- "Suffering can't be stopped. Especially hers".
"If you touch Iris—"
"Don't want to hear your pain. Only your wife's."
- —Peter Merkel to Barry Allen[src]
Peter Merkel, nicknamed Rag Doll by Cisco Ramon, is the son of the late Theresa Merkel and a meta-human with the ability to contort his body. He is also a former member of Young Rogues and an associate of Black Hole.
Peter lived with his mother, Theresa Merkel. According to her, he was spoiled and was never happy with how well he was treated. He and his mother would later become estranged after he tried to break into his own home.Flash saved the man. When Barry Allen and Iris West-Allen appeared at his mother's party, he spied on them from the roof and captured Barry Allen, so Iris and Elongated Man came to save Barry. Iris jumped off of the building to save him while the Elongated Man ate Peter to keep him in his body before the police arrived. Brie Larvan and Joslyn Jackam, each assuming one of the team hired them for the job. Nora West-Allen/XS revealed she hired the Young Rogues, much to everyone's surprise. Nora explained she needed them to steal a weapon called the mirror gun from McCulloch Tech to sell it for $1 million on the black market. As the group worked, they discussed being betrayed by people they once trusted. The Young Rogues first broke into S.T.A.R. Labs to steal Spencer Young's phone and kidnap Cisco Ramon, also kidnapping Harrison Sherloque Wells in the process. Nora forced Cisco to alter Spencer's phone in order to hack into McCulloch Tech's and control Larvan's bees. The Young Rogues infiltrated McCulloch Tech and after neutralizing the security guards, they decided to betray Nora. The Young Rogues tied Nora to a chair with the guards and filmed a video to the city, demanding the Flash to reveal his identity. However, the "guards" were actually Team Flash in disguise. Once the team destroyed the power dampener, Peter was arrested with the rest of the Young Rogues.
During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, Peter as well as everyone in the multiverse except for the seven Paragons, was killed in an antimatter wave by the Anti-Monitor on December 10, 2019, only to be restored a month later, after the Paragons and the Spectre created a new universe.
While Joseph Carver drank the juice handed to him by Maurice, Peter hung from the ceiling, ultimately making himself known so that he could receive his assignment to kill Joe West. Rag Doll started by cutting the brakes of the police captain's car; he laughed while inside the car as Joe panicked, but the attempt failed and Merkel fled, leaving a hair behind that was later discovered by the CSI scientist, Barry Allen.
Later, Black Hole hired Rag Doll to kill Joe at the CCPD precinct. He hid within a box which he exited as Joe was interrogating Millie Rawlins. Joe shot at Peter but he reflected the bullets back at the policeman. In a second overt attempt to assassinate Joe, Peter kidnapped Cecile Horton and tied her to a chair with a pressure-sensitive bomb; if she moved from the chair, the lack of pressure would cause an explosion. While Joe freed Cecile, Peter was in battle with the Flash. Eventually, he then was arrested by Central City Police Department after Barry defeated him. He also revealed to Barry that his own mother was dead indicating he was sad.
Peter claimed to be broken inside as the result of his mother's inattention and detachment from him. Though he seemed sad upon telling The Flash that his mother was dead, indicating he did care about her.
During his time in the Young Rogues, Peter showed interest in robbing McCulloch Tech when hired by XS. He considered escaping a pipe into a meta-power dampening room to be "[his] aria".
Originally, he took pleasure in causing others to suffer; so they could understand his pain. However, since the death of his mother, Peter had sunken into a depression. Seeking to end his own pain, he broke into Black Hole in the hopes they would kill him. Joseph Carver offered him release (from his pain) in exchange for carrying out an assignment for him. Peter accepted, and was gifted a pressure bomb to kill Joe West and take Peter as well if the victim set it off.
Powers and abilities
- Meta-human physiology: When hit by a dark matter shard from the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite after the failed Enlightenment, Peter's DNA was altered, enabling him to access his newfound powers.
- Body contortion: Peter has the ability to twist and contort his body in virtually any way he pleases, allowing him to fit into spaces of any size and shape. He even managed to squeeze himself into a suitcase, and through the grates of an airvent.
- Superhuman durability: Peter's malleable physiology grants him superhuman durability, being capable of surviving an explosion powerful enough to cause a tall building to collapse, followed by being buried under the rubble of said building.
- Enhanced strength: Peter is shown to have some degree of superhuman strength.
- Superhuman reflexes: Peter has demonstrated that he can catch bullets in mid-air and throw them back at the shooter with lethal force.
- Acrobatics: Peter is very nimble, mostly from his contortion abilities, as he had managed to disarm Joe of his gun with a backflip.
- Stealth/Infiltration: Peter was able to sneak up on Barry without him noticing despite the latter being a speedster. He also managed to get the drop on Cisco and Sherlouque while they were in an elevator at S.T.A.R. Labs. His contortionist powers allow him to travel through air vents of a building while avoiding detection.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Peter is proven to have at least rudimentary combat skills, able to briefly knock out Iris West-Allen and managed to easily restrain Joe West.
- Power-dampening cuffs: Peter's powers do not work while he is wearing the power-dampening cuffs or imprisoned in one of the power-dampening cells at Iron Heights.
- Echoes: Peter is susceptible to suffering extreme pain in his ears while traveling through pipes. Flash took advantage of this by banging a metal pipe to force Peter out of his hiding spot.
- "God, that mask. It's like one of those porcelain dolls that's gonna kill you while you sleep."
- —Ralph Dibny[src]
- Rag Doll mask: As Rag Doll, Peter wore a mask which resembled both a clown and porcelain doll for purposes of concealing his identity and general intimidation.
The Chronicles of Cisco
- Though Joseph Carver had files labelled "Merkel" in his warehouse, Peter does not have light-based powers as other Black Hole assassins; Carver might have been blackmailing Theresa Merkel, as he was with "Dearbon".
- It's implied Peter's meta abilities too unique for common dampeners as he was able to escape Iron Heights meta wing (evidence by him still wearing the prison suit upon his recruitment into the Young Rogues).
- Peter has the disturbing habit of walking on his hands and feet, bent over backwards. Whether he simply does this to intimate his targets, or simply enjoys it is debatable.
- According to Allegra, seeing Ragdoll eat is disturbing.
- As Earth-Prime continued the timeline Earth-1, Ragdoll was likely captured by Black Hole through bribery to corrupt cops when the Young Rogues were captured.
Behind the scenes
- In the main DC comics continuity, Peter Merkel, better known as Rag Doll, is a supervillain and an enemy of Jay Garrick. He is a master contortionist able to bend his body and limbs. His son, Peter Merkel, Jr., was also known as Rag Doll, which this version is based on.
- Unlike his DC comic book counterpart, 's version of Rag Doll is a meta-human.
- Also in the DC comics, Peter is Caucasian.