Rogues #3 is published by DC Comics through their Black Label imprint, written by Joshua Williamson, art by Leomacs, colours by Jason Wordie, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Captain Cold brought the Rogues back together years in the future for a heist on Gorilla City. In this issue, the heist begins, but Snart has an encounter with a gorilla first.
Book 3 has what we were all here for: the heist. Williamson does an excellent job of building towards it even within this issue. The pace is quite slow at the start, putting all of the major players in certain areas. The last issue finished on a massive cliffhanger, so the first point of order is to clear that up. The writer sets up a surprise for both Snart and the reader, filling us with a small amount of hope going into the event itself. And then comes the heist. Again, Rogues #3 takes its time. But cleverly, this is only the midpoint of the comic, and there is so much more of the plot to deal with the consequences. Perhaps the overall outcome of the heist was predictable, but I did not see it unfolding the way it did. That glimmer of hope is severely threatened, any positivity from the last issue drifting away quickly in this chapter. Many of the emotional gut punches are sudden, shocking in their execution.
One of the parts of the Rogues as a team that is so endearing is the family unit that has been built. They are a dysfunctional group that does genuinely care for each other. That is put to the test in its extreme here, shattering in some cases. The script gets harsh, with decades of frustration bubbling over. It is also clear that not every member of the Rogues gets a complete arc. The writing of both Magenta and Mirror Master are some of the darkest I’ve ever seen, yet there are moments where I couldn’t look away. Snart becomes more and more desperate too, his classic trait of being clinical difficult to maintain by the second half of the comic. For much of the issue, Grodd is either absent or does not play a huge part. He remains this final boss, an ominous storm cloud that you know spells utter disaster for the group. His actions in the last issue mean that it is difficult to sympathise with the gorilla, but there are at least attempts to show different sides to his personality. His interactions with his family become a crucial part of the plot.
Leomacs is a fantastic artist and that is fully on display in this issue. When needed, the art is subtle and restrained. When Cold meets a friendly face, the art is focused on facial expressions and suspense. It isn’t perfect, some panels look scruffy even, but it has a distinct definition. When there are calls for the comic to be loud, Leomacs brings the noise. The action in the heist and afterward is a brilliant example of choreography and visual storytelling. The violence is sudden and extreme, literally covering the panel with blood. Some of the powers and technology are brilliantly and uniquely exhibited in the issue.
The colours are perfectly atmospheric. The style of using just a couple of tones on the page may seem limited but the use of lighting is stunning. The clarity of sunlight streaming through blinds may be obscured if more shades are added to the piece. The blending of these tones is so good and gorgeously describes textures. More colours start co-existing on the page when the heist starts, indicating chaos. The lettering is remarkable, brilliantly denoting voices. When so many of these characters may be quiet or overly loud, that volume is excellent. The font changes, colours shift, and sizes vary, constantly evolving.
Rogues #3 is a powerful payoff after a lot of build-up. For two issues, the tone has been dark but the rebuilding of the relationship between the Rogues was incredibly investing. So much time was spent highlighting the changes in dynamics between the characters. But when Williamson starts flexing muscles to shake the story up it is done in brutal fashion. Some of the moments are strong enough to draw gasps, then fill me with a deep sadness. The heist is awesome. Whilst the twist is quite obvious, the real draw of the whole issue was waiting for it to happen. And it is very surprising to see the book shift just after, demonstrating there is much more to come from the book.
Rogues #3 is available where comics are sold.
Rogues #3 is a powerful payoff after a lot of build-up. For two issues, the tone has been dark but the rebuilding of the relationship between the Rogues was incredibly investing.