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Zoom (Flash enemy) (DC Comics) closeup with bloodied mouth

Zoom

(Hunter Zolomon)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“You are not fast enough. With all of the speed you’ve absorbed from your “allies,” you are still not fast enough to stop me. I am BEYOND speed !“


Context

Over the decades, there have been a number of “reverse Flash” characters to bedevil DC Comics’ various Flash characters. They usually had all of Flash’s super-speed powers, but they certainly didn’t use them for good!

Part of this may be that the classic red Flash costume still looks good if color-flipped.

Zoom was one iteration of this “anti-Flash” concept. Though he appeared in 1995, the bulk of his stories took place during the 2000s.


Background

  • Real Name: Hunter Zolomon
  • Marital Status: Married, (currently separated)
  • Known Relatives: Ashley (ex-wife), unnamed parents (deceased), Derek Fox (father-in-law, deceased), Pearl Fox (mother-in-law, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: The Society
  • Base Of Operations: Formerly Keystone City, currently mobile.
  • Height: 6’1″ Weight: 181 lbs.
  • Eyes: Red (As Zolomon, Brown) Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Zoom possesses super speed of a magnitude significantly greater than that of the Flash, Impulse, Jay Garrick and Jesse Quick combined. Unlike other speedsters, Zoom does not tap into the Speed Force as the source of his powers. Zoom’s powers are a result of being shifted permanently out of sync with time.

Thus Zoom appears to move faster as he is able to control the flow of time around him. The end result grants him, in DC Heroes terms, Superspeed.

As a result, Zoom is unable to perform some of the classic “Flash” power stunts. He cannot steal speed from people or objects, nor can he disperse his molecules so as to phase thru solid objects. He has been shown to run up the side of buildings.

Zoom has two distinct advantages over the Flash. First is the ability to produce devastating sonic booms by snapping his fingers (Bomb, in DC Heroes terms).

Zoom also appears to be immune to any Speed Force empowered speedsters attempts at “draining speed”. This was as shown when Wally West and Jay Garrick failed to steal Zoom’s momentum. This ability hasn’t been seen since and as such should be considered as a pure plot device.

Outside of using superspeed, an opponent with heightened intuition, considerable combat experience/agility or an unprecedented amount of good luck *might* be able to time Zoom’s jumps, thereby getting ahead of him long enough to stop him.

Wonder Woman once did exactly that with the use of flying debris and her golden lasso, though a less durable hero would have his or her hands full just staying *alive* long enough to employ similar tactics.

Windows in Time

When Zoom uses his Superspeed, he bypasses points in time, uncontrollably opening windows in time as a consequence. While these windows occasionally show images from the near future (one such window showed a glimpse of Impulse’s future as Kid Flash), more often than not they show a glimpse of Hunter Zolomon’s past, (quite specifically his greatest personal failure, the death of his father-in-law).

The appearances of these temporal tears are quite unpredictable (i.e. at the GM’s discretion.) These windows will always cause Zoom to roll for his Traumatic Flashback.

Any Player Characters engaged in a fight with Zoom may want to take advantage of the situation. Someone able to match Zoom’s speed will become aware of these random time interruptions and could conceivably trap him within one of these windows, such as the Flash did.

Resolve as a normal physical attack, with any RAPs considered a success. (Characters without Superspeed will need to make a Perception Check against an OV/RV of 8 APs first, needing a result of half RV’s or more in order to spot the window.) Success results in Zoom going into a catatonic state for 1D10 weeks.


History

Hunter Zolomon’s life did not have a happy start. Brought up in a dysfunctional family with an abusive, alcoholic father and a mother who rarely spoke to him, he struggled as hard as he could to achieve something more with his life. Finally Zolomon managed to graduate and he planned to leave for college, full of hope for the future.

On the day he was due to leave for college, Zolomon was out of his home for a while and returned to discover the police, laying siege to his house. It transpired that Zolomon’s father was a serial killer. Worse still, his mother had known and when she finally summoned the courage to alert the police, she became his last victim.

Refusing to give up, the older Zolomon was killed by the police in a shoot out.

Criminal minds

Zolomon had no idea of his father’s criminal activities and soon became obsessed with understanding the process of the criminal mind. Zolomon proceeded to study criminology and psychology, achieving high marks in both, before joining the F.B.I..

While in college, Zolomon met his future wife, Ashley. The two also the bureau at the same time and the trained under Ashley’s father, who was an instructor on metahuman criminology at the training campus at Quantico.

Zolomon soon married Ashley and grew firmly attached to his father-in-law, seeing him as the parent he never had. The three would go on cases and call outs together. As part of their training the married couple would always follow Ashley’s father’s lead.

One case ruined this. Zolomon was given the responsibility of co-ordinating an attack on a house that the F.B.I. had under siege. Inside the house was a serial killer named Lyle Corley a.k.a. the Clown, a one time enemy of Barry (the Flash) Allen.

Zoom (Hunter Zolomon) running over a white background

Zolomon mistakenly assured his father-in-law that the Clown would be unarmed. That error in judgement cost Ashley’s father his life. The same incident he seriously injured his knee and was unable to run or walk without a cane.

Ashley left him and Zolomon, the unofficial scapegoat for the botched raid, was soon thrown out of the F.B.I..

Keystone City

Piecing the fragments of his life together, Zolomon relocated to Keystone City where he joined the police department as a profiler, working with the Department of Metahuman Hostilities. Zolomon set out to discover why so many super-villains insisted on operating within Keystone City despite the presence of the Wally West, the Flash.

When his profiles provided no clues he dug further and eventually uncovered a huge criminal black market, simply known as the Network. This market had been operating for over a decade and was being run by the villainess, Blacksmyth.

Zolomon’s work in discovering the Network and in solving a number of other cases put him on good terms with the department’s resident detectives, Chyre and Morillo. On numerous occasions he was crucial to their and the Flash’s work. However, he always resented being stuck behind his desk and longed for the action he enjoyed earlier in his life.

Crippled

With life finally starting to seem more positive for him again, Zolomon’s fortunes were cruelly reversed by an attack from Gorilla Grodd which left him seriously wounded and paralyzed from the waist down. This lack of mobility and independence led Zolomon into a state of severe depression.

Desperate for a solution to his situation, he begged the Flash for help. Knowing through his profiling of the Flash’s Cosmic Treadmill, he begged the Flash to travel back in time and prevent the accident that cost him his wife and father-in-law. The Flash, knowing that nothing good can ever come from changing time, refused.

Driven by desperation, Zolomon attempted to hotwire the Cosmic Treadmill by using the research that the F.B.I. had conducted on it. Rather than work as he had planned, the device exploded.

The explosion demolished the Flash Museum and shifted Zolomon onto a faster timeline, essentially giving him super-speed. Driven insane and seeing the parallels in his surname, Zolomon latched onto a conversation he had recently held with the Flash about Professor Zoom and decided to become the new Reverse Flash, taking the name of Zoom.

Zoom was determined to make the Flash a “better hero,” by realizing loss and surviving the ultimate in tragedy. No matter what it took, Zoom was convinced he had to persuade the Flash by destroying the hero’s life.

Terrorist

Kidnapping Linda Park-West from her home, Zoom confronted the Flash and Jay Garrick (the golden age Flash), beating both speedsters  easily. Flash found that he could not absorb his speed as Zoom didn’t gain his speed from the Speed Force, rather from the shift in timelines.

The fight ended in tragedy as Zoom aimed to make Flash feel loss like him. With a click of his fingers, Zoom caused a sonic boom that destroyed the windows of buildings for blocks around but more importantly knocked the Flash’s pregnant wife, Linda, off her feet.

After being rushed to a hospital Linda was given a clean bill of health only to discover that she had lost the twins she was carrying.

Wally West hadn’t learned of the miscarriages when Zoom confronted him in the hospital. A second battle broke out, this one taking the speedsters across the continent. The Flash added the speed of Jay Garrick and Impulse to his own, but was still unable to keep up with the Reverse-Flash. Zoom cruelly taunted the Flash, telling him that his wife had miscarried twins.

Only the sudden appearance of Jesse Quick (and Zoom’s distraction at the visions from one of the time windows that his speed occasionally tore open) allowed the Flash to survive.

Enraged, the Flash and Jesse Quick confronted Zoom one last time. Draining all of Jesse’s speed, the Flash was finally able to match Zoom’s speed. During an intense battle where both men pushed their powers to the limits, Zoom was trapped by the Flash inside one of the time windows that his speed occasionally tore open.

Frozen in time, Zoom was forced to watch his greatest mistake of the failed siege and his father-in-law’s death, repeated over and over without being able to involve himself.

The return

Zoom’s unconscious form was held in Iron Heights penitentiary. His estranged wife Ashley traveled to Keystone City filled with guilt over her ex-husband’s predicament and insanity. Taking a job as profiler with KCPD, she aimed to cure him of his insanity and rehabilitate him.

Due to a car accident, Ashley was hospitalized for some time. It was around this period that Zoom awoke from his coma, out of concern for Ashley. He cautiously chose to remain in his cell, however.

Zoom was driven out of his self-imposed imprisonment by Cheetah (a.k.a. Dr. Barbara Minerva) in an attempt to both harness super-speed and induct him into the growing Secret Society of Super Villains. The two shared a minor romance, but nothing serious happened as Zoom considered himself to still be married to Ashley.

Zoom suggested to the Cheetah that her problems were all psychological and that in order to achieve true superspeed, she would have to kill her predecessor, Priscilla Rich.

This brought the attention of both the Flash and Wonder Woman, neither of whom could save Rich from being murdered or could capture either of the villains.

Zoom (Hunter Zolomon) vs. Flash

Zoom later reappeared during the already-growing Rogue War between Captain Cold’s Rogues, the Trickster’s reformed Rogues, and the Top’s brainwashed rogues. Quickly spiriting his estranged wife Ashley out of danger to the home of Linda Park, Zoom returned to the battlefront to dispatch Captain Cold, claiming that the Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero was wasting the Flash’s time with his longstanding, self-aggrandizing methods of villainy.

Zoom was not done. As the Flash and Kid Flash (Bart Allen) attempted to contain the battle, Zoom throttled Kid Flash and threatened to snap his neck in a manner reminiscent of what Barry Allen had done to Eobard Thawne. Before Zoom could kill Kid Flash, however, Eobard Thawne himself arrived on a cosmic treadmill, with Jay Garrick chained to the front end.

(Zoom had rebuilt the treadmill with the intention of retrieving Thawne from a time immediately before his death. Unable to work the treadmill himself, he forced Garrick to power the device.)

Showdown

A battle ensued between the two Flashes and Kid Flash and the two Zooms, but in the end the two Zooms accomplished what they wanted. They grabbed the Flash and jumped onto the treadmill. Zoom then forced the Flash to watch their first fight, in which Linda was severely injured and miscarried.

Zoom felt that Wally should be made to focus on the feelings of sorrow and loss from this experience and told Professor Zoom to rewind it so that he could watch it again.

But as the scene started to rewind, West’s uncle and mentor, Barry Allen, showed up riding his own cosmic treadmill, saying that he had been looking for Professor Zoom everywhere.

Barry Allen removed the Flash from immediate danger, telling him that he was here to return Thawne to his proper place in time, and that no matter how bad it seems, the Flash could win this if he “just pushes himself a bit.” Allen quickly dispatched Thawne and returned him back to his proper place in time.

Zoom, enraged, begins to run around the world, building up speed, with which he will kill Linda. Wally rushes to catch up, but he is a step or two behind.

At the last minute, he realizes what Barry’s advice means and puts on a final burst of speed, pushing himself, and hitting Zoom in the back. Zoom falls forward and is caught in the sonic boom which he himself used to kill Linda’s babies (this ended up creating a “fissure in time” that restored Linda’s pregnancy, just in time for her to give birth).

Zoom runs for the treadmill, but West forces them back to their mutual present. Along the way, they view scenes of Zoom’s life. Zoom realized his mistreatment of Wally and briefly apologized before disappearing into the chaos of the timestream.

Like all good villains, however, Zoom did survive. He was next seen as an apparition in his ex-wife’s office, apologizing. He has since been seen as an active member of the secret Society, first recruiting Bizarro and then taking part in the assault that destroyed the Freedom Fighters. His current whereabouts are unknown.


Description

Zoom is dressed in a mirror-opposite version of Wally West’s Flash uniform. The red on Flash’s costume is yellow on Zoom’s and vice versa. Even his chest symbol is reversed.

As a side effect of his powers making him a man out of time, Zoom is *always* considered to be moving at super-speed. Zoom appears to shimmer and fade out like a scrambled cable broadcast on a television screen while standing still. When he’s in motion, Zoom is practically invisible.

Even his speech is affected, as the quotes show. (Those aren’t spelling errors. Zoom only sounds “normal” to those who are moving at his speed.) Since Zoom has no problem interacting with his environment, this isn’t considered a Limitation so much as color and character traits for a GM to play with.


Personality

Being raised by a murderous psychotic (his father) and his terrorized witness (his mother) didn’t prevent Hunter Zolomon from being an optimistic, happy and friendly young man at the beginning of his career as FBI agent. However, he was obsessed by a single question: What made his father a murderer?

After arriving at Keystone, Hunter appeared as a decent, friendly and brilliant young police analyst. His good attitude helped him make friends easily, and even rough jarheads cops as Fred Chyre and border-line fascists as Iron Heights director Gregory Wolfe liked (or at least respected) him.

Zolomon shows concern for the civil rights of the the Heights prisoners, which is both surprising and admirable, considering his past.

Despite his success in Keystone as analyst and detective, Hunter seemed to have an inner sadness, about what he never talked about.(His Guilt drawback kicking in over his father-in-law’s death and Ashley leaving him.) Grodd’s attack broke Hunter both physically and spiritually, as he became a bitter, disappointed and desperate man.

The Flash’s refusal to use the cosmic treadmill was the last straw.

And now ? As the above quotes illustrate, Hunter Zolomon has gone quite mad as the result of One Bad Day too many. Though Zoom states that he wants to make the Flash “a better hero,” his true motivation is certainly more personal, if unspoken.

If he can make the Flash see things his way, the hero will certainly use the cosmic treadmill to change the past and repair the mess that Hunter Zolomon has made of his life. Zoom’s sins won’t be merely absolved; they’ll be annulled.

Zoom (Hunter Zolomon) emits a sonic boom

Though Zoom will often claim that he isn’t a criminal, he won’t hesitate in committing the most heinous acts so long as it makes Wally West have a change of heart. It is his belief that the Flash wouldn’t help him because, unlike Barry Allen, he had never suffered personal tragedy.

Therefore he will make the Flash face ultimate tragedy, so that he will understand that he must put *everything* on the line in order to prevent harm from befalling innocents civilians. Innocents like Hunter Zolomon, of course.

Zoom is a frightening thing to behold in combat: His great speed allows him to punch an opponent hundreds of times across thousands of miles in mere seconds. (He quite literally has knocked the likes of Wonder Woman from Boston to Paris in a single phase.)


Quotes

“My name is Hunter Zolomon. Despite what the public believes, I am the fastest man alive. I am Zoom.”

“I tried to tell the Flash before. The *best* heroes are the heroes who will take *risks* to help people. Who have faced unbelievable tragedy and *understand* why it *must* be prevented. At any cost. I’ve been given a *gift.* A gift I can pass on to the Flash. In order for him to become *stronger.* He *must* face the *ultimate* tragedy. He must face his ultimate opposite. A man who has lost his pride, confidence and identity to tragedy. A man who will run with him down a hellish road-and feel *no guilt* in bringing him there. Destiny has brought us here, Flash. From friend to foe. There is only *one* type of man who can make you a better hero. One type of man who can *reverse* your *twisted* thinking. One man. Who fits the profile ? *I* fit the profile.”

“Wallyismyfriend. Iiiii’mmm helpingggghimmmmm—face fear.”

Zoom: “Sheisajeweltoyoouuuu.”
Flash: “What are you…? I can’t understand you.”
Zoom: “She is a jewel to you.” (Punches the Flash in the face, stunning him.) “A rare diamond you leave out in the open instead of locking in a vault.”
Linda: “I’m *not* an object. I won’t hide from *anyone *”
Zoom: “You’re a target. You need to go away.” (Snaps fingers)

“Isthissupposedtohurt ?”

“You see ? You see how much it hurts ? To feel helpless, useless. Whatdidyouexpectanyway? You have no secrets. You have no safe house.It’s only a matter of time before she dies. Enjoyitwhileyoucan. And *learn* from it.”

“This is *my* class. *My time*. You will *listen *”

“I profiled youuuu, Weather Wizard. You always felt lesssss than your brother. Not as smart orspecial. But the wand… makes youuuu special. Powerful. Butnotmorepowerful than Zoooommmmm.”

“Youthreatenmywife…expectttt…meee tounderstand ? Noone understands.”

“I suffered through tragedy. I lost my family to it. I understand the depths it will drag one down to. And only by surviving it does one become stronger. I will recreate myself to help my friend, and in turn —the world. I will do *anything* to make the Flash a better hero. And in the end, Wally will *thank* me for this. *Everyone* will.”

“I made her better. Faaaaaaster. And maybeeeeee…I’ll make you abetterhero…tooooo… Wonderwoman.”

“You’ll all be stronnnnger heroes. Ifyousurvive.”

“We do it every time we stare in the mirror. We judge and analyze ourselves by our *reflection.* Our *opposite image.* So look at *Zoom,* Wally. Look at the *Reverse-Flash.* I was a man broken down – who gained these extraordinary powers to become free. You ? You are the opposite. You were a free man, who was given these extraordinary powers – and *now* you must be *broken down.* You’ve lost the next generation, Wally. I *killed* your children to be. So on to *lesson two:* Reversing your origin from mine. I’m going to *cripple* you.I’m going to *cripple* you like *you crippled me*.“


DC Universe History

I hear you saying “I’m not running a post-Infinite Crisis/One Year Later campaign How do I incorporate this guy into my game?” First off, assuming that you have Wally West as a player character, just drop Zoom as is. His basic history and motivation stands up quite nicely apart from all of the Infinite Cashout hoopla.

“It just so happens that I AM running a One Year Later campaign “ Ah, now there’s the rub Wally West is AWOL, so what do we do with Zoom?

Fortunately, Zoom has recently expanded his horizons as far as teaching heroes goes. He HAS done the “I’ll make you a better hero” routine with Wonder Woman before, after all. If Zoom becomes aware of the Zatanna lobotomies, then it’s a sure bet that he WILL go after her, if not the entire Justice League.

“That’s all good, but we’re running all original characters.” Well then, you’ll have a little more work cut out for you. Two options here:

  1. Take your favorite player character speedster and prepare to do a lot of retrofitting
  2. Damn the torpedoes and continuity. Drop Zoom in as a guest star villain and show your PC speedster just how slow he really is. Zoom could show up to make your PC’s “better” at any time. Say, after they’ve made a spectacular screw up that gets the attention of the national media…

Speaking of which, I can’t stop some of you GM’s from dipping your Marvel in my DC. But if any of you are thinking of running a Superhero Registration Act storyline, Zoom’s existence would be all the justification Captain America’s side needs to stay masked and street-illegal. And which side of that Civil War would I be on? ”I’m with Zooooooom “ 😉


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Zoom II

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 07 Motivation: Psychopath
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Rogue (Former criminal profiler for the Keystone City Police Department)
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth:} 005
Init: 053 HP: 060

Powers:
Air Control: 13, Bomb: 10, Superspeed: 31

Skills:
Charisma (Intimidation): 06, Detective: 06, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Keystone City), Expertise (psychology, sociology, criminology), Insta-Change, Lightning Reflexes, Scholar (Rogues Gallery and the supervillain community)

Connections:
Keystone City P.D. (Low), F.B.I. (Low), Cheetah (Barbara Minerva, High), the Society (High)

Drawbacks:
Guilt (father-in-law’s death), Catastrophic Irrational Attraction (pushing heroes, in particular the Flash, to be “better heroes”), Traumatic Flashbacks (triggered by his time windows. See below.)

By Mirage Delgado

Helper(s): Gareth Lewis, capita senyera, Mike, Craig Clark and Peter S. Piispanen all went beyond merely “helping” on this one. Thanks, folks 🙂 The History text comes from, of all places, Wikipedia (with significant editing by me.)

Source of Character: Flash 197-200, 210-211, 213, 217, 219, 220-225, Wonder Woman 214, Superman 221, Action Comics 830-831 and Infinite Crisis 1.

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