It has been a tough run for Barry Allen and his friends in The Flash leading up to “Rogue’s Reign.” The Speedster had to deal with Hunter Zolomon and the perils of the Forever Force in a bunch of recent issues, which left fans wondering if they had seen the last of The Flash. Well, it looks like the hero is still among the living, but how he got to this point is going to take quite an explanation. The Flash #82 begins Joshua Williamson’s next adventure with the hero as the Rogues have basically taken over Central City. Things are looking pretty dire and almost everyone has given up hope in The Flash returning to help win the city back from all of these villains that have effectively set up shop. But, without The Flash to rally around, how will they be able to defeat the Rogues as they have taken advantage of a major spot of weakness from the heroes? *Spoilers for The Flash #82 to follow*
This issue shows off the degree to which the Rogues have succeeded in spreading fear around Central City. The scene is something out of a sci-fi movie or bleak dystopia. Driving snow everywhere you turn and a resistance has sprung up around the city composed of people who are tired of living under the boot of the villains. Captain Cold and his allies have a complete stranglehold though. Someone has scrawled “Where is Flash?” on the side of the police station near some flipped over police vehicles. Commander Cold is fighting the good fight over in the tundra as he and Iris are doing their part to win the city back.
Then near the end of the issue, Captain Cold opens the door to a dark room and explains why he’s left Barry alive this entire time. The Rogue wanted The Flash to know that he had won and live with that knowledge. It’s a chilling scene that shows just how different these Rogues are from the general depictions of these characters in the past. What were once considered street-level villains have crossed the line into serious villainy. This obviously falls in line with some of the other evil characters running around with power boosts and other advantages in DC’s Year of the Villain. That Legion of Doom symbol is not just floating in the sky for show, after all.
After that run-in with the Black Flash and Zolomon. The Flash is going to have to find a way out of captivity. Also, once he gets out, he’s got to rally the troops and discover a plan of action to unseat his collected enemies. They might give off the appearance of a more unified front, but playing them against each other has paid off countless times. Will that be enough? Hard to say, but the clock is ticking and someone’s got to do something to thaw Central City before it is too late.