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Maybe something that people have forgotten since Wally West returned as The Flash, is that part of what made the Flash such a great character and series is his Rogue’s gallery. Not as dire or maniacal as Batman’s, the Flash’s rogues started out campy, and got progressively darker, while keeping that campy edge that only a cold gun can bring.

So when I finished Rogues’ Revenge, I was struck by how similar this book was to the good Flash days, even though Jay, Barry, Wally nor Bart made an appearance.

roguescover_1.jpgThis isn’t a huge surprise, considering that Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins are writing this Final Crisis tie-in, reuniting the pair who brought us the critically acclaimed run of The Flash back in 2001 – 2003. The story focuses on the Rogues – made up of Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, and Heat Wave – attempting to take revenge on Inertia for involving them in the death of the fourth Flash, Bart Allen.

As a Final Crisis tie-in, this book obviously links to the Libra storyline. I’ve seen this before, though I can’t remember where and I’m not desperate to find out, where a group of villains don’t go along with the crowd. This seems to be the case for Rogues’ Revenge, as Captain Cold informs Libra that the Rogues will not be joining his society.

But before we get there, the four villains return to their safe house, where they find a gang of kids – under the leadership of a new Trickster, a young kid himself, who does not have a long life ahead of him if I were to bet.
The scene where the four villains clean house brings in to focus a storyline I’m really going to like. Heatwave, has asked Captain Cold to keep a lid on his pyromaniac tendencies, and this “honor among thieves” type relationship, is one I like. It follows with their number one rule, “never kill a Speedster,” in that they aren’t just out to create mayhem and death. It speaks to the modicum of respect that the villains and various Flash’s have had.

No Rogues story would be complete without an appearance from the Pied Piper, and the villain turned good guy seems to be out to prove the Rogues innocence, or at least their distaste for what happened.

Swinging it back to Libra, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t take kindly to the Rogues refusal to join his quasi-religious evil cult of super villains. We know Zoom is working for him, we’ve seen him in Final Crisis issues, and the Rogues mention it as well. So when Inertia suddenly comes back from suspended animation thanks to a red lightning bolt, you can bet it ain’t Barry Allen doing the work. This is confirmed when Zoom rocks up and tells Inertia that he is to be the new Kid Flash.

So it looks as if the Rogues are going to have more on their hands than just tracking down Inertia.

One last thing is the obvious inclusion of Barry Allen into the mix. There is a moving scene, once again clothed in lots of rain, which adds to this book a wonderful texture, featuring Iris Allen as she looks through some photos of her and Barry. Add to that the lightning which has been sputtering through the city all night, and a tiny “Iris” word bubble, and my favorite Flash will soon be back!

The artwork is really nice and solid, particularly nice for this book. It is that lovely return to the days when the Flash was a good character, not marred by a pair of children who haven’t ever been drawn or written properly in their lives. This is especially the case in the one page splash of Iris as she leans against the window; she looks small, frail, and lonely.

I give this book 5 out of 5 all round, because it really is just such a good book. Make sure you pick this up, even if you aren’t picking up any other Flash or Final Crisis books; you don’t need them for this, and you won’t regret it.

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The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at Planetsave.com that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

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1 Comment

  1. July 21, 2008 at 10:39 pm — Reply

    The deja vu you are feeling is probably about the Secret Six by Gail Simone.

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