The Flash: Who Is Hunter Zolomon?


When The Flash introduced Zoom, the main villain for Season 2, it did a masterful job of making fans think that he was from Earth-2. After all, he’s got history with that world’s Flash, Jay Garrick, as well as its version of Harrison Wells, and he’s been sending villains from that alternate Earth to attack Barry Allen. It was only logical to expect that Zoom was a native of that world.

Something happened in episode 11, “The Reverse-Flash Returns,” that has at least cracked the door open for the possibility that Barry and his friends have been looking on the wrong Earth. Toward the episode’s end, Jay took Caitlin Snow to show her his Earth-1 doppelganger, a man who bears a different name: Hunter Zolomon. Hearing that should have immediately made the hairs of comic book fans stand on end, because in Flash comics, Zolomon was once known as Zoom.

He could be a red herring on the show, or he could be the Big Bad cleverly hiding in plain sight. Either way, let’s delve into the character’s print history and see if anything there hints at what might be coming next on TV.

A Brief Comic Book History of Hunter Zolomon, a.k.a. Zoom

Zolomon was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins and made his comic book debut in 2001. The son of a serial killer, Zolomon tried to atone for his father’s sins by becoming a criminal profiler, and became quite talented at understanding the minds of metahuman villains. Unfortunately, he got a little too confident in his skills while working a case for the FBI, and ended up losing his wife (who left Hunter after the villain in the case killed her father) and his job, along with suffering a serious knee injury that required him to use a cane.

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He rebounded by starting a new life and career as a supervillain profiler in Keystone City, becoming a friend and ally to the Flash of that time, Wally West. But even greater tragedy struck Zolomon when he was paralyzed from the waist down after Grodd broke a bunch of criminals out of Iron Heights. That led him to beg the Flash to use the Cosmic Treadmill to go back in time and change history, but Wally declined, fearing damage it might cause to the timestream.

Hunter’s attempt to use the Treadmill himself was disastrous, as the device exploded — and left him a changed man as a result. Regaining the use of his legs and now possessing the power to control the flow of time around him, Zolomon took on the code name Zoom and a familiar yellow costume, essentially serving as Wally’s own personal Reverse-Flash.

(Side note: This is probably a good place to explain that in Flash comics, the Reverse-Flash and Zoom names have always been synonymous. The original Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, was also frequently called Professor Zoom. Only more recently, in New 52 continuity, has there been a separate Reverse-Flash and Zoom, and just to make things as confusing as possible, Thawne is Zoom and someone else is Reverse-Flash.)

Though the source of his powers was different, Zolomon used them to effectively give himself super-speed, and was often portrayed as being “faster” than Wally since he could use time to make himself appear to be moving at insane speeds. His motivation was also somewhat unique, as he claimed that West didn’t suffer enough personal tragedy to make him a true hero, and thus was trying to help him improve by killing his wife, Linda Park. He was able to cause a pregnant Linda to suffer a miscarriage of the twins she was going to have with Wally, but the Flash was later able to undo that event and have Zoom himself be injured in her place. Because comics.

Zolomon stuck around for a while as Zoom, appearing in both Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis, though events during the latter story left him powerless and imprisoned. It was hinted that he and Thawne might work together prior to Flashpoint resetting most of the DC Universe, and we’ve yet to see a version of him in the New 52 canon.

Obviously, the creative team on The Flash has chosen a different path for Zolomon on television, tying him to Jay instead of Wally. It’s a logical move since Wally has only recently been introduced, and the jury is still out on if and when he’ll become a speedster himself.

Next: The Flash: Allison Paige to Appear as Trajectory

It’s certainly possible that the TV Zolomon might not be Zoom, but it’s also unlikely he’s been introduced just to serve as a decoy. If it does turn out that Jay’s lookalike is the villain in the black suit, it’s going to be interesting to see how he discovered Earth-2 and why he chose to menace that world instead of his own.

While we wait for answers over the remainder of Season 2, let’s just agree that Zolomon has moved to the top of the list of suspects for the time being — and you don’t need to be a criminal profiler to understand that.