They say a great hero is defined by the greatness of his enemies, and despite their goofy gimmicks and crazy costumes, Flash's Rogues have often proved themselves to be capable of pretty incredible things. With a starring role in the <i>Forever Evil</i> tie-in <i>Rogues Rebellion</i>, and with Captain Cold, Flash's primary enemy even joining the <i>Justice League</i> in coming months, Flash's enemies are once again at the forefront of DC's universe. <p>Oh, and did we mention <b>The Flash</b> (and of course takes on some of his villains) is coming to The CW this fall in a new TV series? <p>Flash's villains may not have the edge of Batman's arch-enemies, or the iconic nature of Spider-Man's foes, but the Rogues are some of the most colorful, well matched, and consistently well written villains in comics. Here are the ten best of these great and underrated supervillains!
Glider is one of the biggest beneficiaries of DC's most recent relaunch. Having begun life as Golden Glider, a villainous ice skater, Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul's reimagining of Lisa Snart as an intangible mastermind, able to possess people, and clad in one of the New 52's coolest costumes, elevated the character to a place she never could have gotten before. Now, still the sister of Captain Cold, she is also the lover of Mirror Master, and the current leader of the Rogues.
Pied Piper might be higher on this list if he hadn't spent so much time waffling between heroism and villainy. Indeed, Harley Rathaway is one of the most complex villains to cross Flash's path. Despite having challenged Barry Allen as a villain on numerous occasions, Piper eventually reformed, becoming close friends with Allen's successor, Wally West. Though he's been something of a hero, or at least an anti-hero, for quite some time, the recent Rogues Revenge mini-series saw him once again allying with Flash's sworn enemies, albeit in the pursuit of defeating the Crime Syndicate.
Captain Boomerang may be more than a little goofy, but when you get past his boomerang pajamas and his little hat, he's kind of emblematic of what Flash's Rogues are all about. Digger Harkness is a hard luck criminal with little idea of what to do with his throwing skills and boomerang collection than to strap them to some crazy gadgets and start hurling them at the Flash. Step 3 of that plan is "profit," but darned if Harkness has any idea how to reach that goal. But that never stops him from trying, and even sometimes succeeding in some pretty villainous stuff, like killing Tim Drake's dad.
Who but Weather Wizard could challenge the combined might of Superman and the Quik Bunny? <p>But seriously, One of the things that makes Mark (or Marco, in the New 52) Mardon such a great villain is his crossover appeal. His weather manipulation abilities make him one of the most powerful Rogues, and having challenged at least three Flashes - even playing a part in the death of Bart Allen - he's also proven his chops in ways few others have. But he's also challenged Superman, the Justice League, and served on numerous villain teams, making him not just a great Flash villain, but a great villain all around.
A former test pilot who was struck by lightning while flying an experimental plane (sentences like that one make comics <i>awesome</i>), Savitar found himself with strange Speed Force related powers, and began building a cult around his abilities. Savitar gained his powers in the '40's, and pitted himself first against Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, who thought him defeated after Mercury abandoned him in the Speed Force. Savitar later reappeared, discovering his cult had grown while he was lost in time, and challenged Wally West, whose speed Savitar could not steal. After Savitar's defeat at the hands of West and his allies, Savitar was once again stuck in the Speed Force, until returning to challenge Barry Allen, and becoming a victim of the Reverse Flash's entropic sabotage of Allen's powers which caused Savitar to age into dust.
The original Mirror Master, Sam Scudder, was a master of illusion, using his mirror gun to vex and addle the Scarlet Speedster at every turn. One of the more gruff members of the Rogues, Scudder's abilities were a product of his own ingenuity. A lifelong criminal, Scudder became obsessed with getting inside a mirror's reflection while in prison, and eventually developed technology to achieve this goal. Scudder died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and was briefly replaced by Digger Harkness, who eventually went back to being Captain Boomerang. <p>After Scudder's death, a new Mirror Master, Evan McCulloch, a Scottish mercenary. Like his fellow Rogues Captains Boomerang and Cold, McCulloch spent time on the Suicide Squad, though he also battled a cocaine addiction, a situation expressly forbidden by the Rogues. McCulloch has not appeared in the New 52, with Scudder having returned as one of the primary Rogues.
James Jesse was a circus performer and con-man with a penchant for inventing genius gadgets and then hiding them inside goofy gags. Using his engineering know how and his twisted sense of humor to vex the Flash, Jesse utilized such magnificent inventions as "air-walking shoes," and a variety of circus-themed weaponry as one of Barry Allen's greatest (and most obnoxious) foes. After Allen's death, Jesse was lured into hell by Neron during the Underworld Unleashed event. Unlike most of his compatriots, however, Jesse was smart enough to recognize Neron as a demon, and used his wits to defeat him. After this Jesse turned coat, deciding to work on the side of the angels. <p>A second Trickster, Axel Walker, has never gained the prestige of James Jesse, often attempting to join the Rogues, or allying with them only to find himself on the outs due to his psychotic nature and willingness to kill - something the Rogues are usually forbidden to do. Still, Walker remains the current iteration of the Trickster, though it seems that some version of James Jesse does exist in the New 52 as Walker's predecessor.
Nothing says "Comics!" like a telepathic, super-intelligent gorilla in a purple cape. Honestly, if you need more than that to understand what makes Grodd such an amazing villain, I don't know what to do for you. But more than just representing another perfectly executed, yet simple concept for a Flash villain, Grodd has strong ties to Flash's mythos. Hailing from Gorilla City, a hidden society of highly evolved apes with ties to the Speed Force, Grodd has tried time and time again to infiltrate and conquer man's world, butting heads not just with numerous Flashes, but the Justice League, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the cream of DC's super-hero crop. Most recently, Grodd appeared in the New 52 largely intact, though with his powers boosted by the speed force.
Several villains have worn the mantle of Zoom - or Professor Zoom (sometimes called Reverse Flash) - over the years. The original Zoom, Eobard Thawne, proved to be such a menace that Barry Allen was forced to kill him to save his girlfriend's life, leading to Allen's trial for murder. Later, Hunter Zolomon, an ally of Allen's successor Wally West, with a history not unlike a twisted reflection of Allen's, took up the mantle of the Reverse Flash after a strange explosion caused him to become "unstuck in time." <p>Eventually, Thawne reappeared, using his time travel abilities to wreak havoc on the also newly-resurrected Barry Allen's past, eventually causing the Flashpoint crisis, which broke reality and lead to the formation of the New 52. Since Allen defeated Thawne at the end of Flashpoint, he hasn't been seen, though a new Reverse Flash, Daniel West, did appear and begin victimizing people who had been exposed to the Speed Force. Eobard Thawne did get a mention in the far future, as well, as the DC Universe careens toward multiple future timelines.
When it comes to Flash enemies, none of them truly embodies what being a Rogue is all about more than Captain Cold. A dyed-in-the-wool crook with a heart of gold, Len Snart is one of Flash's oldest foes, and certainly his most persistent. The de facto leader of the Rogues, and their moral center (as twisted as he is) Cold has often shown more cunning than his parka and simple freeze ray would let on, culminating in allying with Lex Luthor and several other villains as an instrumental part of defeating the Crime Syndicate during the ongoing Forever Evil event. And, despite years spent as a straight up criminal, it looks like Cold may be turning over a new leaf, joining the Justice League. However, when it comes to a bona fide bad guy like Cold, it's only a matter of time before the siren song of a life of crime comes calling again.