THE FLASH #17 by Joshua Williamson, Davide Gianfelice, and Carmine Di Giandomenico
Plot
Art
Characterization
Summary
THE FLASH #17 brought out the best in the Flash and the worst in the Rogues. Simply put? This issue is rock solid. Or in Captain Cold's case 'ice solid.'
92 %
Cold-blooded
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THE FLASH “Rebirth” is now 17 issues into its current run. This “Rogues Reloaded” story arc has certainly brought a lot to fans in terms of great visuals and storytelling. THE FLASH #17 was no different. The storytelling, character development, and sub-plots all added intriguing elements without taking away from the main story. Case in point? We get a little bit of Kid Flash looking for the Reverse Flash, mixed in between cuts of the Flash and the Rogues continuing with their own storylines. That added sub-plot with Kid Flash gives the reader more to look forward to in future issues. I thought that was a very nice touch by writer Joshua Williamson.

Not to be outdone, of course, I felt the artwork done by Davide Gianfelice and Carmine Di Giandomenico in THE FLASH #17 was quite possibly some of the best of the series. The cover art alone makes this an issue worth displaying. The content that lies within THE FLASH #17 however? That makes this an issue worth multiple reads. With that being said, let’s get into my review.

READ: Can’t get enough of THE FLASH? Here’s our THE FLASH #16 review!

THE FLASH #17 starts off with Captain Cold attacking the Flash with a modified version of his cold gun. This version, while enhanced by the black hole technology left behind in Star Labs, was still no match for the Flash. As we see from the beginning, it’s always been a sort of love-hate relationship between the two. There certainly exists a common bond between the two: troubled childhoods. However, while one found hope in the form of a new family, the other saw hopelessness with no means to escape. Perhaps that’s why Captain Cold has always been one of the more conflicted villains in the Flash universe? Even his interactions with the Flash early on in this issue show how sensitive he is about his family. Just the mere mention of his father causes him to snap at the Flash. Family seems to be a touchy subject with Captain Cold, as we see this issue again with Captain Cold’s sister: Glider.

THE FLASH #17

The Flash, always the superhero, still wants Captain Cold to turn his life around and put his brilliant mind to use for the good of the people, not just for the good of himself or his sister. Speaking of Captain Cold’s sister, we are shown a pretty graphic confrontation between Glider and the Flash shortly after the rest of the Rogues arrive on the scene. Not surprisingly, we see Captain Cold and his friends attempt to bully and torture the Flash for a few panels. What was surprising, however, was the sight of Glider subduing the Flash and suggesting they take him out for good.

THE FLASH #17

One element about this issue that I thought made it special was that we were given a better understanding of the boiling tension seemingly built up within the Rogues. Glider even acknowledges as much to her brother, stating that while the Rogues live by a certain code (they do not kill), the Flash seems to find a way to ruin every scheme they hatch! Hence their growing frustrations at this point. They were even planning on leaving town before the Flash had foiled their latest plans. This, of course, seemed to be a breaking point for Glider, as she snaps and subdues the Flash, seemingly ready to take his life, almost as if to rid the Rogues of the only thing haunting them, so to speak. I thought this was a very well thought out part of the overall story, and an integral element to the scene.

By the end of this scene, we witness Glider ready to stop the Flash’s life despite her brother’s warnings. Captain Cold didn’t think she was willing to take on the emotional burden of taking someone’s life. I found that added element to be essential in terms of establishing the differences between Captain Cold and Leonard Snart (Captain Cold’s real name). Why is that important? Because deep down inside, there’s only one person Captain Cold cares about more than himself: his sister (Glider). While that doesn’t change the fact that both Captain Cold and Glider are criminals seemingly on the verge of transitioning from crooks to killers, it does give their characters a bit more depth. They each have troubled pasts, and they each want more control over their own lives, the control they’re willing to gain at seemingly any cost.

READ: Can’t get enough of THE FLASH? Here’s our Essential History of the Flash article!

This issue definitely gave us a lot concerning character direction and clarity when it comes to the bigger picture of things moving forward for not just the Rogues, but the Flash, Kid Flash, and their team at Star Labs as well. Towards the end of the issue, we see bits and pieces of the Flash and Kid Flash traveling in two separate directions. While the Flash was relieved to be safe after his encounter with the Rogues, he also expressed how thankful he was that it was him and not Kid Flash who had to deal with such an ordeal.

At the same time, we also see Kid Flash taking on a mission to find the Reverse Flash who was apparently transferred to another prison: Belle Reve. We see a narration by the Flash clearly expressing his concerns over Kid Flash not being ready to take on foes like the Rogues at this point. It would appear to be an inevitable confrontation, however, as we end the issue with a scene from Iron Heights prison where three unknown inmates walk into a cellblock, all the while touting how the Rogues failed to finish off the Flash. The last images we’re left with are of Captain Cold expressing his desire to live up to his potential and become something greater. That something greater involves seizing control of the crime world in Central City. I’m interested in seeing how this story ultimately plays out.

READ: Need more information on the Reverse Flash? Check out our Flash episode #23 recap!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed THE FLASH #17, and look forward to the issues that follow. At its core, this issue was less about the Flash and more about the other characters. This issue delved into the backstories, motivation, and history behind some of the Flash’s greatest foes, which is not something we get this many issues in to an established series. Well done DC. Well done.

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