When it comes to Z-list supervillains, there’s none more deserving of the Oddball of the Week award than the Rainbow Raider.
The Flash has an eclectic group of adversaries, most of whom would be highly forgettable on his/her own. Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Golden Glider, and Weather Wizard all rank themselves among the Scarlet Speedster’s rogues gallery. They are charmingly lame, and each one echoed the unnecessarily sanitary days of the Comics Code Authority.
In 1980, Cary Bates and Don Heck decided to add to the gallery with an addition you would think had originated in the 1950s: the Rainbow Raider.
Marvel and DC have been fast at work mastering the art of ironically cool characters. It’s hard to find a better candidate than Rainbow Raider, and he could be a fit in either the animated Harley Quinn or the next Suicide Squad spinoff that will focus on Amanda Waller. That would make his unlikely keys worth a second look.
With this issue, you get the whole package on your Rainbow Raider wish list. Not only is this his first appearance, but it’s also his first cover appearance.
In the words of Starfire in Teen Titans Go to the Movies, “He rides upon a rainbow.” But that’s not all. Armed with a name that’s actually worse than Rainbow Raider, Roy G. Bivolo was a colorblind artist. His father was not your ordinary mad scientist as his day job was as an optometrist. Looking to help Roy become a great artist, the doctor created a pair of goggles that were meant to cure his colorblindness, but instead created solid rainbows.
Of course, that didn’t help Roy’s artistic expression, but it did give him a great start as a supervillain. The former artist used his newfound powers to become an art thief. He would soon run afoul of Flash, and the rest is history.
Comics have always adored their color-related characters. Since the 1940s, there’s been Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Black Adam, Red Tornado, Blue Beetle, and way more than I have time to list in this post. In 1999, the Rainbow Raider joined his own light and color-based team of Z-listers.
Led by Color Queen, she recruited Raider, Crazy Quilt, Doctor Light, Multi-Man, and Doctor Spectro to her prison gang. Besides the obvious color/light theme, there isn’t much else to say about them.
Maybe it was as a superzombie, but Roy G. Bivolo finally appeared as a legitimately threatening figure in Blackest Night #3. There were many more famous resurrected faces that came to life thanks to the Black Lantern rings, but it was redemption for Rainbow Raider.
After having died in 2002’s Flash #183, he was brought back for a brief time as a member of Nekron’s lantern corps. Unlike Deathstorm, the undead Rainbow Raider didn’t hang around after Blackest Night wrapped, but it was a cool moment for the lamest of villains.
SEEING IN COLOR
Once upon a time, fans would have scoffed at the idea of Rainbow Raider being featured in live-action. In the modern world of superhero cinema, quirky characters are all the rage. That gives Roy G. Bivolo several potential landing spots for his big-screen debut.