Continuing with our looks at the members of The Flash's rogues gallery -- which we began last week with the history of Captain Cold-- CBR profiles two of The Flash's oldest foes, Heat Wave and the Weather Wizard. In the pages of DC Comics' The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 (August of 2007), the Rogues were tricked into killing Bart Allen (The Flash IV) by Bart's evil clone, the villain named Inertia. Now, in Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge (2008), the Rogues are looking for some payback while trying to avoid destruction at the hands of Libra's Secret Society, which they refused to join.
Heat Wave first appeared in Flash v.1 #140 (November 1963). Mick Rory was born on a farm outside The Flash's hometown, Central City. A clinical example of a pyromaniac, Mick was fascinated with fire at an early age. He would stare at flames for hours, even attempting to hold fire in his hands, heedless of the danger of getting burned. As he grew older, Mick's fascination bloomed into an unhealthy obsession, until he set his home ablaze. He could not even take his eyes off of the conflagration long enough to summon help. Afterward, Mick went to live with an uncle, but his obsession grew even stronger. When a schoolmate trapped him in a meat locker (an event that gave Mick an intense fear of cold), Mick lost all sense of proportion and locked the boy inside his own home and set the house ablaze. From then on, Mick could only live on the run.
Mick Rory joined a traveling circus as a fire-eater, but even this proximity to the flames that captivated him was not enough, as his obsession led to the circus being destroyed by fire. This broken path led him to desperately seek a way to control his obsessions; his choice of solutions was unique to say the least. Mick witnessed the Rogues committing crimes in Central City and decided to channel his obsession with fire into an obsession with crime. Creating a fireproof suit and constructing a pistol-sized flamethrower, Mick Rory became Heat Wave.
As with all members of the Rogues, it was inevitable that Heat Wave would encounter Barry Allen (The Flash II). Heat Wave also ran afoul of Leonard Snart, the villain known as Captain Cold. It was only logical that Rory's cryophobia would put him at odds with the icy villain, but in the end, it was Cold that inducted Heat Wave into the Rogues.
As with most of the Rogues, Heat Wave went straight for a time. Mick became a close friend of Barry Allen's, and he even used his extensive knowledge of fire to get a job as a firefighting consultant. Sadly, a plot devised by the demon known as Neron brought that all to an end. Heat Wave foolishly joined in the plan and unwittingly sacrificed himself and freed the demon. The soulless bodies of the Rogues returned to Earth as the pawns of Neron, but the selfless actions of Wally West (The Flash III) forced Neron to return them to life.
Heat Wave returned to his life of crime, briefly, before becoming a Zhutanian monk in an attempt to finally free himself from his obsessions. For a time, Mick worked for Project Cadmus, and, like many of the reformed Rogues, became an agent for the FBI. In the end, it was discovered that Heat Wave (as well as the other Rogues) had been mentally programmed to go straight by the Top. Eventually, the Top undid his programming and the Rogues returned to their villainous ways. Then Heat Wave and the other Rogues met Inertia.
THE WEATHER WIZARD
Mark Mardon first appeared in the pages of Flash v.1 #110 (December 1959—January 1960). A career criminal, Mardon escaped a prison transport and made his way to his brother's home. The events that followed are under some dispute. Mark claims that he found his brother Clyde, a scientist, dead upon arrival. Evidence points to Mark as his brother's killer. In either case, Mardon found within his brother's home a wand-shaped device that generated and controlled the weather. Using this weather wand, Mark began his life of crime as the Weather Wizard.
As with all of the Rogues, Mark had many encounters with Barry Allen, all of which ended in defeat for the Weather Wizard. Mardon's thirst for revenge against the Scarlet Speedster brought him back to Central City again and again until Allen's death in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” after which the Weather Wizard retired for a time, dropping out of the criminal network until the events of Underworld Unleashed (1995). Teaming up with the other Rogues, Mardon joined in a literal Deal-with-the-Devil when the demon Neron offered the group eternal infamy. Weather Wizard, as with Heat Wave, lost his soul in the deal and only the actions of Wally West restored him to life.
In The Flash: Iron Heights (October 2001), a villain known as Blacksmith formed the New Rogues, and Weather Wizard became a founding member. From Blacksmith, Mardon discovered that a one-night-stand with Julie Jackham, a Keystone City cop, produced a son, Joshua. After learning of his son's existence and the fact that the boy had weather control powers of his own, Mark attempted to kidnap his son. Ever the picture of instability and insanity, Weather Wizard wanted to dissect his offspring in an attempt to learn how the child had gained natural weather powers. But when the time came to do the deed, the Weather Wizard proved that, like most of the Rogues, he's not quite as evil as he may seem to be. Looking into Josh's eyes, Mardon saw his own and those of his brother looking back, and spared his son. Mark was sent to prison by Wally, only to escape once again. The New Rogues disbanded and the Weather Wizard joined his old allies in the original Rogues, with Captain Cold as the leader.
In the 2006 DC Comics Event One Year Later, Weather Wizard and the Rogues were approached by Inertia, who presented a plan to the villains whereby they would stop time, allowing them to commit crimes with impunity. Unbeknownst to the Rogues, Inertia's plan was to steal the Speed Force from Bart Allen and kill him, which he did. Weather Wizard and Heat Wave were among the Rogues that helped kill Bart, an act that none of them intended, and one that caused them to express regret when they realized that their victim was so young. On the run for murder, the Rogues decided to at last retire from the criminal life.
In Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #1, (August, 2008), Heat Wave, Weather Wizard and the other members of the Rogues rejected Libra's offer to join his Secret Society. Enraged, Libra sent a group of young imitators to make an example of the team. The New Rogues (or possibly New New Rogues, as the case may be), using the confiscated weapons of the real Rogues, threatened to kill the team of veterans and to kill Captain Cold's abusive father. Cold led his team in a lethal battle against the upstarts, with Weather Wizard facing off against the Weather Witch and Heat Wave against Burn (apparently this group was not chosen for their ability to come up with sobriquets.) After killing their foes, Captain Cold confronted his abusive father, but despite his hatred, could not kill the man. That did not, however, prevent Cold from ordering Heat Wave to perform the task. Entering the room, Mick used his flame thrower to immolate Cold's father, pausing only to watch the flames. The team then decided that before they could retire, there was one remaining task to be performed: revenge against Inertia.
Thus far, Final Crisis has proven to be a series of surprising turns and, with the deaths of Doctor Light and Martian Manhunter, a storyline from which not everyone will escape. Weather Wizard and Heat Wave, along with the other Rogues, have dodged the proverbial bullet time and again. We'll find out if this is the last hurrah for the Rogues in “Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #3, on sale now.