For New Readers: A Guide To Rogues And Reverse Flashes

rogues header Hello new Flash fans and curious readers! Welcome to Flash fandom, and I hope you enjoy your stay 🙂

Recently Speed Force did a post about the basics of the Flash book and some issue recommendations, which are great introductions for new readers. I figured this could be an addendum to those pieces.

See the short biographies after the jump.


-The Reverse Flashes-

The Rival
Edward Clariss. A fellow scientist of Jay Garrick (the first Flash) who also gained super-speed. He later entered the Speed Force (which is the source of all speedsters’ powers) and was ultimately transformed into a being made of energy.

In the New 52: Hasn’t appeared, probably doesn’t exist.


Professor Zoom, sometimes known as the Reverse Flash
Eobard Thawne, a scientist from the 25th century. His history is very convoluted and can be confusing, but the basics are that he had an obsession with Barry Allen, and frequently travelled to the 20th century to make his life hell. He murdered Barry’s mother and wife Iris, and was in turn killed by Barry when he attempted to murder his new bride. However, through the joys of time travel and fortuitous resurrection, he returned several times to wreak yet more havoc. It was while attempting to undo Thawne’s murder of his mother that Barry inadvertently brought about the New 52 reboot.

In the New 52: Eobard Thawne was briefly name-dropped as a scientist from the future, but there’s no reason to believe Professor Zoom exists. The New 52 Reverse Flash is Iris’ brother, Daniel West.


Hunter Zolomon. He was once a police officer and profiler of the Rogues, and a friend of Wally West. But he was badly injured by Gorilla Grodd, and when he tried to go back in time to undo the accident, he was unexpectedly infused with powers of time manipulation. He was also driven insane, and used his powers to become Zoom —- the new Reverse Flash. Manipulating his own timeline enabled him to travel very fast, and he went on a campaign to cause tragedy for heroes to make them “better”, reasoning that if they went through hell they’d become stronger for the experience. After a long trail of death and destruction, his powers were stolen by Inertia (another Reverse Flash) and he was left unable to walk or cause further trouble.

In the New 52: Hasn’t appeared, probably doesn’t exist.


Thad Thawne. The clone of Bart Allen (grandson of Barry Allen) from the 30th century, but raised without any positive role models. He manipulated the Rogues into killing Bart, and they killed him as payback.

In the New 52: Hasn’t appeared, probably doesn’t exist.


-The Rogues-

Captain Cold
Leonard ‘Len’ Snart. The first Rogue, and leader of the Rogues in modern times. He inadvertently created a cold gun which could freeze things down to absolute zero, and used it to commit crimes. The ‘cold field’ emitted by the gun could slow down a speedster, which was very useful for fighting the Flash. Len reformed for a while but eventually went back to crime, and later pulled the Rogues together again as their leader. He established firm rules for Rogue conduct (no killing heroes because it’s bad for business, no killing women and children, etc) and arguably led them to their greatest heights of success.

In the New 52: Len made the foolish mistake of getting untested technology from a sketchy scientist, and unsurprisingly it literally blew up in his face. He and the Rogues ended up getting metahuman powers from the accident, but all the powers had drawbacks and everyone was angry at him for a while. He gained the ability to generate cold from his own body, but eventually lost this power and has now gone back to the cold gun. He’s currently associated with the Justice League for possibly-nefarious purposes.


Weather Wizard
Mark Mardon. His scientist brother Clyde invented a wand which could control the weather, and Mark took it to commit crimes when Clyde died. (In the comics, Clyde was a peripheral character who only appeared dead or in flashbacks). Mark was a bit of a slacker who didn’t use the full potential of the wand’s abilities for many years, but eventually he learned how to use it more skillfully and became a much greater threat. In modern times, he’s one of the most powerful Rogues.

In the New 52: He’s now named Marco Mardon. The accident gave him metahuman weather-controlling abilities (no need for the wand), but there are emotional side effects for him.


Mirror Master
There have been two Mirror Masters: first an American named Sam Scudder, and then the mantle was taken by Scotsman Evan McCulloch after Sam’s death. The mirror/light technology was all invented by Sam, although McCulloch was able to utilize it in more creative ways, including extensive use of a mirror dimension. McCulloch is among the most powerful Rogues and often transports them wherever they need to go, as he’s able to travel via any reflective surface.

In the New 52: Sam Scudder is the current Mirror Master, and there’s no evidence that McCulloch exists. Sam became more powerful after the Rogues’ accident, but was for a time trapped in the mirror dimension and unable to leave it. He can now leave it.


Captain Boomerang
There have been two of them, a father and son. The father is George ‘Digger’ Harkness, and the son is Owen Mercer. Both threw boomerangs very skillfully, using advanced and amazing weaponry, and Owen also possessed super-speed. Both have been in the Suicide Squad at different times, and Owen also worked as a hero with the Outsiders team. Owen didn’t become Captain Boomerang until after his father’s death, but after a while Owen was killed and Digger returned to life and reclaimed the mantle. As part of his return, Digger also gained the metahuman ability to create boomerangs made of explosive energy.

In the New 52: Owen probably doesn’t exist, at least not in any recognizable form. Digger has no known history with the Rogues, and is only associated with the Suicide Squad. He still has the explosive energy boomerangs.


Pied Piper
Hartley Rathaway. He was born deaf, and his hearing was fixed and highly enhanced with robotic implants. He became a supervillain with sonic technology he invented himself, although eventually he reformed and became a hero and good friend of Wally West (he’s also openly gay, one of the first gay characters in mainstream comics). He was a supporting cast member in Wally’s book for a very long time, and has remained reformed despite occasional bumps along the way.

In the New 52: He was formerly with the Rogues but has since reformed, and is dating Barry’s boss David Singh. Still on generally friendly terms with the Rogues, though.


Heat Wave
Mick Rory. A pyromaniac who hates his illness, he nonetheless became a fire-based supervillain after inventing a heat gun (basically a flamethrower). He’s spent his life struggling between reform and crime, and alternately indulging and fighting his illness. He also flip-flops between being pals with Captain Cold and hating his guts, and is basically one of the most indecisive and internally conflicted Rogues.

In the New 52: The Rogues’ accident gave him the ability to generate flames, but he was also horribly burned and embittered by the experience. He may have also died recently, but it’s not entirely clear.


The Trickster
There have been two Tricksters; James Jesse (the first), and Axel Walker (second). James doesn’t like Axel much, who stole all his gear while James was reformed and is notably younger and wilder. Both use gimmicked toys as weapons and run through the air on jet-powered shoes, all of which were invented by James. Both are known for their colourful/questionable fashion sense and playful exuberance. But eventually James was killed and Axel took his place with the Rogues.

In the New 52: James may have been wiped from continuity (there’s no indication he existed), and Axel is the Trickster. Axel didn’t get any metahuman powers with the rest of the Rogues, and continues to use gimmicks.


Golden Glider
Lisa Snart, a professional ice skater and younger sister of Captain Cold. She swore revenge on Barry Allen when her boyfriend (the Top) was killed, and fought him with her skating skills plus some gimmicked gems and weapons. She was best known for skating through the air on special anti-gravity skates. She and Cold reformed for a period and even worked with Wally West at times, but eventually both Snarts went back to crime. Later she was murdered by a new boyfriend, Chillblaine.

In the New 52: She was nearly killed in the Rogues’ accident, and her body is near death. However, she gained the ability to project an astral form, and thus her mind/soul can travel intangibly while her body’s still in bed. She’s known as Glider in the New 52, and is sometimes the Rogues’ leader.


The Top
Roscoe Dillon, who was obsessed with tops. He taught himself to spin at super-speeds and this increased his intelligence, and then he gained telekinetic powers. Unfortunately this also killed him, but he returned several times as a ghost with the ability to possess bodies, and even gained more psionic powers. He had yearnings to take over the Rogues and lead the group himself, although his scheming led him to be killed by Captain Cold. He might have come back to life eventually, but the universe was rebooted first.

In the New 52: He has apparently been wiped from continuity and replaced by a somewhat-similar guy named Turbine.


Rainbow Raider
Roy G. Bivolo, a colour-blind painter. Embittered by his disability and the world in general, he used his father’s colour/light technology for crime and payback. His goggles gave him a wide range of powers, including emotional control, lasers, solid light, invisibility, etc. He mostly worked independently, but teamed up with the Rogues on occasion and is at least loosely affiliated with them. He was eventually murdered by Blacksmith, who led the Rogues at the time.

In the New 52: Showed up briefly, using the name Chroma. He was beheaded by Gorilla Grodd.


Abra Kadabra
Known as Citizen Abra, or Abhararakadhararbarakh (yes, really: he’s from the far future). Born in the 64th century, he longed to be a magician and came to our time to impress people with futuristic science masquerading as magic. Later he gained the ability to use real magic, and has been a frequent thorn in the sides of both Barry Allen and Wally West. He’s obsessed with showmanship and receiving applause from people, and yet is extremely dangerous.

In the New 52: Hasn’t appeared.


Dr Alchemy/Mr Element
A scientist with a split personality, Albert Desmond first became a criminal called Mr Element, and then created the identity of Dr Alchemy for further crimes. His Philosopher’s Stone could transmute objects and living beings into other substances, and the Stone used his emotional instability to create the alter ego of Alvin Desmond. Alvin was an independent being who stole the Dr Alchemy identity, and often caused trouble for Albert until he was finally destroyed. Albert was a close friend of Barry Allen, and tended to flip-flop between crime and periods of reform before finally becoming a criminal permanently.

In the New 52: Has appeared only briefly, and didn’t do much.


Next: Other Flash villains.


5 thoughts on “For New Readers: A Guide To Rogues And Reverse Flashes

  1. Kelson

    I’m still surprised they pulled Boomerang completely out of the Rogues for the New 52. I haven’t been reading Suicide Squad, so I don’t know how much of his past has been revealed, but it would have been easy enough to put him in the flashback scenes in Flash Annual #1 as a former member. Or in Rogues Rebellion, for that matter.

    1. Lia Post author

      Not much of New 52 Digger’s past has been revealed, except that his mom (whether biological or adopted) seems to be Aboriginal and he’s apparently named Owen. I’m not certain the name wasn’t an error, though, because there was an Outsiders comic in which Owen actually referred to himself as “Georgie”. Or maybe he really is named Owen, but he’s otherwise just like Digger and isn’t an amalgamation of the two.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.