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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Zoom from the Arrowverse. The mainstream version can be found here: Zoom.
~ Zoom as he escapes, and one of his most famous lines.
I got my speed the same way Barry did. When I got struck by the dark matter and electricity I became Zoom - the fastest man alive. Wasn't long before I had this earth on its knees, but it wasn't enough, I wanted more! I wanted to be faster so I created a speed drug. It made me faster than I ever thought possible, fast enough to break the dimensional barrier, fast enough to run to other universes - other earths. And then one day, on one of those other earths, I discovered him. It was right about that time I discovered something else too. All the V-9 I had injected into my system had a little side effect. I searched for a cure, I tried everything. I even tried to manipulate the speed force but let me tell you, the speed force... the speed force does not like its rules being broken...
~ Zoom reveals his story to Joe West.
I thought it was a Time Wraith, the monsters that hunt Speedsters who mess with time. But whatever it is, it's far worse. It can sense the Speed Force and it's trying to kill me.
~ Eobard Thawne describing Zoom or now Black Flash.
Hunter Zolomon, also known as Zoom and his stolen identity of Jay Garrick, is a major antagonist in the Arrowverse. He debuted as the main antagonist of the second season of the CW TV series The Flash, a minor antagonist in its third season, and later briefly returned in the fifth season's 100th episode. He also appears as a major antagonist in the second season in DC's Legends of Tomorrow and was also a mentioned character in the fourth season of Arrow.
He is a psychotic serial killer who became a Speedster in an accident during his shock therapy. However, he eventually began to die due to his use of the speed-enhancing Velocity-9 formula, leading to him discovering the multiverse and deciding to harness the speed of another Speedster to cure his condition, eventually targeting Barry Allen. After he was killed by the Time Wraiths, as punishment for his actions, the Speed Force ironically reincarnated Zoom into the guardian of the Speed Force's rules; the feral Black Flash.
A citizen of Earth-2, Hunter Zolomon grew up to become a serial killer after he witnessed his father murdering his mother. When he was sent to an asylum to be cured of his insanity, he was struck by the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accellerator explosion which granted him super speed. Zolomon fled the asylum and soon became the supervillain Zoom who was feared throughout all of Central City. At one point, Zoom created the Velocity-9 serum to become even faster.
However, Hunter soon discovered that the Velocity serum was killing him and he searched for a cure and even tried to manipulate the Speed Force, only to have the Speed Force send it's enforcers, the Time Wraiths, after him which he managed to avoid. He then searched the Multiverse for a cure and found Earth-3 where he encountered another speedster, Jay Garrick/The Flash, and forcibly brought him to Earth-2 to harness his speed for himself. Hunter was unsuccessful, but kept Jay imprisoned as a trophy. Eventually, Hunter grew tired of only being the villain and decided to be the hero too and stole Jay's name and identity and operated as Jay Garrick/The Flash of Earth-2, and acted as Zoom's archenemy while still terrorizing Central City as Zoom, using time remnants of himself to maintain the appearance of both Flash and Zoom.
While searching for his cure, one day a singularity opened above Central City which lead to Earth-1, and upon investigating, Hunter discover another speedster, Barry Allen/The Flash, and decided to harness Barry's speed instead. After posing as an ally to team Flash for a long time, "Jay Garrick" was eventually revealed to be Zoom. By kidnapping Wally West, Barry's foster brother, Zoom forced Barry to give up his speed in exchange for Wally. After succeeding, he planned to conquer Earth-1 with his army of Earth-2 metahumans and destroy every other planet in the Multiverse, ensuring he remains the only speedster in the Multiverse. He also attempted to corrupt Caitlin Snow to become Killer Frost and wanted to make Barry see that the two of them were very similar and that Barry could have easily become a villain as well. Ultimately, Hunter's plan was foiled, and after a climactic battle with Barry, Hunter was transformed by Time Wraiths into a demonic creature called the "Black Flash" and imprisoned in the Speed Force. Hunter is now forced to enforce the rules of the Speed Force for all eternity. In his position as Black Flash, Zoom is forced to hunt Eobard Thawne, who has evaded his canonical death, to bring balance to the Speed Force.
Despite his eternal damnation, Hunter's actions left severe effects on Barry who then created the Flashpoint reality to undo Hunter's crimes, only to be forced to restore them when that timeline turned out to be worse and in doing so caused even more disruption to the main timeline.
Zoom is known for his obsession with speed and unstable mind. The self-proclaimed fastest man alive, he will go to incredible lengths to advance his own speed, even hunt other speedsters down from different worlds to do so. He has been known to make anyone under his control do things that are out of character, as he was able to make a simple thief like Linda Park become a killer.
The most notable feature about Zoom is his terrifying demeanor and effortlessly cruel personality, able to intimidate anyone with sheer presence, normally manipulating people into doing his bidding with "minimal" effort. His fear manipulation has allowed him to make meta-humans with powers who could defeat him (such as Atom-Smasher and aforementioned Linda Park) do what he tells them to, and because of this, Zoom was able to make them feel powerless before him. Despite this, Zoom has displayed charisma and isn't totally reliant on fear alone, he simply finds it a more effective motivator.
Zoom is shown to be rather brutal, barbarous, arrogant, egotistical and outright sadistic. He is very enthusiastic and jubilant in terrorizing innocent citizens and preying on other meta-humans like him. He enjoys boasting his superiority over his enemies, even defeated ones, displayed when after defeating Flash in combat, he proceeded to run around Central City with his helpless body in tow like a hunting trophy, showing him to the Central City Picture News and then the police department while making a speech about how Flash is nothing compared to him.
In a similar fashion to other notorious serial killers, Zoom has shown multiple signs of sadistic prowess, playing with his victims, reveling in their fear instead of outright killing them. For example he toyed with Harry by running around S.T.A.R. Labs and terrifying him instead of facing him instantly. The origin of his name was revealed when Harry told Cisco the story of how Zoom got his existence established, which was a situation where he faked a hostage situation, only to then mercilessly slaughter all of the police officers at the scene except one, letting him go to tell everyone what happened just now. The next night, he murdered the cop.
Despite being the evil maniac that he is, Zoom is actually patient, calm, and even-tempered, as he carefully plans multiple situations well ahead of time without fault. He could long-term map out his plan to "fatten up" Barry until he's so fast that he can absorb his speed and become the fastest man in the multiverse; to make sure it works, he gets together contingency plans, such as forcing Harry to help him in exchange for the safe return of his daughter Jesse.
It is later revealed that the only reason he is obsessed with speed is due to the fact that it can cure his dying body. He also pretends to be a hero like Flash, so as to "Give people hope..... so that I can rip it away from them.".
After emerging from the Speedforce Hunter has seemingly lost his personality, unable to even communicate, merely snarling and growling as he relentlessly hunts Eobard Thawne as an undead enforcer of the force he once tried to manipulate and abuse.
Powers and Abilities
Speed Force connection: Zoom has shown that he is incredibly powerful. The full extent of his power has so far been shown during his battle with Barry in "Enter Zoom". He naturally has the same abilities as Barry, though with his usage of the Velocity drug, his powers have been artificially enhanced. Through the absorption of Barry's powers, his powers may have further enhanced as well, beyond his artificial enhancements. Unlike Barry, Jay and Eobard, whose speed is emphasized by red/yellow lightning coming off of them, Zoom's lightning is light blue, which is visible even when he is not using his speed.
Superhuman Speed: Zoom is able to move at immense speeds. He further increased his speed using velocity drugs. Having been able to successfully avoid a loss from Jay Garrick and Barry Allen multiple times, he is stated to be capable of exceeding light-speed (299,792,458 m/s), which could explain why he can go through the breaches between Earth-2 and Earth-1. He even managed to overpower Barry's speed in their first encounter.
Superhuman Agility: Zoom possesses inhuman bodily coordination, balance, equilibrium and dexterity. He is able to change direction immediately, thus allows him to make sharp turns on city streets without sliding or losing his balance.
Superhuman Reflexes: Zoom's reaction time is augmented due to his powers, able to easily accomplish winning a battle with minimal effort. Even Barry Allen was unable to beat him despite all of his powers and training he received from Eobard Thawne. His reaction time has also allowed him to catch numerous bullets fired at him by multiple cops all at the same time, then dropping them to the ground to emphasize his superiority.
Superhuman Stamina: While utilizing his speed-based abilities, he tires at an extremely slowed rate, even with his highly accelerated metabolism.
Superhuman Momentum: By building up enough physical force from any part of his body, Zoom is able to deal very punishing blows. This allowed him to exert inhuman physical strength with almost absolute ease. Even The Flash was quickly pummeled to the point he was unable to fight back despite his healing powers.
Electrokinesis: He was able to actually catch and solidify a bolt of lightning thrown by Barry in midair, then throw it back at him with greater force. His body produces so much electricity, that even when he is not utilizing his powers, electricity is still flowing all around his body. His electricity is blue due to his artificial enhancements to his natural super-speed powers.
Enhanced Strength: Due to the high quantities of speed force energies inside him, Zoom has displayed a degree of low-level superhuman strength. He was able to lift Barry & carry him effortlessly throughout Central City. He was also able to paralyze Barry with just one well placed physical strike.
Enhanced Mind: Zoom's speed also extends to his mental capacities, allowing him to take in information and process it at much faster rates than a normal human. This ability allows Eobard to see the world as if it is in slow motion, which, combined with his physical speed, lets him perform thoughts and actions long before a normal human around him could even perceive them.
Enhanced Senses: Zoom possesses enhanced senses that allow him to clearly see and hear when moving at superhuman speeds that would normally not allow this.
Energy Absorption: Zoom is capable of absorbing Speed Force energy that he injects himself with, for more power.
Dimensional Travel: Somehow, Zoom was able to go through breaches between Earth-1 and Earth-2, which are invisible unless he runs through them. He can also move his arm fast enough to break open the fabric of space and time to create a portal to another dimension.
Time Travel: Zoom is able to use his speed to travel through time. He has used this ability to retrieve his time remnant "Jay Garrick" in order to help him with his plans.
Superhuman Durability: The Speed Force energies inside him have increased his durability as well. In "Enter Zoom", he and Barry wound up flung several hundred feet into the air and then fell back to the ground, but Zoom was apparently unharmed by this
Accelerated Healing: The speed force connection has increased his metabolism, allowing for an accelerated healing rate. It is unknown if the Velocity 9 serum boosted this power. After absorbing Barry's powers, his healing factor was increased to the point of healing the damages done by the Velocity 9, while still keeping the enhancements.
Phasing: Zoom was able to walk through walls and glass with ease by vibrating his molecules to match the resonate frequency of these solid surfaces. He also phased his arm through Jay Garrick's back and made it protrude from his chest before pulling back through to Earth-2.
Speed Force Senses: He can sense the users of the Speed Force across the timelines.
Master tactician/Manipulator: Zoom was able to easily elude Jay Garrick for over two years outside of occasional battles, all while being able to plan events long-term. Always seeming to be one step ahead of his enemies, Zoom could easily tell a foe's movements without fault. He could successfully manipulate other meta-humans with superior powers to his to do his bidding, such as Al Rothstein and Linda Park (Earth-2).
Master hand-to-hand combatant: He is able to easily defeat his foes with his powers in conjunction with his impressive hand-to-hand combat skills. He fought Barry with minimal effort, easily beating him to near death without any signs on slipping up or making a mistake. His claws also seem to help with his powers, able to slice into his enemies with their ferocity, sharpness and strength.
Extreme Cold Temperatures: For every speedster low temperatures are a problem as it slows them down and can weaken their super-speed. It is proven Zoom possess this weakness when Earth-2 Killer Frost used her ice-based powers to stall him long enough for Team Flash to escape. Earth-1 Killer Frost killed him as Black Flash.
Low Intelligence: Due to his new zombified state, his sentience and intellect is below human ability. This makes him easy to be tricked or fooled.
Sensory Deprivation: Due to his new condition, he cannot sense an individual if they are neither moving or not using the Speed Force. This enabled Eobard to stand still and not be sensed by the demonic speedster, despite the latter standing right in front of his eyes.
Velocity 9: While he was empowered by the Velocity 9 in his system, he may have gained a significant increase in his powers, but at the cost of cellular degeneration. It is possible that this was slowed by his "Healing Factor", though he knew his healing was unable to hold it off for long. After gaining Barry's super-speed based powers, he no longer suffers from cellular degeneration, even though his body still has the Velocity 9's artificial enhancements.
Psychological Trauma: He suffers from severe PSTD, likely due to his rough upbringing in orphanages and watching his father kill his mother in front of him. Whenever Caitlin Snow calls him a "Monster", he suffers from a small episode of extreme psychological trauma. When Barry used his past to his advantage, Zoom not only suffered small episodes of extreme psychological trauma, but also lost his focus and tactical/rational thinking, which in turn made him easily predictable, momentarily stunned & more feral, thus allowing Barry to capitalize by trapping him.
Time Wraiths: He was easily subdued by Time Wraiths, which are speed force phantoms deployed to capture a speed force user who has violated too many Speed Force laws. Zoom would always avoid Time Wraiths.
Look at your hero. This man is no god. He is nothing. The days of The Flash protecting this city are over. Now what will you do without your precious hero?
~ Zoom publicly humiliating Barry.
I will say, if anything Barry sure has an ample number of fathers to kill!
~ Zoom after capturing Joe West
Never forget, I'm the fastest man alive!
~ One of Zoom's most famous lines.
You shouldn't make promises you can't keep, Flash. Look around; this is the last place you will ever see.
~ Zoom to Flash after capturing him.
I know you're here, Harrison Wells. And you did not come alone! You can try to hide. But I'm the fastest man alive! I will scour this city until I hunt you down and when I do all of you will feel... my... WRATH!
~ Zoom begins his hunt for Wells.
The apparent reason for casting Tony Todd to voice Zoom was that the show's creators wanted to do something different, as they simply had Tom Cavangh (Eobard Thawne) distort his voice. They even compared their portrayal of Zoom to the iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader, who had an iconic voice but separate actor in the armor.
Zoom's eyes have been changed. In a previous version seen in trailers and in the Season 2 premiere when Cisco had a vision of him, his eyes were glowing blue. The current version has black eyes, presumably to prevent repetitiveness, as Eobard Thawne had glowing red eyes when he used his powers.
Zoom's supposed ability to steal the speed of other speedster has by now been proven false as he needs the help of the Earth-2 Wells to do so. This has been further backed up by his admittance that he lost his speed due to an overreliance on the Velocity drugs.
Before his identity was revealed in "King Shark", Zoom was played by an Australian stuntman named Ryan Handley, who would later go on to play Godspeed in Season 5 while costumed.
Though praised as a truly scary villain, Zoom's story has received some criticisms for it conflicting aspects.
Zoom operating as the Flash without a mask as "Jay Garrick" then being showed to be a known serial killer named Hunter Zolomon instantly recognized to Earth-2 citizens, his face even been shown on the front page of a newspaper. This had lead to debate as to why no one recognized "Jay" as Hunter. Though since the photo of Hunter in the news showed him with significant more facial hair, which was also grey rather than blonde, it's possible people simply didn't make the connection. This seems to be confirmed by Caitlin not instantly recognizing "Jay" as Hunter in the same paper Harrison Wells shows her, needing a moment to process it.
Zoom's use of time remnants, using younger versions of himself and then killing them without causing his present day self to be erased from the timeline, has confused audiences.
While it has been chalked up that Zoom used time remnants to pose as The Flash his dialogue suggests that he was personally carrying out the "heroic deeds" as The Flash. However it has been shown that using the Velocity drug is what caused Zoom's lightning to turn blue which he did before becoming the Flash. Although it is possible he is capable of reverting his lightning back and forth.
Zoom is arguably the most evil and darkest villain in The Flash as he beats every other villain in the show in means of cruelty, even more so than other villainous speedsters and fellow Pure Evil main antagonist Clifford DeVoe.
It is unknown if Hunter is actually dead, but as he doesn't appear after, he is most likely dead. Malcolm Merlyn and Ricardo Diaz are deceased too. This makes actually Slade Wilson (now redeemed), the only former main antagonist surviving.
When Black Siren was in conflict with Ricardo Diaz on Arrow, she told him that he reminded her of Zoom and remarked how he's just as full of hate and rage.