FLASH #15 & 16

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[ HOT FOOTED BARGAIN ]
They're back! Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Golden Glider, Weather Wizard, and Heat Wave are back! And this time they've brought along with them a creative team DC Comics can be proud of. So get set, Flash fans, for another double-review featuring those two creative cats, Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico!

TO QUOTE Alexandre Dumas: 'I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest'.

THE REVIEW:
When I first sat down to read this second part of Rogues Reloaded, issue 15, I honestly thought it began in a fairly predictable manner. As some of you may recall, last month The Rogues managed to dupe the Flash to go and search for them outside Central City, presumably so they can go and rob the place during his absence. So when this book begins, surprise-surprise, they're not in Central City, they're in Corto Maltese (a fictitious country) attempting to steal a statue of the God Mercury from a nearby museum.

From page one onwards, each team member begin they're assault by swooping down from the rafters and doing whatever it is they do best: Which includes Captain Cold handling the guards, Weather Wizard taking care of the crowd, Heat Wave setting things on fire, Mirror Master looking at himself in a mirror, whereas the rest of them kind of run around and spout dialogue. When suddenly, AS EXPECTED, the Flash turns up and attempts to stop them in their tracks!  What wasn't expected, however, is what happens while the battle starts to progress.

Somewhat astutely, the Flash comes to the realization that these Rogues aren't the real Rogues, they're duplicates, created by Mirror Master, and put in place to keep him distracted while their real life counterparts are -- yes, you guessed it -- robbing Central City. Fortunately he figures this out just before Mirror Master can cause him any real damage (loved the idea behind the Mirror Monster), and of course, sets the stage for what will play out during the next chapter of this multi-part story-arc.

But unlike its predecessor, issue 16, as opposed to issue 15, felt a little less obvious in the telling! And I say 'little', simply because this time round the story manages to surprise me, even if the set-up was a pretty obvious one in hindsight. 

You see, during the Flash's absence the Rogues have taken it upon themselves to split up and rob a pre-selected target, one crime at a time. So when the Flash finally catches on to what they're up to, he obviously get's confused, worried, and unsure of what their doing and why they're doing it in such a singular fashion. That is, until he astutely figures out that each of their robbery's felt finite in tone, almost as if this was the last time each Rogue would come to Central City.

So with this in mind, the Flash attempts to think about what he would do if he had to leave the city for good. Or to be more specific about it, what the villain who committed the first crime he encounters would do, namely, the villain Heat Wave, especially after robbing a bank and then setting it on fire.

After a discussion with Iris, the Flash eventually catches up with Heat Wave and they both try their best to stop the opposing party. Now for fairly obvious reasons I don't want to tell you too much or else I may spoil the surprise. Yet what I will say is that, yes, the Flash is a crafty little bugger, and some might say he's too crafty for his own good.
  
So that was the basic brunt of the story thus far, and as for the artwork, on the other hand, I must say that I did love Carmine Di Giandomenico's lavish depiction of each character. Despite looking a bit simple in places, sparse even, by and large Carmine's bold visuals complemented the character work established by Joshua Williamson. For instance, in issue 15 and 16 we see Captain Cold's icy demeanor in both his dialogue and his posture. The same can also be said about most of the other characters, such as Mirror Master's vain qualities, the impish charm given to the Trickster, as well as Heat Waves' blatant homicidal tendencies.

Funnily enough, this now brings me quite nicely onto what else I liked about issue 15, specifically, the way in which each character was depicted on the page, thus giving the overall story a lot more personality. Even though I'm not a huge fan of the Trickster -- as I find him to be an unsympathetic brat at best -- everyone else associated with the Rogues was a right blast, and that is why I forgave the fairly pedestrian approach this issue ultimately took. Issue 16 was a pretty good issue too, because I did like the way that Barry managed to outsmart Heat Wave, as well as how Captain Cold was the only Rogue who cottoned onto this fact after Heat Wave told him about his encounter with the Flash.

So far 'Rogues Reloaded' is shaping up to be a pretty good story-line. Even if it does feel a bit predictable in places, the art is solid, the characters are great, and the plot has enough substance to lead me back for more.  

THE MUSIC:
In issue 15, when the Flash finally figures out that the Rogues have managed to dupe him, I bet you anything he played the following song sung by Casey Bill Weldon. In my opinion it's a really jazzy number as it possesses an almost mischievous quality that suits these two issues to a tea. Groovy, baby!




THE COMPARISON:
After some careful deliberation I'd like to compare these two issues to a game of hide and seek.

Do I have to explain why? No. I didn't think so.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the very end of issue 16 Captain Cold abruptly pulls a gun on the Flash. But hey, this gun isn't his usual cold gun. As in actual fact, this gun is a special gun, really special. So out of the following eight options, can you guess what he calls it? Could it be...

  1. Nora.
  2. The Blue Slushie Gun.
  3. The Red Embarrassing Gun!
  4. The Yellow Snow Gun.
  5. The Green Bogie Gun.
  6. The Distilled Water Gun.
  7. The Brown Crap Gun.
  8. The Black Ice Gun.  
Nuff said.

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