The battle for Central City is over, the “Rogue’s Reign” has ended, and the time for reckoning has begun. Problem is, it’s not just time for reckoning for the Rogues. The Speed Force is still out of control, and so far there doesn’t seem to be a cure. The Flash and the once-again-just-Captain Cold are headed to a place far outside Central City. It’s a place more familiar for another DC Hero…and another set of bad guys. How does all this wind down? And, what it the next threat the Flash will face? Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!
Much of this issue turns into a character study, or rather a study of the fractured relationship between Flash and Cold. Before Len broke the Rogue’s code against killing, there was an almost friendly rivalry here. No more. You find the hurt and pain that each of them feels as they are carted away to Gotham City and Arkham Asylum. And, you see the nerdy Barry facing the hardened, bitter Len. Their interplay is outstanding throughout the issue. There are moments where the anger and bitterness almost subside. Len even believes he and Flash are much more alike than Barry is willing to admit. But in the end, to Barry, Len is now nothing more than a criminal who ruins lives. And to Len, Flash is just a nerd who needs to “stay the *@&$ away from my sister”.
While they travel to Arkham, Meena and Iris use the facilities of S.T.A.R. Labs to analyze the problems in the Speed Force for Wallace and Avery. Meena finds that the speedsters are in a “constant state of vibrational frequency dissonance”. Put more simply, they are “moving so fast (they) exist on multiple planes of reality at once.” Iris picks up on the “frequency” part of that and realizes where some help may be found.
Back to Arkham, where Pied Piper has brought Wallace and Avery to meet Barry. Hartley has a theory that just may work. By using a sound gun with enough “frequency from our reality” (the joys of comic book physics), Piper can “ground” Barry and the rest into just this one Earth.
It works for Barry, but with some caveats. If Barry overuses the Speed Force, if he runs too fast, he can lose control of the Speed Force again. In other words, we now have a plot device that limits how fast Barry is willing to go…at least for now. Piper is ready to use this fix on Wallace and Avery, with Barry still hooked into the machine to make it work. That’s where trouble breaks in…
…in the form of Glider! She is here to break her brother out of prison. They are, after all, family. The only surprise is that Barry never saw this coming. All the Rogues have vanished into the wind, ending their time in the spotlight for now.
Barry and Iris are home alone, finally. Iris, having heard Snart’s “stay away from my sister”, is about to ask Barry what’s going on, when they are interrupted by a surprise visitor.
It’s the Future Flash from the King Turtle arc!
Previously, the two versions of Barry broke the time loop and prevented Turtle from taking over Central City. That was a good thing, right?
Somehow, breaking that time loop has created a new villain for the Flash, called Paradox. Future Barry warns our Barry that Paradox is not only coming for them, but for the Flash’s legacy as well! That’s about all the warning we get, as future Barry literally dissolved in front of our Barry and Iris. That’s where we leave things for now, with “Rogue’s Reign” over a new adventure about to begin.
- This has been a fun run with the Rogues overall, and I’m always glad to see them featured in THE FLASH. Still, the changes to Cold’s character have been disturbing. We get the explanation as to why he became a murderous tyrant, but it doesn’t give him any absolution. As for the rest of the Rogues, this has been an exceptional run for them – and I’m always glad to see what I still consider to be the best Rogue’s Gallery in comics (and I’m looking at you, Mr. Wayne).
- Joshua Williamson continues to nail the voice of Barry Allen so very well. I am constantly impressed with his portrayal of the Scarlet Speedster.
- Speaking of that Bat-guy, we do get some interesting sights with the gates of Arkham and at least one well-known bad guy from that “other”, “lesser” rogue’s gallery. Still pretty cool to see here.
- Throughout much of this arc, we have seen the nerdy side of Barry whenever he was dealing with Glider. While Barry is still in love with Iris, he has handled Lisa Snart’s advances as awkwardly as…well, as awkwardly as most of us nerdy types would handle the situation (don’t look at me that way…).
- The artwork is amazing! When I can blow up the artwork on a 50 inch TV screen (and I did) and the artwork still holds up, it’s impressive. The close-ups on Cold during that early part of the issue really drove home his anger, his bitterness…and his ability to mess with Barry (“what a sad pair we are…practically twins, nerd“). That’s thanks to Christian Duce, with colors by Luis Guerrero and letters by Steve Wands.
- We end this issue with a jump towards a new arc and a new villain. We’ll see what Paradox is like next issue. But for now…
This issue succeeded in winding down a high-impact arc without losing steam. Whatever comes next, this has been a stellar arc for THE FLASH. I’ll give this issue a 9/10. Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!