Flash does the hard work so you don’t have to
If you’ve read my other reviews of The Flash New 52 Graphic Novels (and chances are that you haven’t…I have Google Analytics). Then you know that I thought that Rebirth and Flashpoint were absolutely stellar. Whilst Move Forward was good, if not a slight drop in quality, it set up some minor things that I think will be exciting down the line if executed properly. Sadly, it just failed to deliver in comparison to the prior two stories and has left a sour taste in my mouth since reading it.
Diving into The Flash Rogues Revolution, I’m excited…and anxious. This book really will be the one that sets the level for things going forward and for me it decides whether I pick up the graphic novels after this omnibus. So…let’s get started
Best served cold
The book throws you in at the deep end with a lot to take on board. Captain cold now has ice superpowers, Barry is ‘official’ with Patty and The Flash must monitor his speed to stop the speed force from ripping things in and out of time. The book gets you ‘up to speed’ quite quickly and never feels overwhelming due to the artwork and brilliant flashbacks and forwards.
I really can’t emphasise enough how outstanding Francis Manapul is with the pencil. His layouts, character composition, and dynamism are near perfect and they really help to deliver a complex story in a manageable and creative way. He uses panels as text, effortlessly interacts elements and completely knocks it out the park from the off. This is what superhero vs supervillain fights should look like!
Cold as ice
Captain Cold really provides an interesting and memorable villain. Whereas Move Forward had quite a generic antagonist, Cold adds a certain ‘icy heart’ to the story. His sister is dying of cancer and the doctors are unable to operate because Flash’s EMP from the previous book has knocked out the hospital’s power. Fed up with how the Flash has stopped him at every turn in the past, ruining his life, he decides to go ‘rogue.’
The fact that Barry has to keep his speed lower than 80% in order to counteract the speed force, whilst also being fast enough to stop Cold really adds tension to the battle. You’re with Barry in the thick of it, wanting him to save people but knowing that it’s a risk that could come at a high cost.
When Barry starts nearing the 70% mark it becomes Truly gripping and as the percentage escalates, so does the tension.
Mid-battle Barry saves Patty (passing 80%) and in doing so creates a wormhole that sucks Iris into it.
Talk about a love triangle.
There is really no right or wrong answer on this front. Either way, he loses. The stakes have never been higher. I don’t want to call the speed force a cock block…but…
Into the light
Whilst this is a relatively short arc, only lasting two issues, it still packs a great punch, has emotional depth and leaves you wanting more.
I love how Patty meets with Captain Singh and they comment on how Flash is no help to the police. He too is a rogue that has very little disregard for how his actions will affect the officials and those trying to hold the city together. It’s brilliant to once again see a hero that tangles with the law and isn’t always on the right side of it. I’ve yearned for something like this in every character’s background since reading Year One. It adds such a dynamic to the story and shows that our heroes often have the power but lack the responsibility.
The Speed Force
I’m spinning around, move out of my way
The Weather Wizard
The book opens on the murder of the Weather Wizard’s Brother and it’s this that drives the plot in the opening chapters. From here we visit the Flash, recapping most of what has gone on since the inception of The New 52 as he battles with the Wizard.
It’s a lot to catch up on and I found it strange that there have been some omissions in the overall storyline that are mentioned here. These revolve around Patty Spivot, Flash’s current girlfriend, who has now apparently been kidnapped by the super villain.
It made the plot feel slightly disjointed but was brushed over quick enough that I didn’t mind and this recap was enough to fill in the blanks whilst also creating a launch pad for the rest of the plot.
There are the usual twists and turns early on. What fascinated me most was The Flash refusing to confirm that he was Barry Allen to Patty. Sparing her of the grief that she is currently dealing with due to Barry’s apparent ‘Death.’
It is selfless however, with Barry realising that he needed to remain ‘dead’ In order for her to move on and regain happiness in her life. Something he could not provide. Barry moves to a more ‘quiet’ part of Keystone City. Somewhere he will not be noticed and begins to blend in with the locals.
He soon gets a job at a tavern, a bar that is a hot spot for Captain Cold and several other supervillains. This allows Barry to gain key intel all whilst passing unnoticed and you can tell that the creators have once again put thought into making Barry different from the typical ‘God’ like superheroes that DC basks in.
After numerous defeats the rogues realise that they cannot defeat Flash on their own and with the lead of Lisa Snart, aka Glider, team up to take the speedster down once and for all.
Juxtaposing his previous appearances, Dr Elias now publicly bashes The Flash and adds more pressure on the hero’s shoulders. Public perception is changed quickly and the city soon rally’s against our hero, the flames fanned even more by the now sinister Doctor. At a press conference Glider performs an assassination attempt on Elias, in the process framing Flash, and causes mayhem in downtown Keystone city.
Manapul once again allows the stakes to be raised and does it with expert pacing that will make your arms refuse to put this book down.
In the final chapter, we see The Flash teaming up with the shunned Captain Cold in order to stop the New Rogues from causing further damage. Manapul expertly weaves the creation of the Rogues now new superpowers with the sinister side of Dr Elias and the motives of all the villains become that much more relatable.
Of course Cold is duplicitous so he betrays Barry. Just as he is about to finish the Scarlett Speedster once and for all, the Gorilla Army shows up….ending on the perfect cliffhanger
The Flash Rogue’ Revolution feels like a huge upwards swing and cements The Flash as one of the most interesting characters within the New 52. Rarely a dull moment the book feels deliberate from start to finish due to its expert pacing and creativity. I have had a brilliant time reading this epic chapter in The Flash’s history and recommend this to anyone looking to get into the character’s comic stories.
Due to it’s brilliance, Rogue’s Revolution gets a…