To Zoom, Or Not To Zoom…?
This season of the Flash features “Zoom” as the underlying antagonist. Like Reverse-Flash before him, he’s basically a guy with the same powers as the Flash, only better, and of course, evil. Unfortunately, this season’s antagonist, Zoom, has none of the conflicting motivations that made Reverse-Flash so compelling, with the dual role of mentor figure Harrison Wells.
This guy is pretty much a motiveless antagonist at this point. He’s a big bad guy on Earth-2, and has leverage over Harry, the Earth-2 Harrison Wells. He’s tough and mean, and wants to steal Barry’s super speed…but that’s it. Nothing else. We don’t have the Reverse-Flash’s quest to get back to his own time, which was compelling and interesting. He doesn’t have any relationships with the cast that aren’t adversarial, like the nuanced portrayal of Harrison Wells at STAR Labs. This season, we just have an angry, throat lozenge deficient thug that is the “mastermind” of Earth-2.
Quite frankly, I’m finding Zoom boring, and creatively bankrupt. Having a return of the Reverse-Flash, original flavor, pointed out everything that wasn’t all that interesting about Zoom, in pretty clear detail.
That, obviously, is what the art is about. In comics, Superman races the Flash fairly regularly. That always seemed unfair…because it’s a legit competition, EVERY time…and super speed is just one of Superman’s powers. It’s the whole ball of wax for the Flash, and Superman is always about as good as him anyway. Here, we are looking at a pretty similar thing. The protagonist’s Generic Alien Super Powers have been portrayed as including some solid Silver Age super speed. Here, she’s using it to dodge Zoom’s punch, because Zoom is little more than a superfast thug.
The big challenges to the art, besides the digital conversion? The speed lines, in the style that Curt Swan used for Superman moving at super speed, with the afterimages in them. That was a chore. Also, her small smile…facial expressions are tough, subtle ones even tougher.
I’m hoping that the writers of the Flash improve the portrayal of both this villain and the overarching conflict over the remainder of the season. Time will tell, and certainly, I’ll put my two cents in.