Peter Merkel Jr., son of the Golden Age supervillain Rag Doll, was born without his family's special trait of being triple-jointed, and so could not perform the contortionist tricks his father and brother could so easily. He was a disappointment to his father, and his father was a cruel man.
Over the course of twelve years, he underwent hundreds of surgeries that should have killed him. He had all his joints replaced with self-lubricating and fully rotating implants. He could now contort his body to inhuman extremes. However, his skin required a special emollient to keep all his twisting from tearing his skin apart.
This incarnation of Ragdoll was created by Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham as part of a reimagining of the Secret Six team as a group of mercenary villains. His darkly quirky behavior quickly made him the source of much of the team's comedic relief and one of the fan-favorite members.
Major Story Arcs
For further details: Villains United and Infinite Crisis
Ragdoll's need for this special emollient made him an easy mark for Lex Luthor, hiding behind the identity of Mockingbird, to blackmail him into joining the Secret Six. He was given only enough for a daily dose to keep him in service. While serving with Mockingbird's Six, a strange friendship developed between Ragdoll and Parademon. Parademon insisted on referring to him as "Clown" despite his protests and was fiercely protective over him. Sadly, Parademon sacrificed his life when the Secret Society of Super-Villains came bearing down on them all.
Ragdoll had what was left of his friend's body stuffed and kept in his room to talk to from time to time.
Six Degrees of Devastation
For further details: Six Degrees of Devastation and One Year Later
Ragdoll remained with the Secret Six, which continued on as a mercenary team. He was one of the members targeted by assassins sent by a then unknown party. He was attacked by Ibac in a restaurant. Ibac had an extremely difficult time of killing him as breaking his bones didn't seem to matter much to him at all. Ragdoll ended the fight by grabbing four steak knives and shoving his arm down Ibac's throat. He offered a deal. If he would be allowed to leave peacefully, he wouldn't drop the steak knives. Ibac agreed, but Ragdoll did not feel Ibac was particularly trustworthy and dropped the knives anyway.
Ragdoll was hospitalized from his injuries and found by Dr. Psycho while he slept. This would later lead to Ragdoll attacking his teammates in a helicopter according to a posthypnotic suggestion left by Dr. Psycho. Ragdoll chopped off his own hand to cause Knockout to fall from the chopper, before falling from it himself. He survived, and his hand was found and successfully reattached. After the procedure, Catman noted that he seemed to enjoy surgery too much.
After the Secret Six successfully dealt with Vandal Savage, Cheshire and Dr. Psycho and therefore put a stop to the assassination attempts, Ragdoll bonded with Mad Hatter over their strange and eccentric behaviors. However, he then shoved the other man off a tall wall, saying there was only room for one freak on the team and leaving the Mad Hatter for dead.
Ragdoll was later in Azerbaijani on the job with the Secret Six to supposedly protect some military secrets. This job went bad due to the Birds of Prey and the reveal that what they were really protecting was the still living body of Ice. During the fighting, he engaged Manhunter in the battleand hit on her several times, wondering what she would be doing after the fight assuming neither of them would be dead. When the job was finished, he took note of the team's new sixth member Harley Quinn's eccentric behavior and inquired if she would like to take a walk over near a tall wall. She would later quit the group on her own after getting into a fight with him. For that matter, the whole team fell apart and Ragdoll went solo.
Ragdoll's solo adventures appeared to consist completely of getting abducted by the Suicide Squad and shipped off to the prison planet as part of Salvation Run. While there, he sided with the Joker's group when the super villain population took sides.
For further details: Unhinged
Back on Earth, Ragdoll rejoined the newly reformed Secret Six. The team took a job to retrieve the fabled "Get Out of Hell Free" card created by Neron, which put them sights of a frightening criminal known only as Junior. He never seemed particularly tempted by the card, unlike some of his teammates. More importantly, Junior was revealed to actually be his own deranged and deadly sister, who had been abused by their father and turned to destructive self-mutilation in a similar way to Peter himself.
Ragdoll would repeatedly try to talk his dear sister out of her course of action, but she was too far gone. With his last attempt on the bridge leading into Gotham City, she cut the fingers off one of his hands with a pair of scissors. He then watched his sister die in a ball of fire.
These events had been orchestrated by the Mad Hatter to get revenge on Ragdoll's previous betrayal with the hope that the Secret Six would all be killed. Ragdoll tried to tell the Mad Hatter that they were still friends, or else why would he have found Mad Hatter's hat for him? Ragdoll then tossed the hat off the bridge, which required the Mad Hatter to leap off after it.
Later Black Alice joins the team, who begins flirting with Ragdoll. The two quickly become friends, with Black Alice hitting on him constantly. When Catman's son, Thomas Blake, Jr., gets kidnapped Ragdoll goes with Scandal, Deadshot and Black Alice to find Catman, who had taken off in search of his son's kidnappers.
Later it is discovered Scandal hadn't lost the "Get Out of Hell Free" card, like she had claimed, but instead had kept it, intending to use it to revive Knockout. But it had been stolen from her safe, and she figures out the only one who could have done it would be Ragdoll, and he says that he had intended to revive Parademon with it. He uses the card and transports himself to hell, to get Parademon.
The rest of the Six then go to Hell to retrieve Ragdoll and Knockout. Black Alice shows the portal to Hell and then leaves. When in Hell The Six are confronted by Ragdoll and Secret 666. Peter than tells them he has became The Prince Of Hell. He also tells them he is going sane. The 2 teams then fight and during the battle Scandal discovered Knockout is Ragdolls's fiancee.
Deadshot shoots Ragdoll after the team votes if they stay which they do and fight the Secret Six 666. The fight is soon broken up by Lady Blaze who shows the team their greatest fear which they all overcome. Lady Blaze gives him a new costume. Soon after they leave Hell.
In the Flashpoint universe, Ragdoll is part of Haley's Circus. He works in the freak show.
After DC Comics rebooted their universe Ragdoll was left out until recently. He was seen as one of the inmates of Blackgate Prison when Bane arrived in Forever Evil: Arkham War.
Powers and Abilities
Ragdoll is triple jointed (due to numerous surgeries) and therefore extremely flexible, even more than his father. He is able to withstand a great deal of damage in a fight. He is a good hand-to-hand combatant and also often carries a knife.
Ragdoll makes an appearance in the TV series as a common crook.