“Rogues Reign” Part One – Review of THE FLASH #82

The Speed Force is dead and the Rogues have won! This issue loses THE FLASH title and becomes “CAPTAIN COLD AND THE ROGUES” – and for good reason. After Lex Luthor’s deal with Len Snart, the world (or at least the Gem Cities) has turned upside down! Is there any hope? How bad can it get with Snart in charge? Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

This issue jumps straight into the new reality of Central City. The Rogues have won, but they are no longer together. Central City and Keystone City have been divided among the Rogues, who rarely get together anymore. King Cold (yes, he’s now “King”) rules over a frozen Central City with an iron fist. Gone are the days of that code against killing, as we see in a most brutal fashion. Now, everyone is afraid of the King. You would think that would make him truly happy. But…

Where is Len’s sister?

We don’t get that answer here. That will likely be a plot point for the next couple of issues at least. What we¬†do have is a city where anything Len Snart wants can be made real. That’s thanks to the upgrade Lex Luthor gave to the Mirror Master’s Dimension with hard light technology. Now, anything Len wants, Len gets…to a point.

There is a resistance. Part of that resistance is Iris West, along with Wallace and Avery. They have been breaking into S.T.A.R. Labs repeatedly, in search of something that will help them fight back. They have, or rather had, backup in the form of the future Commander Cold. But, that turns quickly into tragedy.

The two Colds battle, and for a while it looks like the Commander will beat the Captain. But, Lex Luthor has amped up Len Snart…and after all, Snart knows that absolute zero tech better than anyone else. Snart seals up Commander Cold in ice, then delivers him too…

Anyone notice I haven’t mentioned Barry Allen at all yet?

Barry is Snart’s captive. He keeps The Flash alive just to taunt him, to show him that the Rogues won. He delivers the still frozen Commander Cold to a shocked and shackled Flash as this issue ends!

NOTES:

  • This is a powerful and somewhat disturbing issue of THE FLASH. We see the man who looked at himself as “I’m not a loser” suddenly become the ruler of all her surveys. Yet, there is still that nagging voice inside his head, telling him he is still a loser. At least, a loser if he doesn’t keep tightening that grip on Central City. He is at once a King and a sad little boy, missing his one family member, his sister. He lashes out like never before, trying to prove himself over and over again. This is an excellent character study, and it makes for a powerful story.
  • The Year of the Villain is playing out better in THE FLASH than in most other DC offerings. Maybe it’s because of the Rogues being such rich characters. Maybe it’s also because of a great plot and script from Joshua Williamson. I have enjoyed every issue Williamson has written in his run on THE FLASH so far, and this is no exception.
  • The artwork in this issue is outstanding. From the “icy blue” color palette to the great page layouts, with excellent expression, this was just what the story needed. Kudos to Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Arif Prianto, and Steve Wands for a great issue!

SUMMARY:

This sets up potentially one of the most memorable tragic story lines in FLASH lore. A Flash without his speed. A Cold with all the power and none of the joy. A town in fear. And, a small ray of hope…at least for now. This is a great start to the arc, and I’ll give this a 10/10. Of course, that’s just my opinion – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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