Rogues #4 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Leomacs, Artist; Jason Wordie, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Inspired by hard-boiled crime thrillers like those of Quentin Tarantino and Ed Brubaker’s noir comics, Rogues has essentially served as a post-script to Joshua Williamson’s top-tier Flash run. Taking the iconic Rogues several decades into the future, it reunites the crew for one last heist—in Gorilla City, to rob the famous vault of Gorilla Grodd. Casting the Rogues as broken-down has-beens and Grodd as a ruthless titan who has gotten everything he ever wanted, it was a perfect set-up for a heist thriller—until last issue, when everything went wrong in a hurry. Three members of the Rogues died, the remaining team was cornered in the vault along with turncoat ape Sam, and Snart made the desperate move of kidnapping Grodd’s son as a way to leverage their release. Needless to say, this doesn’t particularly work well, as Grodd has never exactly been the paternal sort.
At fifty pages, this final issue is brilliantly tense from beginning to end. We’ve got a desperate, furious Grodd looking to save his empire, an even more desperate team of Rogues looking to survive by any means necessary, and it’s not long before things completely explode in a brutal climax. Cold and Heatwave seem to be chasing death, as they often are, while Golden Glider and Bronze Tiger are the closest things this series has to heroes. The final showdown between Cold and Grodd is one of the best depictions of just how dangerous a character with freeze powers can be, and the ending feels like a Shakespearean tragedy. Williamson has taken these characters a long way, and I can’t exactly say that this Cold feels like the one he wrote in his Flash run. But this works brilliantly as a villain-centric Black Label series, serving as both a final Rogues story and one of the best stories these villains have had in a long time.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.