Review by Frank Plowright
This volume opens with two more of Geoff Johns’ excellent spotlights on Flash’s villains, detailing their past and their motivations. These are all the more welcome for the Mirror Master chapter being being drawn by the team of Steven Cummings and Wayne Faucher, and Heatwave’s chapter featuring the always excellent art of Peter Snejbjerg.
Flash’s regular foes fall into two categories. There are the reformed villains, now working under the auspices of James Jesse, once the Trickster, for the FBI, and those who’ve never reformed. After several failed skirmishes attempting to apprehend individual rogues Jesse has concluded a full-on assault is required.
After the comparative disappointment of The Secret of Barry Allen, Rogue War is more in tune with the remainder of Johns’ Flash work. Having setting up an intriguing conflict he keeps upping the ante, throwing in more wild cards. There’s a third set of Rogues, the newer villains Johns created throughout his run, the horrible state of the original Captain Boomerang, other Flashes, and the return of Professor Zoom, with several other surprises not to be mentioned. Some participation, such as that of Gorilla Grodd, has the feel of input being determined by valedictory use, but for the most part this is a page-turning thriller from beginning to end, with several surprises throwing the reader off kilter. The ending sets several matters right, and is surely in keeping with what most readers of the past half dozen volumes would want to see.
So, why isn’t this a five star recommendation? Well that’s down to Howard Porter’s artwork. His constant employment on high profile projects for almost a decade from the mid-1990s is puzzling. Perhaps he’s a really nice guy who’s never blown a deadline, as while his layouts are fine, his figurework is wretched. Even the best artists suffer the occasional slip as the pressure of pencilling a monthly comic tells, but this is persistent dereliction on most pages to the point where gawping at yet another distortion distracts from the flow of the story.
So, Johns at least signs off this run on Flash in fine fashion. The continuity then continues with Rebirth, also written by Johns, with Ethan Van Sciver art. This is collected along with Ignition and The Secret of Barry Allen in Flash Omnibus by Geoff Johns volume three.