In his post on re-using old characters, David Brothers mentions that in 6 years writing the Avengers, Brian Michael Bendis created only one new villain. That started me thinking about Geoff Johns’ original run on The Flash (2000–2005). Johns created a wealth of new enemies for the Flash during the first part of his run, particularly in Iron Heights, but I couldn’t think of any from later.
It turns out, that’s because there basically aren’t any.
This run can easily be divided into two main pieces: Flash #164–200, from Wonderland to Blitz, and then Flash #201–225, from Ignition through Rogue War. The dividing line: the moment when the Spectre erases everyone’s memory of Wally West’s and Barry Allen’s identities as the Flash.
Here’s a list of the new villains who were introduced before that moment:
- Plunder (Wonderland)
- Brother Grimm (Wonderland)
- Cicada (Blood Will Run)
- Tar Pit
- Fallout (Iron Heights)
- Girder (Iron Heights)
- Blacksmith (Iron Heights)
- Murmur (Iron Heights)
- Double Down (Iron Heights)
- Trickster II
- Zoom II (Blitz)
Ten entirely new enemies, and two new versions of old villains. Not bad for a roughly 50-issue run!
Now, here’s a list of new villains introduced after that moment:
- Mr. Element II (Ignition)
Just one legacy villain, in the very first story, and he died at the end. OK, maybe you can count the Rainbow Raiders, but they never made more than a single cameo appearance in the book.
As much as I love Geoff Johns’ writing on the classic Rogues, I’ve got to admit I miss seeing new villains. The Renegades sort of count, but I’m definitely looking forward to the new villain Francis Manapul mentioned will debut in the second story arc on the new series.