When Wonder Woman faced the Reverse Flash, he tried to improve her, but he only succeeded in highlighting what’s so impressive about Diana.
The Flash’s greatest enemy, Hunter Zolomon AKA the Reverse Flash, once tried to make Wonder Woman into a better hero! In a two-part crossover taking place in The Flash #219 and Wonder Woman #214, by writers Geoff Johns and Greg Rucka and artists Justiano and Drew Johnson, Zoom and Cheetah (one of Wonder Woman’s most lethal foes) join forces, and during the course of battle, he notices Wonder Woman. In Zolomon’s twisted mind, he exists to make the Flash a better hero, and now he applies that same logic to Wonder Woman.
There have been a number of characters who have used the Reverse Flash name, Hunter Zolomon among them. At the time, Zolomon was unlike other speedsters, using time manipulation to simulate the appearance of super speed rather than tapping into the Speed Force. He exists outside of the time stream, which distorts his speech and gives him an otherworldly aura. What really makes Zolomon a threat is his motivation: he feels a great personal tragedy is what makes a hero; and he is obsessed with Barry Allen’s career as the Flash. Deciding such a tragedy was lacking in the life of Wally West, who was at that point DC’s Flash, he set out to kill West’s pregnant wife Linda. Zolomon’s unique powers and twisted motivation make him one of the Flash’s most powerful villains; during this crossover, he decides Wonder Woman could benefit from his “help” as well.
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The Cheetah and Zolomon team up, with Cheetah asking Zolomon to give her the power of super speed to truly live up to her namesake. He does this, and the two go on a crime spree, which naturally attracts the attention of Wonder Woman and the Flash. After revealing to Wonder Woman that he enhanced the Cheetah, he declares he is now going to do the same for her… just not in the same way. Obviously, Wonder Woman does not want his help, saying she was made by gods and is doubtful Zolomon could improve on the design.
Wonder Woman’s refusal enrages Zolomon, who takes the fight to Themyscira. He attacks Carisa, one of Wonder Woman’s fellow Amazons, punching her 200 times in less than a minute. Angered over this senseless act of violence, Wonder Woman unleashes her fury on Zolomon, quickly overpowering him. As she ties him up in her lasso, she gets one last jab in at Zolomon, questioning his status as a “hero.” She returns to America and the Flash, who has just defeated Cheetah. Sadly, she and Zolomon are able to escape, and the crossover ends with Zolomon being accepted into the Society of Super Villains.
What’s interesting about this story is how it expands on the core ideas of both Reverse Flash and Wonder Woman. While Zolomon has always been deranged, it’s only in coming up against an icon like Wonder Woman that he appears so foolish. The secret of the Reverse Flash is that in a comic-book universe, he’s right – tragedy does usually make heroes more interesting to fans. But in encountering Wonder Woman, he comes up against a hero who is bigger than that, an idea made flesh, and his worldview fails in response. Likewise, the story explores how different Wonder Woman actually is to other heroes. There’s no single love interest that Zolomon can target to redefine her character; her value lies in who she is and what she represents, not in what she’s lost. Reverse Flash may improve his reputation in the DC Comics world by escaping Wonder Woman, but for readers, she’s the one left standing tall at the end of the story.
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