Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #1 by Brian Buccellato (Comics Review)

The effects of Villain’s Month are still being felt in the DC universe that has resulted from the arrival of the Crime Syndicate from Earth 3 and the disappearance of all the major heroes, and more besides, from Earth Prime. Its all a strange new world where the villains are ascendant and the heroes are woefully missing, or just presumed dead. Where the Gem Cities are concerned, we’ve already seen a recently-freed Grodd attack the city rather brutally and lay waste to both of them. The question now is what the Rogues are going to do about it all.

In the Rogues one-shot for Villain’s Month, we got to see a behind-the-scenes look at the supervillains of the Gem Cities, a team of criminals who don’t really care about the whole superheroes vs supervillains thing, they are just out looking for the score, as Leonard aka Captain Cold would put it (and does so again in this issue). These are trying times for the Rogues and this new 6-issue mini-series is going to delve into how the Rogues are going to deal with the Crime Syndicate.

Forever Evil - Rogues Rebellion 01Let me get this out of the way first: Based on the recent ongoing arc involving the Speed Force Killer and the Villain’s Month one-shots for The Flash, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are two of the best writers in comics right now. They’ve been putting out one excellent issue after another and their Villain’s Month issues, especially Brian’s Rogues one-shot was superb. They are both due to leave the title soon and move on to Detective Comics, but in the meantime, I’m definitely going to enjoy their The Flash run as much as I can. So Brian’s Rogues Rebellion mini-series comes in at just the right moment to give me a bigger fix for that itch.

This issue carries on straight from The Flash #23.3, the Rogues one-shot, and right from the start, we are treated to a vision of hell. We saw in The Flash #23.1, the Grodd one-shot that Grodd had pretty much devastated Central City, and in the former we saw that the Rogues arrived there long after the fires had all burnt out, metaphorically speaking. So we know from the get go that things are pretty dire in the city, and that the Rogues are completely wrong-footed, especially once they find a near-dead (or dead?) supervillain named Girder who’s had a number done on him.

And so on and on, the Rogues discover pieces of the puzzle one by one as they make their way to the hospital where their final team member and Leonard’s sister Glider is recuperating. Of course, given the title of this mini-series, its no surprise who the Rogues go up against at the end, and there Brian creates a truly chilling ending that promises some very, very bad things are going to happen to the Rogues next.

I enjoyed the hell out of this issue. Brian’s writing flows without interruption from panel to panel, page to page, creating a whole that is more than the sum of its part, to employ an oft-used cliche. You could say in a way that this issue is one of discovery, with that discovery being that the Rogues are truly honourable villains. They have a code of ethics and they will stick to that no matter.

This issue is almost a character study of each of the Rogues. With Captain Cold we see his leadership in action several times. With Heatwave we see how easily ticked off he can get and just how much of a badass he is. He almost reminds me of Brian Wood’s Conan actually! With Weather Wizard we learn some more of his powers, which was a nice touch, especially since I don’t have much of an experience with these characters beyond the Villain’s Month issues. With Mirror Master we learn some more of his love for Glider, and also how loyal he is to the team, the family as Captain Cold calls it and we saw in last month’s one-shot. And then there’s Trickster, an over-exuberant kid who acts before he thinks. Each of the Rogues brings something to the table, no matter who it is, and together, they are a really diverse group.

While ostensibly this issue is about the Rogues, we also learn some more about what the Crime Syndicate is doing on Earth Prime, and how they are doing it. Given how certain things end up happening in this issue, I’m all the more excited to see how next week’s Forever Evil: ARGUS shapes up, particularly since its being written by Matt Kindt. We shall see how things turn out.

The art for this issue is by pencillers Patrick Zircher and Scott Hepburn, colourist Nick Filardi, letterer Dezi Sienty and cover art by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. Patrick and Nick worked with Brian on the Rogues one-shot last month, so they are a welcome sight for this issue. Between the two of them, we get a lot of consistency between these two issues, and that’s excellent. The gritty style that is favoured by the two of them carries over well enough to this title and makes the first half of this issue really stand out. In the second half, pencil duties switch to Scott, and it was a jarring transition since his characters are somewhat different from Patrick. It pulled me out of the issue at first, but I quickly got to like it. He has a much more of an animated feel to his artwork, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t jive so well with Patrick’s art.

Additionally, the first page recaps “that” famous panel from Forever Evil #1 by Geoff Johns in which the entire Crime Syndicate meets with Earth Prime’s villains. Patrick’s rendition of the scene is so much better than David Finch’s! I really wouldn’t mind it if Patrick was on the main event comic rather than David, since the latter’s work hasn’t really been working for me so far.

Also, can I just say that I love that cover by Declan and Jordie. It shows off each of the Rogues to great affect and it really is a great composition with some nice colours in the bargain. I’d love for this duo to do more covers for Rogues Rebellion.

All the same, I think this was the best Forever Evil event issue so far, and I can’t wait to read the second issue next month. Its going to be a long wait but well worth it!

Rating: 9/10

More Forever Evil: #1, #2, (Arkham War) #1.

Posted on October 16, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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