The Flash Season Two: Is This Zoom?

Earlier today, we talked a little bit about the difference in The Flash comics between Reverse-Flash and Zoom.

It's acutally kind of a subtle difference, since the characters generally referred to by those names have both used the other name at least occasionally, but the gist is that for the most part, people use "Reverse-Flash" to refer to Eobard Thawne, the villain of The Flash Season One, and "Zoom" to refer to Hunter Zolomon, a Wally West villain who was prevalent during Geoff Johns' long run on The Flash.

So...which one of them is more likely to be the villain of Season Two? Will Thawne be returning with new powers and a new name, or will it be Zolomon?

Actually, I think neither.

While Thawne is generally discussed as the first Reverse-Flash, that's because Earth-1's continuity has always taken priority since the Crisis on Infinite Earths. There was, in fact, a Golden Age Reverse-Flash in the pages of Jay Garrick's Flash comics as well. A blue-masked, self-obsessed doppelganger of Garrick, Edward Clariss is generally called The Rival, and he actually might be our best candidate for a TV villain.

Why?

Well, there's all that blue lightning in the trailers for The Flash from Comic-Con, for a start.

Many fans have wondered what significance the blue lightning might have, and it's something that's appeared in The Flash comics periodically over the years. More often than not, fans have associated it with Cobalt Blue, Barry's literal evil twin brother, who appeared during Mark Waid's run on The Flash and who was actually an ancestor of Eobard Thawne. A lot of people -- occasionally myself included -- thought Eddie Thawne might turn out to be Malcolm Thawne, better known as Cobalt Blue, in the TV show.

There have been other times, too; in The Flash (1990), John Wesley Shipp actually played a twisted clone of The Flash called Pollux, who wore blue and had a blue speed trail behind him. Barry in recent years has gone for blue lightning twice: once during the Blackest Night and Brightest Day events when he could be seen wearing a Blue Lantern ring and uniform, and once during the Futures End event and its fallout, as an "evil" Barry from five years into the future was introduced with a blue costume and powers. That version of Barry was instrumental in the introduction of Wally West to the post-Flashpoint DC Universe, so when Wally was announced for Season Two of The Flash, it was easy to draw that connection.

But probably the most obvious answer remains Clariss.

Clariss was a professor at the university attended by the Earth-2 Flash, Jay Garrick. He believed he had recreated the formula that gave Garrick his speed, but the scientific community didn't believe him, driving him to madness and crime.

In the comics, the formula Clariss wanted credit for was a drug called Velocity 9, later retconned to have been invented by Vandal Savage -- who, coincidentally enough, will serve as the primary antagonist on DC's Legends of Tomorrow in its first season. It isn't, as far as I can tell, tied to the mathematical formula spoken by Johnny and Jesse Quick in order to gain them access to the Speed Force, although with Jesse joining The Flash this year, it may not be entirely unrelated on TV.

Clariss took to the streets in a darker version of Garrick's costume, and instead of trailing yellow lightning behind him when he ran, his blue, possibly becuase of the darker pants and blue face mask he wore. Clariss's formula proved to be temporary, and he was defeated when it was expended. He reappeared a few months later, and in battling the Flash, reached light speed and vanished.

Clariss, it seems, had inadvertently trapped himself in the Speed Force, where he remained for decades before being retrieved by Johnny Sorrow, who invited him to join the new Injustice Society -- in a storyline written by The Flash executive producer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, the driving force behind Zolomon. He would appear in another, Garrick-centric storyline in The Flash during the Johns era.

After returning from the Speed Force, The Rival was reinvented to have his face blurred by speed motion rather than simply wearing a mask -- something that many of Johns' speed-powered villains would echo. This could explain why Tony Todd will be only the voice of Zoom, rather than having one actor do both.

After his escape from the Speed Force, Clariss was able to possess other bodies, being that he was now a being of pure energy, which may also explain the need for a dynamic voice actor to do at least part of the work.

On top of all of this, of course, there's the Comic-Con teaser:

In that video, Jay Garrick comes to tell Barry, "your world is in danger," which seems that he has some expertise in whatever is going on. That he's apparently going to be a mentor-type figure to Barry backs that up, of course, but what if it's even more simple than that: what if it's primarily his Rogues and his big bad who are terrorizing Central City?

Anyway, it's a theory. Sound off in the comments if you agree.