After this event, Rory went to live with his uncle. His pyromania continued and he was forced to run away after locking a schoolmate in his house and setting it on fire, after the boy locked Rory in a meat locker during a field trip. He took a job as a fire eater with a traveling circus. This did not last long either, as he ended up setting the circus on fire.
It was these events that made him desperate to fight his fire obsession and after seeing the Rogues in action in Central City, he decided to use his mania to become a villain. He created a protective costume made of asbestos (this was back before the dangers of asbestos were known), built a gun-sized flamethrower and became Heat Wave. As he was committing crimes in Central City, it was inevitable that he'd run into the Flash, which he did quite regularly. Subsequently, he also ended up in jail quite regularly. He also became an adversary of Captain Cold, due to his aversion to cold temperatures (see below). It was Captain Cold who introduced Heat Wave to the Rogues.
Eventually, Mick went straight, due largely to the manipulations of the Top. He took a job as a firefighting consultant, using his vast knowledge on fires and heat. He also became good friends with Barry Allen, whose secret identity as Flash was discovered by Rory years before. All good things must come to an end though, and Rory succumbed to an offer by Abra Kadabra of gaining respect and infamy in the world. He and four other members of the Rogues sacrificed themselves, quite unwittingly, to unleash the demon Neron.
Neron returned the soulless bodies of the five to Earth, in a plan to force Flash into a deal. The five Rogues each possessed incredible powers and wreaked havoc, death and destruction before Neron was forced by Flash to halt their actions and return their souls to their bodies.
Heat Wave would only briefly return to his criminal ways before abandoning them to study with Zhutanian monks. Afterwards, he worked for Project Cadmus as a backup agent, but eventually quit that too and moved to the Quad Cities, Illinois area. He eventually got a job at the FBI, along with other reformed members of Rogues. This was a spectacular failure and Rory became a villain once again after the Top arrived and undid the mental program that had kept him reformed.
One Year Later, after a being caught by the police, he and several more of the Rogues are approached by Inertia with a plan to kill the Flash (then Bart Allen). Though Inertia is defeated, he, Weather Wizard, and Captain Cold shot Bart to death and are now on the run. He, Weather Wizard, and Captain Cold seemed to express guilt immediately after Bart's death.
He is later seen among the exiled Supervillains in Salvation Run.
He was seen as the member of Rogues who joined the Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains. In "Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge" #1, however, Heat Wave and the rest of the Rogues reject Libra's offer, wanting to stay out of the game. Before they can retire, they hear of Inertia escaping and decide to stick around long enough to get revenge for being used.