SPOILER WARNING: Did you hear that Wally West is returning? He is. Just not in here.
Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion has been, to this point, the “fun uncle” of the Forever Evil event. Though the main series and its tie-ins have delivered memorable moments, they have done so while maintaining a dour and serious tone. For this reason, Rogues Rebellion is a breath of fresh air as this event marches on. But with writer Brian Buccellato upping the stakes, as well as the number of Gotham villains featured, will this continue to be the rollicking side-story of Forever Evil? Yes… but not quite as much as before.
Some may argue that this series has not progressed much over the course of three issues, but the slower pace allows readers—both longtime and new—to connect with and understand who these characters are in the world of Forever Evil. With this issue, Buccellato increases the stakes in ways that may have serious consequences on the Rogues going forward. The book’s trademark humor is still present, but it begins to wane in the closing pages as the gravity of the team’s plight takes shape.
Though they appear briefly both at the beginning and the end, Buccellato does something rare with the Royal Flush Gang by making them surprisingly competent. As they intercept the remaining Rogues escaping from Gotham, it’s evident that they hold all the cards, their primary leverage being the now abducted Lisa Snart.
Trickster once again steals the show. Though he was sidelined for much of the previous issue (mostly due to his hormones) Trickster earns his redemption by taking out Zsasz (introducing himself to would-be victims as “Vic” – nice try, Zsasz), providing his comrades with a means of escape (an old police van), and then using his rocket boots to propel said van across one of Gotham’s perpetually destroyed bridges. Overall, it was a good week for Axel.
For the second month in a row, this series required two artists, which is disappointing. Over the course of four issues, three have required multiple artists, the exception being the second. Though Scott Hepburn and Andre Coelho share a similar style, they remain noticeably distinct. This drawback was easy to overlook previously, as the series up until now had been a lighthearted romp through the bruised and battered DCU. However, this issue deals some pretty heavy blows near the end, and the shifting art styles take away from the emotional punch of those scenes.
Black Mask’s appearance, though appropriate in its portrayal of the character, felt shoehorned. He could have been left out completely and the issue would read almost exactly the same.
The second half of Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion sees the series take a tonal shift into more serious territory, which works out in its favor. The introduction of the Royal Flush Gang adds new and unexpected wrinkles in the Rogues’ mission to return to the Gem Cities. Unfortunately, the grimmer tone makes the changing artists more noticeable and, as a result, more jarring. That said, Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion remains wildly entertaining from start to finish.
Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #4 is available at comic book stores and digitally for $2.99