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The Flash #16

Review by Paul Bowler

It seems the Rogues have pulled off the perfect crime in The Flash #16, after tricking the Scarlet Speedster into leaving Central City to fight Mirror Master and his mirror duplicates of the Rogues in Corto Maltese, the real Rogues struck back in Central City at five different locations! Now the Flash must race home, but can even the fastest man alive prevent this quintet of crimes when they are being carried out all at the same time?

Rogues Reloaded Part 3 illustrates just how ingenious the Rogues plan really is, and it highlights the shattering aftermath for the Flash because he was distracted by their mirror version on the other side of the world. Flash’s confidence certainly takes a knock in this issue, fortunately Iris West, who Barry has just started dating (although he hasn’t told her he’s the Flash), inspires him to use the Rogues new way of thinking and turn it to his advantage.

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What I really like about the Flash since DC Comics Rebirth, is how writer Joshua Williamson brings such a fresh dynamic to the character of Barry Allen and his blossoming relationship with Iris West, and this issue really plays to those strengths. The Rogues Reloaded storyline has also given Williamson the opportunity to explore new facets of the bonds between the Rogues themselves, and how they operate. Heat Wave also plays a somewhat unexpected role in The Flash #16 which unveils a chilling glimpse into the warped machinations of his flame charred psychology – and proves he’s a villain never to be underestimated!

The fast and furious pace of the action is gloriously realized by artist Carmine Di Giandomenico, the Flash’s dynamically staged analysis of how the Rogues split up to conduct their multiple crime spree is brilliantly handled by Giandomenico. The interlude with Heat Wave is another big highlight, the drama and tension crackles from the page, and the build up to the Flash’s inevitable confrontations with the Rogues culminates in a stylishly handled spectacle of super-speed action. The colors by Ivan Plascencia effortlessly mirror the tone of each scene, from Flash surveying the dark, smouldering aftermath of Heat Wave’s rampage which he wasn’t able to arrive in time to stop, to the horrific memories of the past burn vividly from the page, and the realization of the speed force as is crackles around the Flash in combat during the issues final moment is utterly sublime.

Everything builds towards the moment that we’ve all been waiting for as the Flash finally confronts the Rogues, but it would seem that there’s not quite as much honour amongst thieves as we’ve been led to believe, and his final opponent has deadly surprise in store that even the Flash might not be able to escape from!

The Flash #16 is another excellent issue from Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, and Ivan Plascencia. Rogues Reloaded has been a great super-powered heist caper, its really tested the Flash’s abilities and skills to the limit, Mirror Master, Golden Glider, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, Trickster, and Captain Cold have all had a good share of the action, there’s been a myriad of plot twists that have all collectively added to the excitement, and now everything is in place for the epic conclusion of Rogues Reloaded!

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Joshua Williamson / Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

Colorist: Ivan Plascencia / Letterer: Steve Wands

Cover: Carmine Di Giandomenco / Variant Cover: Dave Johnson

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