ROGUES #1/ Story by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by LEOMACS/ Color Art by MATHEUS LOPES/ Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU/ Covers by LEOMACS, SAM WOLFE CONNELLY & MICHAEL CHO/ Published by DC BLACK LABEL
Once upon a time, the Rogues stood apart from the common clay of supervillains. Unashamed thieves, they still held to a code of honor as they pitted themselves against the Fastest Man Alive with nothing but advanced science and sheer nerve. But that was then, before the gallery closed and the Rogues parted ways.
Ten years later, Len Snart has had enough of his dead end job and the quiet mockery of his managers. Len Snart also has a plan for one final heist – the big score he never had the chance to go after before the rest of the Rogues called it quits and Captain Cold was forced to retire. Now, he needs to get the team back together and work through all the mistrust, rehab and other issues before them to prove the Rogues still have what it takes.
Rogues is the kind of story I’d hoped to see when DC Comics’ Black Label imprint was first announced. I’m a sucker for Noir and a good heist story. The fact that it centers around The Flash’s Rogues only sweetens the take, as I’ve always felt Captain Cold, Trickster and the rest of the motley crew have rarely been written as the rich and interesting characters that they are.
Joshua Williamson offers a credible spin on how these characters might have evolved after ten years of disappointment, with Captain Cold in the Danny Ocean role. It is glib to describe this as Ocean’s Eleven with supervillains, however, as Williamson’s focus is on the characters rather than the heist. This proves to be a good choice that distinguishes it from most heist stories and The Flash fans will love Williamson’s take on the crew, particularly the colder and crueler Captain Cold.
The artwork is first-class as well. Leomacs is a fantastic storyteller with a great sense of visual pacing and the action is solid throughout. However, I think it is Matheus Lopes’ colors that make the finished art sing, with an oddly faded palleted used throughout that leaves every page looking like a photograph left out in the sun. Beyond offering a unique aesthetic, it serves as a subtle visual reminder of the faded glory that the Rogues seek to recapture.
Rogues is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a good story about bad people. Fans of The Flash will enjoy the story’s focus on the villains, but true crime buffs will thrill at the concept. If nothing else, it should be encouraged as a supervillain study set outside of Gotham City.