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Diego Zhao exists as a living, breathing map of New York City. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he developed his acute sense of direction at a young age while working at a grocery delivery service and later as a bicycle messenger. By the age of fifteen, Diego knew every single street and landmark within the five boroughs. His geographic acumen came to great use as he aided the New York Fire Department, by guiding one of their fire trucks through the streets to the scene of an intense blaze. This single incident ultimately paved the way for Diego's future, wherein he became a member of the New York City Fire Department. As a firefighter, Diego's quick reflexes and ability to find the fastest, most direct path to a fire earned him the nickname Rush.
Not long ago, Diego began dating a woman named Maggie Flynn. The two quickly fell in love and Diego ultimately proposed to her. As much as he loved Maggie, his heart equally belonged to his fiancé's daughter, Samantha. Diego cherished Sam as if she were his own daughter, and a strong bond developed between the two. Sam often joked with Diego, declaring ownership of her would-be stepfather's customized Solstice GXP. In her eyes, Diego was merely “keeping” the car until she was old enough to drive.
One night, Maggie and Diego decided to spend an evening out. They left Sam in the care of a babysitter and wiled away the hours in a downtown lounge. Upon returning home, they discovered a tower of flames spiraling out from the upper floors of Maggie's apartment complex. Diego rushed to the scene just as firefighters (from another company) arrived to battle the blaze. Slightly inebriated, he failed to consult with the attending rescue crew and ran into the building to save Sam. He managed to find her, but the fire had engulfed the apartment weakening the floorboards beneath them. The floor collapsed and the two fell down into the parking garage landing on the roof of Diego’s Solstice. Sam died and Diego lapsed into a coma.
He awakened two months later with several skin grafts replacing the third degree burns across his back and shoulders. To compound his personal tragedy even further, he discovered that Maggie blamed him for her daughter’s death and broke off their engagement. He attempted to reconcile with her, but she refused to speak with him. More so, he discovered that his hook and ladder company could no longer keep him on. Their decision predicated upon the fact that Diego was intoxicated on the night of the fire, and as a licensed firefighter, his actions that evening were illegal. Having lost everything of value to him, Diego sunk into a deep depression.
Unable to save the life of one who meant the world to him, Diego committed himself to saving the lives of others. He established a hidden lair for himself behind a sliding wall in the F line subway station and modified his car so that it could travel along subway tracks. With his photographic knowledge of the city streets, Diego could race to any location at any time. Recalling the nickname he had earned from his firefighting days, Diego began referring to himself only as Rush.
Rumors of this mysterious new urban hero, Rush, began circulating throughout the city. Unfortunates in need began to admire him, and underworld figures learned to fear him. Anonymous posters circulated the city streets and alleys exclaiming, "Lost Someone? U Need Rush".
In one of his first recorded cases, Rush came into the employ of a woman named Syrese Daly. Syrese hired him to find her missing daughter, Aminta. Aminta was not only missing, but she was also diabetic. Without access to her regularly scheduled insulin injections, the nine-year-old girl had less than twenty-four hours to live.
Rush investigated the matter and learned that she was last seen in the company of a strange man in a nearby music outlet. He tracked the man to his home only to discover that he had since sold the girl to a criminal named Moto. Rush clashed with Moto on the streets of Brooklyn, but succeeded in rescuing the young girl in time. He brought her safely to Bellevue Hospital and reunited Aminta with her mother.
- Enhanced Senses: Rush is a metahuman with a heightened sense of awareness. This preternatural instinct affords him automatic awareness of his immediate surroundings and gives him a deeper insight into the motives of those around him.
- Rush has numerous skin grafts across his back as a result of severe 3rd degree burns acquired while attempting to rescue Samantha Flynn from her burning apartment building. He also has two green dragon tattoos running vertically down each arm.
- While he was still working as a firefighter, his friends gave him the nickname Rush due to his uncanny ability to move quickly through a burning building.
- 7 Appearances of Diego Zhao (New Earth)
- 5 Images featuring Diego Zhao (New Earth)
- 5 Quotations by or about Diego Zhao (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Diego Zhao (New Earth)
- Rush at dccomics.com
- Rush at Wikipedia.org
- Rush City article at Wikipedia; Kurtz, Brian; 2006
- Rush character biography at the DC Comics Rush City page