Doc’s Corner Special Report : Why Flash’s Rogues Gallery Are The Best
One of the best things about the creative and editorial teams at DC Comics in the early Silver Age was their ability to create collections of super-villains for each of their most popular heroes. Superman had his group (Bizarro, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, etc.). Batman had his (Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, etc.). And while these super-villains were huge hits with the fans, they never really played nice together. Sure, they would team up with one another for some big caper but they would go their seperate ways at the the end of the story.
However, from the very first issue of Flash Comics (Issue #105) and the introduction of the Mirror Master, the Flash Rogues Gallery were different. Followed quickly by the Pied Piper, Weather Wizard, Trickster, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, The Top, and Heat Wave, these villains were more personable and reader friendly. And DC demonstrated this in the epic Flash #140 when Captain Cold and Heat Wave fight over a model they have both fallen for. The classic banter between the two and the one-up-manship between the two is an absolute joy. Whether they realized it or not, writer John Broome and penciller Carmine Infantino set the corner stones of the best relationship in super-villain history.
And as the covers of Flash Comics #130 & #174, all of these amazing villains were the best of pals even if they were bickering all the time. This was never more apparent then when writer Cary Bates brought us to the Convention of Flash Villains in Flash Comics #231. Imagine discovering that a hotel in your town was hosting a convention for super-villains! For a teenager growing up in the early 1970’s, this was totally mind blowing! The convention would continue throughout the years and in multiple Flash series.
But in my mind, this comeraderie was really established in two parter featured in Flash #243 & #244 when the Rogues Gallery has to work together to save their home town, Central City while mourning the death of one of their own The Top! Writer Cary Bates was simply aces when it came to writing these characters. With one last visit to the Flash Villain Convention in issue #254, the title would take a different direction and while the Rogues were still around and buddies, they were taken out of the limelight by a focus on the Flash private life problems.
But the old gang was never forgotten and reappeared over the course of several series. And was treated to a terrific return in the 1988 of the Wally West series Flash #19 where writer William Messner-Loebs returned us for a very special Flash Villain Convention! So the question is why am I ranting about these magnificent old characters and why they are the best of all the super-villain groups? Because in this week’s current releases, writer Jeremy Adams’s story in Flash #772 reads like these old stories. As Mick (Heat Wave) Rory is back and facing a deadly disease. And it is the Mick Rory for those days. A man with an obsession, not the crazed demonicly possessed version, or the novel writing CW version but just plain old Heat Wave who is facing a death sentence and decides to go out in a blaze of glory (pun totally meant it!). While the Flash is on hand, I am hoping that Adams can bring back some of the other Rogues to help him face his death. We’ll have to see but that would sure be nice! I give this one a 9 out of 10 Grahams.