Speed Force

The Rogues are BACK! Review of THE FLASH #14

The Flash’s Rogues have always been my favorite group of bad guys in comics. Not Batman’s, not Superman’s, and certainly none from that “House of Ideas” publisher across town. There was always something special about this group of blue collar crooks. But, different storylines over the years (particularly the New 52) made significant changes to how these villains have been portrayed.  Now, writer Joshua Williamson gets his chance to take on the best bad guys in comics…and how does he deal with all of this history? He embraces it all…pretty much beginning to end, and makes it work in a very solid issue of THE FLASH! Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD

For an issue that is all about the Rogues, you won’t see a lot of the present day Rogues in action…and that’s okay. This is the issue that lays the foundation for how the Rogues will be portrayed in the REBIRTH era. You can see that Barry almost misses the Rogues. They were a group he could count on…yes, he could count on beating them, but that’s not quite the point. They were and are challenging bad guys, no easy push overs…but they certainly are not as much a worry as the bunches of low-life wannabes who try to take over whenever the Rogues are out of town. The Rogues left town when the Speed Storm hit and haven’t been heard from since. That’s worrisome to Barry, and since even Iris West has no leads, he begins to look for answers as to just where they may have been.

Along the way we get a good history of the Rogues, particularly Len and his sister Lisa. And, we pick up deliciously wonderful pieces of Rogues history, including a visit with Paul Gambi, the “official” tailor of the Rogues (this was something I loved about the Rogues back in the Silver Age, that there was actually a source for those costumes…and that they went to the same tailor). This history picks and chooses some of the highlights from various eras, leaving out a few problematic items (like Nekron or teaming with Intertia) but still accepting the power-ups noted in the New 52. In the end, Williamson embraces most of their history while emphasizing the qualities that have made them such a fan-favorite group.

Eventually, Flash tracks down the Rogues’ safe house (his internal narrative about “secret lairs” is hilarious). There are clues that lead Barry to what he believes is the Rogues’ next target…and as he speeds out of town…

We find the Rogues have more than one trick up their sleeves…but we’ll leave that for you to find when you read the issue for yourself!

NOTES: I was lucky enough as a kid to get THE FLASH #155, “The Gauntlet of Super-Villains” when it first came out…bests twelve cents I may have ever spent.  I’ve been hooked on the Flash’s Rogues Gallery ever since. THIS is an effective re-introduction for this classic group of bad guys. While there appears to be one particular missing member (hopefully that person will rejoin soon), still this is a great foundation from which to build a new generation of Rogues lore. Williamson gives us a solid storyline, backed by some great artwork by Carmine Di Giandomenico (with colors by Ivan Plascencia).  Just an aside – I really enjoyed the almost Silver-Age “Roll Call” pics of the Rogues on that main splash page.

This one is a 9/10 for me…what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!