My Kryptonite: Them Dastardly Flash Rogues

This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics

Hello. My name is Paul, and I am ardent supporter of them miserable, low down Flash Rogues. Namely Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, and most especially, Captain Cold.

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Clockwise from top right: Weather Wizard, Heatwave, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Trickster (Art by Scott Kolins)

I know they are not nearly so deranged or ambitious as Batman or Spider-Man’s enemies, and I acknowledge that their monickers and costumes are of bargain basement quality at best. Such is their charm. I adore these mooks, these goons, these princes of Central City, these kings of Keystone. Initially, they represented science puzzles for Barry Allen, each rogue dabbling in their own branches of fringe research like advanced thermodynamics or freak meteorology or, ya know, mirror science. Somewhere along the way, though, it became clear that these crooks were just that, crooks and not much more. That limitation inspired something far more compelling than a place at the galactic arch-foe table. It made for great character. By never graduating from the DC Academy of Hard Knocks, the Rogues were pulverized into the most loathsome of small-time gangsters. Their frustration resonates in a way that a Mr. Freeze or a Green Goblin probably never could.

They hang out in diners. In their costumes for cripes sakes.

It all really started for me with 2008’s Rogues’ Revenge, a three-part tie-in mini-series under the Final Crisis banner. In it, Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins finally acknowledged the true working class heroes of their storied run on the regular Flash title. They did vile, petty things together and in spite of one another. It remains an excellent caper and some of my favorite work from Scott Kolins in recent years.

The following year I quietly set up Twitter accounts for my four favorite Rogues and spent the better part of a day weaving a story told completely through their social media interaction. Originally posted on iFanboy, I revisit it here (you’ll want to start from the bottom and continue upwards to follow along chronologically).

rtrogue1rtrogue2rtrogue4

The story actually continued over the next day or so, with the Rogues camping. Those accounts are still out there, though I haven’t updated them in roughly 5 years.

These days the Rogues exhibit metahuman abilities in the comics, a departure from their pre-52 reliance on gadgetry. I’m not so wild about that, or the fact that their costumes look somewhat less hokey. That Snart’s ridiculous blue parka looked like it was lined with the fur of a pomeranian was part of the low-rent appeal. While it’s undeniably heartening to see these guys on CW’s The Flash, it’s also somewhat disappointing that they come across so broad, so operatic. I love Wentworth Miller’s cool menace as Captain Cold, but in my heart of heart’s the real Snart is off on FX’s Fargo in the guise of Billy Bob Thornton’s hit-man character Lorne Malvo.

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Captain Cold by Brian Bolland

End of the day, I know my Rogues are out there, those incorrigible goons who tried Twitter and dropped it after a week. That was the time it took them to realize broadcasting their crimes on social media probably wasn’t the best way to keep the scarlet speedster off their sorry tails (and tales). So, whenever I stop at a greasy spoon with laminated menus and the scent of stale coffee on the air, I glance around at the other tables for a wand resting next to the forks, a pair of rectangular purple shades slipping down the hook of a nose, a stranger staring a little too deeply into an endless reflection in the napkin dispenser…

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