Cover art to Time Masters: Vanishing Point #5
Art by Dan Jurgens.
|First appearance||The Flash (vol. 1) #139 (September 1963)|
|Created by||John Broome
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains
Black Lantern Corps
|Notable aliases||Reverse-Flash, Professor Zoom|
Professor Eobard "Zoom" Thawne, otherwise known as "Professor Zoom" and the "Reverse-Flash", is a comic book supervillain in the DC Universe. He is the archenemy and foil for Barry Allen (the second superhero to be called the Flash), the second iteration of the Reverse-Flash, and a maternal forefather of both Bart Allen (aka Kid Flash) and Owen Mercer. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, he first appeared in The Flash (vol. 1) #139 in September 1963, and remained one of Barry Allen's most formidable adversaries in comics over the next quarter century.
In Flash #324, the character was apparently killed by the Flash in an effort to save his fiancée, and spare her the death that Thawne gave to Flash's first wife, Iris. Largely unseen over the next 25 years except in sporadic appearances, Thawne was resurrected by writer Geoff Johns in 2009's The Flash: Rebirth, and reimagined as a major villain in the DC Universe with his reintroduction. Johns compares this to his similar treatment of Green Lantern villain Sinestro in an early outline of the Rebirth series.
Professor Zoom was ranked as IGN's 31st greatest comic book villain of all time in 2009, and he was ranked #2 on their Top 5 Flash Villains list in 2015. Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash made his live action debut in the CW's 2014 TV series The Flash, portrayed by Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher.
- 1 Fictional character biography
- 2 Powers and abilities
- 3 Other versions
- 4 In other media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Fictional character biography
The "Return of Barry Allen" storyline in The Flash (vol. 2) #74-79 reveals that Eobard Thawne started out as a fan of The Flash that lived in the 25th century and became desperate to meet Allen. After gaining super-speed by replicating the electrochemical bath that gave Barry Allen powers (losing years of his life in the process) and even undergoing surgery to make himself look like his idol, he traveled back in time using the Cosmic Treadmill to meet his hero. Thawne became mentally unstable upon arriving several years after Barry's death—the machine having broken down over the centuries—and discovered from the Flash Museum that he is destined to be Reverse-Flash and die at the hands of his idol, resulting in his mind—already disoriented by the stress of time travel—seeking escape by convincing himself that he is Barry Allen. However, his true identity is eventually revealed due to his more violent nature. Thawne, as "Barry," attacked Central City in revenge for "forgetting him" until he was ultimately defeated by the Flash family and sent back to the future, his memory wiped of the incident due to the trauma of the time-travel and the beating he had received at the hands of Wally West.
He later became known as "The Professor", who found a time capsule containing the Silver Age Flash's costume. He was able to use a Tachyon device to amplify the suit's speed energy, giving himself the abilities of the Flash as long as he wore it. In the process, Thawne reversed the colors of the costume, the suit becoming yellow, the boots and lightning bolt highlighting the red color, and the chest symbol's white circle becoming black. Taking the new name "Professor," Thawne used his speed powers to commit crimes, but was stopped by the Flash, who had traveled forward in time to witness the time capsule being opened because it also contained an atomic clock which threatened to explode like an atomic bomb due to the process with which it had been sent into the future. The Flash, assuming his counterpart might know where the clock was, pursued Professor Zoom. After a destructive battle, the villain was finally defeated when he boasted how he used a chemical coating to protect himself from air friction. Betting that the invisible aura around his body would be superior protection, the Flash seized Thawne and began to push him forward so fast that the intense air friction overwhelmed the coating and the resulting burns forced him to surrender. It proved a waste of time, as Thawne knew nothing about the clock and the Flash was just barely able to find and remove it to an isolated area before it exploded. He also destroyed the costume to prevent it from being used again.
Blaming the Flash for his defeat, Thawne began traveling back in time to gain revenge, using his knowledge of history to his advantage. In his second appearance he hypnotized Doctor Alchemy, who was trying to go straight, into helping him. He also became obsessed with "replacing" Barry Allen, not only as the Flash, but as the husband of Iris West. After Iris finally made it clear that this would never happen (actually the second time she had insisted this, Thawne having erased her memory of the first time), Thawne (apparently) kills her at a party, vibrating his hand into her head. It took a long time for Allen to get his life back together after this. Shortly after Allen had found love again, Zoom reappeared, threatening to kill his new fiancee on Allen's second wedding day. Terrified that history would repeat itself, Allen instinctively and inadvertently kills his enemy, breaking Thawne's neck in a final struggle. After he was found not guilty of murder in the subsequent trial, despite the fact that Wally West (the then-Kid Flash and future Flash) testified that Barry could have stopped Thawne without breaking his neck, Barry went to the 30th century to retire and live with the resurrected Iris, as it was revealed she was really an inhabitant of that era sent back for protection and that her mind had been taken from the moment before death, only to later die during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Flash: Rebirth
Professor Zoom appears within the Speed Force in The Flash: Rebirth. It is revealed that he would be resurrected in a near-future event, as his corpse is still buried in the present. He is apparently the one responsible for Barry's return and transformation into the Black Flash. He apparently kills the Black Flash and attempts to transform Barry into its replacement. When he appears again, he murders the revived Johnny Quick. It is revealed that Thawne recreated the chemical bath that originally gave Barry his speed, allowing Thawne to lure Barry out of the Speed Force during Final Crisis and, by using that, to create a negative Speed Force, affecting Barry and temporarily turning him into the Black Flash.
He then traps Barry and the revived Max Mercury inside the negative Speed Force, and goes to attack Wally West's kids, Jai and Irey. He attempts to kill them through their connection to the Speed Force in front of Linda Park-West, only to be stopped by Jay Garrick and Bart Allen. Professor Zoom hates Bart's existence even though his mother is a Thawne which made him his descendant, since Bart is also a descendant of Barry, whose legacy Zoom is intent on destroying. Bart, in turn, expresses no affection to his maternal forefather, fully aware that Thawne is a psychopath. Thawne defeats Jay and prepares to kill Bart before Max, Barry and Wally arrive, and take the fight to him. The fight is soon joined by Jesse Chambers and Irey, both of whom now have a full connection to the Speed Force and who take up the mantles of Jesse Quick and Impulse.
Thawne pulls Barry away and reveals that everything horrible that happened to Barry, including the death of his mother, was caused because of Reverse Flash. He then decides to destroy everything by killing Barry's wife, Iris, before they even met.
As Barry chases after Thawne, Wally joins him in the time barrier. They reach him, and in doing so they become the lightning bolt that turns Barry into the Flash as they are able to stop Thawne from killing Iris. The Flashes push Thawne back through time, showing his past and future. They return to the present, where the Justice League, the Justice Society, and the Outsiders have built a device originally intended to disconnect Barry from the Speed Force when he was the Black Flash. Barry tosses Thawne in and Jay activates the device, severing his connection to the negative Speed Force. As the Flashes tie him up to stop him from running, back in the past Iris discovers Thawne's weapon and keeps it.
In the present, Zoom Boomerang is imprisoned in the Iron Heights. Hunter Zolomon speaks to him, saying they can help each other be better. In Gorilla City, one of the apes warns that Professor Zoom has done something horrible to their jungles, something even they do not know.
In the 2009–2010 storyline "Blackest Night", Eobard Thawne's broken-necked corpse is reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps. The black power ring downloaded the corpse's memories, resulting in it not knowing about Barry's death and resurrection. Declaring itself the new Black Flash, the Black Lantern Zoom attacks Barry, who manages to elude it for the moment. When Black Lantern Rogues attack Iron Heights, they encounter the living Zoom, their rings strangely malfunctioning, and displaying a strange symbol. When the Black Lantern Zoom approaches his living counterpart, he stops moving, and is then frozen by Captain Cold's "cold grenade". In the final issue of the series, future Black Lantern Zoom is brought back to life by the white light of creation, and manages to escape.
In the follow-up "Brightest Day" storyline, the present Professor Zoom is still imprisoned in Iron Heights. When Deadman activates the White Power Battery, the Entity speaks to the twelve heroes and villains resurrected at the climax of the "Blackest Night" and tells each of them of their mission that must be accomplished in order to restore 'life' to the universe and prevent the Blackest Night from ever recurring. Zoom becomes the first to inadvertently fulfill his mission, which occurred in the events of The Flash: Rebirth when he freed Barry Allen from the Speed Force following his resurrection. The Entity proclaims Professor Zoom has completed his task, and his life is restored to him, later revealing that Zoom, having fulfilled his task, is now fully purged of all trace remnants of his Black Lantern ties – both present and future. Professor Zoom is released from Iron Heights by Captain Boomerang, who had hoped to better understand his version of the Entity's message. Zoom does not answer him directly, giving a cryptic response and eventually escaping as Captain Boomerang is confronted by the rest of the Rogues.
Post-Infinite Crisis origin
Professor Zoom uses his power to completely rewrite his history. In the story Professor Zoom uses his reverse Speed force powers to wipe his younger brother and rival Professor Drake from history as well as killing his parents when they try to interfere with his research.
Eobard then falls in love with a reporter who had been hired to interview him and his future self at first kills and then wipes the reporter's fiance (and eventually every man who she had ever dated) from existence. After finding out she did not return Eobard's affections, his future self traumatized the reporter when she was a child, causing her to be mute and institutionalized for the rest of her life so that he never met her.
Finally he had his younger self find the Flash uniform all to make himself the 25th century Flash. As the altered Eobard Thawne runs past him Professor Zoom sheds a tear saying "It won't last long. You will never find love. You will never be the Flash. Barry Allen destroyed my future. It's time I destroyed his".
In the 2011 Flashpoint storyline, a new timeline is created through the alteration of history. Zoom reveals that his body is permanently connected to the Speed Force, enabling him to create the negative version of it, with which he escaped prison. He was unable to alter Barry's becoming the Flash, as that would erase Zoom himself from existence. Zoom decides instead to ruin Barry's life by during childhood, removing Barry's best friend from existence to result in greater introversion on Barry's part, and various other torments such as killing his mother. Zoom reveals to Barry that the new timeline was created by Barry himself going back in time to stop Professor Zoom from killing his mother. After Zoom is killed by the Batman of this reality with an Amazonian sword, Flash travels back in time to stop his younger self from altering time but instead, under the manipulations of Pandora, a third, new timeline is created, in which DC Comics' continuity takes place from 2011 onwards.
The New 52
In the new timeline, Professor Zoom is revealed to be trapped in the Speed Force, and it seems that Barry hasn’t met him yet because he doesn't recognize the name "Thawne" but Thawne definitely knows about the Flash. After learning how to leave the Speed Force, Thawne as Professor Zoom brings in his friends to assure that Barry meets as heartbreaking a demise as possible. But Zoom's not ready to reveal himself just yet. Meanwhile, Barry reveals the name "Thawne" to his father, to find that Henry recognizes the name. He does his best to get Barry to stop investigating that name, then turns to his prison friends to help deal with the situation.
When Henry Allen, along with some other villains, like Girder, are on the run and grabbing supplies from the Central City distribution center for Medi-Barn Supplies, Inc, someone is following them but they don't notice him at first. It is Professor Zoom, and he does not want Henry Allen to be a "free man", even though Henry is wanted for escaping prison, so Zoom pulls the fire alarm. With the fire alarm comes a guard and the group is put in a sticky situation. In the moment where the guard has his gun drawn on Henry, Zoom speeds in and puts the gun in Henry's hand and makes him pull the trigger. The guard goes down and is dead. But Zoom is not done yet. Later on, Zoom confronts Barry again and while Barry has only bumped into Zoom a couple of times, Zoom seems very familiar with who Barry is. After their confrontation, Zoom leads Barry to the house where his mother was killed.
Its also revealed that following his escape from the Speed Force, Professor Zoom traveled throughout time to find other people that were touched by the Speed Force and given powers. He does this in order to put a team of four other speeders to destroy Barry Allen.
As revealed in The Flash (Vol. 4) #45, his power is not the same as pre-New 52, in facts he is "able to control the flow of time to make himself appear faster than everything--and everyone--else": in the same issue he absorbs the power from one of his associates - Magali - and becomes able "to affect the age of organic and inorganic matter".
Powers and abilities
Professor Zoom is able to travel at super-human speeds faster than the speed of light, deliver many different types of blows a second, run on water, create cyclones, and vibrate his molecules to pass through solid objects. Essentially he has all the same powers as The Flash or other speedsters, and can thus fight with blinding swiftness.
In The Flash: Rebirth, it is discovered that when Zoom duplicated the incident that granted Barry Allen his powers, he created a negative Speed Force by corrupting the positive version of it. Through this Speed Force, he also has the ability to create multiple after-images or "speed mirages" and, unlike The Flash and other users of the original Speed Force, can travel through and alter time, and can erase people from existence (Flash cannot change the past without dramatic consequences). He paradoxically exists backwards in time.[volume & issue needed]
In the events leading up to Flashpoint, Professor Zoom has developed numerous powers including the ability to absorb other people's memories and experiences, change his age, and drastically alter time.
In the New 52 era his power is not the same as pre-New 52, in facts he is only "able to control the flow of time to make himself appear faster than everything--and everyone--else": in the same issue he absorbs the power from one of his associates - Magali - and becomes able "to affect the age of organic and inorganic matter".
In the final issue of the Batman Beyond arc "Hush Beyond", an elderly Amanda Waller informs a head CADMUS scientist Dr. Thawne that the world will always need a Batman, before unveiling vats full of clones of the original Dark Knight and his allies. He is later seen making a transaction with Inque, a recurring villain with unstable mutagen powers, gaining a trigger that can adapt to any weapon and with limitless range in return for helping Inque remain stable.
In an alternate timeline created when Impulse kills an insect in the Devonian Age, most super-villains are government bureaucrats. Professor Zoom is the National Science Advisor to President-for-Life Julian Tremain. Although he claims that his superspeed gave him superior intellect, his advice tends to be extremely obvious.[volume & issue needed]
In subsequent changes to the timeline, Zoom defected to the rebellion against Tremain led by Gorilla Grodd; turned into a gorilla fighting against an army of flying turtles led by Grodd, now a flying turtle himself; and was a gorilla in a modern society identical to that of ancient Egypt.
In other media
- Professor Zoom appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by John Wesley Shipp. In the episode "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!", Zoom has conquered the 25th Century and captured the Flash (Barry Allen), imprisoning the Flash on a treadmill and using his nemesis's speed to power wrist-worn devices that increased his own speed, as well as that of his soldiers. Despite being trapped in Zoom's prison, the Flash sends speed illusions of himself to the present time to call for aid to Batman (Bruce Wayne), the Golden Age Flash and Wally West. Eventually, Zoom captures the other versions of Flash as well, then imprisons Batman in a holding cell. However, Batman breaks out and steals the speed devices of several guards to match up to Zoom's speed. While he is distracted with Batman, the other versions of Flash run even faster to approach light speed and generate a wormhole. The Flash uses the wormhole to escape and then engages Zoom where the two speedsters run around the world doing battle. The fight ends with the Flash using speed to glaze some sand to form a wall of glass before tripping Zoom.
- Eobard Thawne appears on the 2014 TV series The Flash, portrayed by Tom Cavanagh (disguised in present day) and by Matt Letscher (original likeness). As season one's main antagonist, this version (simply referred to as the "Reverse-Flash") has connections to many future DC heroes and villains. Hailing from the future and claiming to be born in the year 2151 as a member of the distinguished Thawne family, Eobard was somehow able to gain the powers as an evil speedster known as the Reverse-Flash. The Reverse-Flash then traveled back in time to a period where the Flash was still alive and formed a bitter grudge against the hero as his archenemy. For a long time, neither one was strong enough to defeat the other, clashing time and time again with neither speedster ever winning. Eventually, Eobard learned the Flash's secret identity, and traveled back to the year 2000 to kill his nemesis as a child. But when the Flash followed Thawne back in time and brought the younger self to safety, an angered Reverse-Flash murdered Nora Allen and framed Henry Allen instead, hoping that a childhood tragedy would traimatize the child. However, the Reverse-Flash somehow lost his connection to the Speed Force, leaving Eobard unable to travel back to his time. He then killed and impersonated "Dr. Harrison Wells" via a genetic modification device, due to knowing that the scientist was responsible for the Flash's powers in the year 2020. In 2013, he has already founded S.T.A.R. Labs as Dr. Wells and made a particle accelerator with Catlin Snow and Cisco Ramon. As planned, the particle accelerator exploded, killing civilians and creating metahumans as well as achieving Barry Allen's destiny seven years earlier. Now faking paralysis, Wells pushes Barry to run faster and helps his protégé fight metahumans as the Flash, due to needing the Flash's speed in order to return to his own time. The Reverse-Flash eventually confronts and bests Barry in combat twice, while stealing a tachyon device from Mercury Labs to help him increase his own speed and travel faster than light. After his secret is discovered, the S.T.A.R. Labs team attempt to capture him and free Henry, but Eobard escapes and captures Eddie Thawne to preserve his own existence. Although he attempts to distract them by releasing Grodd and triggering a massive break-out of the captured metahumans, the Reverse-Flash is eventually defeated by the Flash with the aid of Oliver Queen and Firestorm. Eobard then assists Barry in traveling back in time to save Barry's parents in exchange for a time machine to return to his own time once the speed force wormhole is open. However, Barry chooses not to save Nora and returns to destroy Eobard's time machine, enraging the villain and leaving the two fighting each other again. After a brutal fight, the Reverse-Flash once again bests the Flash and prepares for the kill. However, Eddie heroically sacrifices himself, causing Eobard to be erased from existence. In season two, Eobard's last will leaves Barry both S.T.A.R. Labs and a confession to Nora's murder, allowing Henry to finally be released from prison. Eobard's actions during season one also made the S.T.A.R. Labs team reluctant to work with Harry Wells of Earth-Two. But despite their constant qualms, Earth-2 Wells impersonates Eobard using a spare Reverse-Flash suit to try and distract Grodd when Barry's powers are temporarily incapacitated.
- The character is referenced in the television series Arrow, which The Flash was a spin-off of. In the season two episode "The Scientist", Barry Allen mentions that a yellow blur killed his mother when Barry was a child, and that being a forensic scientist with the hopes of tracking her killer down. In the season three episode "The Climb", Felicity Smoak looks at a news article about a 'yellow streak' terrorising Central City. Later on when the team is dealing with a metahuman villain attacking Starling City, Oliver Queen contemplates calling Barry Allen for help, but Felicity tells Oliver not to as the S.T.A.R. Labs team is dealing with various problems involving Harrison Wells, prompting Oliver to ask new ally Ray Palmer for aid instead.
- Professor Zoom appears as the main antagonist in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, voiced by C. Thomas Howell. Zoom first hires the Rogues to ambush the Flash (Barry Allen) at the Flash Museum. After revealing himself as the mastermind of the attack, Zoom betrays the Rogues, stating to have placed 25th Century explosives on their belts earlier. However, the Justice League arrive to help disarm the bombs, which ends with Zoom being arrested. After the Flash travels back in time to prevent Nora Allen's murder, all of reality was altered, creating an alternate timeline where the world experiences "World War III", as Aquaman's Atlantean army and Wonder Woman's Amazonian forces battle for control of the world which Zoom also entered via the Speed Force. As news reporter Lois Lane is about to be killed by Amazonians, Zoom arrives and saves Lois's life, hoping that the reporter's camera would catch a glimpse of him and alert the Flash of his presence. While Cyborg's metahuman group tries to put and end to the war, Zoom appears and confronts the Flash once more. Thawne once again bests and taunts Barry, stating that his nemesis's attempt to save Nora was the cause of all the chaos and destruction. After the activation of the Atlanteans' doomsday device, Thawne is shot in the head by Batman (Thomas Wayne). As the Flash taps into the Speed Force once more to stop his past self from altering time, a new reality appears which leaves Professor Zoom's fate unknown.
- Eobard Thawne makes occasional appearances on Robot Chicken, voiced by Seth Green (in "Losin' the Wobble") and by Matthew Senreich (in the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise). In the episode "Losin' the Wobble", he is seen robbing a bank, while the Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman stand idly by, commenting about how lame they think opposite-themed villains like the Reverse-Flash, Bizarro Superman and Negative Wonder Woman are. Professor Zoom is later seen with the Legion of Doom in the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, and is both directly mentioned by Brainiac when Composite Superman uses the Cosmic Treadmill and has a non-voiced cameo appearance fighting the Flash in the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship.
- Professor Zoom is one of the villains hired by Brainiac to collect Starites in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. He teams up with Doppelgänger to compete against Barry Allen and Maxwell.
- Professor Zoom appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Liam O'Brien.
- Professor Zoom appears as a non-playable character in various storylines in the PC and PlayStation 4 MMO DC Universe Online.
- Eobard Thawne appears in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Professor Zoom's Black Lantern design was a playable alternate skin for the Flash (Barry Allen) as part of a limited exclusive challenge. The 2.6 update later introduced a "Reverse Flash" card based on Tom Cavanagh's portrayal in The Flash CW TV series, which can be purchased in the Most Wanted Pack. His passive is dubbed "Cellular Regeneration" which refers to his ability to heal rapidly from injury, and his second special attack is named "Out of Time" which references an episode in the television series.
Toys and Collectibles
- A Professor Zoom figure was released as part of the JLA Classified line, being one of the only villains in the series.
- DC Universe Classics has released a Reverse-Flash figure in Wave 20 of their action figure line.
- A DC Universe Action League figure of Professor Zoom was released in a two pack along with the Flash.
- DC Direct released a Reverse-Flash (labeled "Zoom") SDCC convention exclusive figure in the Flashpoint figure line.
- A Reverse-Flash collectible statue was included in the Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray combo pack.
- Funko Mystery Minis has released a Reverse-Flash minifigure in their DC Comics line.
- Two Funko POP vinyl figures of the Reverse-Flash have been released based on his appearance in the comic books. A regular version and a Black Lantern version.
- A Funko POP version of the Reverse-Flash was released based on his appearance in the CW television series The Flash.
- A Retro Re-Action figure of the Reverse-Flash was released in The Flash line based on his appearance in the TV series.
- Flash: Rebirth outline in the hardcover collection of the story
- "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time: 31. Professor Zoom". IGN. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
- Schedeen, Jesse (January 13, 2015). "Top 5 Flash Villains". IGN.
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