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The Flash: The Man Behind The Reverse Flash
The latest episode of The Flash, entitled “Out of Time” was shocking to say the least, but perhaps the most shocking was the reveal of just who Harrison Wells really is. If you haven’t seen the episode yet and you don’t want to be spoiled, it is strongly suggested that you do that before reading this article. (But make sure to come back and read this article.)
Over the course of the series, we’ve seen Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh,) in several different lights. We’ve seen him as the fractured man, struggling to cope with his greatest failure. We’ve seen him as the dark protector of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin.) In “Out of Time” we saw Harrison Wells as the tragic man out of time, named Eobard Thawne.
Many of you might recognize that last name. “Thawne.” It’s a name that has deep roots in the mythos of DC Comics Flash Family, and also the last name of Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) whom Eobard refers to as a “distant relative.” A lot was thrown out in the episode, however there are those people that may not be aware of just who Eobard Thawn is. Well, that’s about to change.
As time-travel and Crises tend to do with the DC Universe, things are a bit confusing when it comes to Eobard Thawne (also known as Professor Zoom) mostly because he has two origins.
The first of which, states that Eobard was born to wealth in the 25th Century and grew up a huge fan of Barry Allen. Finding the Cosmic Treadmill in a pawn shop, Mr. Thawne got the bright idea to recreate the accident that gave Barry his powers using the Treadmill. Said experiment did not go as planned, but the resulting injury meant Eobard got to have his face rebuilt to look like Barry Allen’s.
Still, Eobard wouldn’t be denied. If he couldn’t be The Flash, he could at least meet The Flash, and after losing his money due to the medical costs from his first attempt at success, he attempted to use the Cosmic Treadmill to travel back in time. Due to disuse however, the machine malfunctioned, dropping Thawne years after Allen’s death during the Infinite Crisis. Finding evidence of his eventual fall from grace, becoming the second Reverse Flash, the unstable Thawne’s mind snapped, making him believe he was indeed Barry Allen, before being uncovered by Wally West as an imposter.
The second and current (Post-Infinite Crisis, or simply Post-Crisis,) origin would find Thawne as the genetically engineered to be perfect, yet unable to please his parents. This was made worse by the birth of his brother. An adult Eobard, however, makes several changes to improve his younger self’s life, including erasing his younger brother from existence, having the women who would not return his affections institutionalized as a child so that they wouldn’t meet, and even the death of his parents for attempting to interfere into his research on the Speed Force.
His future self would continue to aid the young Thawne, eventually leaving him Barry’s suit to further his research, all the while being led down the path Reverse Flash (his future self) wanted.
It should also be noted that by this time in the future, the Thawne and Allen families are in a centuries long feud.
So now you know about the comic character that Eobard Thawne. However, that’s only part of the mystery and fun that is the adaption of comics to other mediums. Does the Eobard Thawne that appeared in “Out of Time” have more to his plan than just killing Barry? Why can’t he simply tap into the Reverse Speed Force like his comic book incarnation?
So many questions…and this wasn’t even the finale for season 1. The upcoming episodes of The Flash will find themselves hard-pressed to top “Out of Time.” All the same, you can rest assured they will try and who knows? They may succeed when Gorilla Grodd finally makes his presence known to Central City.