Overview

Flash #218

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Flash #218

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns
  • Art: Peter Snejbjerg
  • Inks: Peter Snejbjerg
  • Colors: James Sinclair
  • Story Title: Rogue Profile: Heat Wave
  • Price: $2.25
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2005

The heat is turned up a notch with another round of the ‘Rogues profile’ by writer Geoff Johns.

The Flash always had an interesting list of villains to tangle with from time to time, including Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, the Trickster and the Pied Piper. They were better known as the Rogues, and although members have come and gone throughout the years, there is one thing that remained constant with them – they are all certified psychotics. In recent years, the Rogues have fallen into two camps. Captain Cold leads a group dedicated to hard crimes, while James Jesse (formerly Trickster) leads a group of reformed members dedicated to bringing down the Rogues. Recent events in Flash suggest an ensuing war between the two camps is about to erupt, and this issue ignites the flame (literally) with a spotlight on Heat Wave.

Rogue profile stories by Johns have always been intriguing melodramas, spotlighting the highs and lows of each super criminal’s career. With this issue, the intimate details of Heat Wave are revealed for the first time in a story that ‘allows’ you access to the incendiary mind of Mick Rory. His story starts out with an idyllic upbringing, cushioned around his obsessions for the open flame. At first he’s seen as a quiet, unassuming boy, but it doesn’t take long for the pyromaniac in him to manifest. Mick burns his house down with all his beloved family members still trapped inside, and it becomes chillingly apparent there is something wrong with him. So as far as Rogue profile stories go, this one starts out with a swift kick to your senses and then continues to punch and jab at you until the very end of the issue. Heat Wave matures and evolves right before your eyes virtually as a psychotic individual with explosive potential for further violence.

I found myself so engrossed with the story, despite nearly no involvement of the Flash in this issue. Not many writers can achieve this type of dynamic and rely solely on a villain to tell an intrinsic moment in a mainstream comic like this. I believe Johns is about the only creator with enough gumption and conviction to pull this off with his ‘Rogue profile’ tales. He truly knows how to get underneath the skin of a character and exploit all the weaknesses to bring out the emotional depth needed to tell a great story. I totally applaud him for this, since most superhero books hardly go beneath the surface with suitable enough characterization at all. I am hoping DC will eventually put out a trade collecting the various Rogue tales Johns has done since he began his tenure on the book. It would surely be a sweet edition to anyone collecting the trades of this series.

The other big plus with this issue is the masterful art of Peter Snejbjerg. Here he pulls double duty as guest penciler and inker. I am fairly familiar with his work since he did a lot of Vertigo books on such classics like Shade and The Books of Magic. On this issue, Snejbjerg’s work is most suitable since his style perfectly lends enough credibility to simplify the palette of emotions attributed to Heat Wave’s psychosis. I really enjoyed the way he rendered Mick Rory as a child, and I found many of his facial close-ups to be a chilling ‘portrait’ of him growing up to become a pyromaniac. I felt the art went well with the story overall.

Intrigued yet? I know I was as I read the issue with as much relish and glee as any comic reader could have. A Rogues profile tale in the pages of Flash is always a treat because they only happen once in a while, so if you’re like me and enjoy great storytelling, check out this Rogue profile while it’s hot.

-Kenneth Gallant

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