The Flash


TITLE: "Rat Race"
COVER BLURB: "Death Follows the Piper!"
DATE: November 2002

WRITER: Geoff Johns
PENCILS: Justiano
INKS: Walden Wong
COLORS: James Sinclair
LETTERS: Gaspar Saladino
EDITOR: Joey Cavalieri
COVER: Scott Kolins


QUOTE: "You can stay here if you want, but my advice is simple, Piper. Call the Flash. Wally West is a good man. You said he'd bail you out before, he'll bail you out now." —Heat Wave

SUMMARY: Hartley Rathaway was born into a wealthy family that shunned him almost from the start. It took his parents over two years to realize that their son had been born deaf. Technology granted Hartley his hearing, but his disability coupled with his homosexuality made the young man into an outcast. Frustrated by his family's refusal to accept his lifestyle, Hartley struck out on his own. His obsession with music prompted him to experiment with musical instruments of his own unique design, some possessing unexpected properties. Armed with a flute capable of influencing the minds of people and animals, he followed the path of powerful outcasts in Central City; Rathaway became the costumed villain known as the Pied Piper, often battling the Flash and aiding the Rogues. Time and experience convinced him to reform, however, and Hartley grew into a humanitarian rather than a supervillain. Now, the Pied Piper has been framed for his parent's murder and he is desperate to find someone who will help to prove his innocence. He finds a friend in Heat Wave, another former Rogue who has turned his life around. Soon, both Heat Wave and the Pied Piper are approached by FBI Agent James Jesse. The former Trickster has a proposition for these onetime Rogues that he intends to keep secret from even the Flash.