose adaptation of Hunter Zolomon/Zoom as the main antagonist of the second season of The Flash, with Tony Todd providing his disguised voice. Originally a serial killer from Earth-2, he became a rogue speedster who augmented his powers with the Velocity 9 serum, which turned his lightning blue. He also masqueraded as Jay Garrick/The Flash. He is transformed into the Black Flash upon his death at the end of the season. Now a servant of the Speed Force, he returns briefly in the third season of the series and appears frequently in the second season of Legends of Tomorrow hunting Eobard Thawne, eventually succeeding.
- Todd Lasance portrays Edward Clariss/Rival, though unlike the comic book version, the character is a standard drug-free speedster with red lightning, and has nothing to do with Jay Garrick. He is the archenemy of Wally West/Kid Flash in the Flashpoint timeline. After the timeline is restored, Alchemy gives the normal Clariss the powers and memories he possessed in Flashpoint. With Alchemy's help, Clariss tries to kill Barry Allen but fails. While imprisoned at Iron Heights, Clariss is killed by Savitar for his failure.
The subsequent versions of Reverse-Flash appear in various video games. The Hunter Zolomon version appears in the Game Boy Advance game Justice League Heroes: The Flash as the fourth-level boss. The Eobard Thawne version is a mini-boss in DC Universe Online in the Gorilla Grodd duos and appears as a world boss roaming Central City in the Lightning Strikes downloadable content, is a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, and in various designs in Injustice: Gods Among Us with Black Lantern appearance as an alternate skin as a challenge and a Reverse Flash skin from the CW's TV series The Flash as playable in the game's mobile version with the Most Wanted challenge pack.
- 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
- "Inertia . . . ! - Page 4 - The Comic Bloc Forums". Comicbloc.com. Retrieved 2011-04-25.