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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Editorial: 5 Theories About Zoom's Identity.

Editorial: 5 Theories About Zoom's Identity

The Flash has ended for the year, due to pick up in March of next year, and the big question on everyone's minds is 'Who is Zoom?' While the answer might very well be 'somebody we've never met before', that would be astonishingly lazy on the part of the writers, so here's a few theories for us to speculate over until the show continues.

Zoom is Earth-2 Barry Allen.

Easily the most likely of the bunch, this theory posits that Zoom is an alternate version of Barry, one who was either driven mad at some point, or who had been a wrong'un for a long time before he received his speed powers.

If he's not, then the series will have engaged in some impressive misdirection, since Zoom and Barry have almost identical suits, received their powers in identical ways, and since several episodes of the second series have been devoted to the idea that it's your circumstances (and in several episodes, specifically who raised you, with Barry even paying lip service to the idea that being raised by criminals could have ended up with him becoming one), that decide whether you end up being a hero or a villain.

Which is not even getting started on how Zoom proudly announces that he's 'the fastest man alive' and openly draws parallels between himself and Barry at several points, or how several other Earth-2 metahumans are drawn towards killing their Earth-1 counterparts.

Likelihood: 4/5.

Zoom is Earth-2 Eddie Thawne.

This is somewhere near the bottom in terms of likelihood ranking, but it's been something that a few people have been pondering since Zoom first showed up in trailers, since Eddie's character always had shades of Malcolm Thawne from the comics, a villainous blue speedster with control over a magical flame.

(Only shades, because Eddie has never shown himself to be villainous, or anything other than a swell guy.)

If Zoom is Earth-2 Eddie then it would certainly have impact on the cast, forcing them to contend with a villain with the face of a dead loved one, and making a mockery of a friends' sacrifice. But I'd almost expect for Eddie to have been mentioned more if Zoom was an alternate version of him - as it is, he's been namedropped all of a half dozen times.

Also, Rick Cosnett is currently starring on Quantico and might not be available.

Likelihood: 1/5.

Zoom is Earth-2 Cisco Ramon.

This is a theory that has picked up traction primarily due to Zoom's aforementioned nigh-identical-to-the-Flash's costume. After all, Cisco made that costume, so it stands to reason that Zoom must either be Earth-2 Cisco or be working with Earth-2 Cisco, right?

Well, yes, that logic does actually follow, although I don't know if The Flash's writers will have actually thought of that one - certainly no characters in-show have pointed it out, and you'd think they would have. It's pretty obvious, after all, especially since the only other person to wear that suit (that they know of) is Eobard, who was clearly inspired by Barry.

Not to mention that this series has been focusing a lot on Cisco and his new Vibe powers, setting him up well to accidentally vibe off himself and see Zoom.

But it kind of falls apart from there. For starters, Zoom is visibly taller than Cisco, who is pretty distinctive in how short he is. For seconds, Zoom's powers don't seem to be even moderately related to Cisco's vibing, and while that's certainly not a dealbreaker (since we know that metahuman powers usually work via a combination of person + certain genetic markers + environment + dark matter, meaning that the same person being hit by dark matter in two different environments will get two different powers), it would feel slightly messy.

Also, can anyone really imagine an evil Cisco?

Likelihood: 2/5. It's more likely than Eddie, at least.

Zoom is Earth-2 Eobard Thawne.

This is probably the most boring theory. The thing is, I like Eobard as a character and as a villain, but I don't want to see him as the villain twice in a row, and I don't think The Flash writers would do that.

But the theory goes as such: Zoom is Earth-2 Reverse-Flash, since one of Eobard's alternate names in comics was 'Professor Zoom.' In this reality, he is considerably more axe-crazy than on Earth-1, foregoing being calculating for instead being, essentially, a thug.

(That's what Zoom is, after all. He's a blunt force instrument where Eobard was a scalpel.)

The big problem with this, that I see, is that Zoom received his powers in the particle accelerator explosion - which occurs after Eobard travels back in time, which he does using his speed powers, which he received in the future, long after the particle accelerator explosion. It would make no sense for Zoom to be Eobard.

Which is why this one is at the bottom in likelihood ranking.

Likelihood: 0.5/5.

Zoom is Earth-2 Wally West.

This is a bit of an outlier, but in a way, it's more likely than a lot of the theories on this list. After all, sooner or later, Wally will become a speedster, so he definitely has the ability to become one - and in an alternate universe, where Francine might never have left Central City, he would have been directly in the path of the particle accelerator explosion.

The big question is why he would then become Zoom - Wally seems like a pretty nice guy, after all, from what little we've seen of him. That doesn't mean that Earth-2 Wally is nice, though: For all we know, Joe and Francine could be arch-criminals in that reality. Or maybe the Zoom powers (which definitely go beyond super-speed, since he also has the ability to steal other people's speeds - which might even be his main power - on top of enhanced strength and what appear to be black eyes) drive their user insane.

I think if they did go down this route, we'd need to firstly know a lot more about Earth-1 Wally, and secondly know a lot more about Zoom, or else it would feel like a massive cop out. If they did go with this, though, it would raise an interesting question: Is the Wally who showed up on the Wests' doorstep Wally, or Zoom?

Likelihood: 3/5.

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