By Brian Buccellato, Patrick Zircher and Nick Filardi
The Flash #23.3 is the third Villain’s Month book to feature one of the speedster’s foes and it takes the cake as the best of the bunch. This book works on multiple levels by managing to be a flashback story, a Forever Evil tie-in, and essentially a prequel to Rogues Rebellion, a Forever Evil tie-in mini-series beginning next month. That’s a lot to juggle for one book but writer Brian Buccellato and artist Patrick Zircher manage to pull it off.
The Rogues aren’t a super-villain team and Buccellato makes sure the readers understand that. He writes these meta-powered robbers more like a broken family and the results are great. Whether it’s Heatwave’s anger toward Captain Cold for decisions made in the past or Mirror Master and Glider’s difficult relationship Buccellato nails the voice of the team and really separates them from other comic book teams.
While it would have been nice to see the focus through the eyes of a different Rogue the stuff with Captain Cold is so great it’s forgivable. Cold is struggling with the reckless decisions he’s made and the trust that he lost from his team. It’s great stuff and Buccellato knocks it out of the park.
The art by Zircher is a perfect fit for the book tonally. As awesome as regular Flash artist Francis Manapul’s work is I don’t think it would have had the same effect as Zircher’s art along with colors by Nick Filardi. The grittiness of the art reinforces that The Rogues are a street level team. Zircher also draws some great expressions whether it is Cold’s solemn looks while speaking to his sister or Heatwave’s anger. There was however one pesky scene that apparently has to be in nearly every Villain’s Month book. That’s a whole page that Zircher could have done something more creative with.
Although it is Villain’s Month this is the first book that almost didn’t feel like it fit in. Sure the Rogues rob banks but these aren’t true villains. They aren’t psychopaths or killers; they’re just trying to get by the only way they know how. Buccellato and Zircher do a solid job nailing down the voice of the Rogues and setting them apart from the rest of the pack.