Going Rogue: the Flash’s Villains
When it comes to the annals of the greatest comic book villains, there’s no question you’ll see the likes of the Joker, Lex Luthor, Magneto, or Doctor Doom there among others. However, there is one entry there that is most of the time overlooked but is no less deserving of the status: we’re talking about Flash’s Rogues. And just to be clear, we’re not only referring to the greatest supervillain teams here; the Rogues belong up there, don’t get us wrong, but they’re not limited to it: they legitimately are one of the best without exception. So much so that whenever the generic term “rogues gallery” is thrown around – which could rightfully refer to any character’s set of antagonists –, the Flash’s very own is most likely the first to come to mind. Indeed, these wonderfully weird no-gooders form one of comics’ most formidable collectives, and we’ll even say that together they surpass even those teams made up of more popular characters, such as the Sinister Six or the Society of Evil.
On the contrary, we’re also not saying that without one another, each of the Flash’s villains are just made up of bland B and C-listers that can’t hold down their own; that’s not the case at all. Why, with a single villain like Captain Cold, readers become witness to a hardnosed criminal with a tragic back story that gives the tales he appears in so much weight behind it; the likes of Mirror Master, on the other hand, show us a figure that is extremely ruthless in his convictions; and then, there are villains more along the lines of captain Boomerang and the Trickster who could be very tongue-in-cheek without doing it at the expense of the story. The point is, they’re all really entertaining and memorable in their own right, but when together, they go on to move to a different level entirely.
So, if you’re wondering what makes these guys so great, then allow us to tell you a couple of things about them that could perhaps shed some light into the matter. Throughout their more than half a century of existence, the rogues’ roster has from time to time changed. There are, however, certain constants.
First of all, the Flash’s Rogues Gallery is able to distinguish itself from most villains out there by providing a sharp contrast when it comes to their backgrounds. With the Ra’s Al Ghuls and Norman Osborns of the world, you have villains who are so grand that they dangerously tiptoe the line between the suspension of disbelief and pure incredulity. Flash’s motley crew of bandits, however, come from a more blue-collar background. And that’s the beauty of it: despite the limits of their abilities and scope, they never lose the necessary excitement any great foil needs.
Apart from that, another constant theme found within the Rogues is how they blur the line between villainy and heroism – they have the sacred rule of not hurting women and children, among other rules they strictly adhere to –, which opens up numerous storytelling possibilities that would otherwise feel forced.
With the way things are going for the Flash’s universe, having an upcoming movie and an already well-established TV show, there’s no doubt the rogues are here to stay.