Following the events of “Forever Evil” #1 as well as “Flash #23.1: Grodd” and “Flash #23.3: Rogues,” Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion” #1 sports a slick cover from Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire over the Brian Buccellato-written story. As has been the case in the latest volume of “The Flash,” the Rogues include Captain Cold as their leader, Mirror Master, Heatwave, Weather Wizard and Trickster. Tied into the main “Forever Evil” series, this story is strong enough to stand on its own, but would have benefited from consistent art.
The art hits the high note on the cover where Shalvey’s work serves as a nice amalgamation of both interior artists: Patrick Zircher and Scott Hepburn. The two artists do a nice job with their respective portions of this first issue, but the jump in style is on scale with the infamously historical shift of interior “Doom Patrol” artists from Steve Lightle to Erik Larsen. Zircher’s work in the first nine pages of “Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion” #1 is dark and shadowy, mirroring the desolate and destroyed Central City the Rogues discover following their initial introduction to the Crime Syndicate. Zircher’s heavily-shadowed work has weight, depth and wear. The victims of Grodd’s rampage suffered and so did their surroundings.
The handoff comes as the Rogues check in on Captain Cold’s sister, Lisa Snart. Also known as the Glider, Lisa is still comatose and appears to be no worse the wear in her hospital room. At that point, the quintet of Flash’s foes finds themselves face-to-face with five of Firestorm’s opponents: Black Bison, Hyena, Multiplex, Plastique and Typhoon. Scott Hepburn’s done some nice work on “Captain Marvel” and his exaggerated, animated style works well with the bizarre collection of bad guys commonly associated with Firestorm. For a longtime Firestorm fan, the near-splash page Hepburn delivers for the Nuclear Man’s foes is almost perfect. Hepburn’s style fits the chaotic confrontation that rounds out the pages of “Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion” #1. Captain Cold using ice fists to knock down Black Bison before getting trampled by Multiplex’s clones is pure over-the-top comic book absurdity that makes me want to re-read this book soon.
For a major event tie-in series, “Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion” #1 could be tighter artistically, but the combination of artists and the division of work serves Buccellato’s story nicely. The writer gives the reader a nice sense of scope and scenery for this comic book. Buccellato doesn’t linger on any one character or event, though, setting the story in motion and moving quickly through Central City. Along the way, readers meet a number of Central City Police Department representatives before Buccellato relents to having the battle between baddies overpower this issue.
While I would prefer Zircher’s art for the remainder of this series, Hepburn’s style serves Firestorm’s foes quite nicely. Regardless of which artist is given the chore going forward, I hold out hope that the future issues will be more visually cohesive than “Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion” #1.