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Reverse-Flash is a name which has been used by several fictional supervillains in American comic books published by DC Comics. Each iteration is an enemy of the hero known as The Flash. The Flash has the power to travel at super-speeds. Reverse Flash can also travel at super-speeds, allowing him to travel back and forth in time. The fact that the two have the same power is much of the reason they are enemies. There have been many different characters that have been known as reverse flash, the first of these characters being Professor Eobard Thawne who appeared in 1963.
Although not called Reverse-Flash, Edward Clariss (also known as the Rival and Rival Flash) first appeared in Flash Comics #104 (February 1949), created by John Broome and Joe Kubert. Dr. Edward Clariss, a professor at the university attended by the Golden Age Flash, has recreated (as "Velocity 9") the formula which was behind Jay Garrick's speed. He hears Garrick's girlfriend, Joan Williams, talking about how the Flash's own speed was given to another student, which helped him develop the formula. Bitter at the scientific community's rejection of his claims, Clariss becomes a criminal. A darker version of Flash with a mask over his head, he gives the formula to other criminals. The Rival's version of the formula is temporary, and he is captured and jailed.
JSA #16 (November 2000) contains a flashback to a battle between the Rival and the Flash several months after the former's first appearance. Now that he has inexplicably regained super speed, Clariss reaches light speed during the fight and vanishes into the Speed Force. After the Justice Society of America's reformation 50 years later, Johnny Sorrow retrieves Clariss from the Speed Force and invites him to join the Injustice Society. Driven insane in the Speed Force, The Rival races across the country on a killing spree. The Flash realizes that the Rival's path across the country spells out Clariss' name and the final murder will be Joan; Jay absorbs the Rival's speed before he can kill Joan.
The Rival returns in Impulse #88 (September 2002), posing as Joan's doctor. Now pure speed energy, he possesses fellow Golden Age speedster Max Mercury. After battling Jay and Impulse, Max time-travels to an unknown destination. In The Flash: Rebirth #4, Max escapes from the Speed Force and is rejuvenated by Wally West's energy; this allows him to return to Earth in a new body. Another Golden Age Reverse-Flash is a robot whose only appearance was in one panel of The Flash #134 (February 1998), where he is defeated by Garrick.
Hunter Zolomon, also known as Zoom, first appeared in The Flash: Secret Files & Origins #3. The archenemy of Wally West, he is the second supervillain to be called Reverse-Flash.
Another character not called Reverse-Flash, Thaddeus Thawne (aka Inertia and Kid Zoom) first appeared in Impulse #51 (August 1999), created by Todd DeZago and Mike Wieringo. A clone of Bart Allen, Inertia first fought Impulse. When Bart aged five years after Infinite Crisis and became the Flash, Inertia fought his genetic template again. Inertia was responsible for Allen's death; Wally West returned, taking revenge by paralyzing Inertia and installing him in the Flash Museum. In Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, he was used by Libra and Zoom to try to get the Rogues to join the Secret Society. Inertia stole Zoom's powers, called himself Kid Zoom and was killed by the Rogues who blamed him for making them kill Bart.
Asked who created Inertia, Ethan van Sciver wrote that he could only accept five percent of the credit; the remaining credit belonged to Mike Wieringo (20 percent), Grant Morrison (25 percent) and Todd Dezago (50 percent). According to van Sciver, Inertia's appearance is an inverted Impulse.
Inertia initially appeared came in Impulse #50: "First Fool's" (July 1999), followed by #51: "It's All Relative" (August 1999). His greatest character development was in #53: "Threats" (October 1999). Inertia was not featured again until Impulse #62 and #66: "Mercury Falling" (July, November 2000), and again for another five years.
He then began making regular appearances, primarily due to Bart becoming the Flash. Inertia appeared in The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #5: "Lightning in a Bottle, Part 5" (December 2006). In addition to his Flash appearances, he appeared in Teen Titans (vol. 3) as part of Titans East, an enemy team, beginning in Teen Titans #43 (January 2007). The storyline concluded with #46 (April 2007). Gathering the Rogues, he attempted to drain Bart's powers for himself; the plan backfired when Wally returned when Inertia's equipment drained the Speed Force, making the Rogues accidentally beat Bart to death. As Bart tried to escape, he was captured by Wally who steals his Speed leaving him immobile.
Inertia is primarily a speedster, remaining disconnected from the Speed Force after Infinite Crisis and injecting himself with Velocity 9. Although Velocity 9 has been unstable, Deathstroke's new variety seems to have no negative side effects. Inertia briefly shares his powers before his death with Zoom who lends him his speed to pressure him into becoming a new Kid Flash. As a maddened Kid Zoom, he masters human time streams and reverts Zoom to the powerless Hunter Zolomon before he is killed by the Rogues.
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Daniel "Danny" West first appears in The Flash #23 (October 2013). He is Iris West's brother. Having received his powers from a combination of a Rogues attack and an incident in which the Speed Force granted powers to individuals, he wants to help Barry Allen. Since Daniel broke his father's back (making him a paraplegic and alienating Iris), he wants to travel back in time to kill his father before the incident—altering the timeline and regaining Iris' affection. West was defeated and stripped of his powers.
Regaining his powers, he joined the Suicide Squad. Danny was killed while saving children from a time bomb, when the bomb exploded after West threw it into the ocean (creating a vortex which killed him). In DC Rebirth, even though he made Wally West II call him uncle, he was revealed to be the biological father of Wally.
In DC's Tangent Comics, Reverse Flash is an evil, holographic duplicate of Lia Nelson (the Flash) created by a sinister government agency. She was charged with negative ionic energy to disperse Flash's photon-based form. The Flash's light-wave powers outmatched Reverse-Flash's, and she was destroyed. This Reverse Flash appeared in one issue: Tangent Comics: The Flash (December 1997).
In other mediaEdit
- The Reverse-Flash is alluded in Justice League Unlimited. The fusion of Lex Luthor and Brainiac creates robotic androids of Justice Lords, including a Reverse-Flash esque copy of the Flash (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum).
- The Eobard Thawne version of Reverse-Flash appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by John Wesley Shipp.
- The Eobard Thawne version of Reverse-Flash will appear on Justice League Action, voiced by Alan Tudyk.
- Matt Letscher portrays Professor Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash, while Tom Cavanagh portrayed his disguised form of "Dr. Harrison Wells" on The Flash. A time-travelling speedster with red lightning, he is the arch-nemesis of Barry Allen and a future descendant of Eddie Thawne.
- Teddy Sears portrays a loose adaptation of Hunter Zolomon/Zoom on The Flash, with Tony Todd providing his disguised voice. A serial killer from Earth-2, he became a rogue speedster who augmented his powers with the Velocity 9 serum, which turned his lightning blue. He also masqueraded as Jay Garrick/The Flash and is later transformed into the Black Flash, a servant of the Speed Force.
- Todd Lasance portrays Edward Clariss/Rival. He is the archenemy of Wally West in the Flashpoint timeline, and Barry Allen in the restored timeline thanks to Alchemy.
- The Eobard Thawne version of Reverse-Flash appears in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, voiced by C. Thomas Howell. Inertia's costume is also on display in the Flash Museum.
The subsequent versions of Reverse-Flash appear in various video games.
- The Hunter Zolomon version appears in the Game Boy Advance game Justice League Heroes: The Flash as the fourth-level boss.
- The Eobard Thawne version appears as a mini-boss in DC Universe Online in the Gorilla Grodd duos and as a world boss roaming Central City in the "Lightning Strikes" DLC
- The Eobard Thawne version appears a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- The Eobard Thawne version appears as a DLC skin for The Flash in Injustice 2.