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Textless cover of Batman vol. 3, #22 (July 2017).
Art by Jason Fabok.
|First appearance||The Flash #139 (September 1963; as Professor Zoom/Reverse-Flash)|
Blackest Night: The Flash #1 (December 2009; as Black Flash)
|Created by||John Broome|
|Full name||Eobard Thawne|
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains|
Black Lantern Corps
The Acolytes of Zoom
Legion of Doom
|Notable aliases||Professor Zoom|
Skilled hand-to-hand combatant
Negative Speed Force grants:
Eobard Thawne, otherwise known as Professor Zoom and the Reverse-Flash, is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The most well-known character to assume the "Reverse-Flash" mantle, he is the archenemy of Barry Allen (the second superhero to be called the Flash), a descendant of Malcolm Thawne, and a maternal forefather of Bart Allen, Thaddeus Thawne, and Owen Mercer. He has been established as one of the fastest speedsters in the DC Universe.
IGN ranked Eobard Thawne as the 31st Greatest Comic Book Villain Of All Time in 2009 and #2 on their Top 5 Flash Villains list in 2015. Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher have portrayed the character on various television series set within The CW's live-action Arrowverse.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Fictional character biography
Eobard Thawne found a time capsule in the 25th century containing a costume of the Flash (Barry Allen) and with a Tachyon device amplified the suit's speed energy, giving himself speedster abilities. Reversing the costume's colors, he adopted the moniker of "Professor Zoom" (aka the "Reverse-Flash") and went on a crime spree. However, the time capsule also contained an atomic clock, and to prevent a nuclear explosion, Flash pursued and defeated Zoom, hoping he knew where the clock was. Unfortunately he didn't, but Flash later found the clock, exploded it safely, and destroyed Thawne's costume.
Blaming the Flash for his defeat, Thawne became obsessed with "replacing" Barry and traveled back in time to exact his revenge. When Iris West (Barry's wife) rejected his romantic pursuits, Thawne killed Iris. After Flash had found love again, Thawne threatened to kill Fiona Webb (Barry's new fiancée) on their wedding day. Fearful that history was repeating itself, Barry killed Thawne by breaking his neck.
Post-Crisis and Zero Hour origin
The post-Crisis extended origin "The Return of Barry Allen" storyline revealed that Eobard was once a scientist obsessed with the Flash, even undergoing cosmetic surgery to resemble his hero. Obtaining the Cosmic Treadmill from an antique shop, Eobard gained all of the Flash's powers after replicating the electrochemical accident that created Flash. Seeking to use the Cosmic Treadmill to travel back in time and meet his idol, Eobard arrived at the Flash Museum several years after Barry's death, discovering that he was destined to become "Professor Zoom" (aka the "Reverse-Flash") and die at his idol's hands. As a result, the unstable Eobard convinced himself that he was Barry and subsequently attacked Central City for "forgetting him". Wally West ultimately tricked Eobard into returning to the 25th century with no memory of the incident. Despite this, Eobard still managed to bring the remains of his older self's costume with him, cluing him further into his destiny.
The Flash: Rebirth
In 2009, Thawne was re-imagined as a major villain in the DC Universe by writer Geoff Johns in The Flash: Rebirth. His resurrection is foreshadowed to occur in a near-future event. It is later revealed that Thawne's recreation of the accident behind Barry's powers made Thawne able to lure Barry out of the Speed Force during the Final Crisis and temporarily turn his nemesis into the Black Flash.
When Thawne reappears, he murders the revived Johnny Quick, before proceeding to trap Barry and the revived Max Mercury inside the negative Speed Force. Thawne then attempts to kill Wally's children through their Speed Force connection in front of Linda Park-West, only to be stopped by Jay Garrick and Bart Allen. Thawne defeats Jay and prepares to kill Bart, but Barry, Max, Wally, Jesse Quick and Impulse arrive to prevent the villain from doing so. In the ensuing fight, Thawne reveals that he's responsible for every tragedy that has occurred in Barry's life, including the death of Nora Allen (Barry's mother). Thawne then decides to destroy everything the Flash holds dear by killing Iris before they even met.
As Barry chases after Thawne, Wally joins 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 as 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, Iris discovers Thawne's weapon back in the past which Iris keeps.
In the present, he 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", 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 him not knowing of Barry's death and resurrection. Declaring himself the new "Black Flash", he attacks Barry who manages to elude for the moment. When Black Lantern Rogues attack Iron Heights, the living Thawne is encountered and the Black Lanterns' rings strangely malfunctioning, displaying a strange symbol. When Thawne's corpse approaches his living counterpart, he stops moving and is then frozen by Captain Cold's "cold grenade". Thawne's corpse 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 Allen from the Speed Force following the resurrection. The Entity proclaims 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. 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
Eobard uses his powers to completely rewrite his own history; he erases his younger brother from existence and kills his parents when trying to interfere with his research. Eobard later falls in love with a reporter who had been hired to interview him, thus his future self wipes all of the reporter's romantic interests from existence. After finding out his would-be love interest did not return his affections, Eobard's future self traumatized the reporter as a child, causing the woman to be mute and institutionalized so that they never met each other. He later had his younger self find the time capsule containing Barry's costume to make himself the Flash of the 25th century. He sheds a tear as his altered past self runs past him while 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. The Reverse-Flash reveals that his body is permanently connected to the Speed Force, enabling him to create a negative version, with which he escaped prison. He was unable to alter Barry's transformation into the Flash, however, as that would effectively erase himself from existence. Instead, Thawne decides to ruin Barry's life during the latter's childhood, erasing a best friend from existence to result in greater introversion on Barry's part, and various other torments such as killing Nora. Thawne later reveals that the Flashpoint timeline was created when Barry went back in time to stop the Reverse-Flash from killing Nora. After Thawne is killed by this reality's Batman with an Amazonian sword, the Flash travels back in time to stop Barry's younger self from altering history but instead, under Pandora's manipulations, a third, new timeline is created, in which DC Comics' continuity takes place from 2011 onwards.
The New 52
In The New 52 reboot of DC's continuity, Eobard's origin is re-established as hailing from the Central City of a 25th-century devoted to the Flash. As a child, Eobard witnessed his father murder his mother and subsequently get arrested. One day, he is struck by lightning and gains the ability to control the flow of time around him, making it appear as if he's moving at superhuman speeds. Believing himself to have been "chosen" by the Speed Force as the Flash's replacement, Eobard dons a costume similar to the hero's and begins to terrorize the Gem Cities as "Zoom", demanding the citizens accept him as a King. However, he is enraged when people rebel against him in the Flash's name. Jealous and bitter that the Flash is worshiped and loved by the people despite their similar powers, Eobard uses Rip Hunter's notes to travel back in time, where he starts recruiting four individuals "touched by the lightning" (Speed Force) across history, after "saving" them from situations he himself put them into under the false pretense that he requires their help in order to vanquish the "evil menace" of the Flash.
Eobard then makes an acquaintance with Dr. Henry Allen (Barry's father), funding Henry's research lab. But when Henry refuses to help him with an unknown cause, Zoom subsequently murders Nora in order to make Barry endure and give them both an "equal start", and forces Henry to take the blame for his deed, with the threat of Barry's life. Laying low for many years, Zoom reemerges following William Selkirk's defeat, recruiting as an "acolyte" of his. Zoom and his acolytes then cause havoc in the city and put the blame on the Flash, desiring to destroy his nemesis's legacy. Eobard then kidnaps Henry when some inmates' prison escape in order to divert Eobard's attention away from Barry, and forces Henry to construct a power-stealing glove. But when his closest "ally" Magali (who has been keeping Eobard alive for centuries via powers) discover the truth about him, he uses the glove to steal Magali's abilities of affecting the age of organic and inorganic matter, leading to his true nature being exposed to the rest of his acolytes who join forces with the Flash to destroy the device.
After the failure of his plan to be a god, Zoom then takes Henry to the Allen house, with Barry in pursuit. Revealing his backstory to Barry, Eobard proceeds to best Barry in combat and is about to kill until the Flash realizes how Eobard's powers work, and then proceeds to counter by moving time forward – finally defeating him. After talking Henry out of killing Eobard, Barry has him arrested and imprisoned at Iron Heights Penitentiary.
In the DC Rebirth relaunch, Eobard first appears in Barry's Speed Force vision, where the latter snaps Eobard's neck as he once did in Pre-Crisis. He is subsequently featured in another vision where he taunts Barry about the future. The serial-killing speedster Godspeed later attempts to kill Eobard and every other inmate at Iron Heights, only to be stopped by the Flash. Eobard is reverted to his pre-New 52 self after a wave of energy strikes him, and he recalls being killed by Batman (Thomas Wayne) during Flashpoint. Seeking to teach the Dark Knight's son a lesson, Thawne attacks Bruce Wayne in the Batcave and destroys Thomas's letter as retribution. Thawne brutally beats and verbally taunts Bruce before picking up the Button, which teleports him away to an unknown location. Thawne is then teleported back to the Batcave, having been bathed in radiation by a mysterious entity. As he collapses, Thawne says "God...I saw...God." Batman and the Flash come across Thawne in possession of the Button shortly before his apparent death, and follow him in an attempt to prevent. As he follows the traces leading to the entity, Thawne muses that he may go back in time to raise his nemesis as a "family friend" after killing Nora but he is seemingly killed and teleported back to the Batcave. Eobard's corpse is subsequently taken to S.T.A.R. Labs for further examination, but it is revealed that he was able to survive his near-death experience via his connection to the negative Speed Force, the energy of which grants him accelerated regeneration and healing. He is present at Iris's house when Iris arrives following Multiplex's attack at Barry's birthday party, shocking and terrifying the pair.
Eobard brutally beats Wallace West who he denounces as a fake, and then brings Iris to the future while Barry pursues them. Eobard shows the couple's future, and attempts to imprison Barry in the negative Speed Force. This backfires as it leads to Barry absorbing the negative Speed Force power to strip Thawne of his speed. Barry declares that their rivalry is done but Eobard vows that he will get back his powers and keep coming back to torment Barry before being seemingly killed by Iris.
Powers and abilities
Eobard Thawne already possessed genius-level intellect by the standards of the 25th Century even prior to gaining his metahuman abilities. The Flash: Rebirth revealed that duplicating the accident behind Barry Allen's powers created a negative Speed Force by corrupting the positive version. The Reverse-Flash is therefore able to travel at superhuman speeds faster than the speed of light, deliver blows of extreme force by hitting the victim hundreds of times a second, run on water, generate vacuums, create after-images ("speed mirages") of himself, and vibrate his molecules to pass through solid objects. Unlike original Speed Force users, Thawne has the ability to travel through and manipulate time, being able to drastically alter history and completely erase people from existence (other speedsters cannot change the past without dramatic consequences). Thawne developed numerous new powers in the events leading up to Flashpoint, including the ability to cross over to other dimensions, create shockwaves across time and space at the snap of his fingers, absorb another's memories via physical contact, and alter the age of anyone or anything. Thawne has also displayed low levels of superhuman strength, as well as electrokinetic abilities. The presence of his lightning is able to disrupt and fry nearby electronics, in addition to allowing him to manipulate magnetism. During the New 52 reboot, Eobard gained the ability to slow down time similar to Hunter Zolomon. He retained his pre-New 52 counterpart's age altering abilities. In the DC Rebirth relaunch, however, Eobard regained his connection to the negative Speed Force and therefore all of his original powers.
DC Animated Universe Comics
Eobard as Reverse Flash appears in Justice League Adventures #6 (June, 2002).
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. 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
- The character is alluded to in the 1990 live-action series The Flash. In the episode "Done With Mirrors", Barry Allen temporarily takes the pseudonym 'Professor Zoom' while investigating the Mirror Master.
- 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). Batman, the Flash (Jay Garrick) and Kid Flash (Wally West) later arrive to free Barry, and the two nemeses then engage in a fight around the world. The battle ends when the Flash glazes some sand to form a wall of glass to trip Zoom.
- The character is introduced on The Flash. He is depicted as a scientist from the future who duplicated the reaction that gave Barry Allen/The Flash his powers. When Eobard learned via time travel that he was destined to become the Flash's archenemy, he developed an intense hatred for his former hero and became the Reverse-Flash. After his plan to travel back in time to kill Barry as a child was foiled by the Flash of 2024, Eobard murdered Nora Allen and framed Henry Allen instead, unintentionally severing his own Speed Force connection and leaving him stranded in the 21st Century. Eobard then killed Dr. Harrison Wells and assumed the scientist's identity to found S.T.A.R. Labs. He then built a particle accelerator with Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow to create metahumans and turn Barry into the Flash. Having regained his own powers, "Dr. Wells" feigns paralysis as he pushes Barry to run faster in hopes of using his protégé's pure Speed Force connection to travel back to his time. After his secret is discovered, Eobard is captured by The Flash, The Arrow, and Firestorm. Eobard then offers Barry a chance to travel back in time to save Nora in exchange for a time sphere to return to the future, but Barry ultimately chooses not to do so and returns to destroy Thawne's machine. As the Reverse-Flash prepares to kill The Flash, his ancestor Eddie Thawne kills himself and seemingly erases Eobard from existence. A year later, Barry temporarily creates a new reality which restores a time remnant of Thawne to the timeline in the process.
- Letscher plays Thawne's time remnant in season two of Legends of Tomorrow; Victor Garber and Sean MacLean also briefly play the character disguised as Martin Stein and NASA astronaut Jack Swigert respectively. Eobard forms his own legion of supervillains (composed of Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn and Leonard Snart) to obtain the mystical Spear of Destiny and alter reality. However, Thawne is ultimately erased from existence by the Black Flash due to his nature as a "time aberration".
- Cavanagh reprises his role in the 2017 four-part crossover event "Crisis on Earth-X". Somehow surviving his erasure from existence at the end of The Flash's first season, Eobard traveled to Earth-X, a parallel world where the Axis powers won World War II, and formed an alliance with the versions of Oliver Queen, Kara Zor-El and Tommy Merlyn there in an attempt to conquer Earth-1. Thawne ultimately escapes and vows to return after his inter-dimensional allies are killed during the final confrontation with the heroes of Earth-1, Earth-38 and Earth-X.
- Professor Zoom appears as the main antagonist in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, voiced by C. Thomas Howell. He hires the Rogues to ambush the Flash (Barry Allen) at the Flash Museum before betraying them by placing explosives on their belts to destroy the museum. However, the Justice League arrive to disarm the bombs and apprehend Zoom. When the Flash travels back in time to prevent Nora Allen's murder, all of reality is altered with Aquaman's Atlantean army at war with Wonder Woman's Amazonian forces to which Zoom enters this reality via the Speed Force. He saves Lois Lane from the Amazonians to alert Barry of his presence. While Cyborg's metahuman team tries to put an end to the war, Zoom appears and beats the Flash. As the Atlanteans' doomsday device destroys the world, Zoom is shot in the head by Batman, thus allowing the Flash to tap into the Speed Force once more to stop Barry's past self from altering time but effectively creating a new reality similar to the original.
- The Reverse-Flash appears as the main antagonist in Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash, voiced by Dwight Schultz.
- Professor Zoom returns as the main antagonist in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay with C. Thomas Howell reprising his role. It is revealed that Zoom is barely keeping himself alive after being fatally shot by Batman by consolidating his speed to draw out his moment of death, keeping himself alive despite having a large hole in his head. But this leaves him with only a limited amount of Speed Force energy to use before he will exhaust the last of his power which will kill him for good. He attempts to acquire a 'Get Out of Hell Free' card that would allow him to escape his fate, but Bronze Tiger and Deadshot are able to take the card from him; Deadshot attracts his attention before Bronze Tiger cuts off his fingers as he holds the card as Deadshot fires multiple shoots at Zoom (forming an "X" in the villain's body) and shoots his head, killing him once and for all.
- Professor Zoom appears in various storylines in DC Universe Online.
- Professor Zoom is one of the villains in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. Recruited by Brainiac to collect Starites, he teams up with Doppelgänger to compete against the Flash and Maxwell.
- The Reverse-Flash appears as an unlockable playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Liam O'Brien.
- The Reverse-Flash appears as a main character in Lego DC Super-Villains, where he is voiced once again by C. Thomas Howell.
- Eobard Thawne is featured in Injustice: Gods Among Us. His Black Flash design is a playable alternate skin for the Flash as part of a limited exclusive challenge. The 2.6 update for the iOS and Android mobile app featured the Reverse-Flash (based on Tom Cavanagh's portrayal and likeness on The Flash) that can be purchased in the Most Wanted Pack.
- The Reverse-Flash appears as a "premier skin" playable character in Injustice 2, voiced again by Liam O'Brien. After being trapped in a paradox when one of his ancestors is killed by the Regime, Reverse-Flash is left stranded in the 21st Century and joins Gorilla Grodd's Society. He attempts to kill the Flash with Captain Cold and Deadshot before being defeated by Wonder Woman at a bar in Metropolis.
Eobard Thawne has made sporadic appearances on Robot Chicken; Professor Zoom is voiced by Seth Green (in "Losin' the Wobble") and by Matthew Senreich (in Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise) while Tom Cavanagh reprises his role from the TV series The Flash as Harrison Wells (in "Ants on a Hamburger"). In "Losin' the Wobble", he robs a bank while the Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman stand idly by, commenting on how lame they think opposite-themed villains like the Reverse-Flash, Bizarro Superman and Negative Wonder Woman are. In Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, Zoom is with someone in front of the Flash and Iris West, and is seen with the Legion of Doom. Zoom makes a non-speaking cameo appearance, fighting the Flash in Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship. In the episode "Ants on a Hamburger", he appears as Wells.
- "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time: 31. Professor Zoom". IGN. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
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