Monday, 9 June 2014

The Flash Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution (The New 52) Review

The Flash Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution (The New 52)

The attack of Hairgirl, Glowstick-Man and
Fire Turtle!
Writers: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelato

Artists: Francis Manapul and Marcus To

Collects: The Flash #9-12, #0 and The Flash Annual #1

Background Information:

Okay, so last volume left us on a bit of a cliffhanger, but the short version is that after being trapped in the mystical energy known as the speed force, the Flash has found himself in a city populated by talking gorillas (yep!) led by one King Grodd. That’s bad for him, in case you weren’t aware. Gorilla Grodd is one of the more famous of Flash’s enemies so this is kinda significant. The last volume also saw Flash battling Captain Cold, another Flash iconic and leader of this title’s titular Rogues. While before the New 52, Cold used a freeze ray to ice anything around him, he now freezes things by willing it frozen. That’s important children, make sure you take note.


In its first volume, Move Forward, the New 52’s The Flash established itself as one of the most beautiful books of the reboot. Having writers and artists work together so closely- even having an artist as writer has resulted in a truly art-driven series that has really added flavor to the run. Rogues Revolution thankfully delivers a story that is just as good, but the drop in art quality hurts the book, and it honestly makes me worried for what’s going to happen to the series in future.

Flash tries unsuccessfully to blend in with the gorillas.
So Flash escapes Gorilla Grodd to return to a Central City that well and truly hates Flash. See, the Central City residents blame pretty much every bad thing that’s happened on the Flash, and even former friends like Dr. Elias are rallying protests against the Scarlet Speedster. What’s more, Captain Cold’s former crew, a group called the Rogues are back and they’re after Cold’s blood.

Okay, the best thing about this volume is really how much Flash’s supporting cast develops here. Dr. Elias is not the friend to Flash that he once thought he was, and actually seems to just do bad things just to see what happens. Flash’s former girlfriend Patty Spivot hate the Flash because she thinks him responsible for the death of Flash’s civilian identity, Barry Allen. Even Captain Cold, through flashbacks, has some great character progression, pushing the Rogues to their breaking points. I love it when a comic has a vibrant supporting cast and Manapul and Buccelato absolutely nail it.

The Flash himself develops well as a character too; but that’s mostly as a result of the development in everyone else. Here he drops the identity as Barry Allen- cop job and all- to work in Keystone City and keep an eye on the criminal types. Sure, the same thing happens in volume 2 of Superman-Action Comics, but here they don’t make such a big deal of it. Not to put down Grant Morrison’s work, but I really prefer it The Flash’s way, the story felt more like it was going somewhere and Flash’s new identity seemed more to be a part of a greater whole rather than the story in and of itself.

The main story arc of Rogues Revolution takes up issues 9-12 and Annual #1 and does an excellent job at explaining some elements . Like the last volume, it ends on a cliffhanger that is equal parts interesting and annoying. It centers on Gorilla Grodd again and sets up for some enormous things to happen in the next volume. But that’s probably my biggest problem with this volume. We’ve seen Manapul and Buccelato use Grodd for the next volume before, only to see it come to nothing. It’s a trick I’m only likely to fall for so many times. It had better pay off next volume.

So... much... activity... on... one...
The volume ends with what is possibly one of the best 0 issues I’ve read so far. This issue alone adds more like armour. At best, it’s overdesigned spandex, and that’s fine for someone who makes his career out of running fast.
layers to the Flash than anything before it in the New 52 had done- and that’s saying something. My only real problem with this issue is the fact that Barry Allen says that he needs to use armour instead of tights for his costume. I’m not an anti-armour, New 52-hater (I genuinely love, for example, Superman’s new look- collar and all), but the Flash’s suit looks nothing

The art in volume 1 was perfect throughout. Manapul’s washed-out colours and spectacular page design won the day easily. In Rogues Revolution, part of the art duties are taken by Marcus To and while he does an admirable job, To’s work is nothing compared to Manapul’s beautiful work.

Be that as it may, Rogues Revolution is an fun, though slightly flawed, continuation of the story begun in Move Forward. It gets a three and a half out of five anti-armour, New 52-haters.

*** 1/2

+ Solid character development

+ Manapul’s art is gorgeous as always.

+ 0 issue is near perfect.

- Marcus To just isn’t as good an artist

- Another Gorilla Grodd cliffhanger? C’MON!!!

Alternate Option: The Flash: Move Forward

Not really a book you can regret reading, start from the beginning of the New 52 run.

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