The following article contains spoilers for The Flash #788, on sale now.
Now that the Rogues have been delegated by Mayor Wolfe, Flash has to come to terms with the fact that they have more legal authority to enforce the law than he does. The flash #788 (by Jeremy Adams, Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, Matt Herms, and Rob Leigh) shows him going through different reactions upon learning of his new status, from amusement to disbelief, to finally happy for the Rogues. The latter is revealing, as it indicates that he has always wanted to work alongside them for the good of the city.
It’s not terribly surprising. The Flash has always had a friendlier relationship with his enemies than most of the heroes. Here, however, readers can see the full extent of Flash’s generosity and how he wants the best for everyone, even people who have done poorly in the past.
Flash has always been friendly to his rogues
More than any other villain, Flash’s interactions with his villains can almost be called friendly. It’s one of the things that makes him such a unique hero. The kindness he shows even extends to people who have tried to hurt him. One of the best examples can be seen in Barry Allen’s dynamic with Captain Cold. While the two will never truly be friends, they respect each other and have worked together more than once to protect their city. This dynamic can be partially seen between Wally and Cold in this issue.
When Flash laughed when he found out that the Rogues had been replaced, Captain Cold protested that it was the truth. Any other villain would have directly attacked Flash, but Cold took the time to try and convince Flash that he was legit, almost as if he wanted Flash’s approval. The great irony is that if the Rogues hadn’t proceeded to attack him with his newfound authority, Flash would probably have been delighted to learn that five of the city’s worst criminals had suddenly become agents of justice.
Flash really wants to work with rogues
Despite his animosity towards him, Flash acknowledges that the Rogues are brilliant in their own way and have great potential for good. When he acknowledged they were serious, he offered to help them learn the basics of being a hero. Granted, he went mainly to talk them out of attacking him, but there’s no reason beyond that to believe the offer wasn’t genuine. Flash is many things, but he’s not a liar. The timing may not have been ideal, but if the Rogues were serious about trying to enforce the law, then that would be an olive branch he’d be more than happy to cling to.
When that didn’t work, he even offered a temporary ceasefire, so he could learn more about the situation. The Flash did everything in his power to try to build a bridge between himself and the Rogues, seeing an opportunity to work alongside them on the right side of the law for once. They just weren’t as eager for that partnership as he was. It really is a shame, with all of Flash’s power, he can’t be everywhere at once, and Central City could always use more heroes. If the Rogues had listened to the Flash, they might have gained royal acceptance instead of legal legitimacy.