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The Flash's Twist Explained: Who is Hunter Zolomon?

Zoom

Hunter Zolomon The Flash Zoom

The above image should make the point clear enough, even to those who haven't followed the theories and speculation surrounding Zoom's identity. Hunter Zolomon isn't just a character in the pages of DC Comics, but a villain. Not just any villain, either  - he's the second man to call himself Reverse-Flash. Eobard Thawne, the first man to sport the yellow suit (and a serious grudge against The Flash) is already a major part of The CW's series, showing how he became not just one of the scarlet speedster's greatest enemies, but one of the most deranged and ruthless villains in the DC Universe.

What hasn't made the leap to the TV series is Thawne's chosen moniker, 'Professor Zoom' - admittedly a little too comic book-y for such a serious drama. Silly name or not, the Reverse-Flash slid into the background of the DC mythology after decades of battling Barry Allen, as the title of The Flash was passed to Barry's nephew, Wally West. But with a new Flash came a new Reverse.

Enter Hunter Zolomon, an intelligent child of truly tragic circumstances who devoted his life to profiling criminals after seeing his mother killed at the hands of his father. When a run-in with Gorilla Grodd saw his back broken, leaving him confined to a wheelchair, Hunter did what any friend of The Flash might consider: he asked the speedster to change the past.

The Flash Zoom Hunter Zolomon Comic Origin

Of course, Barry refused, which left Hunter with no option but to change the past himself. As fate would have it, he went about solving his problems in the same way that Eobard Thawne did years before (or centuries in the future, technically). By trying to replicate the powers of The Flash, he got much, much more than he bargained for. He left his wheelchair and normal speed behind, becoming faster than any speedster before.

Seeing the parallels between his own history and that of Eobard Thawne - a.k.a. 'Professor Zoom' - Hunter decided to accept his fate, along with a signature yellow suit of his own. Shortening the villain's title to simply Zoom, he set out to terrorize Wally as Eobard had terrorized Barry. By now, everyone will hopefully realize why the announcement that "Zoom would be coming" to season 2 of The Flash led many comic fans to expect Hunter Zolomon would be under the mask when he did.

With Zoom continuing his plot against Barry Allen, Harrison Wells, and the rest of the S.T.A.R. Labs team, the sudden arrival of the man actually known as Zoom in the comics has led some to connect the dots - even going so far as claiming that the show has revealed the identity of the monstrous speed demon. While it's possible, we're not totally convinced Zolomon's appearance is anything more than a nod to the fans.

Why It Might Not Be What It Seems

Flash Season 2 Enter Zoom Reveal

The speculation from fans and fan sites has spanned a wide range of claims, so first things first: at this point, The Flash isn't following any comic book story to the letter, origin or otherwise. That's not a complaint, either, since the writers and producers have shown a unique talent for tweaking, borrowing, or re-imagining iconic characters and comic book moments in an effort to make them something new.

That guarantees that devoted fans can still enjoy the show episode to episode without predicting an entire season - but it also means the most obvious answer isn't usually the right one. In fact, it seems more likely for the writers to misdirect their audience, relying on the bursts of excitement and anticipation that name-dropping a character like Hunter Zolomon encourages to do the work for them.

In other words: if the villain of the season is Zoom, and the comic book version appears reading a book in a park, it's not in the show's character for the men to be one and the same. To be honest, it's almost certainly too obvious to at this point... and it's not all that interesting, either. Especially considering all of the actual character work, friendship, betrayal, and tragedy that made Hunter Zolomon hasn't even been touched upon on the show thus far.

The Flash Hunter Zolomon Zoom Theory

Is it possible that Jay Garrick's doppelgänger is really Zoom in disguise? Absolutely. Could the coming episodes work Hunter Zolomon into the cast, or Central City Police Department? We would be delighted to see it. But is it likely that the show would burst its biggest mystery with no fanfare, in the middle of a secondary scene, knowing fans would make the most obvious connection immediately? That, we're not ready to accept yet.

Next: How Legends of Tomorrow Hurt The Flash and Arrow

Still, that doesn't explain what plans for Hunter Zolomon the writers do have, so what would you like to see from the character? Do you think he was introduced as an actual hint at stories on the way, or just a throwaway cameo to give a famous comic character a new origin in the TV universe? We look forward to hearing your own theories on the comments, and watching as the real mystery of Zoom unravels...

The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.

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