Professor Zoom is a male comic supervillain that features in DC Comics.
He was a naïve of the year 2463 where he knew of the historical hero known as the Flash and admired him but hated him as well. This was because he saw him as a force of law whilst Thawne himself was the reverse. He came to admire the superhero's super-speed with him operating as an ordinary thief with imagination where due to his scientific leanings meant that he was known to the police and fellow crooks as the Professor. Thawne decided to make his admiration of the Flash's super-speed a reality and used technology to travel back to the 20th century in order to get a copy of his suit. This was because he believed it contained super-speed wave patterns prevent in it that he could replicate to give himself similar powers using 25th century science. Once done, he gained super-speed abilities and fashioned a suit that was the reverse of the Flash's whereupon he adopted the name Professor Zoom. (The Flash v1 #139)
Whilst in prison, he received electro re-education a 'reform school' that was used for advanced cases of criminality. He received marks for being a model student and went through a cerebro-scanner to check that he was reformed with Thawne being released from imprisonment. However, this was a trick as Eobard was aware of the cerebro-scanner and had it secretly reprogrammed to allow him to pass the test. He also used his year in prison to develop an entirely new science which was that of ultra-speed. (The Flash v1 #153)
He later operated under an alias named Mr. Zyx where he vibrated his molecules at superspeed in order to appear invisible. In this state, he contacted Matthew Paulson who was a corrupt police chief at Central City where he convinced him to steal heroin that had been confiscated by the police. (Flash v1 #282) Professor Zoom's plan was to stabilize the drug and package it with powdered milk that was being manufactured at the factory he was using as a hideout. Thawne's ultimate goal was creating a vast number of addicts that would do his bidding. Zoom later fell in love with Irest West-Allen who was the wife of his arch-enemy the Flash. He approached her one day and asked her to leave Barry for him or die where he later met her at a costume party to ask her decision. Iris slapped him in response where she stated that even if she did not love Barry that she would not allow Zoom to lay a hand on her. Thawne then had one of his henchmen drug Barry with "angel-dust" who was left in a dazed state with Iris going to give him a glass of water. She arrived in a room that was being used as a hide-out of deranged convict Clive Yorkin. At that moment, Professor Zoom arrived vibrating into an invisible state where he pushed his vibrating hand into Iris's skull that fatally damaged the molecules of her brain. Due to being invisible, all evidence pointed to Yorkin being responsible for the attack. Professor Zoom finally revealed himself to Barry where he claimed to know the identity of Iris's killer and led him on a chase around the world. This was part of the villain's plan as he had fitted a pair of heavy matter boots on the Flash in order to leave him to sink to the planet's molten core. (Flash v1 #281) The Flash managed to escape and went to Thawne's home era to learn who killed his wife by using the historical records of the 25th century. Whilst away, Zoom began posing as the Flash and brought Paulson to the police in order to take full control of his heroin ring. During this time, he briefly fought Green Lantern and booby trapped the Cosmic Treadmill in the hopes of killing Barry Allen when he returned to the present. (Flash v1 #282) Barry managed to survive though his mission to uncover Iris's murder due to no apparent person present in the security video but managed to determine that Zoom was responsible for the act as he was the only person capable of using super-speed to appear invisible. He chased Zoom through the ocean to Zoom's cosmic powered time-tripper where they went backwards in time with Barry leaving Thawne to face his doom alone. (Flash v1 #283)
For years, he attempted to try various vibrational frequencies until he was finally able to free himself from his extra-dimensional prison. (Flash v1 #321) At this point, Barry Allen was supposed to marry Fiona Webb when Zoom left him a message at the Flash Museum telling him to meet him at the house where Barry and Iris used to live. (Flash v1 #323) Thawne during that moment was snatched from this timeline by his successor named Zoom who brought him into the future. Zoom requested Eobard Thawne to operate the Cosmic Treadmill as he himself was unable to do so as his powers were not connected to the Speed Force. This was in order for Zoom to force Wally West to witness the attack on his wife that resulted in the death of his unborn children again and again. Professor Zoom who had vague memories of his first encounter with Wally West was happy to oblige the second Zoom. (Flash v2 #224) However, Barry Allen arrived soon arrived and brought Thawne back to his own time. (Flash v2 #225) Afterwards, Barry became desperate to save the life of his betrothed Fiona and attack Professor Zoom at super-speed by putting a clothesline over him. When he stopped, the sudden movement snapped Thawne's neck and killed him instantly. (Flash v1 #325) After his demise, his body was at the morgue when five of the Rogues namely Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, Pied Piper, Weather Wizard and Trickster stole the corpse. They later held a special ceremony at an isolated column of rock situated thirty miles north of Central City. The Rogues later destroyed the coffin of Professor Zoom in rage as they cursed him for being killed by their nemesis. (Flash v2 #225) Thawne was later buried by the Rogues at the hidden graveyard Avernus that was used by their group. (Blackest Night: Flash v1 #1)
Professor Zoom later was restored to life due to events that were to occur in the future. Upon his return, he was disappointed to learn that Barry Allen had sacrificed his life to save the universe. As a result, he sought to bring about Barry Allen's return which he did by sending out pulses into the Speed Force to awaken his consciousness within it as he had been converted into energy. This caused Barry to believe he was needed to confront a great evil and brought about his resurrection. In the meantime, Thawne had conducted an experiment on himself to turn himself into a new kind of speedster that was empowered by the Negative Speed Force that was his own creation. He generated enough of this energy to contaminate Barry Allen thus poisoning his Speed Force power making him poisonous to any speedster that drew their energy from it and killing them upon contact. Professor Zoom had intended for Barry to kill all the other speedsters accidently through touch and making him live with the guilt but he ran into the Speed Force where he encountered Johnny Quick and Max Mercury who revealed to him that it was Eobard Thawne who was responsible for these events. It was then that Professor Zoom revealed himself and attacked him as Allen had burnt off the negative energy from his body. (The Flash: Rebirth v1 #4) It was revealed that Thawne had been responsible for bringing about the resurrection of Barry Allen in order to poison him with the Negative Speed Force so that he inadvertently killed any speedster he encountered including his close allies. (The Flash: Rebirth v1 #5) Professor Zoom revealed that he had altered Barry's past and that he had been responsible for killing Allen's mother. This was part of his revenge against Allen to make him suffer but he could not kill him as Barry was the source of the Speed Force. As a result, Thawne decided to make him suffer by being responsible for all the bad events in his life and sought to murder Iris West in the past as another of his plots. Barry Allen and Wally West pursued him where they stopped him from committing the act where they temporarily deprived him of the Negative Speed Force whereupon they apprehended him. Eobard was then locked away in Iron Heights Prison in Keystone City where he encountered Hunter Zolomon in the neighbouring cell who stated that they could learn a lot from one another b working together. (The Flash: Rebirth v1 #6)
During the Blackest Night, Thawne's body was animated by a black Power Ring and made into a member of the Black Lantern Corps. This undead Professor Zoom began calling himself the Black Flash and sought out the Flash in order to torment on him to feed on his emotions. The arisen Thawne was simply a reanimated corpse and did not have the memories following his death and was not aware of an alternate version of Zoom that had reappeared or that the Flash had died and came back. Black Lantern Professor Zoom evoked emotions within Barry Allen by highlighting how he was murdered by the Flash and attempted to compromise his morals. However, the Flash managed to calm himself from this encounter and escaped from Thawne. (Blackest Night: Flash v1 #1) He pursued the Flash with Black Lantern versions of Kid Flash and Solovar which led to a confrontation with Barry Allen, Wally West and Saint Walker. (Blackest Night: Flash v1 #2) During the fight, the undead Thawne was encased in ice at the moment when a cold grenade of Captain Cold's had detonated in Iron Heights that held an incarcerated future version of Zoom. (Blackest Night: Flash v1 #3) In the final battle against Nekron, Zoom was resurrected by the white light of creation who immediately disappeared as he sought to go back to his home. (Blackest Night v1 #8) He had, however, ended up imprisoned and trapped at Iron Heights Penitentiary. (Brightest Day v1 #0) During the Brightest Day, the life Entity determined that Thawne had completed his mission by freeing Barry Allen from the Speed Force and had his life fully restored to him thus removing any Black Lantern remains from him though he remained trapped in his prison cell. (Brightest Day v1 #7) Captain Boomerang later broke into Iron Heights where he freed the Reverse Flash as he wanted to know his future and the meaning behind the visions from the white Entity that resurrected the pair of them. However, Thawne did not provide an answer and simply escaped leaving Boomerang to be confronted by the Rogues who were angry at Professor Zoom being freed. (Flash v3 #7)
The New 52
Following the Flashpoint, a new timeline of events was created as a result of changes in history. He was a native of the 25th century where he was an only child and his parents died in a tragic accident. He had no family or friends but became a fan of the Flash with him studying the historical records of his idol. Thawne wanted to be like his hero and managed to find a time capsule with a Flash costume where he even managed to harness residual traces of the Speed Force from Barry Allen's old suit to give himself speedster powers. He attempted to become a hero by becoming the Flash of the 25th century but he was secretly endangering people in order to save them in order to appear to be a superhero. At the time, the Flash had arrived from the past and Thawne had teamed up with his hero with this being the happiest moment of his life. However, the Flash discovered that Thawne was orchestrating disasters and ended up fighting as well as defeating Eobard. Thawne was sent to prison where he attempted to reform and after being released he sought to teach as a professor with him working at the Flash Museum. He eventually became the curator of the museum but felt something missing in his life. As a result, he decided to journey back in time to the 21st century to meet the Flash to show him that he had changed and created a new costume for himself that was a yellow suit to match that of his hero's sidekicks. During this time, he witnessed Barry Allen with his sidekick Wally West repeating words that the Flash had told him in the future. Eobard felt as a result that the moment he had shared with the Flash was not special and that he was a liar. (The Flash v5 #25) His home was the future where he resided at the Gem Cities and became obsessed over the Flash. He attempted to rebuild the Cosmic Treadmill that took years even with Rip Hunters lost journals. By this point, though the Flash was gone his legacy was worshipped that the people of Central City turned against Thawne. Despite the fear the people felt for him, they resented his rule and saw the Flash as their hero that further cemented Thawne's desire in destroying the hero. (Flash v4 #47)
Eobard Thawne travelled throughout the time stream in order to assemble his followers that were taken from various points of history with each affected by the Speed Force. In 1520, he found a Nahuatl woman named Magali that was being chased by Spanish Conquistadores. Through her, the elderly Thawne was restored to youth whereupon he killed her Spanish pursuers and took her with him. In 1883, by the Kimberley Mines in South Africa he found a Zulu man named Xolani that was also known as the Folded Man. At Melbourne Australia in 1957, he found a Maori woman that was nearly invulnerable known as the Human Block. In 1982 in Broken Arrow Oklahoma, he found a boy named Roscoe whose Speed Force power allowed him to manifest tornados around him. These four joined Selkirk as part of a group that Thawne intended to use to kill the Flash with the Professor claiming to them that Barry Allen was a villainous figure that abused his power for his own ends. Unknown to his acolytes, Zoom had actually secretly engineered the events that led to him recruiting them. (Flash Annual v4 #4) Professor Zoom was responsible for the death of Nora Allen and framing Henry Allen leading to him being detained in Iron Heights Prison. Allen was forced to hide the true person responsible for his wife's murder as the Professor threatened the life of Barry Allen. However, Professor Zoom was biding his time and intended to exact his revenge against his hated foe namely the Flash. (Flash v4 #40)
After the Button touched Psycho-Pirates mask, the event caused the prior universe Eobard Thawne to be resurrected at the site of the Batcave where he attacked Batman. Whilst rampaging in the Batcave, he saw the letter the Flashpoint Thomas Wayne had written for his son and destroyed it. He then proceeded to mercilessly beat Batman before picking up the Button where he disappeared at the hands of an unseen force who killed him and left his body to burn into a skeleton in the Batcave. Prior to dying, this incarnation of Eobard Thawne commented that he had seen God as his body was engulfed by a blue flame when the Flash arrived at the scene. (Batman v3 #21) Batman and the Flash then proceeded with finding out who was responsible for killing Thawne. (The Flash v5 #21) Despite his death, another version of Thawne had survived and was free where he was at the West residence as Wallace West along with his aunt Iris West returned home. After beating Wallace badly, he abducted Iris and left a message on the wall for Barry Allen to follow him back into the 25th century. (The Flash v5 #24)
Personality and attributes
He said that he had a towering ambition which meant that he desired to become the greatest criminal in Earth's history. (Flash v1 #139)
It was said that Thawne was more of a man of science rather than faith. (The Flash v5 #21)
Powers and abilities
Eobard had a futuristic mind that was capable of lightning-fast calculations. Thawne was incredibly knowledgeable to the point that he developed an entirely new area of science into ultra-speed. He was able to create machines with effects never seen on Earth with these being based on the concept of speeding up electrons and other sub-atomic particles to fantastic rates. (The Flash v1 #153) He was noted for being a scientist of analytical dynamics in the 25th century. (The Flash: Rebirth v1 #4)
As Professor Zoom, he could move at speeds of an electron allowing him to move extremely quickly. He could vibrate his body at super-swift rhythm allowing to move through solid walls. (Flash v1 #139) His ability to rapidly move or blur meant that in this state no one could touch him so long as he touched solid ground. (Batman v3 #21) He was the creator of the Negative Speed Force was a sea of red light that was generated by his crimson fury with Thawne serving as its engine for this crimson lightning and its power was ability to poison the Speed Force. (The Flash: Rebirth v1 #4) Eobard was a living generator for the parasitic Negative Speed Force. (Brightest Day v1 #0) He drew his powers from the Negative Speed Force that was his own creation that gave him the power of a speedster who could travel through time and manipulate events to his needs. Unlike the Flash or Kid Flash, he was able to travel through time freely without the need for any equipment. (The Flash v5 #21) This allowed him to travel to any era and alter the history of individuals. (The Flash: Rebirth v1 #6)
At super-speeds, he was able to scoop the air behind him he was able to create a vacuum between him and a person that yanked them towards him. (The Flash v1 #153)
One ability was the capacity to direct his mental energy at others allowing him to project his memories into the minds of others, influence the minds of people to awaken criminal tendencies or stun a person temporarily. (Flash v1 #147) By adjusting his mind to the proper wave-length, he was able to control the thoughts of others. He could use this technique to zero in on the thoughts of an individual allowing him to locate specific people. (The Flash v1 #153)
Thawne later gained the power to age people by stealing time from them with such an experience not being pleasant. This could lead to those individuals deaths to the point that they died of old age or became dust. During such moments, he could flashes of their lives through his eyes as he experienced their memories. The Reverse-Flash had such fine control over his own time that he could age himself from child to adulthood. Such an ability allowed him to hide himself in a crowd as he could appear in an older form with his pursuers unable to tell which person was Thawne. (Flash v3 #12)
At one point, he discovered a new element that he named Element Z which he named after himself. The vibrations of the element duplicating the wave-patterns of the Flash allowing him to attain super-speed. However, Element Z was unstable and its effects were only temporary where they dissipated in time. Through the efforts of Mr. Element, Element Z was stabilized by purifying it of alien atoms allowing Professor Zoom to wear the Z Metal as a locket whose uncanny vibrations provided him super-speed. If the locket was removed, than he was deprived of his powers and an ordinary criminal during this era. (Flash v1 #147)
He was able to replicate the Cosmic Treadmill used by the Flash for time travel with Thawne emulating his one of his foes abilities namely the power to maintain inner vibrations of his body to a constant point that anchored him in the past. The moment he stopped the vibrations than he automatically reverted back to his own era. (The Flash v1 #153)
- Professor Zoom was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino where he made his first appearance The Flash v1 #139 (September 1963).
- The character was identified as Eobard Thawne by writer John Broome in The Flash v1 #153 (1965).
- In The Flash v1 #283 (1980), writer Cary Bates mistakenly had the character reveal his secret identity being Professor Adrian Zoom.
- In 2009, IGN ranked the character as the 31st greatest comic villain of all time.
- The Flash: Rebirth v1 #4 (2010) first established that Thawne was responsible for every bad event in Barry Allen's childhood and had murdered his mother.
In other media
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the character appeared as a villain in the episode "Requiem for the Scarlet Speedster!" where he was voiced by actor John Wesley Shipp. He was mentioned as being a speedster from the 25th century who was the arch-enemy of Barry Allen who was the Flash. Professor Zoom hatched upon a plan to eliminate his rivals that included Jay Garrick and Kid Flash. He managed to draw the three into following him at high speeds around the world till the point that they went through lightspeed breaking them into time itself. Zoom disappeared leading to the heroes to believe he perished and to save his comrades Barry Allen knocked Garrick and Kid Flash out of the stream seemingly dying as well. In actuality, the Flash arrived in the 25th century where Professor Zoom was waiting for him and knocked him unconscious. He placed the Flash in a perpetual motion machine where his speed was used to empower the Speed Force into his followers through sophisticated bands allowing him to rule the 25th century as Lord Zoom from Fortress Zoom. Unknown to Zoom, the Flash create after-images of himself into the past in an attempt to enlist their aid with Batman bringing together Jay Garrick and Kid Flash to use the Cosmic Treadmill to follow the pathway into the 25th century. The heroes were captured by Professor Zoom's forces whereupon he put the speedsters into the perpetual motion machine. Batman managed to free himself and equipped himself with the Speed Force band giving him super-speed to battle his foe. This proved to be only a distraction until the speedsters managed to free the Flash who battled and defeated Professor Zoom.
- In the Arrowverse, Eobard Thawne made a number of appearances in the shared continuity setting.
- In The Flash, Eobard Thawne first appeared in the 2014 live-action series as the villain Reverse Flash in the first season where he was portrayed by actors Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher where he masquerades as S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Harrison Wells who operated as the Reverse-Flash. He was revealed as being Eobard Thawne who was a villain from the future who became an enemy of the Flash and hated Barry Allen. At some point, he stole Gideon from the Flash and travelled back in time after being enraged to the point that he wanted to kill his hated enemy when he was a child. This saw him going back in time to Barry's childhood with the Flash in pursuit where he attacked only to battle his foe. He failed to kill Barry but the incident did lead to the death of Nora Allen who was the Flash's mother with Thawne claiming that he had no intention of doing that. After escaping, it was shown that the Speed Force had fled his body and thus he was unable to go back to his timeline leading to him being trapped in the past. Among his first actions was ensuring that the future came about as he knew and he decided to accelerate the timeline. This saw him ambush Dr. Harrison Wells who was travelling with his wife on the road. The reason behind this was because Wells was responsible for the creation of S.T.A.R. Labs and a particle accelerator that in 2020 would bring about the emergence of Metahumans. Eobard desired to bring about this incident much faster and killed Harrison along with his wife whereupon he used his technology to morph his appearance to that of Dr. Wells. In this new guise, he brought about the creation of S.T.A.R. Labs and was involved in numerous experiments such as those sponsored by United States Military General Eiling. Eiling intended to create living weapons with one of his experiments being Grodd that involved the creation of telepathic abilities though Thawne as Dr. Wells put a stop to these painful procedures. As a result, Grodd deeply respected Wells and came to regard him as a father. Harrison Wells was also secretly responsible for sabotaging the particle accelerator experiment that led to the rise of Metahumans and the birth of the Flash. After the incident, he pretended to had lost the use of his legs and managed the company after it became a pariah for its failed experiment. In this time, he approached Detective Joe West and offered to help Barry Allen who was left in a coma-like state and aided in his recovery. Upon learning of his abilities, Allen used them to become the masked superhero known as the Flash with Dr. Wells coaching him on his powers and aiding him in his missions. Unknown to anyone, Dr. Wells was regularly involved in removing obstacles such as killing Simon Stagg and stealing the blood from Blackout as part of Thawne's own plan of getting revenge on the Flash. At S.T.A.R. Labs, he had a hidden room where he kept his suit and where Gideon was installed. Once the Flash emerged, Eobard once more donned his suit and was known as the Man in Yellow by those aware of his existence.
- In Legends of Tomorrow, Eobard Thawne appeared as a villain the live-action television series second season where he was portrayed again by actor Matt Letscher. This version was a survivor from the Flashpoint timeline but his existence meant that he was a time-aberration which meant that the Speed Force sought to correct the anomaly by dispatching the Black Flash to kill him. As a result, Eobard Thawne was forced to keep running throughout the timeline never staying in one place for too long in order to evade the creature. To ensure his existence, he sought the Spear of Destiny but was unable to accomplish this feat alone and was opposed by the time travelling group of Legends that were assembled by Rip Hunter. For aid, Thawne gathered Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn and later an older version of Captain Cold to form the Legion of Doom where he promised them their dreams in a new reality for their aid. Together, they managed to get the Spear of Destiny where Thawne re-wrote reality and imprisoned the Black Flash. He also dealt with the treachery of his former allies who were unable to oppose Thawne. However, the Legends moved to gather the Spear of Destiny with the Reverse-Flash bringing past versions of himself to support him against the team in order to get the Spear back. Sara Lance used the Spear to change reality to make it powerless and to free the Black Flash which killed Thawne who disappeared from reality alongside with the older versions of himself.
- In Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Eobard Thawne as Professor Zoom appeared as the primary antagonist of the animated film where he was voiced by C. Thomas Howell. It was shown that he was Eobard Thawne who was an inhabitant of the 25th century that replicated the Flash's origin to give himself access to the Speed Force whereupon he came to the modern day and became Barry Allen's arch-nemesis. He was responsible for hiring the Rogues to ambush the Flash at the Flash Museum. After their defeat, he revealed himself as the mastermind of the plot and betrayed the Rogues by showing that he had placed bombs made from future technology on their belts earlier. These explosives were from 25th century technology and powerful enough to destroy large parts of Central City. It was only the arrival of the Justice League aiding Flash that they were able to disarm the bombs. Reverse Flash was thus thwarted and arrested where afterwards the Flash traveled back in time to prevent the murder of his mother. The result was all of reality being altered creating an alternate timeline whereby the planet's surface was ravaged by war between the Atlanteans and Amazons. Zoom was a hidden force in the background where he saved Lois Lane's life after she was confronted by a group of Amazonian warriors. When Flash tries to stop the conflict between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, Professor Zoom appeared where he confronted his arch-nemesis once more where he revealed that the changes in the timeline were not made by him but by the Flash. The pair battle again with Zoom revealing that he was leeching the Speed Force from the Flash preventing him from restoring the timeline. Just as Aquaman detonates Captain Atom, Professor Zoom was shot in the head by this world's Batman who was actually Thomas Wayne. This allowed Flash full access to the Speed Force where he goes back in time to stop himself from altering the past with reality restored and Professor Zoom being apprehended.
- In DC Universe Online, Professor Zoom was an NPC character mentioned to be setting up races at the Hall of Doom with the character name being shown as Zoom.
- In DC Legends, Eobard Thawne as Professor Zoom and as the Reverse Flash appeared as a playable character in the iOS video game. According to his biography, he was an inhabitant from the 25th century who was obsessed with the Flash. He duplicated the Flash's powers but later learnt that he was destined to becoming the heroes greatest foe with this revelation unhinging his mind. Thawne used his brilliance to develop the Negative Speed Force formula in order to give himself greater powers than his idol. The Reverse Flash had he ability to travel through time and tormented the Flash.
- In Injustice 2, Eobard Thawne appeared as both Reverse-Flash and Professor Zoom as an antagonist in the video game where he was voiced by actor Liam O'Brien. He was shown as being a speedster from the future who was trapped in the modern age as his existence had become a paradox after one of his ancestors was killed by the One Earth Regime. Thawne blamed the Flash for him being trapped on the modern Earth and sought a means of returning to his own time. The Reverse-Flash was a member of Grodd's Society and was dispatched to attack the Flash.
- The Flash: