Review: The Flash #14

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine di Giandomenico

Summary
The issue begins with the Flash reminiscing about how the Rogues came about when a number of his foes decided to team up and attack him together, and about the changes in lineup and powers the Rogues had gone through over the years.

Currently, the Rogues have been absent from Central City since the Speed Force Storm, and now Barry forces three wannabe villains looking to fill their spot: Papercut, Sand Blaster, and Bone Dry. They don’t measure up, and the Flash dispatches the trio easily, taking them to Iron Heights Penitentiary.

A short while later, Barry meets Iris for a horror movie marathon, with Wally arriving late for the outing. We see him quickly stuffing a prison transfer file about his father Daniel West (the Reverse Flash) into his knapsack.

Barry and Iris have a brief discussion about the Rogues, but Iris tells Barry that they have been quiet and that she has no leads about what they might be up to.

Later, the Flash checks in on a number of the Rogues’ known associates, starting with Paul Gambi, the tailor who makes their costumes, then an old girlfriend of Mirror Master’s.

Then Barry checks in on a support group for victims of the Rogues, run by Hartley Rathaway, the former Pied Piper. Hartley directs Barry an older woman (an aunt perhaps?) that had taught Lisa Snart how to skate.

This woman tells Barry about how Lisa and Leonard’s only escape from their rough childhood had been when their grandfather had taken them with him on ice deliveries. She shows Barry a photo of the three with the ice factory visible in the background.

That night, Barry checks out the factory as the Flash. The factory seems to be long-abandoned, but the Flash finds the Rogues’ safe house. Barry discovers that the Rogues had recently left in a hurry, taking their equipment with them.

Barry also discovers the blueprints for a new museum in Corto Maltese full of recently discovered jewels and treasures. However, he sets off a booby trap, triggering a bomb. He vibrates to allow the force of the explosion to pass through him, but fails to keep the blueprints from being destroyed.

As the Flash sets off for Corto Maltese, we see Rogues are watching. Captain Cold announces that they now have one hour to “show the Flashes what the Rogues are made of… once and for all.”

Positives
This issue has a couple nice little nods to Flash history. When Barry reminisces about the Rogues, we see the original lineup, including Captain Boomerang, in their original silver age costumes. Also, we see the return of Paul Gambi, who designed and made the Rogues’ costumes.

Although, Barry’s interaction with his new protégé, Kid Flash, but it’s good to focus come back onto the Flash himself for a while. Hopefully, Wally won’t fade into the background, but Barry is the centre of the title and should remain so.

Negatives
There’s not much room for complaint with this issue, but it seems to me that Barry had plenty of time to have escaped the explosion of the Rogues’ lair and kept the blueprints from being destroyed. I know it was plot contrivance, but ten seconds is an extremely long amount of time for someone moving at the speeds the Flash does.

Verdict
A very enjoyable issue. Once again, this title follows the Rebirth ethos of reminding us of DC’s past, while moving the story forward in a new direction.

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.