Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at that musical mastermind: Pied Piper
Appearances in Heroclix: The Flash, Crisis
First Appearance: The Flash #106
Team Affiliations: The Rogues
Hartley Rathaway was born deaf but was eventually cured thanks to research by Dr. Will Magnus, funded by Rathaway’s wealthy father. Once he gained hearing, he became obsessed with sound and experimenting with it. Hartley eventually invented a new type of hypnotism buried in music as well as lethal vibrations. Bored with being a wealthy socialite, he turned to crime and took the moniker of the Pied Piper. He battled the Flash (Barry Allen) multiple times during his criminal career.
After the Allen’s death during the Crisis, Hartley gave up his criminal life and became a socialist champion of the poor and underprivileged.. He also began to live as an openly gay man. Rathaway became a good friend of the new Flash, Wally West, as well as Wally’s wife Linda. While still leading a law abiding life, Hartley is arrested for the murder of his parents. Though Wally discovered that Mirror Master had actually done the deed, Hartley was convinced of his guilt and struck a deal with former rogue turned FBI Agent, the Trickster.
The return of the Top reveals that several of the Rogues had been brainwashed into being more heroic, including Piper. With his own mind restored, the Top undid the brainwashing on the remaining Rogues, returning them to their villainous selves. When Piper and Flash battled, Flash unmasked and brought a deluge of memories back to Piper’s mind. After briefly passing out, Piper awoke and seemed to feel heroic once again. After these events, the charges for the murder of his parents were cleared.
Pied Piper and the Trickster infiltrate Inertia’s Rogues in hopes of bringing them down from the inside out. Unfortunately, when the Rogues successfully kill Bart Allen, the pair are forced to go on the run. They are dogged by multiple heroes and villains for different reasons. After being attacked by the Suicide Squad several times, Piper and Trickster attempt to attack the Squad and rescue several captured villains. During the course of this, the pair are cuffed together. Deadshot eventually kills Trickster, who remains cuffed to Piper; Piper’s flute being the only thing keeping the high tech handcuffs from self-destructing and killing him as well. Piper escapes into the desert only to be brought to Apokolips by Desaad. Desaad frees Piper, explaining that the villain turned hero can channel the Anti-Life Equation through his music. Before this can be tested, Brother Eye assimilates Apokolips. Desaad resists Brother Eye and reaches the new hybrid planet’s control center. He urges Piper to play the Anti-Life Equation but instead, realizing Desaad’s role in the murder of his friends, Piper uses one of his lethal melodies to kill him. Choosing to perform one last heroic act, he plays the Show Must Go On by Queen and destroys Brother Eye/Apokolips.
Piper later helps hold Inertia in place for the other Rogues to kill him before turning himself over to the Central City Police Department.
Through unknown events, Piper is released having been a ‘reformed vigilante,’ and now acts as the conductor of the Central City Orchestra. He helps the Flash and Captain cold defeat the other united Rogues.