Best Shots Extra: FC: Rogue's Revenge #3`

Cover to Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge #3

Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge #3 of 3

Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Scott Kolins

Color art by Dave McCaig

From DC Comics

preview - here 

Geoff Johns makes no bones about the characters that matter to him. If he likes a character, you can bet he will use him throughout his work, and there will be serious ongoing evolutions. Rogue’s Revenge, then, becomes an exercise in passion for Johns, and Johns’ fans, as we see the culmination, not only of the writer’s exhaustive profiles of the Flash’s enemies, but also of the Flash storylines that followed his own re-defining run on the character.

The charm of this take on this dastardly gang of ne’er do wells shares important characteristics of what Johns does so well in his heroic subjects; commitment. Whether it be Hal Jordan, Robin, or Superman, Johns infuses an unwavering ethic to the pathos of his heroes. What they believe, they believe explicitly, and act in complete accordance. This complete conviction is something we everyday, normal folk might lack, and as such find it appealing in our heroes.

Well, it turns out, it’s a pretty damn cool trait for villains as well. Or maybe just Rogues.

The Rogues are just as unflinching in their commitment to their own ethical code as any hero. It just so happens that their code extends beyond the realm of lawfulness. Led by the fascinating Captain Cold, the strength of that code is what covers the individual weaknesses of each member. Johns has taken great care over his time to show readers the inciting incident in each man’s life, so any judgments we make on the choices of these men are at least informed. “Honor among thieves,” oversimplifies the matter, because it is much more of a foxhole mentality. They have no choice but to band together, because they stand no chance apart.

Just as important as showing readers who the Rogues are is showing us who they are not. The education of the youthful Trickster in this series becomes invaluable in this respect, because we can learn as he does. First, the Nietzschean Zoom claims that his acts of villainy serve a purpose; the suffering he creates leads to a stronger hero, better suited to defend the world from horrors worse than he. Zoom, at least for Wally West, is the ultimate horror, and as such his delusions of somehow being constructive are obvious. Final Crisis’s Libra embodies another end of the spectrum; an abject, totalitarian supervillainy only found in comics and propaganda. Both of these present a stark contrast to our fair Rogues, who neither suffer delusions to their own “good” intentions, nor beg for nihilistic chaos, and the fruitless world that would leave them unable to unlawfully snatch from. Cold’s Rogues are only interested in taking their unfair share, while respecting the boundaries that keep them safe. Caught between Zoom and Libra, though, is Inertia. Inertia has no ethical code at all. He wants destruction, but not only for the sake of destruction; he wants it so he can enjoy the pain. The fruits of his labor.

Well, he shouldn’t have imparted that pain on these guys.

Rogue’s Revenge was ultimately about just that, a vendetta against the one who manipulated them into violating their own code. When Inertia arranged for the circumstances that led to the murder of Bart Allen, Flash IV, he stole from the Rogue’s their very integrity, the very thing that had sustained them for so long. He cheapened them, and in accordance with their own pathos, had to pay.

This series was a celebration of what made these villains better than others. The reality is, the Rogues have forever been outgunned, and this series was no different. Seeing how their methods allow for an overcoming of those odds is what makes this an intriguing story, when they are up against even more than just a Flash. You might not like these guys, you might not root for them, but you will respect them.

Rogue’s Revenge is a closing of the books that neither John’s Rogue War, nor Infinite Crisis, nor the unsatisfying Bart Allen Flash series could provide. All of the loose ends Johns set up on those years on the Flash title are given their closure, if only so no one else can try. Cold, Mirror Master, the young Trickster, Weather Wizard, Heat Wave, Pied Piper, Inertia, and even Zoom are treated with care, and left better off than the writer found them. Scott Kolins, of course, provides the perfect look for this exercise, his style both suited for the frenzied kineticism of speedsters, and familiar to those who loved their longtime collaboration.

The story ends with the reintroduction of the past. The Rogue’s world was a carefully built house of cards. It had already fallen, and this series was them cleaning it up. Soon, though, there will be a new sheriff in town, same as the old sheriff in town. Throw out the old rulebook, though, because it will have to be a brand new game.

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