The Flash is a series that’s never been afraid to put even its most craziest villains front and center. Last season saw Gorilla Grodd get his very own episode, while this season gave us a quick appearance from King Shark. Both are characters that are far from your typical villain: One is a giant telepathic gorilla, and the other looks like a CGI version of something straight out of Street Sharks. But it’s not just the secondary baddies that made The Flash into one of the most popular shows on TV. Much of the credit can be attributed to the main villains of the last two seasons: Reverse Flash and Zoom.
Last season, we saw as Reverse Flash slowly unraveled our hero’s life, beginning with the murder of Barry Allen’s mother, and ending with Reverse Flash literally being erased from time. It was a wonderful build to the reveal of Dr. Harrison Wells actually turning out to be our primary villain, and the moments between him and Barry were some of the best of the entire series. Now well into Season 2, we finally have our first real look at the newest evil speedster to terrorize the Flash, Zoom.
Zoom, voiced by Tony Todd, is costumed in a way that makes him look less than human. His mask almost appears melded to his face, his hands have distinct claw-like features, and he gives off a general nightmare fuel sort of vibe. If there was such a thing as a Demon Flash, it would be CW’s Zoom in a nutshell. Upon his arrival, Zoom wastes no time in beating the ever-loving tar out of Barry Allen. The episode wraps up with Barry in a hospital bed, unable to feel his legs following a wince-worthy spine punch from Zoom during their encounter.
Whereas Reverse Flash was a mastermind with Emperor Palpatine-levels of patience, Zoom has quickly established himself more as a complete and utter force of nature. He’s both faster and stronger than Barry, and seems to put the fear of God in just about everyone he encounters, from Earth-2’s Harrison Wells to the Jay Garrick. In just one episode, he’s proven himself to be more than worthy adversary for the Flash, and in many ways is far more of a threat than Season 1’s villain, if not simply for his terrifying single-mindedness in ensuring the death of Barry Allen.
The biggest question we all have following the one-sided beatdown between Zoom and the Flash: How is it that Zoom is so much faster than our titular hero? The answer may lie in the comic book origins of the villain, that outline his own speed-related powers as decidedly different than those of the Flash. In the comics, speedsters like Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, and Wally West all tap into something known as the Speed Force as the source of their power. Zoom though “has the ability to alter time relative to himself,” making it so he’s not moving fast, so much as he’s making everything around him move slower. It’s why he was able to catch a lightning bolt thrown by Barry in the last episode, and it explains why he was able to handedly vanquish the Flash.
As it was with Reverse Flash, we imagine Barry will eventually find some way to level the playing field against this season’s big bad. For now, though, he’s confined to a wheelchair, Gorilla Grodd is about to make a return appearance, and the Arrow/Flash crossover episode is looming. All this probably means we won’t see Zoom return for awhile, given that we’re barely a third through Season 2. That being said, it’s been well established now that Barry Allen is facing his greatest challenge yet in this new villain.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest