THE FLASH #23.3: THE ROGUES
Written by Brian Buccellato
Art by Patrick Zircher
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: September 18, 2013
The Rogues are unique in the DCU, and always have been, because they operate largely as a team. Batman’s baddies will join forces now and again, but they aren’t a tight knit coalition.. Flash’s Rogues, on the other hand, they’re a fraternity. They hang out together, and have beers together, and try to outsmart Flash together. That familial relationship is at the center of The Rogues, and makes explicit what has been implied so far – they stick together.
Brian Buccellato’s story focuses on who these men (and woman) are to one another in both the past and the present. We learn how the Rogues went from costumed thieves with themed weapons to super-powered meta-criminals. This is revealed in a flashback within a flashback, which I found a little clunky. The main focus is on Captain Cold and his sister, Golden Glider. Len Snart has always been the centerpiece of the Rogues, but somehow I don’t really believe he feels guilty (except for maybe about Glider). It’s taking me a while to warm up to these new incarnations. I’d like to see more character development for Heat Wave and Mirror Master. MM is particularly interesting because DC jettisoned Grant Morrison’s Evan McCulloch, the Scottish smackhead, in favor of Sam Scudder, the original Mirror Master who died in 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. It’s weird to me that Captain Boomerang doesn’t appear to have ever been a Central City Rogue, at least not in the New 52 (if I’m wrong, please correct me in the comments). He represents what I find to be a missing piece in the core group dynamic: comic relief. Maybe The Trickster can step up?
The issue does a respectable job selling the “blue collar bad guy” image the Rogues have always had. They have their own code, they’re just having fun, and they’re nothing like the psychos over in Gotham. I like how disrespectful and snarky they are towards the Crime Syndicate, and I hope the stark divide established between the CSA’s goals and The Rogues’ goals is explored further in the Rogues’ Rebellion tie-in. They barely play well with one another, but nothing makes the Rogues embrace cohesion like an outside threat (see: Gorilla Grodd).
The art was not as exceptional as you would expect from a Flash book, but that’s because Patrick Zircher was given the unenviable task of filling in for Francis Manapul. To his credit, he doesn’t try to ape Manapul’s style, and goes his own way. It’s unusual after two dozen issues to see such a straightforward visual storytelling style, but on the other hand, this is The Rogues, not The Flash. The Rogues are a straightforward bunch. Other than making Len Snart a bit too handsome, he captures everyone well – especially Glider. He also gets 10,000 bonus points for drawing RAINBOW RAIDER into the bar scene. I’m ecstatic he made it into the New 52.
Overall this book was not as fun as I wanted it to be. I expect fun from the Rogues. They’re colorful and don’t care what you think of them. I don’t want them to fall down the dark well of super-seriousness that so many others have recently. But, I’m interested in what this book leads to – a showdown between the Rogues and the CSA? Or the Reverse Flash? I like these guys way more than I like Barry Allen, so I’m happy to see how they run the show in his absence. Also if Captain Boomerang, Rainbow Raider, The Top, and Pied Piper (I bet you’ve all forgotten him from those early issues!) could crash the party, I’d be even happier.
The Verdict: 7.5/10