March 20, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: Rogues #1 (March, 2022)

Ten years after a scheme gone wrong, Captain Cold reunites the Rogues for one last score.

Huh.  A heist story featuring the Flash’s Rogues Gallery, that fairly tight-knit group of villains who mostly just had a gimmick each and worked together to try to get one past the Scarlet Speedster?  And from DC’s mature readers Black Label line?

Did someone tell Ryan?

Issue:  Rogues #1, March 2022

Writer:  Joshua Williamson

Artist:  Leomacs

The Plot:  Captain Cold has one last big score in mind.  Time to get the gang back together.

Commentary:  OK, I like how this started off.  It’s ten years after a caper gone bad, and the surviving Rogues have all gone their separate ways.  Len “Captain Cold” Snart is living in a trailer on the outskirts of a junkyard.  He’s subject to random drug tests from his parole officer.  He is not allowed to associate with any of his former comrades, including his sister Lisa, AKA Golden Glider.  But then, one day, he overhears his boss at a cardboard box factory laughing at him and decides he’s had enough of that.  He has one big final score in mind.  He just needs a good crew.

As it is, this first issue focuses mostly on gathering the crew, mostly in the form of retired Rogues.  That would be Lisa, Trickster, and Heat Wave.  Magenta may or may not count as one, and Bronze Tiger is a new recruit.  They just need to get Mirror Master out of lock-up.  Oh, and Mirror Master isn’t in a prison.  It’s different sort of lock-up.

I am something of a sucker for alternate future stories, so something like this is right up my alley.  Williamson only gives most of the Rogues a few pages to establish their personalities, but he does so in an effective manner.  Aside from the Snarts, each gets a title.  Trickster is the “Con Man” while Heat Wave is “Demolitions.”  Len or Lisa both have some powers or persuasion to use on the others.  Does Trickster want to keep working as a stage magician with a limited shelf life?  Why would sometime good guy Bronze Tiger join up since he’s there as an assassin but he gave up killing to teach self-defense in the park?  Magenta is a mess in need of her medication.

Oh, and my favorite is Heat Wave.  He was working as an arsonist for hire, the only one arguably who never gave up a life of crime, and doesn’t even need a speech.  He’s in no matter what.

So, all that being what it is, what’s the score?

Apparently, Gorilla Grodd has a large fortune stashed away in Gorilla City.

In another nice touch, Grodd only appears in one panel, but he’s drawn in clothes that make him look like he could be the lead in an all-ape version of Scarface.

Oh, and this is Black Label for a reason.  Len isn’t about to let anyone weasel out of this once things get started.

One of the things about the Rogues is that they were rarely in it for the money.  They just wanted to outsmart the Flash.  Some incarnations weren’t even particularly dangerous.  This story is setting them up to pull a big score, but it does seem possible that they are doing it not for the money, but for the respect.  Or, at least, that’s Len Snart’s motivation.  It makes sense, and I can’t argue with that logic.

This should be fun.

Grade:  A-

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