Pied Piper Origins

Pied Piper Origins
VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Script written by Craig Butler

They say that music hath charms – and sometimes those charms can be deadly. Join as we explore the comic book origins of the Pied Piper. As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character's past.

Special thanks to our users Rob Welch, theenlightenedone, Assassinator917, Mike Wilde, Jacob Koopmann, Jacob and Jonathan Hughett for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest

Supervillain Origins: Pied Piper

They say that music hath charms – and sometimes those charms can be deadly. Welcome to and today we will explore the comic book origin of the Pied Piper.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1959's Flash #106 and was expanded upon in 2002's Flash Vol. 2 #190 and 2012's Flash Vol. 4 #8.

One of the most colorful members of Flash's Rogues Gallery, the Pied Piper has been causing trouble for the Scarlet Speedster since 1959. In his debut adventure, a mysterious figure clad in green tights and a polka dot blouse committed a series of strange break-ins. He accessed a safe filled with money and an exclusive jewelry store, but stole nothing.

Later, this figure used a musical pipe in order to gather a gang of thieves. The strange music this Pied Piper played put the gang members under his control. He told them that they would help him on a daring crime spree and rid Central City of its costumed crime fighter at the same time.

The Pied Piper revealed that he had made an intensive study of all aspects of sound – and had thus gained complete mastery over it. He used his pipe to manipulate sound and sound waves in surprising ways. To prove this, he used his instrument to send a message over the airwaves, alerting Flash that he was about to finish the thefts he had left undone.

Flash took the bait and intercepted the Piper and his cronies in the middle of a job. But The Piper used his talents to create a vibratory field which temporarily paralyzed Flash, thus enabling the villain to escape. He later was able to confound Flash by manipulating both water and earth with his sonic skills. Fortunately, Flash was able to manipulate the airwaves himself in order to knock the pipe out of the villain's hands. Unarmed, The Piper was easy to subdue.

Over the years, the Pied Piper underwent some changes, eventually giving up his villainous ways and becoming an ally of the Wally West version of Flash. His origin was then fleshed out in a 2002 tale. Hartley Rathaway was born into an extremely wealthy family with all the advantages – except attentive parents. His mother and father were horrified when they eventually realized their son was deaf.

With money being no object, they managed to cure Hartley's deafness by means of a micro-robotic implant. Hartley could now hear even the tiniest of sounds from far away. He fell in love with music and wanted to become a musician. Unfortunately, he had no talent in that area. He did, however, have a special ability in the more technical aspects of sound creation.

Hartley became an ardent student of all things related to sound. Along the way, he created a flute that produced vibrations on strange new frequencies. Hartley learned how to use this to manipulate both sound waves and people and began his criminal career.

Hartley Rathaway has turned up in the rebooted New 52 universe. In his first new appearance, he had renounced his costumed past. Employed as the conductor of the Central City Symphony, he seemed to have fulfilled his ambition to be intimately involved in making music.

The Pied Piper is a fascinating foe for the Fastest Man Alive. Because his power is based on sound, he also is an interesting option for portrayals in other media. Wherever the Master of Malevolent Music shows up, he's sure to create a sensation.

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