Professor Zoom, also known as Reverse-Flash is the arch-nemesis of the Flash. He is a twisted sociopathic criminal with a brilliant mind and super-speed. Eobard Thawne was born in the 25th Century and travels through time to do battle with his most hated enemy. He has also been a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.
Eobard Thawne was born in the 25th Century. His parents genetically engineered him to be highly intelligent and to have a particular appearance. However, as he grew up, they become concerned about his lack of social skills and tendency to daydream, which was frowned upon in a their very regimented society. Hoping that helping to take care of a sibling would help Eobard adjust, his parents had a second son, Robern. Eobard struggled to manage his little brother and chafed when reprimanded by their parents for his periodic outbursts, triggered by his frustration.
Eobard spent so much time in social bonding sessions and psychological analyses with Robern that he fell far behind in his own studies. As a result, his application to study the Speed Force at the Flash Museum was rejected. Eobard illegally began doing his own research on the subject. However, he was caught by Robern, now an officer in the Science Police.
A future version of Eobard traveled into the past and prevented Robern from being born. This allowed Eobard to focus completely on his studies. He successfully was admitted to study at the Flash Museum. Another scientist, Professor Drake, announced that he was on the verge of proving the existence of the Speed Force. Eobard offered to collaborate with him, but was refused. Again, a future version of himself traveled through time and killed Drake.
Passing into yet another newly-created timeline, Eobard was appointed professor of the Flash Museum. His knowledge of the Speed Force caused his peers to nickname him Professor Zoom. However, his research was unsuccessful and he was unable to tap into the Speed Force. Eventually, his parents grew concerned and instigated the closure of the Flash Museum. Again, his future self interfered with the timeline and caused the deaths of his parents, allowing him to continue his research.
Eobard fell in love with a reporter who had been hired to inteview him. However, he learned that she was engaged. His future self interfered yet again, killing the reporter's fiance and eventually every man who she had ever dated, when she steadfastly refused to believe that her fiance was gone for good. However, she continued to rebuff Thawne's advances, eventually retaliating physically when he attempts to kiss her. In anger, his future self traumatized the reporter as a child, rendering her mute and causing her to be institutionalized for the rest of her life.
Return of Barry Allen
Eobard longed for the heroic age of the 20th century. Foremost among the super-heroes, in his mind, was Barry Allen, the second Flash. He worshipped him as a hero and as a friend. He knew everything about Barry, keeping a collection of memorabilia about his hero. At the center was Barry's biography, The Life Story of the Flash by Iris Allen. Barry's life became as real to Eobard as did his own. He underwent a Plastomorph operation to make himself look like Barry. One day, he came across Barry's cosmic treadmill in an antique store. He killed the cashier in order to acquire this Holy Grail of Flash collectibles. Now, Eobard had the means to meet his idol. All he had to do then was to somehow duplicate the reaction that gave Barry his superspeed. The ordeal cost him his fortune and shaved years off his life, but he knew that he now had the chance to become Barry's friend and partner. Grabbing the biography for an autograph, Eobard set off to the 20th century on the treadmill.
However, the treadmill's calibration had been affected by the centuries of not being used. It miscalculated his arrival, and Eobard appeared several years after Barry's death, when Wally West was the Flash. His journey had been pointless, or so he thought. Eobard visited the Flash Museum. There, he learned that he was destined to become the Flash's greatest villain: Professor Zoom.
This drove Eobard mad. He began to honestly believe he was Barry Allen. He showed up at Wally's door on Christmas Eve dressed as Barry. For several months, he patrolled the streets of Central and Keystone Cities with Wally as the Flash. Everything went well and everyone was happy until he began to go mad again. During one battle with the Combine, a Combine agent started to brag that he had killed the Flash after blasting Wally with a cannon. Eobard began to beat him up, saying, "I'm the Flash!" This is when Wally realized that something was wrong, that he was not Barry.
After leaving Wally to die in a Combine trap, Thawne began to completely turn around, fighting Green Lantern, Jay Garrick, Max Mercury, and Johnny Quick. Finally, after finding the biography that Eobard had brought with him in an alley, Wally deduced the villain's true identity. In a showdown at the Flash Museum, Thawne switched to the predominantly yellow costume of his future self, Professor Zoom. Finally, Wally managed to trick Zoom into returning to his own era on the cosmic treadmill. Now powerless, Thawne retained no memories of this journey — but he was left with a deep and bitter hatred for Barry Allen.
Silver Age Career
Thawne began a career as a criminal in his home era. The police department and his fellow crooks knew him as the "Professor" due to his scientific leanings. The Flash remained one of his favorite characters of history, but now he hated him because the hero stood for law and justice and he stood for the reverse.
One day in 2463, a time capsule materialized out of the air. Inside were many relics from the 20th century, including a genuine costume used by the Flash. He amplified the super-speed wave patterns contained in the suit using a simple 25th century technique, giving him super-speed when he put in on. He dyed the costume the reverse in color of its original hues. Naming himself Professor Zoom, he decided to become the greatest criminal in human history. His first crime was to steal the famous Cribi sculptures. However, Barry Allen, on a rescue mission to destroy an atomic clock that was also in the time capsule and had become an atomic bomb during time travel, stopped Zoom.
Our Enemy, The Flash!
Zoom escaped prison and was determined to regain his powers, since the Flash had taken his suit from him. He discovered a new element, Element Z, which granted him superspeed when he wore a locket containing the substance around his neck. However, the element was not stable, and he lost his powers after a short amount of time. Determine to fix this flaw, Zoom sent his astral image backward in time and contacted Al Desmond, the reformed Flash villain once known as Mr. Element and Dr. Alchemy and one of the most knowledgeable scholars on elements in history. Here, he forced Desmond to mix a radioactive substance which would send Zoom's physical body to the 20th Century as well. The malevolent speedster then forced Desmond, against his will, to reprise his old Mr. Element persona and commit several crimes, so that he would be willing to help Zoom out by purifying Element Z. Once this was complete, Zoom used the Cosmic Treadmill to return to his own era, where he attempted to blackmail the government by threatening to release dangerous prisoners from jail with his newfound super speed, unless he received vast sums of money. However, the Flash followed him to the 25th Century, where Zoom was defeated. He was sent back to prison and his locket taken away.
The Mightiest Punch of All Time!
While in prison, Zoom did a great deal of research in the field of ultra-speed, developing radiation which could compel others to do evil, enable him to read and control the minds of others, as well as granting and taking away superspeed. After he had served his sentence for a year, he was subjected to a test which determined his level of rehabilitation. Because he had previously tampered with the device that was used to administer this test, he passed with the highest possible rating and was released from jail. Building his own Cosmic Treadmill and using his new ultra-speed science to regain his powers, he traveled back to the 20th Century to test his evildoing radiation on Al Desmond, with whom he had become fascinated after their previous encounter. While in this era, Zoom used his mind control radiation to cause the city officials of Central City to ban superspeed within city limits, thereby creating a great amount of difficulty for his law-abiding foe, the Flash. The Scarlet Speedster was captured, and Zoom summoned Desmond, who had resumed his identity as Mr. Element, to kill their common enemy. However, Element had given himself a post-hypnotic suggestion to save the speedster, which he did by destroying the device which was keeping the Flash hostage. Zoom was shocked at this betrayal, and the Flash took this opportunity to land a mighty punch, knocking him out. As this caused the vibrations which kept him in the 20th Century to cease, Zoom returned to his own era, where the authorities found him, unconscious.
One Bridegroom Too Many!
Zoom was placed in a prison enclosed by invincible radiation, even feeding him radiation, so that no one would ever need to go in his cell. However, he used the radiation of the cell to increase his mental capacity, to the point where he could actually follow through with his most recent twisted plan. Wanting to enjoy the double life of Barry Allen, he used his enhanced brain power to switch places with the Flash, sending him to the 20th century and Barry into his own cell in the future. Changing Barry's electric shaver into a matter distributor, Zoom changed his face to make it look like Barry's. Of all nights, this happened to be the night before Barry's wedding to Iris West. However, in the future, the real Barry escaped the radiation cell by using his costume ring's chemical formula to have a shrinking effect on the energy wall, and then vibrated through it. He traveled back to the 20th century, where he broke up his own wedding, which was in progress, and took Zoom outside, where they battled. After the Flash defeated Zoom, the authorities from the future whisked Zoom back to his own era for conviction.
Green Lantern, Master Criminal of the 25th Century
While in prison, Zoom created syntho-steeds, synthetic horses used to replace the real things, which had become extinct. The horserace-watching public was so pleased that Zoom eventually received a full pardon for his crimes and was released. However, Zoom had become enamored with the Raxalus wings, a priceless piece of art on display in Central City. He began an elaborate plot to acquire it by sending one of his syntho-steeds through time to the 20th century. Here, it terrorized the city, and neither the Flash nor Green Lantern could stop it. However, they were able to determine that the steed was from the future. They traveled to the 25th century, where they enlisted Zoom's aid in stopping the beast. He agreed, on the condition that Green Lantern steal the Raxalus wings for him. The two heroes reluctantly agreed, and so Flash and Zoom returned to the 20th century to battle the syntho-steed while Green Lantern stayed in the future to steal the sculpture. Everyone was successful. However, the Raxalus wings were yellow and thus were destroyed when the Green Lantern attempted to carry them back through time without being able to protect them with his ring. A frustrated Zoom accidentally confessed to his crime and he was taken back to the 25th century.
The Deadly Secret of the Flash - The Thousand-Year Separation!
Scientists in Zoom's era discovered a deadly form of energy known as cosma-spurs. When he learned of them, he knew he had to return to the 20th century to use them on his foe, the Flash. This he did by creating a system of tornadoes laced with cosma-spur radiation which threatened to destroy Central City. The Scarlet Speedster arrived on the scene, but was caught in a twister and would have been killed had he not vibrated into an intangible state. Meanwhile, Zoom began impersonating Barry Allen, hoping to take his place as Iris's husband. Iris eventually deduced that he was not Barry, almost immediately before Barry himself was finally able to revert back to his tangible form and defeat his impostor. However, before he was defeated, Zoom implanted a lethal energy-flux in Iris's body which would cause the destruction of the universe if she came in contact with her husband's aura. To prevent this, Jay Garrick and Doctor Fate whisked her away and attempted to cure her. When they failed, they sent her to the 30th century, hoping that she could be cured by her biological parents, Eric and Fran Russell. The Flash eventually tracked her down, only to discover that Zoom was also in the 30th century and had convinced Iris to marry him in exchange for sparing all of existence. However, after battling Zoom, the Flash discovered how to neutralize the energy-flux in Iris. Zoom escaped.
At some point, the authorities temporarily released Zoom from prison to help fight Cobalt Blue. However, during this battle, he came in contact with the villain's gem, causing the Thawne family hatred of the Allen family to boil to the surface. He then focused his attention on attacking a nearby police officer, Simogyn Allen. However, Zoom was stopped by a time traveling Wally West, but made a getaway and ran to the Flash Museum. Here, he used the Cosmic Treadmill to travel to the 30th Century, where he hoped to claim the gem for himself. However, Zoom was followed by Wally, who quickly defeated him and returned him to prison in his home era.
Secret Society of Super-Villains
Zoom was magically summoned to this 20th century from his own era by the Wizard, who recruited him to join the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Along with with Plant Master, Blockbuster, and Star Sapphire, they stole a trans-spacial transponder from S.T.A.R. Labs, which they planned to use to transport themselves to Wizard's home dimension of Earth-Two and conquer it. Zoom, who was recruited in part because of his technological expertise, was put in charge of operating the machine. However, things did not go as planned, and the team of villains arrived on Earth-Three, home of the Crime Syndicate of America. The Wizard determined that they could travel to the correct world by collecting three tokens of power so that he could cast a spell to break down the dimensional barrier. Zoom was tasked with obtaining one of the tokens, the ring of Power Ring. He was successful, as were his teammates, and the Society arrived on Earth-Two, at the headquarters of the Injustice Society. Wizard began summoning members of the Justice Society of America one at a time and had his teammates battle them. While Blockbuster fought Atom, Zoom and Plant Master defeated Doctor Mid-Nite. When Zoom demanded to know when they would begin to fight more powerful members of the JSA, Wizard explained that he wanted to take out the second-stringers first.
During an adventure in which members of the Society switched bodies with members of the Justice League of America, Zoom and his teammates learned the secret identities of the various Justice League members. In order to protect their loved ones, the League had Zatanna magically erase this information from their minds.
Murder of Iris Allen
Using the alias "Mr. Zyx" and appearing invisible by vibrating his molecules at superspeed, Zoom contacted Central City's corrupt police chief Matthew Paulson, who he convinced to steal heroin that had been confiscated by the police. He then planned to stabilize the drug, packaging it with powdered milk manufactured at a factory he was using as a hideout, with the ultimate goal of creating a vast number of addicts who would do his bidding.
Zoom fell in love with Barry's wife, Iris. One day, he came to her and asked her to either leave Barry for him or die. At a costume party the next day, Zoom asked Iris what she had decided. She slapped him, saying that even if she didn't love Barry so much, she would never let him lay a hand on her. Zoom had one of his henchman drug Barry with "angel-dust". Barry felt dazed and Iris went to get him a glass of water. She entered a room where the deranged convict, Clive Yorkin, was hiding out. Here, Zoom vibrated to invisibility and slipped his vibrating hand through Iris' skull, fatally damaging the molecules in her brain. Obviously, all the evidence pointed to Yorkin.
Zoom finally revealed himself to Barry, claiming to know the identity of Iris's killer and leading him on a chase across the world. Ultimately, the villain fitted the Flash with pair of heavy matter boots and left him to sink to his death in the Earth's molten core. The speedster escaped, however, and went to Zoom's home era to learn who killed his wife using 25th Century historical records. In his nemesis's absence, Zoom posed as the Flash and brought Paulson to the police, wanting to take full control of his heroin ring, and briefly fought the Green Lantern. He also booby-trapped the Cosmic Treadmill, hoping to kill the Flash when he returned to the present.
However, Barry survived. Although his trip to the future had been unsuccessful, based on security video of Iris's murder, he determined that Zoom was the killer, as only a person with super-speed could commit a murder invisibly. He chased Zoom through the ocean to Zoom's cosmic-powered time-tripper. They went backwards through time, and Barry left Zoom to face doom alone.
After years of trying various vibrational frequencies, Zoom was finally able to free himself from his extra-dimensional prison.. On the day that Barry Allen was supposed to marry Fiona Webb, Zoom left a message for his nemesis at the Flash Museum, telling him to meet him at the house where Barry and Iris used to live. At this moment, he was snatched up by his successor from the future, the second Zoom, and brought several years into the future. Since the newer Zoom's powers left him unable to operate the Cosmic Treadmill, he requested that the Professor operate it for him so that they could force Wally West to watch the attack on his wife that resulted in the deaths of their unborn twins over and over again. Thawne, with vague memories of his first encounter with Wally, was happy to comply. However, Barry soon showed up, bringing Thawne back to his own time. Soon after, Barry, desperate to save Fiona's life, clotheslined Zoom at super-speed. The sudden stop snapped Zoom's neck, killing him instantly.
Afterwards, five Rogues, Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, Pied Piper, Weather Wizard, and Trickster, stole Zoom's corpse from the morgue and held a special ceremony atop an isolated column of rock thirty miles north of Central City. They destroyed his coffin in rage, cursing him for having been killed by their nemesis. He was buried at Avernus, the hidden graveyard of the Rogues.
Zoom has been impersonated at least twice after his death. Once by Abra Kadabra during Barry Allen's trial, and later by Wally West in a ploy to trick Kadabra and Replicant. Several years later, police profiler Hunter Zolomon adopted Zoom's costume and became the second Zoom, dropping the "Professor" title from his name.
During Blackest Night, Thawne's corpse returned as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, resurrected by a power ring. This version called himself the new Black Flash. He immediately sought out the Flash and began tormenting him to feed on his emotions. This version was only the reanimated corpse of Zoom, and did not have any memories from after its own death. It was not aware that an alternate version of Zoom has since reappeared, or that the Flash died and came back. Although he called Barry out for murdering him and compromising the morals that made him a hero, the Flash calmed himself down from the encounter, and evaded him.
Zoom returned with Black Lantern versions of Kid Flash and Solovar to battle Barry, Wally West, and Saint Walker. In the midst of the fight, Zoom's body suddenly became encased in ice, exactly at the moment when a cold grenade belonging to Captain Cold was set off in Iron Heights, which housed an incarcerated future version of Zoom.
During the final battle with Nekron, Zoom was resurrected by a white light. Almost immediately, he disappeared, claiming that he was "going home".
Eobard learned that his old nemesis Barry Allen had died, sacrificing himself heroically to save the universe during the first Crisis. Enraged that his enemy had died with such dignity, Professor Zoom sent a subliminal message to Barry, who had briefly emerged from the Speed Force, that his return was greatly needed. This ultimately engineered Barry's return during the final Crisis.
Thawne then broke into the Central City crime lab, murdered two police scientists, and recreated the accident which originally had granted Barry his speed. This resulted in the creation of the Negative Speed Force. Zoom then traveled through time on a personal vendetta against Barry Allen. He pushed a young Barry down the stairs, burned down his childhood home, left the door open so his dog was hit by a car, murdered his mother,, and attempted to stop his son's marriage in the 30th Century. He also brutally attacked Abra Kadabra and did something unnatural to the jungles near Gorilla City.
Zoom's creation of the Negative Speed Force resulted in the death of the Black Flash and turned Barry Allen into its successor. Barry's touch resulted in the deaths of Savitar and Christina Alexandrova. The Justice League and Justice Society built a device to separate Barry from the Speed Force. Not wanting to hurt his loved ones, Barry escaped and ran into the Speed Force. Here, he witnessed the death of Johnny Quick. His murderer was none other than Zoom, who finally revealed himself to Barry. He was wearing a new costume, with the direction of his lightning bolt reversed.
He then trapped Barry and the revived Max Mercury inside the negative Speed Force. After boasting of his actions, he went to attack Wally West's kids, Jai and Irey. He attempted to kill them through their connection to the Speed Force, only to be stopped by Jay Garrick and Kid Flash, who took the fight to a nearby parade honoring the Flash in the streets of Central City. He defeated Jay and prepared to kill Bart before Max and Barry, who had been freed from the Speed Force by Wally West, arrived and took the fight to him.
The fight was soon joined by Jesse Chambers and Irey, now with a full connection to the Speed Force and taking up the mantles of Jesse Quick and Impulse. Zoom pulled Barry away and revealed that he caused everything horrible that had happened to Barry, including the death of his mother. He then decided to destroy everything by killing Barry's wife, Iris, on the evening of their first date.
As Barry chased after Zoom, Wally joined him in the time barrier. Doing so, they reached Zoom, becoming the lightning bolt that turned Barry into the Flash as they were able to stop Zoom from preventing killing Iris. The Flashes pushed Zoom back through time, showing Zoom confronting past and future. Returning to the present, the Flashes tossed him in the device that had been built to sever Barry's connection to Speed Force. It had the same effect on Zoom. He was bound tightly and imprisoned in the Iron Heights. From the next cell, Hunter Zolomon spoke to him, saying they could help each other be better.
Zoom was freed some time later by Captain Boomerang, who had also been resurrected after becoming a Black Lantern and was looking for answers. Zoom, however, told him that he knew nothing and promptly ran away.. He then proceeded to travel through time to various points in the 25th Century, where he killed numerous people from his own past so that he could mold his own history.
Hoping to harness the power of Darkseid's omega energy, Zoom tracked Bruce Wayne through the timestream. He briefly ran into the Time Masters, who were also looking for Wayne.
Thawne began experimenting with the effects of the Speed Force on age. He murdered the Elongated Kid, airman Jay Nicolosi, and a young girl in a playground by aging them until they expired from old age. He then adjusted his own age so that he appeared as a young boy and hid in a shipping container near the second crime scene, where he was discovered by the police. He was brought to the police station to be interviewed as a witness, but refused to open up to anyone but visiting police scientist Patty Spivot. After eating lunch with Patty, he told her that he was going to take a nap. She then returned to the lab to continue working on the case. While she was busy with her work, Thawne returned to his proper age and revealed himself to her. He revealed the experimental nature of his murders to Patty and was about to kill her as well before Flash, Kid Flash, and Hot Pursuit arrived. Hot Pursuit began to use his equipment to sever Zoom's connection to the Speed Force, but Zoom overpowered him. After carrying Hot Pursuit away, he soon realized he was a Barry Allen from an alternate Earth. Relishing the chance to kill any Barry Allen, Zoom accelerated Hot Pursuit's aging process, as he had done his other recent victims, killing him within seconds. After a brief scuffle with Flash and Kid Flash, Zoom disappeared into a crowd, hiding himself by aging into an old man. Later elsewhere, Professor Zoom says, "It changes, It all changes." and a lightning bolt strikes from the skies, leading directly into the Flashpoint event, that has begun.
Zoom later reveals he escaped from prison as his body was permanently connected to the Speed Force, enabling him to create the negative speed force. He plans to ruin Barry's life. It is revealed he was unable to alter Barry becoming the Flash as that would erase him from existence, which he discovers when he nearly phases from existence when attempting to stop the chemicals from spilling over Barry when he hopes to become the only Flash ever by making this his origin, though this causes the lightning bolt to pass through him and strike the chemicals, so he decides to ruin Barry's life during childhood, removing his best friend from existence to move Barry more inward, stalking Barry and doing minor things to annoy him like making him miss ball-catches, and killing his mother.
In Flashpoint, he mocks Barry, who remembers how reality should be but has lost his powers, by stalking his mother who is shown to be alive in this reality and placing a Reverse-Flash costume inside his ring, causing Barry to realise Zoom is mocking him. Later, Professor Zoom finally appears in front of Barry in the middle of the Amazon/Atlantean war just after Billy Batson is killed. He reveals to Barry that the Flashpoint timeline was created by Barry himself going back in time to stop Professor Zoom from killing his mother. He pulled the entire speed force into him to stop Zoom, transforming history. Zoom resets Barry's internal vibrations so he can remember this. Barry's actions also transformed Zoom into a living paradox, no longer requiring Barry to exist. Zoom continues to taunt Barry with this knowledge and revel in the fact that he can now kill him at his leisure, untill he was stabbed in the back and killed by Batman (Thomas Wayne) using an Amazon's discarded sword. Barry later travels back in time to stop his younger self from altering time and the timeline is apparantly restored.