I have a confession to make. I have never read Geoff Johns' previous Flash run. I know, for being such a DC junkie it seems like blasphemy. But through all my research I have learned what Johns' accomplished on the title and I do plan to read it before I die. However, with Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge, I am able to enjoy a new Johns' Flash story side by side with my peers.
What I enjoy so much about Flash's rogues is the camaraderie they all share. Like Captain Cold says, "Together, we're the Rogues, apart….I wouldn't know what." There is just something unique about how the Flash’s rogues handle themselves compared to the villains of Batman or Superman. They aren’t fighting each other to be the first to hurt a Flash, they are always working together. It just gives a great spin to these otherwise B-list villains. I mean everyone can identity Lex Luthor or the Joker, but how many know who Captain Cold is? Or the Weather Wizard? But if you explain to someone their unique situation with their nemesis, the Flash, it really separates them from the pack.
And this is where Geoff Johns excels. See, he is the one responsible for creating this awesome twist on the standard hero/nemesis status quo, and it is here, with Rogues’ Revenge, that he gets to revisit it.
Right out of the gates, Johns gives a run down of reach Rogue and their personality. Captain Cold receiving the spotlight, as he is by far the most realized of the Rogues. You can see Johns’ love for these characters with every word and narration box. These are just exceptionally well rounded characters under the fine touch of Geoff Johns. Just seeing how they interact with each other seems real and not phony, in the comic book sense of the word. They don’t speak like they are constantly twirling their evil mustaches, they just converse like normal people who happen to wear goofy costumes.
Being a Final Crisis tie-in book, Rogues’ Revenge brings a lot of the big players from that series to the forefront in this first issue, namely Libra and his newly founded Secret Society. The plot of Rogues’ Revenge hinges on the rogues' reaction to Libra’s one time deal of their heart’s desire. Of course, the rogues deny the offer, knowing full well that bad news is bound to come their way, due to the death of the Martian Manhunter. The plot of Rogues’ Revenge takes off from there. There are some great twists and turns throughout this first issue making the series look like Johns’ attempt to bring out his continuity broom and sweep the floor of the latest Flash debacle involving the death of Bart Allen. All looks to be explained and built on over the course of Rogues’ Revenge, and I’m pretty pumped.
Joining Johns is his one time Flash companion, Scott Kolins, on art. Kolins has a very distinct style to his line work, but it works perfectly in the context of the Flash. The style also lends itself well to moments of intense drama as Kolins' cartoon-like renderings allow these sequences to carry just as much impact as the script intends. One of my favorite moments comes from three panels depicting Inertia stuck in suspended animation, staring at the statue of Bart Allen in the Flash museum. Just as haunting and creepy with Kolins' choice of style.
This is another great addition to Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins Flash portfolio. I might even be as bold to say Rogues' Revenge is an enthralling as the main Final Crisis plotline. This is due mostly to Johns' perfect handle of these characters, breathing life into them with each page. The cliffhanger is also a perfect place to leave readers salivating for next month’s installment. Simply put, the Rogues are back in town.
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