Rogues (comics)

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This article is about a specific group of comic-book villains. For other uses of the term "rogues", see Rogue (disambiguation).
The Rogues, a group of modern Flash enemies (except for Weather Wizard, third from left), who formed a team to take down the Flash, from Flash: Iron Heights (August 2001).

Some of the enemies of the comic book superhero the Flash, led by Captain Cold, constitute a loose criminal association who refer to themselves as the Rogues, disdaining the use of the term "supervillain" or "super-criminal".[1]

The Rogues, compared to similar collections of supervillains in the DC Universe, are an unusually social group, maintaining a code of conduct as well as high standards for acceptance. No Rogue may inherit another Rogue's identity (a "legacy" villain, for example) while the original still lives. Also, simply acquiring a former Rogue's costume, gear, or abilities is not sufficient to become a Rogue, even if the previous member is already dead.

Although they tend to lack the wider name recognition of the villains who oppose Batman and Superman, the enemies of the Flash form a distinctive rogues gallery through their unique blend of colorful costumes, diverse powers, and unusual abilities. They lack any one defining element or theme between them, and have no significant ambitions in their criminal enterprises beyond relatively petty robberies.

Silver Age Flash enemies[edit]

The enemies of the Flash started to use the name Rogues during the Silver Age of comics. Originally, the Rogues were just the Flash's enemies teaming together after they were all broken out of jail by another Flash foe, the super-intelligent Gorilla Grodd, to distract the Flash during Grodd's attempt at world conquest. After their defeat by the Flash, they formed a lasting group, and usually a Rogue will never commit a crime by himself. The Silver Age Flash enemies who became Rogues were Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, the Trickster, Pied Piper, the Top, and Captain Boomerang. These villains battled the second Flash (Barry Allen), and the third and fourth Flashes after Allen's death.

In chronological order (with issue and date of first appearance):

Villain First appearance Description
Captain Cold Showcase #8 (May/June 1957) Leonard "Len" Snart was a criminal who wanted a chance to get rid of the Flash. Seeing an article about a weapon that might disrupt the Flash's speed, Snart made a gun and exposed it to the radiation. However, instead of slowing the Flash down, the gun could freeze anything to absolute zero, which was discovered when Snart accidentally fired at a watchman. Calling himself Captain Cold, Snart started out on a criminal career. He is considered to be the nemesis of both Barry Allen and Wally West, and the leader of the Rogues. Known for being a sympathetic villain, Cold has a sense of honor. Cold has strict rules on how the Rogues should act, such as no drugs and to not kill unless they have to. Also has a sense of loyalty to his team and watches out for them. During Flashpoint he is Citizen Cold, the main hero of Central City, and the Rogues are his foes.
Mirror Master The Flash #105 (February/March 1959) While working in a prison workshop, Sam Scudder accidentally created a mirror that could hold an image for a period of time. When he escaped, he made more mirror gadgets, and became the Mirror Master. He has created many different mirrors that can do various things like travel into other dimensions. He was killed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, though other villains have taken his title.
The Pied Piper The Flash #106 (April/May 1959) Hartley Rathaway was born deaf, but was cured after his rich parents sought a way to make him hear. Once he could hear, he became obsessed with music and sound, and made many sound-based weapons. Originally a criminal, he reformed and came out as gay at the same time. He became a friend of Wally West, even when the Top revealed he had changed the personality of some of the Rogues (Piper included) to make them reform; Piper was able to fight off the Top's influence and stay good. However, he has since returned to being a Rogue, although whether he wanted to or is working undercover is unknown.
Weather Wizard The Flash #110 (December 1959/January 1960) Mark Mardon escaped from prison to his brother's house. His brother had just made a wand that could control the weather. Mark wanted the weapon and he and his brother got into a fight, and his brother was killed (although Mardon originally said he was dead when he got there, he has apparently told the truth to Captain Cold). Has an infant son, Josh, who was adopted by Iris West and has some of his father's powers, but only when his father is near him. Josh was later kidnapped by Libra and killed by Inertia during the events of the Final Crisis.
The Trickster The Flash #113 (June/July 1960) James Jesse, a circus performer coming from a family of trapeze walkers, invented shoes that used compressed air to "walk" on air, enabling him to become a successful aerolist. Inspired by Jesse James, James made other weapons and became the Trickster. He was once reformed, but it was revealed that it was because the Top made it so, and he went back with the Rogues. He was killed by Deadshot during the events of Countdown.
Captain Boomerang The Flash #117 (December 1960) Digger Harkness was a master of boomerangs which he learned how to use in the Outback. When a mascot was needed for a boomerang company, Harkness was hired, but used the costume and boomerangs to commit crimes. Had many trick boomerangs. He became the second Mirror Master after the death of the first. During the Identity Crisis limited series, he was sent to murder Jack Drake (father of Tim Drake, the third Robin). But Drake retaliated in self-defense, and the two men simultaneously killed each other. Harkness has a son, Owen Mercer, who took up his father's title and became a hero after a brief stint with the Rogues. Harkness was resurrected following the events of the Blackest Night.
The Top The Flash #122 (August 1961) Roscoe Dillon used many top-themed weapons to commit crimes, eventually learning how to spin himself at great speeds, which increased his intelligence and enabled him to dodge bullets. He died, but his mind was so powerful that it took over the minds of many people to keep living, including Henry Allen and Senator Thomas O'Neill, whose body was reformed by Dillon to look like the original Top. He was later killed again by Captain Cold when Dillon tried to take over the Rogues during the "Rogue War". During this time, it was revealed that Dillon had made some of the Rogues reform with his mental influence, and during the war, he undid it, making them criminals again. He had originally influenced them after becoming a victim of the JLA mind wipes, which made him attempt to become a hero until he was driven mad and changed back.
Abra Kadabra The Flash #128 (February 1962) Abra Kadabra is from the 64th century, at a time when science has made stage magic obsolete. However, he wants a career as a performing magician, so after he was exiled back in time he finds an audience to entertain and soon clashes with the Flash (Barry Allen). His "magic" is actually based on advanced technology, disguised with supernatural trappings. he later sold his soul to the demon Neron in exchange for true magical powers. He later joined Inertia's Rogues in killing Bart Allen.
Heat Wave The Flash #140 (November 1963) Mick Rory is obsessed with fire and at a young age burned down his house, killing his family. He then made a heat gun and used fire to rob and kill. He was one of the Rogues that the Top made reform, and when that was undone, Rory became a Rogue again. Even during his reform, his mind was already starting to turn to crime.
Golden Glider The Flash #250 (June 1977) Lisa Snart, the sister of Len Snart (Captain Cold), did not want to be a villain, but when her lover, the Top died, she swore revenge on the Flash. Using sharp ice skates that made ice, she battled the Flash and got the approval of her brother. She was killed by Chillblaine, a villain to whom she had given one of Captain Cold's weapons. Captain Cold has since gotten revenge by killing Chillblaine.

Modern Age Flash enemies[edit]

In the Modern Age, the Flash: Iron Heights graphic novel introduced new characters, many of whom would later become a new band of Rogues under the leadership of crime lord Blacksmith. Some writers revamped classic Rogues, reinventing them through stories such as "Underworld Unleashed", "Rogue War", or solo stories, while others reinvented a Rogue through new characters inheriting the identities. While criminals, the Rogues have been shown to have certain codes of honour about their behaviour, refusing to kill women or children, and even stating that they will not kill speedsters.[2]

Villain First appearance Description
Mirror Master Animal Man #8 (February 1989) Evan McCulloch grew up in an orphanage, and after killing a bully, he escaped and became a mercenary. He was hired by government agents to become the new Mirror Master, receiving the original Mirror Master's equipment. McCulloch ran with the equipment, becoming a criminal; then soon after, a member of the Rogues. He frequently deals drugs within the supervillain community and harbors his own cocaine addiction, both of which are a source of conflict with Captain Cold.
Double Down Flash: Iron Heights (August 2001) Jeremy Tell lost a card game and then killed the man who won. After this, the cards in the dead man's pocket flew out and covered Tell, becoming his skin. He can mentally control the deck, sending cards flying and slicing at victims with razor-sharp edges.
Tar Pit Flash vol. 2, #174 (July 2001) Joey Monteleone was the brother of a drug lord, Jack "The Candyman" Monteleone, and while in prison discovered he could project his mind into inanimate objects. However, his mind got stuck inside a tar mass.
The Trickster Flash vol. 2, #184 (April 2002) After the original Trickster reformed, teenager Axel Walker found his equipment and stole it, becoming the new Trickster. He joined the Rogues, and took the place of the first Trickster. During the Rogue War, however, the original Trickster took back what was his. Since the demise of James Jesse, Walker has tried once again to take on the Trickster title and his place among Cold's Rogues.
Captain Boomerang Identity Crisis #3 (October 2004) Owen Mercer is the son of the original Captain Boomerang, but did not know his father's identity until Mercer was an adult. The two practiced together, and were surprised when Mercer found he had bursts of super speed. When his father died he was invited to join the Rogues, but later left for stints with the Outsiders and the Suicide Squad. He later returned, but was kicked into a pit occupied by his Black Lantern reanimated father by the Rogues for violating their "no killing women or children" rule. He was then killed by his father.[2]

Blacksmith's Rogues[edit]

Villain First appearance Description
Magenta The New Teen Titans #17 (March 1982) Frankie Kane was a one time girlfriend of Wally West, and gained magnetic powers which killed her family. Not knowing her purpose in life, she became a villain and first joined the Cicada cult and the New Rogues before reforming.
Plunder Flash vol. 2, #165 (October 2000) Plunder is an assassin from a mirror universe, a counterpart of police officer Jared Morillo in the real world.
Girder Flash: Iron Heights (August 2001) Tony Woodward was shoved into a vat of steel after he assaulted a female co-worker. He survived, emerging with a body composed of scrap metal. He joined the New Rogues, and took part in the "Rogue War".
Murmur A surgeon who went insane, Michael Christian Amar now seeks sadistic ways to kill the voices he hears. His distinctive criminal act is to remove a victim's tongue early during the torture he inflicts. He also has a virus, Frenzy, that will turn a person’s lung to mud in 90 minutes.

Other versions[edit]

The New Rogues[edit]

During the events of Final Crisis, the Rogues rejected membership into the Secret Society offered by Libra. With Libra desperate to induct all of the Flash's villains, he recruits the New Rogues, who had first appeared as the Penguin's goons, to force the Rogues to join. The members consisted of: Chill, Burn, Weather Witch, Mirror-Man, and Mr. Magic. The New Rogues had captured Captain Cold's father and were threatening to kill him if the Rogues did not report to Libra. The Rogues then attacked the New Rogues, killing each one.

The Renegades[edit]

The Renegades are cops from the 25th century. They are all part of the "Reverse-Flash Task Force". In The Flash vol. 3, #1, a Mirror Master's body is dumped in a public area by a shadowy figure in a Flash suit. Barry Allen arrives in his civilian attire and confirms that the dead man was not the real Mirror Master. The Flash arrives on the top of a building where he is confronted by the Renegades, futuristic versions of the current Rogues. He is charged with the murder of Mirror Monarch by their leader, Commander Cold. The Renegades members include futuristic versions of Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, the Trickster, and the Top.[3] It is revealed over the course of the investigation that the Top had actually framed the Flash to prevent Barry from opening up a cold case that would reveal that the Top's ancestor had committed a murder that an innocent man had been locked away for, as having a criminal in his family would prevent the Top from becoming a member of the Renegades.[4][5]

Flashpoint[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, the Rogues are assembled by Mirror Master who asks Weather Wizard, Tar Pit, Trickster, and Fallout to team up against Citizen Cold for seeking revenge.[6]

The New 52[edit]

The Rogues are referenced by Barry Allen to have previously been defeated by him and disbanded. Known members (so far) have been Golden Glider, Weather Wizard, Heatwave and Mirror Master.[7] The Rogues appeared in The Flash Annual #1 in a war against Captain Cold, The Flash and The Pied Piper. Confirmed Rogues include Golden Glider (Lisa Snart) as the current leader, Weather Wizard (Marco Mardon), Trickster (Axel Walker), Heatwave (Mick Rory) and Mirror Master (Sam Scudder).

It's revealed that a year prior that Captain Cold, Heatwave, Mirror Master (Sam Scudder again), and Weather Wizard underwent a procedure at an unknown facility that would merge them with their weapons, giving them superpowers. The procedure went awry and exploded. Cold's sister Lisa, who was also at the facility was caught in the explosion. The five were given superpowers but each in a twisted manner. Heat Wave gains pyrokinesis but at the cost of his body being burned, Weather Wizard becomes emotionally tied to his weather wand causing constant depression, Lisa becomes an astral projection of herself, and Sam would be forever trapped in Mirror World. The Rogues blame Cold for this and have turned against him. However they are forced to team up with The Flash, Cold and Pied Piper when Gorilla Grodd invades Central City.[8] As of Forever Evil, they seem to be working together again.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance", the Wally West version of the Flash is to be honored as a hero of Central City. In this episode, the Flash, Batman, and Orion battle four of the Flash's Rogues including Captain Cold, Mirror Master, the Trickster, and Captain Boomerang, that attack the museum that is opening in his honor. This episode includes many references to the Flash's comic book and television history, including bringing back Mark Hamill as the Trickster. This particular group of Rogues can be seen hanging out at a local diner, its existence well known to the Flash. In this version of the DC animated universe, the Rogues seem to be second rate criminals, using their particular skills to try to hurt or kill the Flash, but almost in a comedic sense. Due to this comical nature of the Rogues, it is revealed that the Flash has sympathy for the super-criminals and has, in some cases, even befriended one or another member of the Rogues.
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!", the Rogues appear committing robberies after Barry Allen is presumed dead. It is revealed that, in their own twisted way, they actually miss the Flash. They are defeated by Batman, Jay Garrick, and Kid Flash. After Barry Allen is revealed to be alive, the Rogues are so happy to see the Flash alive and well that they let the three speedy heroes arrest them. Here, the roster consisted of Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and the Weather Wizard, although Grodd, Mirror Master, and Captain Boomerang are shown as well.

Films[edit]

  • They appear in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox used by Professor Zoom to lure The Flash, so he can destroy Central City, as their belts were attached with bombs. The roster consisted of Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Top and Mirror Master.

Video games[edit]

  • The Rogues appear as bosses in Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame, using the same roster that appeared in the television series.
  • The Rogues appear as sub-bosses in the MMORPG, DC Universe Online as part of the Stryker's Island Penitentiary Alert. They also appear as separate enemies during the Central City Bounties (The Heroes Side), which are part of the Lightning Strikes DLC.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jimenez, Phil (2008). "The Flash". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017. 
  2. ^ a b Blackest Night: The Flash #3 (April 2010)
  3. ^ The Flash (vol. 3) #1 (April 2010)
  4. ^ The Flash (vol. 3) #5 (September 2010)
  5. ^ The Flash (vol. 3) #6 (November 2010)
  6. ^ Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1 (June 2011)
  7. ^ The Flash (vol. 4) #10 (August 2012)
  8. ^ The Flash #13

External links[edit]

  • Alan Kistler's Profile On: The Flash A detailed analysis of the history of the Flash by comic book historian Alan Kistler. Covers information all the way from Jay Garrick to Barry Allen to today, as well as discussions on the various villains and Rogues who fought the Flash. Various art scans.[dead link]
  • Crimson Lightning An online index to the comic book adventures of the Flash.