THE FLASH #14 [Review]

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DC Rebirth has been good to The Flash; it’s been one of the books most drastically improved by leaving the New 52 behind. The Flash #14 is the beginning of a new arc, “Rogues Reloaded,” and while Barry Allen has been challenged quite a bit these 13 issues, now he’s facing off against his most famous band of adversaries. And if there’s two things I love with all my heart, it’s superheroes and heist stories.

The Rogues have been dormant for a while and in the meantime new, amateur villains have been trying to claim Central City as their own. Flash handles each of these attempts with ease, all the while reminiscing about his storied history with the Rogues. This leads Barry to an investigation of his longtime foes, questioning all known associates and those affected by their many heists in Central City. Barry eventually uncovers their underground hideout and a plan for thievery in Corto Maltese. After narrowly escaping a self destruct set by Heat Wave, Flash begins his journey away from Central City – which is exactly what the Rogues were counting on.

This wasn’t exactly the explosive beginning to an action packed heist comic that I was expecting. Instead, it was a slow-building mystery leading to a major heist, which is even better. Revisiting Flash’s history with the Rogues is fun and seeing where they stand in Rebirth is exciting. After collaborating recently to defeat The Riddler, their relationship is complicated; Flash even thinks they might have turned over a new leaf.

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Josh Williamson paces the script just right; it was nice to slow down in this set-up following the fast-paced action of previous arcs. I have total faith that Williamson can provide what should be the Rogues’ greatest plan ever. The story allows Barry to uncover a mystery and fall for a trap without seeming like a total moron, which is a comic book writer triumph.

Given their recent heroics, these criminal comrades have a more complicated relationship with The Flash than ever before. The development of Central City’s relationship with The Flash may be in jeopardy depending on just how this plays out. Being as classic as the red speedster himself, a good portion of the city treasures these Rogues and their legacy. It would be an interesting angle to pursue, having Captain Cold exploiting the Rogue’s history with the city against Barry.

The Flash has, for the most part, consistently established its style of art. Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia maintain a steady hand, one that is noticeably it’s own, looking very different from other DC Rebirth titles. While the lightning addition to Flash’s classic costume has inspired some debate, this series continues to win me over on the look. Plus, depicting these new details as thinner and more secondary to the red makes the design an easier pill to swallow for those dedicated to the classic suit. The Flash #14 also showcases a varied cast of supporting characters, each distinctly their own, adding depth to Central City and making it more real.

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This issue is a good start to a promising arc; Williamson introduces themes worth exploring. He avoids letting this “Rogues Reloaded” feel too familiar without taking away the excitement of a classic foe returning. The art team has done wonders so far with villains and their Rogues look delightful. I cannot wait to see them in action! The Flash #14 is a perfectly slower-paced reintroduction to a classic handful of villains. New readers should be intrigued and not feel lost, while longtime fans should be delighted to revisit a bit of Flash history before it zooms ahead.

Rating 4

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