Tag Archives: Rainbow Raiders

The Late Rainbow Raiders

Sometimes, a new character or team just clicks.

Sometimes…they don’t.

This was the case with the Rainbow Raiders.

During his 2000-2005 run on The Flash, Geoff Johns killed off the Rainbow Raider, a Bronze-Age Rogue who could shoot colored energy beams and could drain or add color to people and objects, changing them based on the characteristics of that color. Red would enrage someone, yellow would make them afraid, etc. He was killed by Blacksmith in the prologue to “Crossfire” (Flash #183, 2002), presumably with the thought that he had less potential alive than as an example of how tough the new villain was.

Ironically, a few years later, Geoff Johns would introduce the concept of the emotional spectrum to the Green Lantern mythos, on which he built Blackest Night and Brightest Day. The Rainbow Raider’s powers would have fit right in.

Comics publishers never like to leave a name unused, and a few years later, Johns introduced the Rainbow Raiders in the pages of The Flash. They didn’t do much other than introduce themselves at Captain Boomerang’s funeral (Flash #217, 2005).

As far as I know, the villains have only been used once since then, just one month after their initial appearance: in JLA: Syndicate Rules (Kurt Busiek), Johnny Quick and Power Ring of the Crime Syndicate are impersonating the Flash and Green Lantern while they stumble upon an attack in progress by the Raiders. They have to fight or else blow their cover, but they don’t have the heroes’ restraint with using their powers, and make brutally short work of the Raiders.

That was pretty much it, and even I forgot about them until last week, when they showed up on a list of characters killed during Blackest Night.

“Wait? What?”

Lia was kind enough to point me to relevant posts on The Rogues Kick Ass from a couple of months ago (page 1and page 2). It turns out a two-page sequence in Untold Tales of Blackest Night revealed their ultimate fate: On discovering that the dead are rising, they decide to be on the winning side…so they kill themselves. They don’t even rise as Black Lanterns, though, because no heroes actually care about them enough for the rings to re-animate them.