Written by Brian Buccellato
Art by Patrick Zircher and Scott Hepburn
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: October 16, 2013

STK621838When evil wins, you’d think everyone on that side of the fence would be happy. Turns out, not all villains are created equal — or, at the least, are as nasty as others. The Flash’s Rogues are some of the highest profile villains in the DC Universe, but when they come up against the new ruling party of the Crime Syndicate and its minions, their days may be numbered.

Brian Buccellato has really given the Rogues a great deal of attention this past year, putting them front and center of The Flash book and writing the transition piece to this series in DC’s Villains Month. As some of the most well-developed villains in the New 52 to date, it’s no surprise this team of working class bad guys, who have now internalized their powers, would get this kind of high profile title in the Forever Evil event. Despite initial controversy about that power boost, these characters have retained all their distinct personality and (most importantly) repartee amongst themselves, and that continues to be at the center of this series as well. The Rogues are, if nothing else, a family of rejects, with values and care for each other that naturally separates them from other villain teams.

Buccellato gives the team a really great start for the uninitiated, making it clear what ties them together, who is likely to stray from their mission, and what the stakes are if they fail. Captain Cold is, as always, the determined leader, who may have a clear vision of what his band of villains aim to accomplish, even if he can’t clearly see the dissention in his ranks. Mirror Master is a particularly interesting figure, so drastically different than his post-Crisis replacement — now a kind, loyal second to the Captain, and deeply in love with Cold’s sister, the comatose Rogue known as Glider. And when another set of rogues show up to illustrate just how rare a combination this band of comrades really are, the issue escalates into a ton of fun.

Zircher and Hepburn share artistic duties on this single issue, and while each produce supremely well-done pages in their own right, the whole isn’t more than its parts. Zircher’s line work is appropriately moody, dark and serious, giving a perfect tone to a story of criminals navigating an even darker world. Hepburn’s pencils are fun and kinetic, representing the sort of Silver Age silliness these characters rose out of, but still blending them into a darker story for today. What doesn’t work super-well is the combination, unfortunately. It’s a bit jarring, and one would hope future issues can be one or the other, just not both great artists. It will do each of them much more justice.

An excellent focus on some of the DC Universe’s highest profile villains, Rogues Rebellion is off to a great start, and brings these characters into a story that features not just action/adventure, but highlights their unique personalities and just how different they remain from the prevailing villain. Do I believe they’ll beat out the Crime Syndicate? Not a chance? But they’ll definitely go down swinging.

The Verdict: 8.5/10



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