It’s the third week of Villains’ Month, which means it’s time for another trip to the Gem Cities! Check out the DCN review of The Rogues #1!
The Rogues, the colorful collective of Flash villains, just might have the best group dynamic of all the evil teams in comics. This includes the Crime Syndicate, Secret Society at DC and, over on the Marvel side of things, the Sinister Six and Hellfire Club. They have a [sometimes malleable] sense of morality, small ambitions and a big sense of pride. Their desire is not in taking over the world, it is robbing banks and celebrating the success of the score at the local pub. The all-for-one, one-for-all camaraderie has made this unit greater than the sum of their parts. And despite their physical evolution at the beginning of the New 52, their personalities have endured.
Bringing the Rogues into the world of “Forever Evil” is, for the third straight week, writer Brian Buccellato. Contributing the art to this issue is Patrick Zircher, as this serves as a prelude to their upcoming Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion. If that series is anything like this issue, we’re in for a real treat.
Brian Buccellato has been given the keys to the Flash universe this month, and caps it off in spectacular fashion. Beginning with Captain Cold, aka Lenard Snart, Buccellato navigates through the ensemble cast with expertise. Every major player is given a moment to shine while maintaining the collective spirit of the Rogues.
The crux of this issue is Snart’s attempt to regain the trust of his comrades, who have for much of the New 52 looked to his sister, Lisa, as their new leader. Accepting responsibility for one’s actions and forgiveness are strong themes throughout this issue, which Buccellato makes clear without bludgeoning the reader over the head with straightforward exposition. There is a level of craftsmanship at play here which raises this Rogues tale high above the rest of the Villains’ Month crowd.
This issue would not be as good as it is without the excellent work of Patrick Zircher. Words can only go so far in the comic medium, and Zircher is able to render the emotions that this script demands just beautifully. While his is given the opportunity to deliver big, explosive splash pages, it is the character moments that really make Zircher’s work here special. You are able to feel the pain, sorrow, and empathy of each character thanks to the care that Zircher has given to conveying emotion through the eyes. Even Heatwave, with his goggles on, is properly attended to so that the reader feels more connected to these characters by the issue’s end.
The pacing felt a little rushed towards the end, but aside from that I can’t find anything to wrong with this issue.
The Flash #23.3 is a Villains’ Month title without comparison. While DC’s other titles are presenting the villains as individuals to sympathize with prior to their villainous turns, Buccellato has put together a story that makes us care for this particular set of villains. Patrick Zircher’s excellent artwork only adds to an issue that might be the cream of the September crop. Knowing these two are at the helm, Rogues Rebellion can’t come soon enough.