Flash # 225 Review

Reviewer: Kevin S. Mahoney
Story Title: Rogue War: Conclusion

Written by: Geoff Johns
Penciled by: Howard Porter
Inked by: Livesay
Colored by: James Sinclair
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics

This is the end, my fellow Flash friends. There may be no more Rogue Profile issues. The Keystone Cops, Morillo and Chyre, might be written out soon. The villains of the Silver Age may unfortunately go back to their not-exactly-worthwhile status. Keystone City might even lose its face as the engine of the D.C.U.S.A. (Iron Heights and all). It’s a shame the race had to end.

The farewell issue of Geoff Johns’ stellar run is here, and it brought the kitchen sink and everything else with it. Special guest stars. Time travel. Epic battles. Revelations about the past and future of the cast. It’s an amazing capstone to one of the best runs on a standard comics hero in decades. The events of this issue forcibly push Wally West into a new lifestyle. The Rogues regroup and decide Keystone is a bit played out. And the best nemesis created in quite a while was defeated, but he may return sometime in the future (or given his knack at temporal mechanics, simply some other time).

There are many ways to gauge how important, amazing, or relevant a narrative work is. Originality, elaborate plotting, great characterization, thrills, and blazing a new trail for the medium could all factor into the decision. For this reviewer, it’s always about the sandbox. Did the creative team add more toys to the book than they took away? The answer to longtime fans of Flash is beyond obvious; not only did Geoff really only remove one character from the Flash legacy (Rainbow Raider) he added so many other characters and enriched the setting so much that it was changed forever. The next writer has many more places to go or characters to use than the old writer initially did and, monumental expectations aside, that’s a significant edge to have.

The art in this series has been first rate for years. Everything from the new character designs (Scott Kolins) to the exciting choreography (Porter) and the occasional moody side-step (Snejbjerg) was well presented and effective. This issue was certainly no exception, but I have to mar the review with one reservation: Porter’s portrayal of Zoom just didn’t look big or mean enough. It’s not that there were deliberate differences in the details, the costume looked great, the power effects were consistent. But Kolin’s Zoom was both bulkier and buffer than Porter’s incarnation, and that made him seem more menacing and threatening. Call it this issue’s Persian flaw, but it was noticeable.