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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. As each version of the Flash has the power to travel at super-speeds, each version of Reverse-Flash can also travel at super-speeds, allowing them to travel back and forth in time. The fact that the each two have the same power is much of the reason they are enemies.
Edward Clariss (also known as The Rival and Rival Flash) first appeared in Flash Comics #104 (February 1949), and was created by John Broome and Joe Kubert. Although not called Reverse-Flash, Dr. Edward Clariss was a professor at the university attended by the Golden Age Flash, and had recreated the formula which was behind Jay Garrick's speed via "Velocity 9". He hears Joan Williams (Garrick's girlfriend) 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 the 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's 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 (November 2001). The archenemy of Wally West, he is the third supervillain to be called Reverse-Flash.
Thaddeus Thawne (aka Inertia and Kid Zoom) first appeared in Impulse #51 (August 1999), and was created by Todd DeZago and Mike Wieringo. Another character not called Reverse-Flash, he is 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 depiction of 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 being 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 being a new Kid Flash. As the maddened Kid Zoom, he masters human time streams and reverts Zoom to the powerless Hunter Zolomon before he is killed by the Rogues.
Daniel "Danny" West first appeared in The Flash #0 (November 2012). The younger brother of Iris West and the apparent uncle (biological father) of Wallace West, he is the most recent character to take up the Reverse-Flash mantle.
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
- Matt Letscher portrays Professor Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, while Tom Cavanagh portrayed his disguised form of "Dr. Harrison Wells". Equipped with tachyon enhancement while displaying red lightning, the time-traveling speedster 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 who augmented himself via Velocity serums with blue lightning as a side-effect, the rogue speedster acted as an arch-nemesis of Barry Allen while masquerading as "The Flash" before being transformed into the Black Flash.
- Todd Lasance portrays Edward Clariss/The Rival on The Flash. Unaltered while displaying red lightning, the normal speedster is an enemy of Wally West in the Flashpoint timeline before being gunned down by Joe West. In the reset timeline, Doctor Alchemy restores his powers with the Philospher's Stone and sends him after Barry Allen and Vibe but is defeated again and he's soon thereafter killed by Savitar.
Television and FilmEdit
- Hunter Zolomon is alluded to in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by Michael Rosenbaum.
- Eobard Thawne appears in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, voiced by C. Thomas Howell. Inertia's costume is also on display in the Flash Museum in the former movie.
The subsequent characters to use Reverse-Flash moniker appear in various video games.
- Hunter Zolomon appears in the Game Boy Advance game Justice League Heroes: The Flash as the fourth-level boss.
- Eobard Thawne 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
- Eobard Thawne appears a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and Lego DC Super-Villains.
- Eobard Thawne appears as a DLC skin in Injustice 2.
- "Inertia . . . ! - Page 4 - The Comic Bloc Forums". Comicbloc.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-04-25.