Since the beginning of Wally West's career he inherited a group of villains from his predecessor Barry Allen. Since then some have come and gone but the core group have stayed it consists of Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, Trickster and Heat Wave. At heart, they are a group of thieves and crooks but generally do not resort to murder or schemes to take over the world.
The Rogues were created and first introduced in Flash #155.
During the Silver Age, the group worked together, sharing profits, pulling jobs and hanging out afterwards. Captain Cold and Heat Wave teamed up a few times with little success. To make fighting the Flash easier, they recruited the Pied Piper, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, the Top and later Weather Wizard, and the Trickster. Occasionally, the group would team up with Dr. Alchemy, the Rainbow Raider and even Gorilla Grodd. The Rogues suffered from occasional fighting among themselves, mainly due to rivalries between Captain Cold and Heat Wave, the Top's attitude of superiority and the group's general rudeness to Piper (both over his sexual orientation and because he was a much tamer villain than the rest of the group).
After Crisis on Infinite Earths (and the death of Barry Allen), the Rogues more or less disbanded. Both their long time nemesis and one of their members, the Mirror Master, had died and since their goals had shifted from profit to just wanting to be able to say they beat the Flash, the group had little reason to stay together. Captain Boomerang and Captain Cold ended up working for the Suicide Squad. When Cold completed his mission, he was pardoned (Boomerang had a more long term agreement with the squad) and the Rogues got together for one last party with the Trickster, even inviting the new Flash, Wally West, as a joke. Much to everyone's surprise, the Flash showed up and, because Cold didn't want to spoil the party (or his new pardon), the Rogues allowed the Flash to stay. Several fights nearly broke out both because of the booze and because Weather Wizard was found to be spying on the rest of them (they thought it was for the FBI but he only sold the story to a tabloid). Still, at the end of the night one thing was gained, an understanding and friendship with the new Flash.
While nearly all of the Rogues gave up their criminal ways, Captain Cold and Golden Glider went so far as to form their own bounty hunting company, Golden Snowball Recoveries, and the Pied Piper actually became a good friend to Wally West and worked alongside the Flash for a time. It was later revealed that this was the work of the Top, who after having his mind altered by Zatanna, used his hypnotism to make his former teammates become heroes.
Major Story Arcs
Cold's run as a hero didn't last long. After receiving a tip from Abra Kadabra, Cold, along with Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard and the new Mirror Master (By this time the Rogues had apparently gotten over their anger at seeing someone steal their friend's identity. When Captain Boomerang impersonated the Mirror Master only a year earlier, the Rogues had considered tracking him down and capturing him for a reward) attacked various installations, oil refineries and the like. Neron had promised that they would "be remembered forever not as has-beens, but as the most infamous villains of their age." The Rogues were never told that their infamy would come from being the supervillains that were duped into giving their lives to create hell on Earth. The Rogues didn't stay in hell for long. Neron sent their bodies back to Earth without their souls to give the Flash trouble. Eventually, the Flash persuaded Neron to return their souls and give up his grudge against the group.
Heat Wave was deeply troubled by his stay in hell and retired to become a monk. The others were less effected but choose to go their separate ways all the same. The Trickster gave up crime (supposedly) once and for all, joining the FBI where his brilliant mind could be put to better use. Captain Boomerang also retired, though not intentionally. In a battle with the Dark Flash, he was badly injured by one of his own explosive boomerangs. Golden Glider met a worse fate at the hands of her partner Chillblaine, who was in turn "killed" by Doctor Polaris and Abra Kadabra.
With the Rogues all but non-existent, a new villain stepped up. Blacksmith, a woman with the ability to fuse metal with flesh took over Keystone and Central City's black market. She contacted and hired a new team of Rogues. Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, the Flash's magnetic and bipolar ex-girlfriend Magenta, the mirror dimension assassin Plunder, metallic strong man Girder, the silent serial killer Murmur, and eventually Axel Walker, a new teen aged version of the Trickster.
Together, they systematically removed the Flash's allies (framing Piper for the murder of his parents, hospitalizing Chunk, trapping Cyborg in the mirror universe, etc) before attempting a hostile takeover of the twin cities. The group timed their attack poorly as the Thinker choose the same time to take over, using the cities' electrical equipment to turn ordinary peoples' brains as extra storage space for data. The Flash was caught in the Crossfire and narrowly defeated the Thinker. The twin cities might still have been lost if not for the actions of Captain Cold. Cold had always disliked being told what to do and had not joined up with Blacksmith's Rogues. Acting as a "Rogue among Rogues," Cold freed Cyborg, along with a good portion of the police force, leaving behind evidence to help the police shut down the Network. Magenta seemingly snapped out of her madness and ripped Girder in half. With one member of the Rogues incapacitated, another switching sides, and the cavalry arriving in the form of Keystone's union, police force and Cyborg, the Flash was able to turn the tide and beat the Rogues.
The Secret of Barry Allen and the
After the failed attack on the twin cities, only Mirror Master, Weather Wizard and Trickster managed to escape. Captain Cold found the group and told them that if they were done playing around, that the Rogues needed a real leader. The trio gladly joined up with their old friend. The attack on Keystone would have other consequences, though. James Jessie, the original Trickster, was pressured by his superiors in the FBI to bring down the Rogues. He formed the Project, recruiting the Pied Piper, Heatwave and Magneta for the job, as well as kidnapping Ashley Zolomon (wife of the former criminal profiler Hunter Zolomon, now the supervillain known as Zoom) for information on the Rogues.
Cold was determined to keep his Rogues out of Iron Heights. He forced Mirror Master to end his drug habit and personally defended Murmur from Heat Wave. He quickly solidified his position in Keystone by recruiting the new Captain Boomerang, newly orphaned son of the original who had died during Identity Crisis and making deals with Dr. Alchemy, Gorilla Grodd and the Society.
After a raid on the FBI base in Chicago, James felt Rogues had pushed too far. The Project showed up in the middle of one of the Rogues' hideouts. The Rogues forcefully expelled the intruders, starting a city wide battle between the two teams of Rogues. The Flash intervened but was unable to stop the Rogues before the arrival of the Top. With his sanity back, the Top undid the hypnotism on the Rogues he had done years ago, causing Heat Wave, Pied Piper and the Trickster to go back to their villainous ways. By unmasking himself, the Flash was able to remind Piper of their friendship and Piper allowed himself to be removed from the battle.
When Cold refused to join the Top due to old grudges, the Top called upon the "new kids," Plunder, Girder, Murmur, Double Down and Tar Pit. He planned to force all the Rogues to follow him but was frozen solid and killed by a blast from Snart's cold gun. The Rogues called in their favors from Grodd and Alchemy, forcing the Flash to face off against three teams of Rogues as well as two of his deadliest foes. Unfortunately for the Rogues, Zoom interrupted the battle, scattering them with sonic booms and killing Plunder.
The Rogues retreated to fight another day with Heat Wave rejoining their ranks and James Jessie replacing Axel Walker as the true Trickster. Shortly afterward, the team left Captain Boomerang behind during a mission for the Society. The boy took it hard and left the Rogues to join up with the Outsiders.
One *&#$ed Up Year
One year after Infinite Crisis, Bart Allen had become the Flash. With seemingly poor judgement, the Rogues let Piper back on the team and joined forces with Abra Kadabra and Inertia to take on the Flash. They succeeded in defeating him but were surprised to find that this new Flash was just a kid. Bart took advantage of their surprise and attacked Inertia. The Rogues opened fire, unaware that Inertia had stolen Bart's speed. Unable to dodge, the Flash was killed by the attack.
The Suicide Squad soon after made it a priority to put away the world's worst super-villains for good. This included the Rogues (save Piper and Trickster, who had a bunch of silly adventures that ended in the Trickster's death) and the team was shipped off to Salvation. Though they were the first group to arrive and had to face Salvation's hostile forces alone for a time, the group proved their mettle and everyone of them survived the ordeal to make it back to Earth.
The Rogues came back pissed. They had done everything Alexander Luthor's Society had asked of them (even losing a team member over it) and when the Suicide Squad's hammer came down, not a single member of the Society lifted a finger to help them. When Libra started to recruit for his own Secret Society, the Rogues declined, having had enough of empty promises. They knew they had screwed up by killing the Flash and had more pressing concerns: getting back at the brat who had fooled them, Inertia.
Libra saw the Rogues as a necessity in his organization, as the Flashes had always held the keys to the Crises. He recruited a group of Gothamite thugs armed with the Rogues' weapons and instructed them to bloody up the Rogues' friend Paul Gambi and to kidnap Cold's father and Weather Wizard's son. This angered the Rogues and they slaughtered Libra's pretenders, recruiting Axel Walker (who had reassumed his identity as the Trickster after James Jessie's death) along the way. The group killed Cold's father for good measure.
Eventually, the Rogues tracked down and attacked Inertia, who was unfortunately under Zoom's protection. Piper saved the Rogues from Zoom but was impaled by Libra, who held the Weather Wizard's son hostage. Inertia grew tired of the standoff and killed the child himself, beating down Libra and stealing Zoom's powers. Despite his newly gained powers, the Rogues managed to beat Inertia and gunned him down, just has they had done to Kid Flash. The Rogues later dropped off Inertia's body at Keystone's Police Headquarters with a note. "Tell the Flash we're even. -The Rogues."
The group planned to go underground after their successful mission. Upon hearing that Barry Allen had returned during Final Crisis, the Rogues changed their mind, deciding that if the Flash really is back, then the game is back on.
A Note On Terminology, Hierarchy and Rogue Rules
The Silver Age Flash villains first started calling themselves the Rogues. Since then, just about anyone who has fought the Flash has been considered a Rogue. This does not mean that all Rogues are part of the same team. Outside of the core Silver Age group, Rogues rarely team up to commit crimes or battle the Flash. In fact, the Rogues often fight among themselves. Golden Glider, Chillbane and the Top all died at the hands of other Rogues and several more have had close calls.
However, despite all this, the Rogues will generally help each other when in need and put out the word to other Rogues when they intend to cause trouble. On a professional level, they show each other respect, especially in death. When a Rogue dies, they are buried in Avernus (the entrance to the underworld in Roman mythology), a graveyard contained in a single plot created by the Folded Man and cloaked by Gorilla Grodd. Rogues buried here include Sam Scudder (the original Mirror Master), Golden Glider and George Harkness (the original Captain Boomerang). If the deceased is a member of the core Rogues, they will commit crimes and raise havoc using the late Rogue's weaponry as a tribute to their fallen friend.
The one group of Flash villains that are not considered Rogues except by the police are the Reverse Flashes. During the Silver Age, the other Flash villains despised Professor Zoom because he copied the Flash's powers instead of designing his own unique weaponry (nevermind that Weather Wizard stole his weapon from his brother). During the Bronze Age, this conflict escalated with the Rogues going so far as to destroy Thawne's body after his death at the hands of the Flash. Thawne's successor (or predecessor depending on how you look at it), Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom has stated his outright hatred for the Rogues and his belief that they are merely wasting the Flash's time, punctuating the point by killing Plunder. Inertia was given a chance to team up with the Rogues which ended in disaster and the following conflict lead to his death. Traditionally, Gorilla Grodd and Abra Kadabra have also found themselves outsiders among the Rogues. This is because of their great power and lack of concern over the well being of the other Flash villains. Grodd views the other Rogues as beneath him (being human and all) and Abra Kadabra is just too crazy and unpredictable. However, in recent years, Kadabra has shown more interest in becoming a full Rogue, teaming up with the Core group several times.
After the reformation of the Silver Age Rogues, Captain Cold instituted the Rogue Rules. The number one rule is that you don't kill cops needlessly as this draws the attention of superheroes and you don't kill superheroes needlessly because this draws the attention of even more superheroes. Further rules include not doing drugs, not harming women or children, refraining from cruel and immature behavior and not fighting other Rogues. These rules generally only apply to Cold's Rogues, who will not hesitate to rough up other Flash villains if they get out of line.
The Rouges were in for their toughest fight yet when Blackest Night came around. It was a battle between Rouges, dead vs living. The Rouges brought back from the dead were the first generation Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang and Trickster, the Top, the Rainbow Raider, Zoom, and the Golden Glider. Zoom was off tormenting the Flash so he didn't fight the Rouges, but the others attacked Iron Heights, where they were once held before they died. The living Rouges decided to attack them and went there to destroy them. Once there the battle commenced and were nearly killed. Owen Mercer interrupted the fight in order to rescue his father (who was a Black Lantern at the time) and escaped with him. The battle commenced again and just as the Black Lantern Rouges had the living Rouges cornered, they stopped in front of Zoom's cell. Taking advantage of this, Cold froze them in front of the cell using his gun and Cold Grenade. They then went to find Owen, who was tossing people down a hole for his father to feast on. When they discovered that he had tossed down women and children to the Black Lantern, the pushed him down the hole. Then Harkness killed him and Mercer became a Black Lantern. Cold then freezes the both of them and walks off with the rest of the Rouges.
In the recent Flash volume featuring Barry Allen a future incarnation of the Rogues has been shown called the Renegades and they are actually law-enforcement officers. From the 25th century they are a Reverse-Flash Task Force organized to stop the criminal Eobard Thawne aka the Reverse Flash or Professor Zoom. The team is led by Commander Cold and consists of Trixter, Top, Weather Warlock and Heatstroke trying to arrest Barry Allen for the murder of their teammate Mirror Monarch. They are based off some of the best known Rogues Captain Cold, Trickster, Top, Weather Wizard, Heatwave and Mirror Master respectively.
In Other Media
Justice League Unlimited
The Rogues made an appearance in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance"
Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox
The rogues briefly appeared in the animated feature in the plan created by Zoom to take down the Flash even if it meant sacrificing them to do it.
The Flash (2014)
Captain Cold and Heatwave appear as recurring villains, portrayed by former Prison Break stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell. After things start to change in Central City due to the Particle Accelorator, the birth of the Flash. Leonard Snart puts together a new 'crew'. His first recruit being his old friend Mick Rory. Their weapons, The Cold gun and the Heat gun are stolen inventions of Cisco Ramon.