Who is Zoom? A Comic Book Rooted Theory

Who is Zoom? A Comic Book Rooted Theory

written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)

Zoom has been the big bad on The Flash this season… sending various meta-human baddies across dimensions tasked with one simple mission, kill the Flash. But in the context of DC Comics, we already saw the character that SHOULD be Zoom last season, Harrison Wells revealed himself to actually be Eobard Thawne wearing the dearly departed scientist’s face. In comic book world, Eobard Thawne has been known as both Reverse Flash and Professor Zoom. I can understand how the showrunners didn’t want to call last season’s big bad “Professor Zoom,” the name seems a little too comic-book-y and I felt that referring to him as the Reverse Flash fit the tone of the first season perfectly. But as far as just being called Zoom, I have a few theories about who it could be.

Eddie Thawne... 

This is personally my most unpopular theory but one that I feel could fit, mind you this could very much be the Eddie Thawne of Earth-2 rather than a miraculously brought back to life Earth Prime version.

This would bring the Thawne family full circle as enemies of the Scarlet Speedster, plus notable members of the Thawne family tree other than good ol Eobard has acted as a foil for the Flash and Kid Flash. Malcolm Thawne went by the name Cobalt Blue and for a time was able to co-opt the speed force when he enveloped the speedster duo in his blue flame. Zoom’s lightning has been stylized as blue since he was first revealed in a season two teaser trailer. While this is, for me, the possible identity I would most like them to pass on… I do have to point out that it’s possible in the context of the show’s narrative.

Henry Allen of Earth 2...

A bit far fetched but one that could spell an intensely cerebral battle in Flash's future. If Barry's father, the man he fought tirelessly for to prove his innocence last season, turns out to have an evil and monstrous doppelganger on a parallel Earth... well, I don't know how Barry plans to beat him. In the most recent episode, a scene from Earth-2 mirrors that from Earth Prime with the Arrow being unmasked... but on this Earth it turns out to be Robert Queen who took on the hood and quiver to be Starling City's Emerald Archer... it's possible that Henry Allen could have received speedster abilities on Earth 2 akin to his son from Earth Prime.

This is something I wouldn't put past the showrunners and like my Eddie Thawne theory above, one I hope doesn't come to pass. Barry's been through enough, and to see this season's ultimate villain wear the face of a man who Barry cherishes... I don't think my heart could take it... let alone Barry's. I hope this isn't their plan, but as far as theories go... you gotta take the good with the bad. Plus, if it is Henry at least he gets to wear a neat blue suit again right?

John Wesley Shipp playing Pollux in the 90s Flash TV series... he was like his Reverse Flash

John Wesley Shipp playing Pollux in the 90s Flash TV series... he was like his Reverse Flash

Barry Allen of Earth 2... 

With Jay Garrick as the Crimson Comet of Earth 2, Barry Allen could simply just be a regular ol forensic analyst until the day Harry’s particle accelerator released dark matter into Earth 2, creating a populace of metas. While I wouldn’t hold it past them to throw into the mix the darker side of the Barry Allen coin, it does feel a bit early to introduce another reverse of the Flash, there’s still the exploration of Earth 3 and the possibility of introducing the Crime Syndicate or at least Johnny Quick into next season.

As far as a possible Earth 2 variant of Barry being Zoom, it could be the secondary motive for the reason Zoom is so consumed with orchestrating Barry’s death. Perhaps he feels he can take his identity or take over the life Earth Prime Barry leads… it’s also largely possible that Zoom feels that if he cuts Prime Flash away from the speedforce, he can absorb his power, allowing him to run faster than he’s ever been able to run yet. 

Barry has worn a blue suit before, in the New 52 Futures End arc, a darker/tainted version of The Flash from a near future laments his decision to ever being the Flash and decides he wants to go back in time to kill himself. I know, last season was all about time travel… but tweak the backstory a bit and Zoom could absolutely be a grizzled and evil Barry Allen. It may be grasping at straws but on the most recent episode of The Flash, Zoom referred to himself as the fastest man alive… something Barry continuously says about himself.

The Flash tangling with an alternate future version of himself

The Flash tangling with an alternate future version of himself

This is a possibility and as I said earlier, one I wouldn’t put past the showrunners… but there is one character they could cull from the comics who perfectly fits the bill… and this third theory is my personal favorite and one that I feel can be the most plausible.

Zoom is… Dr. Edward Clariss/The Rival

Jay Garrick's Reverse Flash, The Rival

Jay Garrick's Reverse Flash, The Rival

If the name sounds unfamiliar, I don’t blame you, the character is fairly obscure by comic standards. On Earth 2, Dr. Clariss was a Professor at the University Jay Garrick attended. After facing an embarrassing rejection from his academic peers, Clariss became a criminal and opted to wear a darker variant of Jay Garrick’s costume as the Flash’s nemesis the Rival.

Edward Clariss developed a serum that gave him super speed, though his formula proved to be unstable and temporary. When Clariss was able to reach light speeds, he vanished into the speedforce.

As a member of the Earth-2 community, Clariss being Zoom is the largest piece of the “who dat?” puzzle. As Jay Garrick’s Reverse Flash, the Rival acted as the equalizer for a man who can run faster than any man ever has. In a later comic book arc, Clariss returns from the speedforce transformed into concentrated speedforce energy; this could be why Zoom is so monstrously fast.

Furthermore, in all of the Rival’s comic characterizations, he’s been seen to emit a blue lightning when he’s running; something the showrunners have linked to their version of Zoom. if the Earth-2 connection and the Jay Garrick connection weren’t enough to convince you, this should. 

Introducing a new character into The Flash with clear, though obscure, comic book roots feel like the most likely course this season is headed.

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Who he could possibly be is still up in the air, while last season we didn’t know who the Reverse Flash was until the midseason finale, one can only expect the same to be said here with Zoom’s identity.

Though if there is one thing I can be certain of, is that the folks behind The Flash have proved time and time again how much they respect the greater mythos of the character, and whatever plan they have hatched for Zoom… I am confident they are going to bring it! You may just want to make sure you don’t blink.

Have any other ideas? sound off in the comments!

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