16 March 2016

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part XLVII: Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge

First off, my ongoing attempt to catch up on audio reviews continues, with The Diary of River Song: Series One at Unreality SF.

Secondly, for months now, you've been reading (whoever you are, dear reader) comics reviews written months after I read the comics in question, and since I get them from the library, usually without the comic in question to hand. That all changes today! Even though this review didn't appear until March 2016, I actually wrote it in July 2015, immediately after finishing the book. This means, I hope, better reviews with more detailed commentary.

Comic hardcover, 144 pages
Published 2009 (contents: 2002-08) 

Borrowed from the library
Read July 2015
Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Scott Kolins
Inkers: Scott Kolins, Dan Panosian, Doug Hazlewood
Colorists: Dave McCaig, James Sinclair
Letterers: Nick J. Napolitano, Gaspar Saladino, Kurt Hathaway

This is the last of the during-Final-Crisis tie-ins in my readthrough-- there are still some "aftermath" titles to review, though. Like Legion of 3 Worlds and Revelations, this story seems to primarily be using the events of Final Crisis as an excuse to catch up with some other characters, the basic hook here being that Libra is trying to recruit the Flash's Rogues Gallery into his organization (this is before Libra is revealed as the herald of Darkseid), but the Rogues want nothing of it: they just want to lay low, since they're still on the run for the murder of the Bart Allen Flash. They plan to take out Inertia, the evil speedster who co-ordinated their murder of Allen.

I don't have much familiarity with the Rogues, unlike the characters featured in Legion of 3 Worlds and Revelations, which definitely hindered my enjoyment of the story; all I really know about them comes from their appearances in Countdown to Final Crisis (where they're also on the run for Bart's murder). In reading Rogues' Revenge, I felt like I was on the edge of reading a good story, it was just that I didn't have the emotional investment in these characters that the story wants you to have. Johns doesn't do much to introduce the reader to them, but rather throws you in at the deep end of their characterizations and histories. What I did grasp had me interested: these are a group of messed-up criminals, to be sure, but they're people, not supervillains cackling and trying to take over the world. Captain Cold especially is put through the emotional wringer here, but he seems to emerge the stronger for it. You do get those Geoff Johns splash pages that seem designed to excite someone who knows more than me; "I'm Kid Zoom!" shouts Inertia triumphantly, as if that has some kind of intrinsic significance.

Scott Kolins's art is very good; he does interesting things with panel layout that are occasionally hard to follow, but usually work well in establishing the oppressive tone of the book; it's really on tone where this books succeeds, between Kolins's art and Dave McCaig's colors, everything is appropriately gloomy. There's the occasional flashback scene that's not clearly marked as such, but if such a technique is good enough for Chris Ware, then I'm sure Johns and Kolins can use it too. The pasts of the Rogues very much live on in their presents.

There are two extra stories in the back of the book, "Absolute Zero" and "Rogue Profile: Zoom," which lay out histories for Captain Cold and Zoom, respectively, both reprinted from Johns and Kolins's 2000-05 run on The Flash. I ought to have read them first, as they make stuff in the main story much more clear. I have Johns's Flash Omnibus volumes on my shelf, waiting to be read; perhaps I'll reread Rogues' Revenge once I have the grounding in Flash lore the story obviously expects.

Next Week: We finally move to the aftermath of the Final Crisis, and it's time to Run!

No comments:

Post a Comment