The Rogues, those often powerless Flash foes who get by with a gimmick and nothing more, are out for one last big score in this Black Label mini-series, set in the future.
What is this? Two days in a row of Black Label books where villains are out for one last score? Well, yeah. Sure. Why not?
Issue: Rogues #2, April 2022
Writer: Joshua Williamson
The Plot: The Rogues get into Gorilla City. Can they pull off their plan?
Commentary: Len “Captain Cold” Snart has his crew–his sister Golden Glider, con magician Trickster, mentally shaky Magenta, pacifist assassin Bronze Tiger, loyal trooper Heat Wave, and a Mirror Master suffering from narcotics withdrawal–and he has his plan–get into Gorilla City and steal Gorilla Grodd’s fabled gold stash–but can they pull it off?
In this issue, the Rogues themselves are asking just that.
I gotta say, for a “Black Label” series, there isn’t a lot here that probably couldn’t have been, I dunno, an Elseworlds tale or something. There’s a bit of strong language here and there, but I don’t think there’s a lot here that can’t be run in the same sort of comics that DC wouldn’t put out in a more all-ages book. That said, I am having fun with this. The Rogues are a team of sorts, a makeshift family that seems to genuinely enjoy each other’s company, including newcomers Magenta and Bronze Tiger. Little moments like how the Trickster annoys the hell out of the others (while spending all the money necessary to get the group to where they’re going anyway) or how Len Snart more or less figured out on his own that his sister Lisa is currently in a relationship with Bronze Tiger without anyone telling him, shows how well these people arguably all know each other.
Besides, the Trickster appears to annoy everyone.
The group did manage to get into Gorilla City, including past a clever decoy. And yes, Grodd is running things instead of Solovar these days.
Now, Grodd has long been one of my favorite DC villains. The very fact he’s an intelligent gorilla means there’s a lot that can be done with the character. Different creators have played up his animal savagery in different ways, and his level of “civilization” may vary, but here, he’s a little of both a raging animal and a civilized ape in that he is basically running Gorilla City like he’s the head of the mafia. I noted he was depicted in his single panel in the first issue dressed like the Pacino version of Scarface, and here, he’s running a council and telekinetically beating an underling’s head to death when said underling could have been a gorilla version of Marlon Brando’s Godfather.
However, for all that Grodd, now with a wife and small child, runs a glittering and glamorous upper level, the lower parts of the city are basically poor and crime-ridden, and it turns out there are even other humans down there, mostly ones that owe the gorilla loansharks money or something.
So, is Gorilla City just Las Vegas with apes?
Anyway, at this point, Snart may be the only one who really wants Grodd’s gold, and it’s less for the money and more for the respect he feels he deserves. Yes, the others are on board, but this is Cold’s game, and if this series somehow does not have Cold and Grodd having some kind of showdown at some point, I will be very disappointed.
Hunters “The Home”
Noteworthy Issues: Punisher #4 (July, 2022)
The X-Files “Born Again”