Today’s guest post is by liquidcross of The Indigo Tribe.
Professor Zoom tormented Barry Allen constantly, but when he took things a bit too far, the Flash snapped his neck. Many years later, Barry’s successor Wally West had faced his share of speedster villains, but he never really had a Reverse Flash of his own.
During Geoff Johns’ stellar run on Flash, along comes FBI profiler Hunter Zolomon. After being severely injured by Gorilla Grodd, he decides to use the cosmic treadmill (conveniently located in the nearby Flash Museum) to go back in time and fix things. Naturally, it doesn’t quite work, and the resulting damage not only drives Zolomon over the edge, but turns him into Zoom, a new Reverse Flash. He thinks Wally doesn’t take his role as the Flash seriously enough due to not having faced any personal tragedy, so Zoom decides to mold him into a better hero…through a series of villainous acts, of course. These stories were expertly crafted, delivering all the twists and turns that really kept the readers on their toes. From Zoom accidentally killing Wally and Linda’s unborn children, to revisiting that incident to not only fix what happened but ending up in a time loop, the saga of Zolomon was a thrilling one to read.
After those first big appearances, though, Zoom faded into the background. He showed up in a few crossovers and such, but he never regained a primary antagonist role. During Final Crisis, Inertia stole his powers, calling himself “Kid Zoom.” Zolomon was once again a disabled powerless human, and left to rot in a prison cell. He soon had company, though: the original Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne. While that could’ve led to some great stories, Zolomon was never seen again, and the events of Flashpoint seemed to have erased both Zooms from existence.
Zoom was a fascinating character, and his time in the limelight was far too short. Aside from his unique powers and history with Wally, he always thought he was doing the right thing; and at one point, he came around and realized how badly he was screwing up. You actually felt bad for the guy, and that’s rare with supervillains.
What I really liked about Zoom is that even though he was a Reverse Flash, he was not a speedster. He moved through time, and that caused all manner of problems for the Flash. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re running; if a guy is instantaneously jumping to a future point in time, he’s going to beat you there. Wally had to rely on his wits much more than his speed to defeat Zoom in most cases, which made for some excellent storytelling.
More importantly, Zoom may have been a new Reverse Flash…but he didn’t supplant the old one. His beef was with a completely different Flash, and as I said before, his powers were vastly different. In this, he’s a more interesting successor to the role, rather than a generic replacement.
Zoom’s shelving and eventual erasure was a complete waste. Now that I think of it, he should’ve been the real threat behind Flashpoint; he’s already got time travel powers, and the whole thrust of his plan could’ve been to destroy Barry to force Wally to once again become a better hero by surpassing his predecessor. Zoom manipulating Thawne would’ve been icing on the cake.
A new Reverse Flash is on the horizon, but it’s going to be a new character. I doubt we’ll ever see Zolomon again, and that’s a damned shame.
Liquidcross writes about Green Lantern and related comics at The Indigo Tribe.