A stable week for a change and this meant that I was able to read some more comics this time. Didn’t get through quite as many as I wanted to, and I certainly didn’t get around to reviewing as many as I wanted to, but that’s fine really. Gotta take a bit of an occasional lighter load I think. Most of the Marvel books I read this week weren’t all that impressive (as the top picks at the end will show), but DC was better. And Vertigo’s newest series looks to be damn good too, can’t wait to check out the second issue of that next month.
And I did manage to begin my Flash New 52 read-through finally with volume 1 last night, so that’s something there. Planning to read a lot of graphic novels this year, mostly in terms of catching up with series I’ve missed out on, so we shall see how it all pans out.
The Rogues have been chased through Central City, Metropolis, Gotham and they are tired. They have been sundered, their relationships frayed, and now they have their backs to the wall. Everyone is after them, all the supervillains who now obey the Crime Syndicate that is. That’s been the theme of this mini-series from the start. The series has gone from situation to situation in each issue and I’ve wondered if there was any particular plan to all of it, whether it would all come together for something significant.
The latest issue, out this week, continues the story of the Rogues vs the Royal Flush Gang, and a gang they are indeed. The Rogues are now prisoners of the Royal Flush Gang, being taken back to Central City for a date with the Crime Syndicate. And this is when the Rogues really come back together. I loved this issue, quite frankly, because the story moved forward, and it went back to its roots of the Rogues’ rebellion against the Crime Syndicate. And the art was pretty much on point too.
This month, the Forever Evil event moves into its second half. Till now, we have seen a lot of things happen here (yeah, I say that every time) and of all the four distinct books, Rogues Rebellion has been the most entertaining. It has sat on the fence between comedy and serious, with a mostly well-handled execution that makes it one of the best event comics DC has out at the moment. But, till now it has also been little more than a villainogue as I mentioned in my review of the previous issue. In fact, the entire event has been about that and lots of ignored, minor villains and supervillains have stepped up to the plate and it all has been quite interesting.
With the new issue, writer Brian Buccellato introduces a new (to New 52) supervillain group while also introducing one of Gotham’s more notable crime lords and his own gang. With the Rogues currently in full limbo and Captain Cold off on his own with Lex Luthor’s Injustice League, Rogues Rebellion has taken a rather interesting turn and I have to say that despite the fact that the series isn’t really moving forward all that much, I’m having fun. The art remains excellent and the writing is mostly consistent. There is little more that I could ask of this creative team.
We are pretty much halfway through the Forever Evil event in terms of release chronology. There have been some pretty big, pretty major events that have switched around the status quo of the DC universe since the main heroes of three different Justice Leagues are all dead or presumed dead until proven otherwise, as far as the world at large is concerned. Given how big of an event it is, inevitability said that there would be quite a few tie-ins to this main event, and that’s where Rogues Rebellion steps in. It focuses on Flash’s premier New 52 villains, The Rogues, and how they defy the Crime Syndicate, the new “ruling” power.
For its first two issues, Rogues Rebellion has been a fairly good story that ticks all sorts of boxes, but there was still an undercurrent of unease that the six-issue mini-series would not quite live up to the mark. This week saw the release of the third issue, set in Gotham no less, and I was quite excited for it. Some of those expectations didn’t end up getting met since the story wasn’t as gripping this time around, but I have to say that on its own, its pretty good. It also doesn’t hurt that the artwork is so damn good here.
Well, they’ve gone and done it. First the Rogues decided to see what the Crime Syndicate was all about. They went to the big meeting at the location of the crashed Justice League Watchtower, they heard the spiel, they were mildly interested. They came back to Central City, only to find it pretty much wrecked and the heads of humans and apes mounted on sticks. Then the Deathstorm and Power Ring showed up and told them to destroy the city. Captain Cold said no. And that, as they say, was that.
Brian Buccellato’s take on the Rogues has been one of the best things about his work. Whether it is in the recent issues of The Flash or in the recent one-shots and the new mini-series Rogues Rebellion, he’s made the characters into a really interesting team, characters that you can get along with and be invested in. He continues that in the second issue of this Forever Evil tie-in mini-series, and he does it with style. The one big kicker though is that the first half of the issue was already done in Geoff Johns’ Forever Evil #3, and so half this issue is just recap material unfortunately. Entertaining though!
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.
Three weeks into DC’s Villain’s Month and I have to say that The Flash has come out on top so far with the best-written and best-drawn titles so far. Grodd was a fantastic issue that made me want to go back and read up on the Gorilla Warfare arc. Reverse-Flash was another oustanding issue that carried on the current arc, which I’m following, really, really well and ended on an awesome cliffhanger. And this week’s Rogues was a yet another excellent entry.
With each of these issues, writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have given me innumerable reasons to catch-up on their entire arc for the New 52 version of the Scarlet Speedster. I’ve mentioned before that the first three issues of the run, which I read last year, didn’t hook me but that all the recent issues have and I really want to go back and read ’em all. Which would be a perfect thing to do since the second arc of the series deals with the Rogues and should prove to be excellent reading material.