What’s worse than an unfeeling killer? An unfeeling killer who has superspeed! One who can travel through time, vibrate through walls, and kill you in the blink of an eye. How did such a person come to be? Why is he like this? Let’s find out!
Eobard Thane was born in the 25th century where children can be genetically built the way one may go to a Build-A-Bear Workshop. Unfortunately, while Eobard’s parents made sure he was very intelligent and good looking, they didn’t work on his mental health so he was a very distant and cold child. Having a little brother didn’t help warm him up to others, if anything it made him resent taking attention from his studies.
At a young age and in a time when The Flash was one of the most celebrated heroes of all time, Eobard grew up a huge fan and obsessed with the man as well as the Speed Force that powered him. His dream was to be a researcher of the Speed Force at the Flash Museum. Known to stay in the lab long after everyone else had left and simply knowing the most about their subject and his love of all things Flash, gained him the nickname Professor Zoom. So obsessed and destined was he, that whenever someone stood in his way of becoming the head researcher, they’d experience a horrible death, but long before they had ever crossed Eobard and risked ruining his chances. It was as if someone was seeing alternate timelines and going back in time to stop those who would ruin Eobard’s raise to power, in fact, there was. Eobard Thawne of the future would be there to ensure he would become the man he must, by killing any and all who could stop him.
Eobard would finally become head researcher and eventually figure out a way to grant himself superspeed and used one of the old Flash Cosmic Treadmills to go back and visit his hero, Barry Allen. Something went wrong, he didn’t go far back enough and arrived at a time when Barry Allen was dead, with his protégé, Wally West, now wearing the mantle of the Flash. Deciding that if he could meet him, he could become him, Eobard tried to masquerade as Barry returned. This wouldn’t work out and when he was discovered he also learned that in this timeline, the current Flash Museum had an exhibit on Eobard. “Eobard Thawne, Professor Zoom, The Reverse-Flash, Barry Allen’s Archnemesis” This would shatter Eobard everything he’d thought would be his future. As he battled with Wally West and other heroes of the era, he’d adopt the yellow costume he stole from the museum but lose his powers and memories of what happened being sent back to the future with his fan obsession of the Flash replaced with a hateful obsession for him instead.
Eobard would now spend his time trying to regain his speed powers and go back in time so he could destroy the Flash once and for all. Many failed attempts with bizarre ways to get his powers and time travel. Such as gaining mental powers due to radiation and switching places in time with Barry Allen as just one example. Another had him create robot horses to bring back horse racing which got him absolved of his crimes so he couod go back in time.
A constant thorn in Barry’s side, he’d do anything he could to hurt him. His obsession for Barry became an obsession with Iris West, the Flash’s wife. Iris would become just as much his enemy as Barry was. She’d fight off his advances and be just as vigilant as Barry, the problem was, Iris didn’t have superspeed. Eventually she’d be just too slow and was killed by Eobard. Barry would lock him away in a different dimension and leAve him there, hoping that was the end. Time went by and eventually Eobard broke free and found that Barry had a new wife-to-be and was about to kill her when Barry did something he never thought the hero could do. Barry killed Eobard.
Dead until the events of the Blackest Night and Brightest Day brought him back to the world of the living. He’d learn in the time he was gone that Barry had died saving the universe, a true hero. Having none of that, Eobard set out to make sure Barry Allen could return to life as well so he could be the one to kill him, being sure he’d strip him of his good name. He’d find a way to create a negative Speed Force and while Barry was back, he’d set out to kill other speedsters so only Barry and himself would be left.
Things didn’t go as planned, in fact, he’d find that he’d create a new generation of speddster, Wally’s daughter Irey would become fully empowered by the Speed Force, turns out the world needed more speedsters more than ever. Eobard’s plan would go fully belly up when he, along with Barry and Wally would be the cause of Barry getting his powers due to their time travel in the Speed Force. When all was said and done, Eobard got thrown into the very machine he’d set up to take away Barry’s powers, leaving him powerless once more.
Freed from prison and his powers returned to him, Eobard would return to the future to ensure the deaths of those who could stop him from being Professor Zoom. When he attempts to stop Barry from gaining his powers he realizes that this would unmake him so he has to kill Barry long after he has gotten his abilities. While he can’t kill Barry, he can make his life prior to his powers hellish, often by killing those close to him like his mother. Barry would eventually go back in time to stop his mother’s death causing a new timeline where Eobard taunts a now powerless Barry as he is an anomaly. Eobard is killed by this timeline’s Batman and then the timeline is undone by Barry fixing his mistakes.
In the New 52, Eobard Thawne would witness his father kill his mother. Eobard would grow up and be struck by lightning and gain the ability to alter the time around him, appearing to move at superspeed. Wanting to be like his idol, the Flash, he’d become Zoom and terrorize the cities near him. Using notes from known Time Master, Rip Hunter, Eobard would learn to time travel and find people who were destined to become speedsters but influence them so instead of following in the the Flash’s footstpes, they’d follow his to help stop the Flash.
Going back in time once more, he’d go back and kill Barry Allen’s mother and put the blame on his father so he’d know how it feels to be like Eobard. Eobard’s plans would fail when his students learned the truth of the Flash’s heroism and help Barry stop him. In Rebirth, Eobard haunts Barry in visions from the Speed Force, he eventually gains his powers and memories back from before the New 52 and remembers his death in the Flash point timeline, he now wants vengeance against Batman and his family.
There you have it! Eobard Thawne has been one of the most dangerous villains to the Flash in all the centuries of in-world horices they’ve existed. He’s appeared on the small screen in many forms on The Flash television series and Legends of Tomorrow. Will he appear in The Flash film? Only time will tell! See you next time!
The Flash #139
The Return of Barry Allen
Blackest Night: Flash