By Koppy McFad
July 19, 2008 - 01:55
This issue brings together the remaining members of the Flash's classic rogue's gallery-- Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave and Weather Wizard-- and entangles them in a web of plots involving other villains. At this point, after being dragged through hell, the old guard just want to retire but there is one last piece of unfinished business that they have to attend to.
The creative team of Johns and Kolins are on familiar ground with these villains and there is a confidence in their handling of the varied cast. The characters all sound and look like they have been pushed to very edge but they are still recognisable as the same figures who have been running around in the pages of various incarnations of FLASH comics for almost half a century.
It is also satisfying to see that this story is well-positioned in the DC comics universe. There are references to COUNTDOWN, FINAL CRISIS, SALVATION RUN, the death of Bart Allen and the return of Wally West but these elements are introduced as natural parts of a larger story. For once, the impact of Bart's death is actually being felt instead of being glossed over as some minor inconvenience, just before he inevitably returns from the dead. One would almost think that this miniseries is the real BIG event that all the various DC comics 'events' have been building up to. All of the rogues-- old and new-- look more dangerous and desperate than they ever did before and it is clear that they many of them are heading for a final reckoning.
If anything, there is a danger that the story has been filled with too many characters, conflicts and subplots that it cannot possibly end well. Aside from the Rogues, there is the new Trickster, the old Pied Piper, Murillo, Chyre, a brief scene of Iris Allen, possibly receiving a message from her late husband, Libra and the Secret Society, Inertia-- and an even more surprising returning character at the very last page. The suspense is built up relentlessly, one will be left panting to see what happens next even while dreading what might happen to some of his favourite characters.
Here is hoping this mini-series lives up to the promise of its first issue. If it does, it could very well end up stealing the thunder of FINAL CRISIS.
Rating: 9 /10