I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
I MIGHT be in the minority of comic fans when I confess that I actually LIKED the New 52. Okay, they really messed up Superman and they're STILL trying to fix him to this very day, but I was never much of a Superman fan to begin with. And they really, REALLY wanted to sell Cyborg as a major player for some reason (and never really succeeded), but once again, not really a fan. And then there was Huntress. Okay. . .Huntress I can be pissed about. And Azrael. And Tim Drake. And Oracle.
Okay. I guess it wasn't ALL good. But for the most part, I liked the New 52. Flashpoint is where it all started. Let's take a little refresher course, since DC seems to bringing some Flashpoint back into Rebirth. . .
This first issue of DC's Flashpoint was a pretty good piece of groundwork. A lot of setup with a few good moments.
It's pretty much split between 2 stories: In the first, Barry Allen wakes up in a world where his mother is still alive, Iris is in love with someone else, and the world is on the brink of a cataclysmic war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman. In the second story, Cyborg is trying to form a group of superheroes to end the war, and attempts to recruit Batman. . .who tells him to sit and spin.
The two stories merge at the end when Barry Allen seeks out Batman to find out what's going on for the big final page shocker reveal that it's Thomas Wayne Batman in this world.
All in all, pretty good. Not GREAT, but not bad for a setup issue. The art by Andy Kubert is rock solid as usual for anything by him. I didn't really like the look of Flashpoint Batman, but since he turned out to be the big star of this thing, I think that might just be me. . .
This issue does a little world building by showing glimpses of the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, the opening sequence of Deathstroke as a pirate and scene of the Eiffel Tower mostly submerged was a standout, with fantastic artwork.
Elsewhere, Batman pummels Barry Allen until he manages to be convinced that Allen is telling the truth and that he can actually change the crappy world if he can only get his powers back. At the end, Allen concocts and insane scheme to recreate the accident that turned him into The Flash by letting himself get hit by lightning while doused with chemicals. It doesn't end well.
Although I really liked the opening sequence of this issue a lot, it seems like the weight of trying to fit a whole new world on the brink of a cataclysmic war in 5 issues is starting to make things feel a bit rushed and cramped.
In this issue, we get a little more world building with a short sequence involving Lois Lane in Amazon-occupied England meeting up with "The Resistance" led by Wildstorm's Grifter. . .but most of the book is taken up with Flash and Batman as Flash heads back up to the roof of Wayne Manor to get another lightning jolt, this time it works and he gets his powers back. SCIENCE!
After the Flash is good to go with the speed powers again, he tells Batman that there SHOULD be a Superman somewhere around, so they team up with Cyborg and go on a stealth run into a secret government lab where they break out Flashpoint's Superman. . .who is a spindly, pale wretch who's never seen the sun and takes off as soon as he can, leaving Batman, Flash, and Cyborg in the middle of a gunfight.
I felt this issue sagged a bit. The Lois Lane sequence seemed too short, out of place, and really, sort of pointless. I DID like the way Flashpoint's Superman looked like a pathetic nerdling, though.
Overall, this was the weak link in this series so far. It served the purpose of introducing Superlame and getting Flash back his speed, but other than that. Not that great. Not BAD. . .just okay.
In this issue, Cyborg, Batman, and Flash finish building their Flashpoint version of the Justice League by recruiting "Captain Thunder" (SHAZAM!) who, in this world is a gang of kids instead of just one, and "Element Woman", who is basically a combination of Metamorpho and Harley Quinn. . .and probably the weakest and most annoying character in this whole merry mess.
They gear up and head to Europe to try to stop the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, which is now in full-on "It's the end of the world, and we know it!" mode.
Things don't go well as the team is easily handed their collective asses during the ensuing battle. To make things worse, Reverse Flash shows up out of nowhere to add insult to The Flash's injuries.
Overall, this issue was a bit of a mess. Even the artwork looked sort of rushed. It wasn't the weakest issue, but it's a close second.
Annnnd. . .it's the big finish! The battle heats up and heroes are falling everywhere as Reverse Flash taunts Flash with a heaping dose of "Guess what, son. . .this is all on YOU!" and makes Flash remember how he went back in time to save his mom and created this new world.
Flash is like "OH $#!T" and proceeds to run back in time to stop himself and set things right. . .and he does. . .sort of, because things didn't go back EXACTLY right and we got the New 52 out of it in a pretty damn impressive double page spread of a bunch of DC characters changing into their New 52 incarnations.
At the end of it all, The Flash finds Batman (this time Bruce Wayne) and gives him a letter his father wrote that survived the destruction of the other world somehow (REASONS!) for a tender Bat-moment that was really a bit forced and overly-sentimental, but ended the story on a nice quiet note of hope.
All in all, this was a decent issue and a pretty good ending for the series. The double pager showing the creation of The New 52 Universe was almost worth the price of admission alone.
Overall, I found this to be a pretty good story with rock solid art. It felt a bit rushed and some scenes seemed a little pointless, but there were a lot of small crossovers that came out along with this that I have the feeling would really benefit this story and the world that was created for it by reading them alongside the core series.
To tell the truth, even though I found these 5 issues to be no more than average to pretty good, I wanted to know more about the world of Flashpoint. It seems a bit of a shame to have created an entire alternate DC world only to abandon it after a few months.
Up next. . .
HEY! Anybody remember when America put a xenophobic, unstable narcissist with crazy red hair in the highest office? What? No, son. . .COMIC BOOKS! I'm talking Norman Osborne and "Dark Reign". In particular, I'm talking about the time he went crazy after The Punisher tried to snipe him.
Marvel's 21 issue run of The Punisher. . .the Dark Reign: The List - Punisher one shot. . .5 issues of Franken-Castle. . .and Dark Wolverine issues 88-89. The whole damn "Let's put The Punisher back in regular continuity." mess from 2009!
That's right. I said friggin' FRANKEN-CASTLE! Be there or be square!
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