Reverse-Flash is one of the most iconic villains in DC Comics, and he is the arch-nemesis of everyone's favorite Scarlet Speedster, the Flash. Since his DC Comics debut in 1963, Eobard Thawne has been the perfect archenemy of Barry Allen, going to great lengths in order to destroy The Flash and his legacy.
Eobard Thawne gained a huge fan base after the DC Comics event, #Flashpoint, and has only gained more notoriety since. Reverse-Flash made his live action debut in 2014 on The CW’s The Flash, and has continued to be a staple villain in the #Arrowverse.
Reverse-Flash Comic Book Origins
Professor Eobard “Zoom” Thawne made his debut in The Flash #139 (September 1963), and he was the first person to assume the moniker Reverse-Flash. #EobardThawne was a professor from the 25th century, who found a time capsule that contained Flash’s suit and various other personal effects. Using 25th century technology, Thawne manipulated the latent energy in Flash’s suit, which gave him speedster abilities when he wore it.
Reverse-Flash abused this new-found power and wreaked havoc in the 25th century. When he opened Flash's time capsule, Thawne inadvertently triggered the countdown of the atomic clock – a device that acts as an extremely powerful bomb – and Barry Allen traveled to the future to stop it from detonating.
#BarryAllen could not stop the bomb and it detonated, but it also vaporized Reverse-Flash’s suit as well. Reverse-Flash gained a new hatred for Barry Allen, and began a crusade to replace the Flash, which resulted in Thawne trying to erase him from the timeline – this has been his motivation in the comics since.
Over the years, Thawne’s origin has been altered slightly, but he is always from the 25th century and is always obsessed with Barry Allen/Flash. Reverse-Flash is the most ruthless villain Flash has ever faced, having killed Iris West, Johnny Quick, Nora Allen and he even once attempted to kill Wally West’s entire family.
Reverse-Flash Powers & Abilities
Reverse-Flash is imbued with power from a pocket of extra-dimensional energy called the Speed Force. The #SpeedForce allows Thawne to:
- Travel at near-inconceivable speed
- Phase through solid objects
- Generate lighting
- Time travel
- Created wind funnels
- Vortex and sonic shockwave generation
- Create speed-mirages
As well as drawing power from the Speed Force, Eobard Thawne also possess a genius-level intellect and he is highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat.
The Flash Season 1
The Reverse-Flash was the first major villain on The Flash, and we are first introduced to him as the yellow blur that killed Barry’s mother. After becoming the Flash, Barry devotes his resources to finding the “Man in Yellow”; however, it turns out that Eobard Thawne had assumed the identity of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), who was Barry's mentor and teacher.
It was later revealed that Thawne had become trapped in the past after killing Barry’s mother, and he needed Barry to get faster so he could travel back to the 25th century. During The Flash Season 1 finale, Eobard Thawne offered Barry the chance to go back in time to save his mother, but Barry refused the offer and the two battled in the S.T.A.R. Labs pipeline. During the altercation, Eobard’s ancestor, Eddie Thawne, sacrificed himself and effectively erased Eobard from the timeline.
The Flash Season 2
From the end of The Flash Season 1 moving forward, Eobard Thawne would be portrayed by #MattLetscher, and the show moved on from him masquerading as Harrison Wells (#TomCavanagh). The one exception is during The Flash Season 2 Episode 17, when Barry visited the Season 1 version of Reverse-Flash/Harrison Wells, to find out how to get faster in order to defeat Zoom.
Because he was officially erased from the timeline in The Flash Season 1 finale, we don’t see much of Reverse-Flash in The Flash Season 2. He appears in The Flash Season 2 Episode 11, titled ‘The Reverse-Flash Returns’, where we see a version of Eobard Thawne before he kills Nora Allen and does not know #BarryAllen is the Flash.
Reverse-Flash returned at the end of The Flash Season 2 finale, but it was only because Barry went back in time and stopped Thawne from murdering Nora Allen.
The Flash Season 3
The Flash Season 3 Episode 1, titled ‘Flashpoint’, picked up 3 months after Barry Allen stopped Eobard Thawne from killing Nora Allen. Barry is now living in an alternate version of the timeline – which Thawne dubs "Flashpoint" – and he has Reverse-Flash locked up in a cage.
Thawne tells Barry that he shouldn’t have changed the timeline, and this will only end poorly for them both (topped off with his foreshadowing line: “Now who’s the villain Flash?”). At the end of the episode, Barry realized he made a mistake, allowing Reverse-Flash to go back and correct the timeline.
Legends Of Tomorrow Season 2
Reverse-Flash first appeared in Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 2, titled ‘Justice Society of America’, and served as the main antagonist for the rest of the season. The Legends chased Eobard Thawne through time as he chased after one of the most powerful objects in the universe: The Spear of Destiny.
During his quest, Thawne assembled the Arrowverse’s first iteration of the #LegionOfDoom, which consisted of himself, Malcolm Merlyn, Damien Darhk, and Leonard Snart. It was revealed during #LegendsOfTomorrow Season 2 Episode 10, titled ‘Legion of Doom’, that Thawne wanted the Spear of Destiny so he could rewrite reality, to avoid being destroyed by Black Flash – who was chasing him because he wasn’t supposed to exist after Eddie Thawne sacrificed himself.
The Legion of Doom obtained and activated the Spear of Destiny at the end of Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 15, and Eobard Thawne’s rewrote history. The Legends went back in time to stop the Legion of Doom from procuring the Spear, and after much sacrifice, they stopped Reverse-Flash, who was subsequently killed by #BlackFlash.
Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox
Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox was a Warner Bros. Animation VOD release that adapted the popular DC Comics event, Flashpoint. The story revolved around Barry Allen, who woke up in an alternate version of the timeline, and became convinced that Reverse-Flash had done this to him.
Reverse-Flash is the only other person in this timeline who knows that things have changed, so Barry hunted him down in order to set things right. It is later revealed that Barry caused the changes to the timeline, when he prevented his mother’s death at the hands of Reverse-Flash.
Barry attempts to fix the timeline, but Reverse-Flash attacked Barry to stop him. Thawne was about to defeat The Flash, but Batman (Thomas Wayne) killed Reverse-Flash; then Barry went back in time and fixed the timeline.
Reverse Flash has been rumored to be the villain in the upcoming DCEU film, The Flash, but there has been no official announcement yet.
In the trailer of #JusticeLeague, there is a scene where Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) talks to his father Henry Allen (Billy Crudup), who is in prison. This scene hints that The Flash movie will follow the same storyline as The Flash on The CW, where Reverse-Flash killed Nora Allen and framed Henry for it.