The Flash #83 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Rafa Sandova, Penciller; Jordi Tarragona, Inker; Arif Prianto, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The “Rogues’ Reign” storyline already has one big edge over “City of Bane” in that it seems to actually be about its main villain, Captain Cold. As with Flash #83, each episode opens with a spotlight on the villain, as Cold muses on his new role as a powered-up king of the city. He’s taken over Central City, is worshipped as a God, and has the Flash imprisoned alongside fallen Rogue Trickster – but things aren’t nearly as secure as he wants to believe.
While Flash continues to desperately try to get out of his restraints, he gets bailed out by none other than Cold’s sister, Golden Glider. Glider was never one of the more hard-core of the Rogues, frequently retiring to live a normal life, so it’s good to see that Williamson is not villainizing her. She even describes herself as motivated not by the desire to turn good but by the desire to help her brother – she believes he’s destroying himself, and the only way she can stop him is by toppling his empire.
Once Barry’s free, he discovers that getting his powers back isn’t as simple as he thought. The restraint collar is still on, and he hasn’t figured out how to remove it, but he still wanders into the frozen wilderness with Glider and finds Wallace and Avery. They naturally mistrust Glider, but the presence of Cold’s giant robots rampaging through the city don’t give any of them much time to debate loyalties.
Flash #83 is a pretty strong issue until a big twist a few pages before the end, which leads to a stunning splash segment showing exactly what happens when Barry takes the collar off – and what has happened to the Speed Force. This raises the stakes nicely for the story, pitting a weakened group of heroes against a villain more powerful than he’s ever been. It’s a bit odd that last issue’s dark cliffhanger isn’t followed up on at all, but I can’t actually say I’m sorry to see that dropped. Williamson continues to rocket towards 100.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.