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The Reverse-Flash, the Scarlet Speedster's opposite in both costume (the yellows and reds are inverted) and morality, zoomed into the DC Universe in The Flash vol. 1 #139 (1963), written by John Broome and illustrated by Carmine Infantino. A resident of the twenty-fifth century, demented genius Eobard Thawne (aka Professor Zoom) is fixated upon the twentieth-century Flash (secretly police scientist Barry Allen). Discovering one of the hero's original uniforms in a time capsule, Zoom scientifically boosts its original wearer's residual superspeed energies (defined in later texts as the “Speed Force”) and infuses the suit, which he dyes, with the ability to enable him to run at superhuman velocities. Becoming the Fastest Man Alive of the future, he zips through a crime wave until the Flash, on a time-traveling mission in Zoom's era, trips him up. Zoom's Flash fixation ultimately became a fatal attraction: he regularly whisked to the twentieth century to torment the Scarlet Speedster, becoming obsessed with Allen's wife, Iris, and eventually murdering her after she spurned his advances. Later, when Allen had fallen in love with another woman, Fiona Webb, the Reverse-Flash struck again, attempting to kill her—but in an ensuing struggle to save Fiona's life, the Flash accidentally broke Zoom's neck in Flash #324 (1983), initiating a lengthy “Trial of the Flash” storyline that would dominate the hero's title for over two years. Once the Flash died in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (1985), his former sidekick Kid Flash (Wally West) took his place, but was shocked to behold “The Return of Barry Allen” in Flash vol. 2 #74–#79 (1993). As writer Mark Waid and penciler Greg LaRocque disclosed, the supposedly revived Allen/Flash was actually a disguised Professor Zoom, having traveled from the twenty-fifth century during a time before his death in the 1983 comic. This paradox aside, the Reverse-Flash was still dead. “When I was going over the Rogues early on,” admitted Flash scribe Geoff Johns in a 2005 Wizard magazine interview, “I said how I wished Professor Zoom wasn't dead, and [Editor] Joey [Cavalieri] casually suggested, ‘So make a new one.'” With artist Scott Kolins, Johns did just that in Flash vol. 2 #197 (2003). The new Reverse-Flash is actually Hunter Zolomon (first seen in Flash Secret Files #3, 2001), a former police profiler in the Flash's burg of Keystone City, who was left a paraplegic after a confrontation with Gorilla Grodd. Morose over his disability, Zolomon jury-rigged Flash's time-travel apparatus, the Cosmic Treadmill, in a foolhardy attempt to trek to the past and prevent his injury, instead causing an accident that propelled him into a spedup timeline that gave him superspeed but distorted his perspective of reality. The new Professor Zoom's nothing-to-lose vehemence makes him among the most dangerous of the Flash's Rogues. What little Professor Zoom merchandising exists includes Pocket Super Hero and Heroclix mini-figurines.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.