Of all the comic book heroes The Flash has the most diverse group of villains, so far we have compared four of those colorful villains to their comic book inspirations. Some have had very similar powers and personality, while some really only take the name of the characters we have read about in our comic books. This time we are going to look at a character that the creative team over at CW has crafted to be both unique while still pay homage to his comic book counter part; Hartley Rathaway aka Pied Piper.
The Hartley we met the first time on The Flash was fake Harrison Well’s favorite pet, until he discovered that the particle accelerator had the possibility to be very dangerous and that Wells was going to continue regardless of that fact. Hartley is brilliant but not the best with people, he was raised by his very rich parents and disowned for his sexuality. We don’t know if that is why he is so angry or if it was just a personality flaw. A disgraced Hartley with now no job and no family is creeping around STAR labs the night of the particle accelerator explosion and his hearing is permanently damaged. Being the smarty pants that he is, he creates ear implants that correct his painful condition. At the same time he also creates some sonic devices in the form of wrist gauntlets. His brilliance also leads him to the knowledge that The Flash is working with the STAR Labs crew. After some mishaps with Cisco Hartley escapes and that’s the last you see of him in that time line. Barry travels back in time to get some advice from fake Wells about getting faster, and Barry being Barry isn’t capable of time traveling without altering the time line. So far the only thing that changed is Hartley isn’t a bad guy anymore and he has reconciled with his parents. It would be really interesting to see what actually happened to Hartley at the end of season one now…maybe one day!
Now our comic book Hartley Rathaway was born deaf and but his parents paid lots of money and had lots of surgeries preformed to restore his hearing. Once he was able to hear he became obsessed with sound. He uses his vast knowledge of sound and music to create various devices in his battles with The Flash. Much like the Hartley us TV viewers know the comic Hartley has had sort of a roller coaster ride from bad guy to good guy. After he is released from a mental institution he sort of turns his life around, he moves to New York City and helps the homeless. He makes sure people are fed every night and even finds places for them to sleep. His parents had always dealt with his run ins with the law until he took it a step to far and they stopped speaking to him. After getting a letter from his mother inviting him back to Keystone City to reconcile he returns only to find it wasn’t his parents who asked him to come back but a villain. After getting his parents out of that mess he stays to help them cope with being kidnapped.
Hartley ends up as a great friend to Wally West and often helped out with his technical expertise, even worked as an informant a couple times. After an odd series of events that only DC comics could give us all of the people in the world that keep Hartley on the straight and narrow disappear. Mirror Master then frames Hartley for his parents death and that is the last straw to leading him back down the path to becoming a villain once again. Hartley goes on to once again work with the Rouges and even helps the Suicide Squad out at one point. He travels through the desert being handcuffed to The Trickster who incidentally gets killed while they are handcuffed together. Hartley has had a twisty path but he is generally considered to be one of the better hearted villains of the DC universe, after all of the craziness with the Tickster and the Suicide Squad it is later mentioned that he turned himself in to the police. It is also worth mentioning that Hartley Rathaway is one of the few DC character to be openly gay in both the comics and his TV character. He is a complicated character which translated well from page to screen, Hartley is played by Andy Mientus. We have only seen Hartley once since Barry altered his time line on the show and I am pretty sure everyone has high hopes for Mientus to make another appearance soon!
If you want to check out any of our other Flash Villains from Screen to Page click on their names. Grodd – Weather Wizard – Golden Glider – Magenta. Alyssa also does a fantastic Flash review if you want a refresher on the last episode look here!