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Hunter Zolomon / Zoom / Reverse-Flash II
I've been given a gift. A gift I can pass on to the Flash. In order for him to become stronger he must face the ultimate tragedy. He must face his ultimate opposite.

Alter Ego: Hunter Zolomon

Species: Metahuman

First Appearance: The Flash Secret Files and Origins #3 (November, 2001)

"It's time that I embraced the truth. Thawne was right. The Flashes do not deserve my faith. They deserve nothing. If the Flashes refuse to see the road to being a better hero...then I will take them down a WAR!"

Dr. Hunter Zolomon, a.k.a. Zoom, or the Reverse-Flash, is a DC Comics supervillain first appearing in The Flash: Secret Files & Origins #3 (November 2002). He is an enemy of the Flash Family, especially the third Flash, Wally West.

Originally a Keystone City profiler and a valuable friend and ally to Wally, he was paralyzed by Gorilla Grodd during a breakout in Iron Heights. When Wally refused to go back in time to stop this from happening (because of the risk of damaging the timestream) Hunter tried to use the Cosmic Treadmill himself, but it exploded. Instead of killing him, it gave Hunter the ability to alter how time flows in relation to his inertial frame. Inspired by Eobard Thawne, he believes Wally didn't help Hunter because Wally had never experienced personal tragedy, so he went out to do so, later applying the same methods to other heroes.

Hunter Zolomon provides the following tropes:

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  • Above Good and Evil: This is how he sees himself — as a "teacher" for both heroes and villains.
  • Abusive Parents: Both of his parents were emotionally abusive towards him, not even acknowledging his existence in the house. As things went on his father got considerably worse...
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • While his powers make him look like the fastest speedster of all, he has two major weaknesses — he can't turn intangible, and he can't use the Cosmic Treadmill to time travel. The latter leads to his defeat in "Rogue War", after he tries to use it and subsequently melts away into the timeline.
    • When he first gained his powers, he occasionally (and unknowingly) opened breaks in time, which Wally would use against him in "Blitz". By "Rogue War" this had ceased being an issue for him.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Played for Drama. As Hunter shamefully admits in the flashback of issue #197, his ego got out of control with tragic consequences. Hunter predicted that the suspect won't have a gun, and thus urges his team to make the arrest without waiting for backup. He turns out to be wrong, and the killer shoots him in the knee, crippling him, before gunning down his father-in-law. In a brutally ironic twist, years later it turned out that Hunter was right all along, and Professor Zoom was the one who gave the suspect the gun in order to engineer the incident that turned Hunter into Zoom.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: He is a good man who simply didn't have the luck. Turns out, his life is almost entirely manipulated by Thawne and the revelation causes him to sacrifice himself to make amends at the last minute, his apology to Wally being his last words.
  • And I Must Scream: At the end of the "Blitz" story arc, when Wally forced him into one of the time-windows torn open as an initial side-effect of his then-newly-gained powers; this had the effect of freezing him in time, forcing him to watch the scene of his greatest failure over and over again.
  • Anti-Villain: Hunter starts out as a genuinely good man who loses it due to circumstances outside of his control over time, considers his heroic counterpart as a friend to himself and even though he has a bizarre Blue-and-Orange Morality, he has his own set of standards that aims to "improve" people. When all's said and done, he is probably the most sympathetic of the evil speedsters the Flashes have faced — which still isn't saying much...
  • Antagonist Abilities: Because he is a Time Master, no matter how fast Wally will get, Zoom will just adjust his own speed to always keep ahead. He doesn't utilize the Speed Force, so speedsters would actually have trouble sensing him. And what is arguably Wally's most useful application of the Speed Force, to steal and lend speed, will not work on Zoom because he's technically not even a speedster.
  • Arch-Enemy: Wally West's nemesis in the modern age — he only showed up very late into Wally's career and thus didn't appear as much as the Rogues or Grodd, but his impact on Wally's life once he becomes Zoom defines him as this for several years. Plus, as a Reverse-Flash, he's pretty much this by default once the costume goes on.
  • Arc Villain: For Blitz and Flash War.
  • Avenging the Villain: His plans to make Wally and Barry into better heroes come to an end after he sees Eobard Thawne die...a lot. Instead, he plans to wage war on the Flashes.
  • Ax-Crazy: Delusional, violently unstable, and operates under a bizarre and completely incomprehensible moral code that revolves around what he can give to others as opposed to what he can take from them, which makes his behavior nearly impossible to predict and thus makes him as much of a danger to his own allies as he is to heroes.
  • Badass Fingersnap: Zoom's favorite attack is to slow down time to a crawl, then snap his fingers. The resulting concussive wave creates a sonic boom, shatters glass, stuns speedsters, and nearly kills Linda, leading to her miscarriage. The Flash: Rebirth shows that he also taught Professor Zoom this trick.
  • Badass Bookworm: He has several degrees in Behavioural Sciences and Sociology and he is very talkative about the subject if given the opportunity.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Not totally - he fails at replacing Barry and Wally as the Flash - but at the end of "Flash War" he's succeeded in gaining entirely new powers from the Sage and Strength Forces, shattered the Flashes' ability to time-travel and driven a wedge between Barry and Wally.
  • Becoming the Mask: He claims to have left his old identity long behind himself and embraced his masked persona. However there are still times Ashley and Wally can get under his skin.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Not tortured in the traditional sense — but his entire life is a one massive Trauma Conga Line, with his failure to work the Cosmic Treadmill being the final straw.
  • Beneath the Mask: Under all the fury and calamity, Hunter is just a sad, broken man who wants to be killed by Wally because he has lost everything he held dear. He also had a huge inferiority complex — even before his Face–Heel Turn he hated the fact that he was no longer on the field or in the FBI due to his knee and constantly felt useless because of it. This reflects on his masked personality, as he wants to be more effective in people's, more importantly heroes' lives, and prove himself as a valuable person. When Kid Zoom takes away his powers, he immediately says he needs them back because he needs purpose.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Wally's refusal to see his "viewpoint" just drives him to more and more extreme lengths every time. It gets to the stage where he builds a working Cosmic Treadmill, kidnaps Jay Garrick to use to power it (as his Time Master powers prevent him doing so himself) — and very tellingly doesn't use it to alter his own timeline (Wally's original refusal to do so being Hunter's final breaking point in becoming Zoom). Instead, he uses it to recruit his predecessor Professor Zoom — just so he can make Wally revisit losing his unborn children over and over again...
    Zoom: (during "Rogue War") TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND ME!
    • His estranged wife Ashley is revealed to be another Berserk Button for him during the "Rogue War" storyline. One faction of Rogues come to where she is, intending to kill her for being an ally of Wally. Zoom's response is to deliver a thoroughly sound No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to all of them, regardless of allegiance.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate:
    • Not at the beginning, but close to the end of the "Rogue War", he brings in Thawne from the timestream to torture Wally. The two momentarily become a tag-team against Wally and Barry (who knew the two would team up against Wally and time-travelled himself to help his nephew).
    • After The Flash: Rebirth (2009), he teams up with Eobard Thawne again to improve both Flashes, which leads to "Flash War" years later.
  • Big Bad Friend: In Blitz and later Rogue War. Really notable in the latter — despite his antagonistic relationship with the Wests (including trying to kill Linda Park-West again before the arc is done) he shows no hesitation in trusting Linda with his ex-wife Ashley's safety after the Rogues try to kill her.
  • Big Bad Slippage: He was introduced as a supporting character in the police department far into Wally's superhero career and got a lot of character development for several years until his shocking Face–Heel Turn.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: The black coverings of his mask's eyeholes give him this appearance when in costume. His actual eyes are even worse...
  • Blow You Away: See the Badass Finger Snap entry — Zoom's version of this is a rare variant that's portrayed as deadly effective. He can also create vortexes just like a speedster.
  • Break Them by Talking: A part of his "teaching" antics — he wants his victims (especially Wally) to understand precisely why he's doing what he does, so they can "improve" themselves into better heroes against him.
  • Broken Pedestal: Played with. He was an admirer of Wally for being open with everyone before his Start of Darkness. Over the course of the stories featuring him, Wally slowly turned into a Morality Chain and a Living Emotional Crutch for Hunter, so when Wally refused to use time travel to erase his greatest failure, calling his reaction a disappointment would be an understatement. Even then, in an odd way, he never really stops viewing Wally as a pedestal, always trying to "improve" him into a better hero rather than destroy him - but then, after Eobard Thawne's latest death at Iris West's hands, he finally views Wally as this totally, recognising that he (and Barry) will never "get better" in the way he wants them to, resulting in him setting Barry and Wally against each other to break the Speed Force, then actually taking the Flash name himself, symbolising the end of his time as the catalyst for the growth of others and taking things into his own hands.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Thanks to Inertia/Kid Zoom. Undone in Flash War, which states Eobard Thawne helped him regain the ability to walk, with his powers seemingly manifesting once more in a fit of rage at Thawne's death.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being depowered by Kid Zoom, being rebooted out of existence entirely by Flashpoint and being absent for all of the New 52 era, Hunter finally returns in the Rebirth series' first annual, planning to force the Flashes to go to war.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: And he sees himself as The Call.
  • Career-Ending Injury: He was discharged from the FBI after getting shot in the knee by a Joker knock-off villain named The Clown.
  • Combo Platter Powers: When he masterminds the rupturing of the Force Barrier, he gains access to the Speed Force, Strength Force, and Sage Force, while other Force conduits have trouble using even two of these forces at once.
  • The Corrupter: He machinates a conflict between Barry and Wally by showing Wally his lost kids. Wally believes Hunter's words and tries to destroy Speed Force to save his children.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His time-based powers mean he's one of the few characters able to utterly thrash speedsters at their own game — Wally's first few battles against him went incredibly poorly. He's curbstomped Jay Garrick numerous times, demolished both sides of the Rogues without breaking a sweat in their titular Rogue War and beat the hell out of the Trinity themselves in Final Crisis. In the Truth or Dare arc, Zoom was able to temporarily overwhelm a blinded Wonder Woman who previously defeated the Flash in combat training, knocking her around the planet in countries like France, Egypt, and China and eventually Themyscira by hitting her at the speed of light.
  • Curse That Cures: His powers basically cured his disability but wrecked his mental health instead.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His father was a Serial Killer who murdered Hunter's mother and then got gunned down by the police—on the same day Hunter was to leave for college. Then his career in the FBI got cut short because he insisted backup was unnecessary and that the perp they were chasing would not be carrying a gun, leading to his (first) crippling and the death of his father-in-law.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Once he finds out that Thawne manipulated his entire life by giving the gun to The Clown, he immediately sacrifices himself to close the Speed Force Barrier, apologizing to Wally for what went down between them.
  • Death Seeker: Wants Wally to kill him, seeing it as the necessary final step in Wally becoming the best hero he can be. Subverted when he becomes the Flash and gains the powers of the other Forces, as his goal becomes to defeat the Black Flash, breaking the cycle of death taking the Flashes if there's no more Black Flash to come for them.
  • Determinator: He never gives up on his quest to "improve" Wally and other heroes through tragedy — and their refusal to see things his way only leads to his adopting more and more extreme methods.
  • Disability-Negating Superpower: His powers gave back his ability to walk, though their effect on his sanity makes this trope overlap with Curse That Cures. When he was depowered, he had to use a wheelchair again. Until Eobard Thawne took him to 25th century for his treatment.
  • Driven to Villainy: See the Freudian Excuse entry below. Luck hasn't been a word in this man's dictionary.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: His ex-wife is still very much in love with him and she has full faith that Hunter can be redeemed. And during his confrontation with Zoom during Rogue War, Wally also admits he doesn't hate Hunter even after everything that's happened between them.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He is still in love with his wife Ashley (as you can see from the Berserk Button entry above) and they do share an emotional connection with each other. He also still considers Wally to be a friend, hence his irrational obsession with turning him into a better hero.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • During a teamup with Cheetah, the two encounter a police patrol car. Instead of letting the feral villain tear them to shreds, Zoom uses his powers to give them a quick and painless death, noting he used to be just like them.
    • He also despises the Rogues for their perceived inability to "add" anything to Wally, noting that they basically just distract Flash rather than helping him grow into a better hero.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To Wally, as is standard for Reverse-Flashes. Hunter is a sad, deeply pessimistic person even before his heel turn, which is an obvious contrast to Wally's happy-go-lucky attitude, something that adds more to Hunter's resentment of Wally later on.
    • Much like with Wally and Eobard, a similar case can be made for Zolomon being an evil counterpart to Barry Allen as well. When he was introduced, Wally easily bonded with Hunter for reminding him of the-then late Barry Allen, finding his analytical nature and honesty very similar. When Hunter transformed into Zoom he thought of himself as the "teacher" Wally needed and tried to be a twisted mentor figure. After the changes made to Barry's origins, the parallels became even more glaring: they both lost their parents after their father killed their mother (albeit in Barry's case Henry was framed) and they were both motivated by this tragic event to join law enforcement. The primary difference is the amount of tragedy and how they dealt with it: For the most part, Barry moved on from his mother's death and formed a new life, whereas, while Hunter did form a new life, he never actually properly moved on from his father-in-law's death, his divorce and his firing, and he suffered many more tragedies as well. Just as Thawne is a twisted version of Wally in many ways, Hunter is in the same position for Barry, making an intriguing Generation Xerox - and Hunter explicitly makes this point to Barry in the Finale of "Flash War".
  • Evil Cripple: His crippling serves as his Start of Darkness. After Inertia brings him down to normal but does nothing to fix his sanity, he becomes a full on example. His ability is later restored by 25th Century technology, courtesy of Eobard Thawne.
  • Evil Former Friend: Started out as an ally of Wally, and never stops considering him a friend. More complex on Wally's end — the friendship they share is obviously broken after Hunter's transformation, but he admits late in "Rogue War" that he still doesn't hate Hunter even after all he's done to Wally personally as Zoom.
  • Evil Is Petty: While disguised as the Time Judge, he notes that the Renegades (a team of temporal agents patterned after the Rogues) were explicitly created to mock the villainous team, something all the more notable as the Rogues have been dead several centuries by this point.
  • Evil vs. Evil: He's clashed with the Rogues a few times, out of first a desire to protect his ex-wife and later disgust at their wasting Wally's time by not pushing him to be a better hero.

  • Face–Heel Turn: He was originally Wally's Friend on the Force before becoming Zoom.
  • Fallen Hero: From a bright FBI agent to a disabled cop and later Zoom.
  • FBI Agent: Said to be one of the brightest and youngest ones until his unfortunate Career-Ending Injury.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: He would briefly end up in the 25th century, in Eobard Thawne's homeland, after Thawne took him up on his offer from The Flash: Rebirth and took him there after they escaped jail.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Hunter accidentally knocks a glass off of his bedside. Readers will see that in a single panel the glass is suspended in midair, a few pages before Hunter himself notices.
  • Friendly Enemy: In his own twisted way, he's actually trying to help Wally and believes their friendship will return. But in the end he realizes Wally won't return his favors and decides to hurt him instead.
  • Friendly Target: Grodd paralyzes him to hurt Wally. And it works in more ways than one; Wally goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in Gorilla City and Hunter's Start of Darkness begins...
  • Freudian Excuse: A whole list of them. No one thing turned Hunter Zolomon into Zoom. His father being outed as a serial killer and offing his mother, his father-in-law's death and his own subsequent divorce and crippling, his second crippling at the hands of Grodd, Wally's refusal to undo all this via time-travel...all these factors taken together pushed Zolomon over the edge.
  • Friend on the Force: Before his fall from grace, he was a friend to Wally at KCPD alongside with Fred Chyre and Jared Morillo.
  • Grief-Induced Split: Hunter Zolomon and Ashley were a happily married couple who joined the FBI under Ashley's father, Derek, who had a tremendous fatherly relationship with his son-in-law. However, Hunter made an error in judgement on a case that resulted in the suspect crippling him then gunning down his father-in-law; in response, Ashley filed for divorce, and he was let go by the FBI. Heartbroken by both the death and the divorce, Hunter tried to move on by getting a job at Keystone City as the local metahuman profiler even though he still missed Ashley. After an attack by Gorilla Grodd renders Hunter paraplegic, he tries to use the time-traveling Cosmic Treadmill to prevent his injuries from occurring, but an accident occurs that gives him time-traveling powers and makes him insane, transforming him into supervillain Zoom. When Ashley learns that Hunter had transformed into Zoom, she doesn't hesitate to leave her entire FBI career behind to come to Keystone City to take over his former profiler position to help reform him. She makes it clear that she still loves Hunter, regrets leaving him, and swears that she'd help him and never leave him again.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: At the end of "Rogue War", he has a moment of Heel Realization and goes as far as apologizing to Wally for his actions, saying "It should never have been like this Wally. Not for us." Unfortunately he dissolves into the time stream before even finishing his apology, and when he manages to return to the present time he is back in his costume; after all he is just too stubborn to accept his failure.
  • Hero of Another Story: Before coming to Keystone City, he was an acclaimed FBI agent with a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Once he realises the extent to which Eobard Thawne manipulated his entire life, he sacrifices himself to fix the Forever Force barrier, restoring the Speed Force.
  • Hero Killer: Between "Flash War" and "Year of the Villain", he travelled the multiverse killing other universes' Flashes.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: He tells Wally about the loss of his family due to Flashpoint and encourages him to destroy the Speed Force to save them. Of course, his goal isn't to help Wally but to destroy the Flash family from its core.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He's the one that teaches Inertia how to use his time-based powers in place of a normal speedster's in Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge. Later in the story, Inertia (now Kid Zoom) uses those same powers to revert Zoom to the crippled Hunter Zolomon.
  • Hope Spot: During the Iron Heights breakout, Hunter was overjoyed when he saw he can run again. Unfortunately, once he and Wolfe manage to get out of the prison, they happen to run into Grodd...
  • How Do I Shot Web?:
    • His powers make him more than a match for the Flash — but they also somehow cause time windows to open to particularly traumatic points in Hunter's past, something he has no control over (at least not initially). Zoom's defeated for the first time by this, after a desperate Flash shoves him into one as he tries to kill Linda, mentally paralysing him.
    • He's also visibly having a hard time adapting to his powers in "Blitz", at one point unable to slow himself down enough to actually be understood by the heroes, and at another expressing bewilderment that he was able to walk into Linda's hospital ward without being seen when using his powers.
  • Hypocrite: He's perfectly willing to kill Linda Park-West in the belief the tragedy will "improve" Wally, no matter how much emotional devastation it causes the Flash — but go anywhere near his ex-wife and God help you...
  • Iconic Sequel Character: As Hunter, he was introduced much later (during Johns' run), and he only becomes Zoom in the final quarter of Wally's tenure. Even with all these things considered, Zoom became just as well-remembered as any supervillain in the Flash's Rogues Gallery.
  • I Can't Feel My Legs!: After waking up from Grodd's assault, he uses this trope word for word. It also marks his Start of Darkness, as he becomes desperate to undo first his crippling, then all the bad things that ever happened to him.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Inverted. Zoom intends to convince Wally that justifiable homicides exist, and that Zoom himself is a shining example.
  • Ignored Epiphany: He comes really close to a Heel Realization at the end of "Rogue War", expressing regret at how his relationship with Wally has deteriorated...and then it's not mentioned again afterwards.
  • Instant Costume Change: Despite the Flash comics long having explanations for where literally everyone's costumes come from (the Rogues even have a specialized tailor!), when Zolomon initially turns into Zoom, his costume simply manifests. As he is not connected to the Speed Force, he can't even use that as an explanation.
  • Irony:
    • His Time Master powers enable him to go at speeds Wally can only dream of — but they also render him helpless to use the Cosmic Treadmill, the time travel machine that he can use to undo his past mistakes.
    • His run as Zoom would portray him as Wrong Genre Savvy for having the philosophy of a hero needing tragedy to improve himself. Four years after his debut, DC changed Barry Allen's origins — now having a dead mother and a framed father — to make him more "appealing" as a character, which proves Hunter's hypothesis right. Even more ironically, Zoom's creator Geoff Johns was the one responsible for this change.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Nobody, not even Grodd, could darken a Wally story like Zoom.
    • In "Rogue War", he brings back the Flash's ultimate Arch-Enemy, Professor Zoom, to make Wally experience the tragedy of losing his unborn children over and over again.
  • The Juggernaut: In a straight fight, Zoom is a monster. He can mimic the super speed of the Flashes along with their accompanying superhuman striking force and durability (Wonder Woman once commented being hit by him hurt more than being hit by Superman) but added to that the nature of his powers mean that as long as you're bound by linear time he will ALWAYS be ahead of you. Power to Power he's capable of taking out pretty much any speedster. Wally had to steal so much speed energy he broke free from time to beat him, and most of his fights would have been walkovers if he wasn't so obsessed with making heroes "better".
  • Knight Templar: He genuinely want to improve Wally's superhero career. He's just really, REALLY, REALLY bad at it (from Wally's perspective, anyway...).
  • Legacy Character: Inverted, technically. He is the first Zoom born chronologically, a fact that amuses his predecessor/successor Thawne to no end.
    Thawne: (grinning) I've created a legacy five centuries before I'll even be born. It's backwards. It's in reverse. It's destiny.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: After seemingly giving up on the idea of "improving" either Wally or Barry in the aftermath of Thawne's death, his new plan is to have both Flashes wage a "war".
  • Lightning Bruiser: Though this trope applies to all speedsters, Zoom really is in a class of his own. His time based powers allow him to appear to go at speeds other evil speedsters can only dream of, and slow down time enough that even a simple punch feels like getting hit at the speed of light (he once knocked Jay Garrick from New York to Dallas in a single hit). Just look at the Curb-Stomp Battle entry to see what this can do for him.
    Wonder Woman: I've been punched by Superman. This hurts more. Being punched at the speed of light will do that.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Over the course of the series, Wally becomes the brightest spot of Hunter's otherwise messed-up life. It's the main reason he feels betrayed when Wally rejects his proposal to travel back in time to stop his father-in-law's death. He goes as far as becoming a villain just so he could "help" Wally to be a more efficient hero.
  • Love Makes You Evil: More of a platonic variation. He considers Wally a Morality Chain and he's completely heartbroken about the fact that Wally rejected his time travel proposal. When he receives powers, he gets several opportunities to help himself but Hunter shots down them all to help Wally in his twisted way instead. With the loss of his powers and after regaining his sanity at Iron Heights, he's depressed about the fact that Wally no longer considers him a friend anymore. However this makes him more determined about his motivations regarding Wally.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: One of the few supervillains who would have a legitimate shot at using the insanity defence. Unlike Thawne (or the likes of The Joker) who is simply psychopathic, Zolomon genuinely suffers from delusions and has a vision of the world that is staggeringly at odds with reality.
  • Misery Builds Character: Zoom's guiding principle. He firmly believes that Wally needs to suffer tragedy the way he did, so that those tragedies will motivate him to be a hero that will do whatever it takes to avoid horrors like Hunter's crippling at Grodd's hands — including Time Travel and pre-emptive murder. His attempts to "teach" Wally this resulted in the loss of Wally's unborn twins and numerous attempts to kill Wally's wife Linda.
  • Morality Chain: Wally becomes this to him when he moves to Keystone—to a point where Hunter admits Wally gave him the will to keep going on— but when he disappoints Hunter, the result is about what you could expect.
  • Motor Mouth: His disconnection from normal time causes him to talk like he's been sped up sometimes. At one point, he does this when warning the Rogues away from his ex-wife Ashley, with the Rogues completely failing to understand what sounds like total gibberish. It doesn't end well for them.
    Captain Boomerang: What the hell's he saying?
  • My Greatest Failure: Happened in his back-story, when he was in the FBI. He made a miscalculation that resulted in his father-in-law (the field leader) getting shot to death by the criminal they were hunting, and Hunter himself ending up with a limp after said criminal shot him in the knee. Following this, his wife left him and he got kicked out of the FBI.
    • Given a horrifying new twist in the Rebirth-era comics: he didn't miscalculate. The clown originally didn't have a gun, but a time-travelling Eobard Thawne gave him one to ensure this incident would ruin Hunter's life, setting him on the path to becoming Zoom.
  • Necessarily Evil: As the quote above shows, Hunter believes he has to be the worst villain Wally has ever faced to motivate him to take the necessary measures to stop him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: One of his most common methods when it comes to "motivating" heroes to better themselves, ostensibly because he believes that a sufficiently vicious beating will drive them to become stronger.
  • No-Sell: When he initially takes Linda, Wally and Jay create a Speed vortex to take his speed. It utterly fails (because Zoom's time-based powers can't be siphoned the way the Speed Force can) and Zoom promptly demolishes them both.

  • Palette Swap: Like his inspiration Professor Zoom, Zoom wears a color-flipped version of Wally's Flash costume.
  • Perpetual Frowner: The rage-filled scowl he wears in the above picture is his default expression for the bulk of his appearances — particularly those written by Geoff Johns. The only time he's seen smiling is when he's doing something something profoundly horrible to Wally's life.
  • The Profiler: Used to be one for the FBI and later for Keystone Police Department.
  • Psychic Powers: Due to gaining a connection to the "Sage Force" in the climax of Flash War.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Profiler turned criminal.
  • Poor Communication Kills: As Wally puts out, if Hunter accepted Wally's emotional support and opened up to him about his past, things would have never gone off the rails between them.
  • Put on a Bus: He was very abruptly depowered by Thaddeus Thawne in Final Crisis: Rogue's Revenge (to make way for the return of Professor Zoom in the next major Flash story, The Flash: Rebirth), and made only one further appearance in the comics (a one-panel cameo) before the New 52 reboot. He didn't exist in New 52 since Wally West didn't exist as well. As of Flash Annual #1 (2018), he's revealed to be posing as a Time Judge in 25th century and planning a war to create a conflict between Barry & Wally.
  • Red Baron: Unlike Thawne, who was the first Reverse-Flash but was also well-known as Professor Zoom, Hunter goes nigh-exclusively by Zoom throughout his appearances, and only ever refers to himself as the Reverse-Flash once (at the conclusion of "Blitz").
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His pupils appear to turn permanently red after his powers manifest and can always be seen glowing through the black coverings of his costume's eyeholes — meaning he can actually invoke this trope and Black Eyes of Crazy at the same time.
  • Replacement Goldfish: He considers Eobard Thawne to be very similar to Wally in nature and forms a friendship with him partly due to this. After watching Thawne die, he swears revenge.
  • The Resenter: Even before his Face–Heel Turn, he strongly believed in Misery Builds Character, and somewhat resented Wally for not having experienced personal tragedy to make him a better hero after Wally refused to time travel for him.
  • The Reveal:
    • At the end of Flash Annual (2018), he's revealed to be the Time Judge under the mask and he's been trapped in 25th century for a while, biding his time to cause a "war" between the Flashes. According to Word of God, he had been the Time Judge from the beginning, including the appearences in 2009 Flash run as well.
    • It turns out, his Tragic Mistake wasn't his mistake but an intervention by Eobard Thawne to ruin his life.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be immune to the DCU's Cosmic Retcon. First when he retains his knowledge of Wally's secret identity after the Spectre wipes it from the world's minds, and second when he resurfaces in the Rebirth era, remembering his encounters with Wally. Joshua Williamson has even explicitly said that this is the pre-Flashpoint version of Hunter. Noticeably, however, he refers to Barry as the "original Flash" in "Flash War", meaning whatever Doctor Manhattan did to remove the Justice Society was able to affect him — either that, or he's originally an Earth–One character whose memories are from before even the first Crisis.
  • Sanity Slippage: His crippling by Grodd, coupled with his use of the cosmic treadmill, tore his sanity to shreds. It was further damaged by being trapped in the time loop mentioned under And I Must Scream.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: By the time of his crippling by Grodd he's utterly convinced that going back in time using the Cosmic Treadmill and stopping his first crippling/the death of his father-in-law will undo everything that went wrong for him after that. When Wally refuses to help him, he tries to use it himself while in his wheelchair, which ends up backfiring and turning him into Zoom.
  • Shockwave Clap: The even deadlier version of his infamous fingersnap.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: In Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge he's this to Inertia, battering the latter every time he questions Zoom's need to drive heroes through tragedy (flat-out near-killing him via Badass Finger Snap when he initially refuses Zoom's training). In fairness, it's strongly implied he really dislikes Thad's utter sociopathy and wouldn't bother trying to make him the new Kid Flash if not for Libra's orders.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: There are two arcs before Blitz primarily dedicated to showing his slow turn to dark side with everything reaching boiling point when he tries to use the Cosmic Treadmill to alter his past and it blows up in his face.
  • Speed Blitz: His Time Master powers make him appear so fast that this is how he appears even to speedsters like Wally and Jay Garrick — his first battle against the latter had Zoom punching Jay the length of a city block while moving so fast Jay and Wally never even caught a glimpse of him.
  • Sssssnake Talk: His Speech Impediment causes him to roll his consonants.
  • Starter Marriage: Played for Drama. In a flashback in Flash #197, it was revealed that Hunter Zolomon has only been married to his college sweetheart Ashley for a few months after they graduated college together and join the FBI together before Hunter tragic mistake that cost the life of his father in law, causing Ashley to divorce him and him being kicked out of the FBI. Hunter still very much loves Ashley but knows it unlikely she forgive him; he accepts the divorce and tries to move on with his life. Later, when Ashley learns that Hunter transformed into supervillain Zoom, she left the FBI to come to Keystone City to take over his former spot as the local metahuman profiler to help reform him—showing that she still loves and regrets leaving him. Tragically it's implied that had that misjudgment on Hunter's part that cost his father's life in law never happen, Hunter and Ashley would have had a long and lasting marriage.
  • Stealth Mentor: Believes he is this by making heroes experience tragedy, thus driving them to do whatever it takes to avoid such tragedy again.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Hunter Zolomon.
  • The Stoic: Even before his transformation, he wasn't known for showing a high range of emotions. According to his own words, he wasn't even excited for his own wedding. Considering his past, it's not surprising.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!: He tortures Wally all because he wants Wally to hate him and do the necessary thing to stop him in the end. Of course there is also the suicidal undertones...
  • Suicide by Cop: It's suggested he has no will to live anymore but he wants his death to prove a point to Wally at least.
  • Super Speed: Finally gains this for real in Flash War, at the expense of severing the Speed Force from the time stream, making time travel impossible through that means.
  • Super Strength: Due to gaining a connection to the "Strength Force" in the climax of Flash War.
  • Tautological Templar: Zoom genuinely believes that he's a brutal but ultimately necessary enemy of stagnation and catalyst for improvement whose methods truly do yield meaningful results and help make the world a better place. Even insinuating that he's on the wrong track deeply offends him; trying to convince him that he's wrong is likely to result in a possibly-fatal beating at best (to make one see the error of their ways) and is outright suicidal at worst.
  • That Man Is Dead: He says this to his ex-wife who tries to invoke Love Will Lead You Back on him. Still though, this is not entirely true, as Wally and Ashley constantly bring out Hunter's softer side.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Seemingly completely abandons his insane Stealth Mentor behavior when he sees Thawne die again, leading to him deciding the Flash Family is beyond help and needs to be destroyed or replaced in a "war".
  • Throwing Off the Disability: He regains his ability to walk thanks to Eobard Thawne and the technology of 25th century.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: His father was a serial killer and his mother became his last victim when she tried to call the police.
  • Time Master:
    • He does not have Super Speed, instead having the ability to speed up his own personal timeline in order to appear to be moving at Super Speed — from his perspective, he's still moving at a normal rate, but everyone else — even The Flash — is slowed all the way down to practically being frozen. This gives him a huge edge over Wally in his first few appearances — even after a huge infusion of Super Speed from Jay Garrick and Bart Allen midway through "Blitz", Zoom still appears as little more than a blur to Wally.
    • He can likewise use this to simulate nearly every other speedster power, with the notable exceptions of going intangible and using the Cosmic Treadmill to time travel. The latter is rather unfortunate, as it's the one thing he desperately wants to do...
  • Time Stands Still: Uses this to fake having Super Speed.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: When he initially starts bedevilling Wally, his powers somehow occasionally open windows to particularly traumatic points in his life. People can be shoved through them, forcing them to mentally relive those few moments. Somehow.
  • Tragic Mistake: When profiling a serial killer, Hunter predicts that the guy won't have a gun, and thus urges his team to make the arrest without waiting for backup. He turns out to be wrong, and the killer shoots him in the knee, crippling him, before gunning down his father-in-law. For his mistake, Hunter is crippled for life, divorced by his wife, and discharged from the FBI. His desire to undo this mistake puts him on the path to becoming Zoom. Except years later it turns out there was no mistake - Hunter had correctly assessed the situation and things would have ended there and then if a time-travelling Professor Zoom hadn't given the killer a gun in order to start Zolomon down the road to becoming Zoom.
  • Tragic Villain: The flag holder amongst Flash's enemies.
  • Trauma Conga Line: His entire life story can be summed up with this trope.
  • Tuckerization: He's named after Ethan Van Sciver's son, Hunter Zalman Van Sciver.
  • The Unfettered: As a dark mirror of Wally West, he is just as stubborn and driven by his motivations, only without the morals Wally carries.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As of Flash War, not only is Zoom connected to the Speed Force, but the Sage and Strength Forces as well. This makes him a super-smart speedster with psychic powers and strength equal, if not superior to Superman's.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Driven by this a lot of the time. In Flash War it's seemingly the catalyst for his powers coming back, having a fit of rage over Eobard Thawne's death that causes both his blazing red eyes and costume to re-manifest out of nowhere.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His actions in "Flash War" accidentally allow Paradox to escape from the 25th century Iron Heights, and begin his quest of revenge on the Flash family. Meanwhile, his Heroic Sacrifice to seal away the Black Flash comes at the worst possible time, getting Wallace and Avery depowered and brutally beaten by the souped-up Rogues, allowing Captain Cold to take over Central City.
  • Unwitting Pawn: As it's implied, his fall to darkness was orchestrated by Eobard Thawne himself. Once Hunter finds out, he loses his motivation to carry Thawne's legacy.
  • Villain Episode: Issue #197 of the Wally West series famously has him finally become Zoom, complete with being told entirely from his POV and recapping the events in his life that led him to that fateful point.
  • Villainous Crush: He still loves Ashley, something that's pretty obvious despite his protestations that the Hunter she knew is dead. Implied to be mutual, as she leaves her promising career in the FBI behind just for her faith in Love Redeems.
  • Villainous Friendship:
    • With Cheetah, with a side helping of Unrequited Love on her part.
    • He forms one with his predecessor Eobard Thawne after the events of Flash: Rebirth (2009). Thawne takes him to his own century to heal his back where they plan to "improve their respective Flashes". Eobard's death at the hands of Iris West sends Hunter over the edge, and ends up having him throw away his plans to "improve" Wally and Barry, in favour of orchestrating a war.
  • Villainous Legacy: Takes the torch from Eobard Thawne, borrowing both the Zoom name and the costume.
  • Villainous Rescue: When the Rogues threaten to kill his ex-wife Ashley, Zoom immediately shows up to beat the hell out of all of them — whether they're actually involved with the attempt on her life or not...
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He views his relationship with Wally as this still, which troubles Wally all the more.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The definitive example amongst Wally's enemies. Zoom genuinely wants to make Wally and other heroes he encounters want to be the best heroes they can be, heroes that will do whatever they can to stop events like his being crippled — and his methods of ensuring this include giving them truly brutal beatings, assaulting and attempting to kill their loved ones, using the Cosmic Treadmill to make them relive the worst events in their lives and even bringing back monsters like Professor Zoom, all in the hopes it will drive them to be "better".
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Wally. Played with a little — he and Wally never stop thinking of each other as friends, despite everything that unfolds between them. In the Finale of "Flash War", Hunter admits he'll be truly broken up when his good friend is dead, though given he's throttling Wally at the same time it doesn't come across the way he'd like it to.
    • When Hunter finds out the truth about his origins being manipulated by Thawne, he expresses great regret for what he had done, and before sacrificing himself to Speed Force, his last words are an apology to Wally, wishing they could have stayed friends.
  • Wham Shot:
  • Wicked Cultured: He's obsessed with anything that falls under social sciences; psychology, sociology and even history. When he was stuck in Ancient Rome, he was gleefully observing Rome's fall from afar.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: It's implied that Zoom's temporal powers are interfering with his synaptic relays, making him highly irrational. He nearly puzzles this out himself before deciding he is The Chosen One who would drive Wally to be the best hero possible.
  • Worthy Opponent: He considered Bart to be a worthy successor to Wally, as Bart was someone who strived to continually be better. He's more than a little pissed that Inertia caused Bart's murder.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Brutally assaulted Linda Park-West, causing her miscarriage. He also pummelled a helpless Amazon as fast as he could in a single second, and this was when he was fighting Wonder Woman, who notes that he hit her as hard as Superman.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Just look the tropes associated with him.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: His life was one big Trauma Conga Line leading up to his accident and the loss of his sanity.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: During Grodd's invasion of Iron Heights, Gregory Wolfe reveals to him that he can relieve the pain from Hunter's knee by using his telekinetic powers, so Hunter can run freely. It works, but seconds later Grodd catches up to him and this time he loses more than just a knee...

Alternative Title(s): Hunter Zolomon