Unearthing the Rogues

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As the Blackest Night spreads across the DC Universe, Broken Frontier unearths the histories of several of the players in the event.

SPOILER WARNING: Read no further if you’ve not had the chance to dig into your most recent Blackest Night titles…

Having accidentally discovered a way to create illusions and travel through mirrors, Samuel Scudder decided to become the costumed criminal known as the Mirror Master.  Beginning a long-running feud with The Flash (The Flash #105, March 1959), both solo and as a founding member of “The Rogues” (a somewhat regular alliance of Flash villains, Flash #155, September 1965), Libra’s Injustice Gang of the World (Justice League of America #111, June 1974) and the Secret Society (Secret Society of Super-Villains #1, June 1976).  Following The Flash’s departure for the future, Mirror Master had an encounter with Batman (Batman #388 & Detective Comics #555, October 1985), just prior to the beginning of Crisis on Infinite Earths.  During the Crisis, Mirror Master joined the coalition of super-villains organized by Lex Luthor and Brainiac, but was killed by immensely powerful being known as Krona (Crisis on Infinite Earths #10, January 1986).  Sam’s equipment eventually fell into the hands of a Scottish mercenary, Evan McCulloch, who became the new Mirror Master (Animal Man #8, February 1989).

A clever acrobat that developed a pair of gravity-defying shoes, Giovanni “James Jesse” Giuseppe decided he could obtain a bigger rush as a costumed criminal (The Flash #113, July 1960).  Although he particularly enjoyed matching wits with Barry Allen, The Trickster attempted to steal a super-powered suit that led to stunt man Dan Cassidy becoming the Blue Devil to stop him (The Fury of Firestorm #24, June 1984).  After several meetings with Blue Devil, Trickster began to reluctantly give up his criminal ways (beginning Blue Devil #6-9, November 1984-February 1985).  Following an encounter where Jesse actually outwitted the Devil Neron, the Trickster realized that he HAD to give up his criminal ways, as he absolutely could not go to Hell when he died (Underworld Unleashed #1-3, November-December 1995). 

The Trickster was eventually recruited into the FBI, even becoming an ally of Wally West, Barry Allen’s successor as the Flash.  During the city-wide gang war known as “Rogues War,” Jesse learned that his personality had been subtlety re-written through a series of events set in motion by Barry Allen.  With the re-programming undone, Jesse disappeared for a time, resurfacing alongside several rogues who were manipulated into murdering Bart Allen (Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, August 2007).  Although not directly involved with the murder, Trickster found himself on the run with the Pied Piper, wanted for murder (Countdown #44, June 2008).  While on the lam, the duo was pursued by the assassin for hire, Deadshot.  As the reluctant allies eventually made peace, Deadshot caught them, with the Pied Piper directly in his sights.  Trickster threw himself in the way, catching the rounds intended for the Piper and was killed instantly (Countdown to Final Crisis #22, November 2007).

A down-and-out petty crook, George “Digger” Harkness decided to turn his skill with the boomerang into the basis of a new identity – Captain Boomerang (The Flash #117, December 1960).  After years of unsuccessfully fighting Barry Allen, Harkness was offered an option by the U.S. government – join their Task Force X (also known as Suicide Squad) in exchange for an early release (Legends #3, January 1987).  Despite the high-risk nature of their assignments, Boomerang served a long tenure on the team.  Following the dissolution of Suicide Squad, Harkness attempted to return to a life of crime, but with few successes.  Promised the opportunity to obtain notoriety, Boomerang put his fate in the hands of Abra Kadabra, who sacrificed him in order to bring the Devil, Neron, to Earth (Underworld Unleashed #1, November 1995).  Neron later sent the soulless body of Boomerang back to wreck havoc on Earth, but thanks to the intervention of Wally West, Boomerang was returned to life (The Flash #125-129, May-September 1997).

The prime of his life behind him, Boomerang became a joke of sorts to other super-villains.  Seeking to hire himself out as a mercenary, Boomerang was eventually hired by a mysterious benefactor.  Sent to kill Jack Drake (the father of Tim Drake, Robin), Harkness was unaware that he had been set up.  Drake, forewarned by Boomerang’s employer was waiting, armed with a handgun.  Harkness threw a razor tipped Boomerang, just as Drake fired.  The two men were later both found dead by Robin (Identity Crisis #5, December 2004).  Boomerang was recently raised, along with Jack Drake, by Nekron’s Black Lantern rings, in an effort to kill and turn Red Robin (Tim Drake – in the pages of Blackest Night: Batman #1-3, October-December 2009).  Although unsuccessful, Black Lantern Boomerang escaped, and was reunited with other undead Rogues to assault Iron Heights Penitentiary (Blackest Night: The Flash #1, February 2010).

Roscoe Dillon, also known as The Top, was one of the Flash’s most lethal foes.  Originally a small-time criminal with an obsession with the toy from which he took his moniker, Dillon realized that if he were ever to hit the big time, he needed to become a super-criminal with a gimmick.  Learning to spin at incredible speeds, Dillon found he could not only move super-fast and deflect bullets, but he also experienced the unexpected side-effect of stimulating dormant brain cells, resulting in extraordinary intelligence and psionic powers.  Threatening to destroy Central City with an atomic grenade of his own devising unless he was crowned King of the World, the Top was thwarted by Barry Allen (The Flash #122, August 1961).  Dillon would go on to torment Allen, both individually, and as a founding member of “The Rogues” (Flash #155, September 1965). 

Unfortunately for Dillon, it turned out that the new chemistry of his brain reacted poorly with the super-speed vibrations constantly generated by the Flash.  As a result, the Top’s body died (The Flash #243, August 1976), although his spirit lived on.  Dillon would torment Barry Allen from beyond the grave, culminating in a plan in which he took possession of The Flash’s own father (The Flash #297-303, May-November 1981).  At some point after this, The Top came in possession of another body and, when captured by The Flash, was brainwashed by Zatanna of the Justice League.  The Top became a super-hero, working both with The Flash and on his own, although the guilt over his past criminal actions began to drive him insane.  During this period, The Top used his psionic powers to similarly “re-wire” the brains of several Flash Rogues (The Flash #215, December 2004) although he eventually disappeared, completely mad.

At the request of his late mentor, Wally West and Zatanna located the Top, undoing the reprogramming – not only restoring Dillon’s sanity, but also returning him to his villainous ways.  Swearing revenge of the legacy of The Flash, the Top promised to find all the Rogues he had reprogrammed and similarly undo their brainwashing (The Flash #216, January 2005).  Not long after, as a massive war between the Flash Rogues erupted, The Top made good on his promise.  In the chaos, the defacto leader of the Rogues, Captain Cold, confronted The Top about his brainwashing, and murdered Dillon in retaliation (The Flash #222, July 2005).  The Top’s physical body (one of them anyway), was re-animated in Blackest Night #1 (September 2009), and joined a Black Lantern Rogues’ assault on Iron Heights Penitentiary in Blackest Night: The Flash #1 (February 2010).

Lisa Snart (aka Lisa Star) was the sister of Flash Rogue, Captain Cold.  A talented figure skater, Lisa’s credited her amazing ability to execute complicated spin maneuvers to her coach (and lover), Roscoe Dillon (also known as the Top).  After The Top’s unique brain chemistry reacted fatally with the Flash’s vibrational field, Lisa swore vengeance, using some of Roscoe’s devices (including ice generating skates) to become the Golden Glider (The Flash #250, June 1977).  Snart would bedevil both Barry Allen and his wife, Iris, working solo as well with Captain Cold and spirit of her lover, The Top (The Flash #297-303, May-November 1981). 

Following the death of Barry Allen, the Snarts somewhat reformed, becoming mercenaries.  When both eventually returned to crime, Lisa began working with Chillbaine, an identity she concocted using some of Captain Cold’s equipment.  Glider would seduce a man into becoming her “partner,” and then discard him when he outlived his usefulness (The Flash Annuals #4 & 5, 1991 & 1992).  The fourth Chillbaine proved to be more perceptive than his predecessors as, he foresaw his fate, and pre-emptively murdered Lisa (Flash #113, 1996).  She was recently resurrected as a Black Lantern.

Born color-blind, Roy G. Bivolo wanted nothing more from life other than to be an artist.  Hampered by his disability, his brilliant optometrist father bequeathed him a pair of goggles that granted Roy the ability to project colorful beams of light.  Using his prisma-goggles, Roy decided to steal great works of art – so that if he couldn’t see them, no else could either.  As the Rainbow Raider, Roy clashed with Barry Allen both alone (The Flash #286, June 1980) and with villains such as The Shade (The Flash #298-299, June-July 1981) and Doctor Double X (The Brave and the Bold #194, January 1983).  Completely unsuccessful against The Flash, the Raider had a handful of outings against other heroes including Batman, Booster Gold (Booster Gold #19-20, August-September 1987) and Zauriel of the JLA (JLA #34, October 1999).  At one point, Roy was actually willing to sell his soul in order to be successful, but he was duped out of the opportunity by the Trickster (Underworld Unleashed #1, November 1995).  Eventually, Roy was murdered by Blacksmith, a relatively minor enemy of Wally West who was seeking to craft a new era for the Rogues (The Flash #183, April 2002).  Roy was recently raised by one of Nekron’s Black Lantern rings. 

Now, the dead have risen and  the Black Lantern Rogues are set to clash with their living counterparts in the pages of Blackest Night: The Flash #2…

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