Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #1


Brian Buccellato Writer
Patrick Zircher and Scott Hepburn Artists
Nick Filardi Colorist
Dezi Sienty Letterer
Harvey Richards Associate Editor
Wil Moss Editor
Brian Cunningham Senior Editor

The cover is by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, and I don't like it one bit. It's just so boring. Everybody's standing around and almost as an afterthought, a gigantic red target is placed over Captain Cold's head, presumably from the Crime Syndicate. Plus, I'm not a big fan of Shalvey's style. So I guess it's a good thing he didn't do any inside pages. But what I'm really sad about is a cover like this doesn't do the Rogues justice, and I bet it turned away a lot of potential readers by being so boring and generic.

Our story begins at the remains of the Justice League Watchtower in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. All the major villains are there, including the Rogues, to hear the Crime Syndicate announce the death of the Justice League. The Rogues have conflicted feelings about this. On one hand, life without the Flash would be pretty nice; but on the other hand, the Rogues never wanted to become involved in world domination. So they return home to Central City only to find it in a bit of a mess.

The Rogues survey the damage, noting the power is out, the sun has been blocked, and Girder is dead. They then come across the Flash statue, and realize all the destruction has been caused by a familiar simian foe.

Trickster is worried Grodd might come back (he did rip off his arm, after all), and he suggests the Rogues join the Crime Syndicate. Captain Cold adamantly refuses this, and only wants to go check on his sister. But on their way, Heatwave notices a handful of cops chained to some trees, including Captain Darryl Frye, Director David Singh and Patty Spivot.

Frye explains that Grodd destroyed the city in less than an hour, got bored and left. The other gorillas followed him, saying more villains would be back to finish the job. Frye assumes the gorillas were referring to the Rogues, but Captain Cold proves him wrong by freeing the cops. Singh, however, doesn't trust them, and he pulls a gun on Heatwave. After a brief, yet tense standoff, Singh relents and lets the Rogues leave.

They then arrive at the hospital and find that Lisa Snart is alive, but still in a coma. The Rogues are then soon met by a handful of Firestorm's villains — Typhoon, Multiplex, Black Bison, Hyena and Plastique. Black Bison explains that they are on the Syndicate's order to make an example of Central City, starting with the hospital. The Rogues naturally disagree with this, and a big fight erupts.

Heatwave easily handles Plastique, Weather Wizard neutralizes Typhoon, Trickster has a little trouble with Hyena, and Captain Cold quickly takes down Black Bison before being outnumbered by Multiplex. Mirror Master then saves him by pulling Multiplex's clones into the Mirror World, but Cold is angry with him for leaving Lisa exposed. But their fighting is quickly interrupted by the arrival of Deathstorm and Power Ring.

The Good:

Lovable Rogues. The Rogues #1 proved that this dysfunctional family of villains can carry a story by themselves, and this issue proved that they a more than deserving of this six-issue mini-series. Not only are they full of humor and heart, but they can pack a punch. Yes, the villains they fought are C-list villains at best, but it was still pretty nice to see the Rogues kick somebody's butt who wasn't the Flash.

The Bad:

Drastic art change. I'm not the biggest fan of Patrick Zircher, but I do admit that his gritty style works perfectly with this Forever Evil story. But halfway through this issue, the art suddenly switched to Scott Hepburn, who is nothing like Zircher. It was a jarring shift that pulled me out of the story. And to make matters worse, Hepburn's style is very different from Zircher's, and lower in quality. I don't like Hepburn's art one bit — it's just too loose and cartoony for me, especially for a story this serious and harsh. I think I would like Hepburn better in a comic with a lighter tone, but pairing him with Zircher is a mistake, in my opinion.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next time: Justice League of America #8

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