Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #6

"Forever Rogues"

Brian Buccellato Writer
Scott Hepburn Artist
Nick Filardi Colorist
Taylor Esposito Letterer
Harvey Richards Associate Editor
Brian Cunningham Group Editor

The cover is by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, and I am once again annoyed that Scott Hepburn didn't draw it. Is it really too much to ask for to have the inside artist also draw the cover? Anyway, even though I'm not a fan of Shalvey, I do think this is a pretty decent cover. We haven't seen Grodd in a while, so it's great to have him front and center, as well as to be reminded of the chaos caused by Forever Evil — the eclipse, the destroyed city and the Flash statue, which is the only reason I'm reviewing this issue. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but the coloring actually kind of hid Glider from me at first. She just really blended in until I gave it a closer look, then it was a nice little surprise for me. I do wish Mirror Master was included here, though, as he has pretty much been the main character of this mini-series.

Our story picks up in the Gem Cities after the fall of the Justice League. The Rogues have been chased around by the Crime Syndicate and its cronies through Metropolis and Gotham City, losing Captain Cold and Heatwave along the way. Cold joined up with Lex Luthor, while Heatwave may or may not have actually died to help his teammates escape. The remaining members have now finally found themselves back home, but the Crime Syndicate has sent a ton of villains — including Gorilla Grodd — to kill them.

The Pied Piper, who once was a Rogue until he started dating Director David Singh, has decided to come to the aid of his old friends. He uses one of his flutes to hypnotize the Parasite into fighting Grodd. This takes out two of the biggest hitters, but the Rogues are simply outnumbered by the rest of the villains. When all hope seems lost, the Glider suddenly reappears and saves them. Apparently Lisa heard Hartley's music and was awakened to full strength.

Glider quickly resumes her leader role, and has Mirror Master create a large mirror. Weather Wizard then summons a hurricane to push all the villains into the Mirror World, while Glider makes the Rogues intangible so the wind passes right through them. Trickster then delivers the final blow, shattering the mirror with his rocket fist to trap the bad guys. Lisa then kisses Sam, Hartley embraces David, and the people of the Gem Cities thank their new heroes.

The Good:

The Pied Piper. Poor Hartley has shown up just a couple of times in the New 52, and each time he did, he was immediately knocked out by someone. Finally, he's been given a chance to shine, and I loved every minute of it. Taking control of Parasite was a great and intelligent display of his powers, and I really liked his backstory about him being hesitant to reveal his homosexuality to his teammates. And as is usually the case these days, nobody cared that he was gay. But dating a cop was another story. But now it seems the Rogues respect that he's no longer a criminal. I hope the new Flash writers do more with Pied Piper and make him Barry's new scientist ally to fill in for Darwin Elias.

The Bad:

Unanswered questions. This issue didn't feel like the conclusion of a mini-series, but rather the next installment of an ongoing series. But that's not going to happen anytime soon, so we're stuck with this and some vague hope that the next Flash writers will address some of this issues and continue some of these story lines. My biggest complaint is Gorilla Grodd. Somehow, Johnny Quick found and rescued him from the Speed Force, then he emerged with super speed and psychic powers. He immediately conquered the Gem Cities, got bored, and left. Where did he go? What did he do? And where did all the other gorillas go? And did Grodd actually kill Solovar? We don't know. All we saw was him being teleported there by Grid, and then not really do anything. I guess some of these questions will be answered in Forever Evil #7, but I doubt it. I think the responsibility for Grodd's story should have fallen within the Rogues issues. Same with Turbine's. Anybody remember him? He was kind of an important player when Grodd first invaded Central City, then he was offered a spot on the Rogues, but was never seen from again. If he rejected the Rogues' offer, where did he go? I know he wants to go back to his family in 1940, so it seems unlikely he'd completely withdraw himself from the world of superheroes and villains. But to get more specific about this mini-series, what exactly happened to Heatwave? I wouldn't mind having him actually die — he went out in a heroic way. But I want to know for sure one way or the other.

I still don't like Scott Hepburn's style, but it wasn't a major distraction here. All in all, this was a pretty fun mini-series, but I don't think it lived up to its potential. Part of that had to do with the inconsistent and rather unpalatable art, and another part had to do with DC's editorial interference limiting Buccellato's story. I am still happy, though that the Rogues had their own mini-series, and I hope DC gives them more opportunities to shine.

Final score: 5 out of 10.

Next time: I would like to conclude Forever Evil, but that final issue has been delayed — several times. So I'm now going to backtrack and review a Flash issue that happened before Forever Evil, The Flash #26.

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