To say that Final Crisis was a confusing event would probably be putting it lightly. I was still reading comics on a weekly basis as it rolled on and I had very little clue what was happening. However, after reading all of the Morrison-written stuff together in the FC collection, I actually really enjoyed the story. I don’t think I understand it 100%, but I had a great experience reading it and want to revisit it and hopefully gain a little more insight. I think one of the stumbling blocks for DC was taking a Grant Morrison story–which tend to be weird and wild–and turning it into an event. It probably should have just been it’s own thing, but considering how huge of a story it was, it would have been strange for it to not be referenced anywhere else. Adding the “Final Crisis” tag to books like Rage Of The Red Lanterns which had little-to-nothing to do with it didn’t help.
Anyway, Rogues’ Revenge is kind of one of those books as well, but it does feature Libra one of the big bads in FC, so I guess it makes sense. Johns and Kolins return to the characters they made awesome during their run of Flash and do a pretty damn good job which is saying a lot considering the Rogues just got done murdering a grown-up Bart Allen in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, a book I didn’t even read for free. There’s also some vague references to Countdown that aren’t that important. But, I think Rogues’ Revenge works really well on its own, but you do need to know a few things. Inertia tricked the Rogues into killing Bart Allen, Libra has killed Martian Manhunter and turned most of the villains of the DCU into an army, but the Rogues want nothing to do with him, which makes him angry. Also, Pied Piper was tied to the original Trickster for a while after the death of Bart Allen, which seems to have messed Piper up. They were both trying to infiltrate the Rogues when Bart got killed. Most of these details are included in the story as it progresses, but I figured I’d throw it out there because the book doesn’t have an intro (which it really should).
Anyway, this book, while it might have a few continuity questions for folks, acts as this awesome revenge action story. Think something like Payback or Crank but with supervillains instead of Mel Gibson or Jason Statham. The Rogues are looking to get out of the villain game because they broke one of their own rules by killing the Flash, but they want to pull one last job: kill Inertia. Captain Cold takes the lead for the most part, but Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard and the kid Trickster all have cool moments as they tear through imposters (originally seen in Batman: Gotham Underground which I thought I reviewed, but apparently not) and deal with an Inertia trained by Zoom as well as Libra himself. These are very bad men doing very bad things very well.
With all the violence, death and rain, the book takes on a kind of noire feel to it, but Kolins’ artwork is as bright and vibrant as ever. The rain is really serious in the book and Kolins makes them look soaked without getting sloppy. It really is a great collaboration between two creators who have great chemistry together. Giving the Rogues the spotlight was a cool move that could have been done at any time and not tied in to Final Crisis, but the elements of that story that are included make sense and actually make them look even more badass. Telling Libra to kiss off more than once is pretty epic, but would have been more so if I could remember what the deal with that character was. Anyone remember?
If you like revenge movies, the Rogues or high quality stories that give villains the spotlight, the this book is definitely up your alley. By not dealing with heroes (Flash only appears in flashbacks and at the very end) the Rogues get to show how dangerous they really are and it’s a wild ride to keep up with.