SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Flash #46, by Joshua Williamson, Scott Kolins, Luis Guerrero and Steve Wands, on sale now.
It was back in January’s The Flash Annual #1, by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter and Christian Duce, that we bore witness to the post-Rebirth return of Hunter Zolomon, who spent years plaguing the Wally West iteration of The Flash under the guise of Zoom.
Ever since that moment, we’ve known that Zoom would somehow be the impetus behind the impending “Flash War,” which will pit Wally against the DC Universe’s primary Flash, Barry Allen. What we didn’t know, however, was why he’d want to drive a wedge between the two Scarlet Speedsters. (You know, aside from the obvious “because he’s a super-villain.”)
As we discover in The Flash #46, though, the method in Zolomon’s madness has evolved beyond what we’ve come to expect from the criminal profiler-turned-evil speedster.
Midway through the issue, it’s revealed that the reason we’ve only seen Zoom in the 25th century is that he was plucked from the past by Eobard Thawne, aka The Reverse-Flash, who brought Zolomon to the future so the pair could determine what to do about their mutual Flash problem. However, their ideals are – and always have been – slightly conflicting.
Thawne, in his classic incarnation, developed an obsession with Barry that eventually evolved into hatred, and in The New 52, seething jealousy was added to the mix. Either way, Thawne’s M.O. has remained relatively consistent throughout the years: make The Flash suffer.
Zoom, on the other hand, felt betrayed by his Flash because Wally, whom he considered a friend, refused to go back in time to prevent him from being paralyzed in an attack by Gorilla Grodd. Zolomon, in his twisted sense of wisdom, determined the reason for this was because Wally had never suffered profound personal tragedy, so he made it his life’s mission to force such trauma on The Flash to help make him a better hero.
As Thawne and Zolomon argue over whether it’s best to inflict pain on the two Flashes for the sake of elevating them or to simply punish them, the former decides to return to the 21st century to take matters into his own hands. As we’ve seen over the course of Williamson’s Flash run, though, the result has been a repeating cycle of failures, deaths and reincarnations.
Zoom sees this, as well, which fills him with regret for pushing away the man he describes as the one person “who could understand tragedy the way that [he] did.”
“I was so sure I could make Wally and Barry finally live up to our expectations,” Zolomon says. “But I was wrong… It’s time that I embrace the truth. Thawne was right. The Flashes do not deserve my faith.”
Smashing the monitor he just used to watch Thawne die, Zolomon dons his familiar yellow suit and makes a vow that “If the Flashes refuse to see the road to being a better hero,” then he’ll “take them down a road… to WAR!”
This, of course, marks a major change in the status quo for Zoom, as it brings him more in line with The Reverse-Flash than we’ve ever seen in the past. Still, even though we now know why he wants to incite a war between Barry and Wally, we still don’t know how he plans to do it.
Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long to find out, because “Flash War” officially begins in Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter’s The Flash #47, which goes on sale May 23 from DC Comics.