Run-usual Suspects: Who is Zoom in The Flash?


This weeks episode of The Flash will add more fuel to the fire of this season’s mystery, who is Zoom?

We know that following on from the previous episode Dr. Harrison Wells from Earth 2 has made the incursion over, the trailer for this weeks episode has dropped already and in it Wells alludes to the fact he was somehow responsible for the creation of Zoom.

Just as last year developed the mystery of the “Man in Yellow” who murdered Nora Allen, this season has also followed a similar mode of developing the mysterious identity behind this years central protagonist.

This naturally leaves lots of room for speculation, with that in mind lets hash out the possible candidates from the comics and look towards the show for any clues that appear (if at all). Discussing the logic for and against each of the possible candidates.

BlaFlaBlack Flash

Reasons for: The Black Flash (first featured in The Flash #138) is the speedforce’s equivalent of the Grim Reaper, for speedsters in the DC Universe, he appears to them as their death is imminent, having been witnessed at the deaths of Flash’s like Barry, Max Mercury and Bart Allen.
Let’s consider the following piece of dialogue given in episode two by Jay Garrick;

“He’s an unstoppable demon, with the face of death.”

Interestingly The CW released a promotional video in which the VFX behind the show were discussed and in a segment that focussed on Zoom, we see a Pre-Visual Effects animatic of his race with Jay Garrick. Whilst it is somewhat difficult to distinguish his features in the show either as it is too dark or — as was the case with Thawne previously — because he is blurry, the animatic makes it clearer that the Zoom certainly resembles Black Flash, he has the skeletal facial features and pointed fingers

Then there were comments made by executive producer Andrew Kreisberg to Variety in regards to the casting of Tony Todd as Zoom’s vocals.

“Last year, we thought of the Reverse-Flash as a speed warrior; this year, Zoom is like a speed demon, and no one does demon-voice better than Tony Todd.”

Further adding;

“There’s no skin showing, for all you know there’s a robot underneath, or dark energy.

Those words in bold particularly pop out as another take on the Black Flash character occurred in the Smallville season 11 mini-series in the Haunted arc, this story arc explained the mechanics behind the speed force in that universe. The Black Flash plays a not too dissimilar role to how he does in DC’s main continuity, seeking to return the speedsters powers back into the force at the costs of their lives. In the story he is giving a few different names, one being Speed Demon and his form is said to be a dark energy manifestation of the speedforce itself. Whilst it is a bit of an obscure pull to imagine they would use aspects from the Smallville comics it is worth remembering that the Black Flash character has only been in perhaps a handful of stories printed by DC.

Reasons against: The fact that the Black Flash is an ethereal kind of antagonist makes it far more difficult to connect with, we see the monster but not the man underneath and therefore it is harder as an audience to make a connection with.

Assuming that Black Flash is behind the Zoom persona, just raises the question of who is behind the Black Flash persona like some kind of ouroborous of identities and then the whole scenario just becomes convoluted.

Outcome: There is a healthy amount of evidence that the Black Flash forms the physical basis for the Zoom character, but not as a personality per se. This is likely because Zoom as we know him from the comics is just far too similar to season one’s Eobard Thawne aka The Man in Yellow aka Reverse Flash and whilst it probably wouldn’t cause any issues for fans of the comics it would be far too confusing for the week-to-week casual audience, after all they look exactly the same.

Therefore the chances of Zoom being the Black Flash are unlikely, it is more probable that a more familiar character would be behind the persona albeit a twisted parallel universe version with Black Flash being used as a visual motif.

HenrAlHenry Allen

Reasons for: Really there are no overwhelming reasons for why Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) would be Zoom and yet it has been a persistent fan theory, the logic behind it is that Barry Allen as far as we know does not exist in Earth 2, perhaps he was killed alongside his mother and this led to Henry becoming a dark version of the Flash just as Thomas Wayne became Batman during the Flashpoint mini-series.

That being said the fact is that he was such a part of season one yet within the first episode of this season was released from his wrongful imprisonment and just bailed on Central City, thus leaving a Henry Allen shaped hole in the series.

Reasons against: It makes no sense whatsoever, Zoom hasn’t been shown to be a darker version of the Flash in fact the converse is true he has been depicted as a straight up killer. Plus why would he be after Barry?, if he lost his son then it doesn’t add up that he would attack an alternate version of him.

Outcome: If I were a betting man, I would put my money on any other character before Henry Allen.

HunterZoHunter Zolomon

Reasons for: The main reason why Hunter Zolomon could be Zoom is quite simple and compelling, he WAS Zoom at least in the source material. Zolomon was a troubled FBI profiler who loses his wife and becomes obsessed with the Flash or more specifically helping him become a better hero by providing him with a nemisis. He is  not a speedster in the traditional sense, that is to say his powers occurred from a freak accident with the cosmic treadmill which bestowed him with the powers of time manipulation, the effect of this being he could make time around him move faster than that of the world around him — In essence super speed without a connection to the speed force.

Reasons against: Hunter is in essence a law enforcer, who was friends with The Flash in his civilian identity yet becomes the yellow suited evil counterpart to him, what we have already seen in the story lines of Eddie and Eobarde except merged. So it is hard to imagine that they would use such a similar storyline so soon after the events of that season.

There is also the fact that Hunter Zolomon was only really relevant as a villain during Wally’s tenure as the Flash.

Outcome: Regardless of whether Hunter Zolomon is flat out the Zoom from season two at least we can assume elements of the character will make it into the show, but the Zoom of the comics had very little interaction with the Barry Allen version of the Flash and coupled with his similarity to other character makes it appear unlikely we will see him, at this point.

WalWeWally West

Reasons for: This is not your Papa’s Wally West, instead he has been re-imagined to fit with the show. His familial connection to Iris is now that of a brother (rather than Nephew, as was traditionally the case), this is VERY pertinent when one considers the New 52 reboot of The Flash comics because Iris has a brother (though not Wally) who was a black suited reverse Flash — Daniel West.

We also know from the first 4 episodes of season two that have been shown so far, that Wally (who will be played by Keiynan Lonsdale) was brought up by his mother, alone and without the guidance of his sister and father. It has also been shown that the reason his Mother left Joe was because she had problems with drugs, needless to say this all sounds like a terribly grim life for Wally to have been brought up in.

It is also likely that he will find his powers this season, as Cadice Patton (Iris) previously let slip that this season will feature three Flashes, Barry is the prime Flash and we have met Jay, so the third can only be two of the characters in this season Wally and Jesse Chambers (set to feature later this season, played by Violett Beane), however Chambers was originally a resident of Earth 2 owed to the fact her  parents Johnny Quick and Liberty Bell were in the Justice Society spin-off group “The All-star Squadron”, so she could still be another Flash it just depends on how she is introduced.

This raises the fact that regardless of how his upbringing affects him or whether he does gain his powers this season, why would Harrison Well’s of Earth 2 have any part in the creation of Zoom when Wally is an Earth 1 resident. Perhaps we could see both a good Wally and an evil Wally, this would be a good way of showing how easily the choices we make and not the lives we have lived are what make us good people.

Reasons against: OK so let’s follow the logic that Wally from the future or Earth 2 decides he wants to gain revenge against Iris for being the apple of Joe’s eye, that doesn’t fit in line with anything we have been shown thus far about Zoom. In fact so far what we know about Zoom is that he wishes to take out Speedsters across the multiverse and that he had previously turned Earth 2 into a hell on Earth. Whilst the former and latter aren’t mutually exclusive it isn’t consistent with the Daniel West version of the Reverse Flash.

Outcome: The most obvious candidate, perhaps too obvious but at this point the safest choice until we at least meet the character and get to know more about him.

BerAlE2And… Barry Allen

Reason for: OK let’s piece this together, during the season one finale we were shown that there was an alternate universe version of Barry whose life had went a little differently. This Barry was shown to be a resident of Iron Heights, clearly he hadn’t been brought up with the kind of resolve that Earth 1 Barry had and thus gave in to life of crime.

Add that to the previously mentioned piece of dialogue by Harrison Well’s from this weeks show, that he created Zoom. Interesting as we know that Earth 1 Harrison Wells (actually Eobard Thawne) had created the Flash. There is also the absence of Barry as Flash in Earth 2 which we know from the fact that Jay Garrick fulfilled that role and you have to ask; where is Earth 2 Barry and why wouldn’t his metagene be activated as it had on Earth 1?

There is also the motive of Zoom, he wishes to kill Barry. The thing is it actually makes sense that Earth 2 Barry would want to do that, especially if you are familiar with the the plot to the Jet Li movie The One (and if you aren’t that is entirely forgiveable), in it Jet Li plays just a regular cop but finds a superpowered ass kicking machine is trying to kill him, this killer is in fact himself from another universe who wishes to be the sole version of himself across that multiverse and in killing each becomes more and more powerful.

The mechanics for this would make sense too in the context of The Flash as typically the power of the speed force is shared across users of it, so the less users of the speed force the faster one can move in theory.

Reasons against: It is hard to picture the big bad for the season being Barry himself, whilst this kind of plot can be fairly enjoyable for the one off “mirror universe” type set up, for it to be the pay off to the whole season could be a big ask.

Plus assuming it is Barry, why would Zoom not get personal. If it is Barry even one that has led a darker life you would assume he would know the nuances of what would make himself tick even just the baseline details of how to draw his Earth 1 version out. Would Zoom not be easier sending three heavies to Earth 1 to grab Henry and draw Barry out into the open where they could overpower him?

But the show is at this point still on it’s 4th episode, so this could be the case.

Outcome: This is mostly extrapolated from that one image in the season one finale, so it could be placing a lot of significance on an image intended as a cute easter egg rather than something more tangible. Yet so much about the “why?” fits in place.

As you can see, some of potential candidates for Zoom in this season make more sense in the role than others, Black Flash for example would appear to be part of that mixture. Wally being a known speedster would be another probable candidate as would the Barry of Earth 2. It is easy to rule Henry out because there has been nothing thus far to indicate that this would be the case and the suggestion that it is are based on a very tenuous line of logic.

Surprisingly the one possible candidate for Zoom who there has been almost no indication for is Hunter Zolomon, as in Zoom himself, yet it shouldn’t be discounted that this may still be the case after all last season we were shown how Dr. Well was the reverse Flash only for that to be turned on its head when he was in fact the traditional Eobard Thawne in disguise.

That is the clues as they stand at this point, I guess we will find out more as time moves on but who do you feel that it is likely to be?

Be sure to let us know, on Facebook, Twitter or the comments on the page below.

The writer of this piece was:
GARYavGary Kane aka (GK)
GK tweets from @Kanoclassic

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