Thanks to The Flash TV series, you’re already familiar with a few of the Scarlet Speedster’s most iconic villains, the criminal group known as the Rogues. But not even a show as delightfully silly as The Flash can really convey just how bizarre the comic book versions of the Rogues are. Here’s a field guide to the crazy members of the Classic Rogues.
First Appearance: Showcase #8, 1957
Powers: Cryogun, Cryokinesis in the New 52
In the comics, Leonard Snart doesn’t steal his cold gun — he actually decides to build one (with access to some handy-dandy radiation) himself to hunt the Flash down after reading a newspaper article about him. In fact, the freezing aspect was actually a mistake at first; the gun was merely intended to slow the Flash down. But Snart went with it, becoming Captain Cold and staying a thorn in the Flash’s side for decades — except for all the times Snart’s code of honor permitted him to team up with the Flash, of course.
Weirdest Moment: When the Flash died during Crisis on Infinite Earths, without a foe to enact vengeance upon, Snart and his sister Lisa became bounty hunters. Their name? Golden Snowball Recoveries. Yellow-coloured snow does not have the connotations you think it does, guys.
First Appearance: The Flash #105, 1958
Powers: Can travel into the Mirror dimension through reflective surfaces
Sam Scudder was so fascinated by mirrors, he made it his life’s goal to try and step into his own reflection. While in prison, he worked on a mirror that would hold his reflection and allow him to step inside it. Upon succeeding, he escaped from prison and used his technology to aid his criminal activities and as the Mirror Master. The second Mirror Master, Evan McCulloch, discovered an actual Mirror dimension, allowing him to travel between mirrored surfaces.
Weirdest Moment: In the New 52, Captain Cold decides that the Rogues should replace their technology-based powers with actual superpowers, making the team get their DNA spliced with the tech that grants them their abilities. This naturally goes wrong, and in the ensuing explosion, the Rogues are transformed in various ways. Mirror Master (now Sam Scudder again, who had been dead since Crisis on Infinite Earths) gets permanently trapped in the Mirror dimension. Sucks to be you, Sam!
The Pied Piper
First Appearance: The Flash #106, 1958
Powers: Expert in sonic technology, hypnotism through music
Hartley Rathaway was born deaf, but after being given experimental ear implants, he became obsessed with sound, to the point that he developed the ability to hypnotise people through music. Adopting the story of the fabled Pied Piper, Hartley designed a special flute and went on a crime spree. But after Barry Allen died in Crisis, he decided to retire and reform as a contributing member of society. (He also came out as gay around the same time, one of the first openly gay characters in DC history.)
Weirdest Moment: During the Countdown to Final Crisis story arc, Hartley managed to blow up Apokalips, the home planet of Darkseid (which at the time was possessed by the evil cyborg Brother Eye), through the power of music. The song he played on his flute? Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.” Now that is some musical talent.
First Appearance: The Flash #110, 1960
Powers: Weather pattern manipulation
Mark Mardon’s brother, Clyde, discovered a way to technologically control weather patterns, shortly before he died of a heart attack (although it has been implied Mark murdered his brother). Mark decided to steal his brother’s ideas and create an actual wand, taking on the Wizard-themed title and using the technology to aid his criminal activities (are you sensing a pattern here with the Rogues? Maybe? Good).
Weirdest Moment: This one’s less kooky weird, and more “holy crap” weird. Mardon had a son following a one-night stand with a police officer, who somehow began to display natural abilities to control weather patterns. Jealous of the child because he still had to use a wand, Mardon attempted to kidnap his son and vivisect him. Thankfully, a last minute bout of common sense stopped him.
First Appearance: The Flash #113, 1960
Powers: Circus themed gadgets, Powered Boots to walk on air
Circus artist James Jesse designed himself special boots that let him actually walk on air, allowing him to become a famous trapeze artist like every other member of his family, but the boots were so powerful he decided to become a con-man and thief, using his gadgets to rob banks and fight the Flash.
Weirdest Moment: The Trickster is wacky by design. After all, his initial power was that he could literally walk on air. But at one point he did once team up with Captain Marvel (née Shazam) to go to literal Hell and fight the evil demon Neron, who was basically the Devil incarnate.
First Appearance: The Flash #117, 1960
Powers: Err... Boomerangs?
Digger Harkness was introduced essentially as a walking Australian stereotype — he was a master boomerang thrower so skillfull, he was hired as a boomerang company’s mascot. Ridiculed by audiences, Harkness decided to use the costume (as well as his ability to throw boomerangs real good) as a criminal.
For a while, Harkness’ long-lost son, Owen Mercer, took on the mantle of Captain Boomerang following Harkness’ death. Owen upgraded to trick boomerangs, rather than just normal ones, and had an actual superpower too: He could use the speed force in a limited capacity to have bursts of super speed, so his entire schtick wasn’t just being able to throw boomerangs.
Weirdest Moment: Owen’s death in Blackest Night. He was actually killed by the spirit of his dad, Digger, after Captain Cold pushed him into a pit of blood Owen planned to use to resurrect his father. Suffice to say, Blackest Night was a really weird story arc.
First Appearance: The Flash #122, 1961
Powers: Spinning really, really fast (seriously!)
Roscoe Dillon was obsessed with spinning tops as a child, and when he became a petty criminal, he decided to turn that obsession into a talent. He actually managed to teach himself to spin around on the spot so fast, he could deflect bullets. It gets weirder! The speed of the spins actually heightened his intelligence as well, which he used to build fancy spinning top gadgets to aid his crimes.
Weirdest Moment: Hoo boy. The Top actually died after an encounter with the Flash early on in his career, but his spirit returned and possessed bodies multiple times throughout comics history. In one instance after his return, the Flash subdued Roscoe and asked the magician Zatanna to alter his mind, turning him into a hero. It worked briefly, but Roscoe snapped, and went after his former Rogues, brainwashing some of them with his spinning powers into becoming reformed villains.
First Appearance: The Flash #140, 1963
Powers: Handgun Flamethrower, Pyrokinesis in the New 52
Mick Rory, like many members of the Rogues, had an obsession: as a child he was a pyromaniac and burned his own house down. After seeing the Rogues in action against the Flash, Mick decided to fuel his pyromania by becoming a costumed villain, creating an asbestos suit and a compact flamethrower. At first clashing with Captain Cold as well as the Flash (Rory also had cryophobia after being locked in a freezer as a child), he eventually joined the Rogues.
Weirdest Moment: Remember that accident I mentioned in the New 52 timeline? Well, Mick gained natural pyrokinetic abilities from the explosion that he could shoot out of his chest. Unfortunately, the power also came with the side effect of horrendously burning all of his flesh. Yeeowch.
First Appearance: The Flash #250, 1977
Powers: Wears experimental skates, Astral projection in the New 52 (err, more on that in a minute)
The Lisa Snart of The Flash TV show is most definitely not the Lisa Snart of the comics, and there’s a good reason. The original Golden Glider was kind of insane as a concept.
Lisa was not just Leonard Snart’s sister, but also actually the girlfriend of Roscoe Dillon, the Top. When Roscoe died battling the Flash, she was driven to revenge out of grief. An Olympic-level ice skater, Lisa donned a skating uniform, mask and ice skates to become the Golden Glider. The ice skates can create their own ice flow, allowing Lisa, through her skating skill, to glide through the air.
Makes the TV show’s gold gun look a little less silly, doesn’t it?
Weirdest Moment: Lisa actually died in 1996, but returned in the New 52, as a completely different villain. In the New 52, Lisa is dying of cancer in the hospital where the rogues go to splice their weapons tech with themselves. The explosion that ensues affects her, granting her a spectral projection form that lets her move at super speeds and fly, and she begins forming a new version of the Rogues without her brother.
And yet, she still goes by Glider!