The Flash #37 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Scott McDaniel, Penciller; Mick Gray, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Murderous Rogues
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Barry Allen is both superhero and detective, and is excellent at both solving criminals and beating the bad guys. But one thing he’s never been up against at length is a corrupt system designed to cover up crimes and punish the truth-seekers. That’s why he finds himself out of his element in Iron Heights. Although he and his partner Kristen are investigating the death of Turbine, their attempts to get the truth out of confessed killer Trickster reach a dead end when they find him severely beaten in solitary – and are quickly dragged away by the corrupt Warden Wolfe, who threatens them not only with dismissal but imprisonment. Wolfe is quickly making Amanda Waller look like a piker. Meanwhile, the larger conspiracy is building as the Rogues have formed their own private kingdom within the prison, sacrificing Trickster to get Turbine out of the way and aligning with Godspeed.
Godspeed has always been one of the Flash’s most interesting new villains, a ruthless killer with a strict sense of justice that sets him apart from the rest of the Rogues. So there’s an ambiguity to his decision to align with the Rogues – he’s also trying to pass information to Barry, and which side he’s truly on isn’t made clear until later. Most of the action takes place inside Iron Heights, but Barry gets out for a team-up with Kid Flash and learns a little more about the new Copperhead, the Rogues’ rival from outside of the prison. Barry is finally starting to act more like a hero again, as opposed to the extended Negative Flash arc. By the end of the issue, Captain Cold has made his next move against the Flash, setting up a prison throwdown next issue that puts the advantage squarely on the Rogues’ side. The new setting has given this book a new lease on life.
Corrina: The Rogues, especially Cold, have been played as anti-heroes often in the comics and in television, thus it’s interesting that this arc will firmly establish them in the future as murderers. They’re responsible for killing Turbine and they’re responsible for other truly evil things, such as shattering Trickster’s psyche. The next time a writer wants to use Cold as an anti-hero, they’ll have to remember his actions in this arc.
Cold’s utter villainy also serves to create a greater menace for Flash, as it’s clear that the Rogues, this time, will kill him. There is also tension with Godspeed, who may or may not be with Cold. (Though he too is a murderer, so I don’t expect a redemption tale from him.)
And, yet, despite the villains, this arc has me less involved emotionally, Perhaps it’s the fake out about Kristen’s death, perhaps it’s the lack of heroic actions on Barry’s part or, even, the lack of intelligent actions on Barry’s part, but I’m just not feeling it. To be sure, Meena’s heel-turn in stereotypical fashion hasn’t helped.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.