Or – “The Seeds Of An All-New DCU!”

Recent announcements from DC have changed this title from the latest summer crossover extravaganza to the building blocks of something much bigger and far-reaching.  So far, we’ve seen one Leaguer drastically altered, with a couple more waiting in the wings, and the artist formerly known as The Flash in way over his head…

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: Sandra Hope
Cover Artist(s): Andy Kubert & Sandra Hope/ Ivan Reis & George Perez
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, on Flashpoint: Barry Allen knew something was wrong when his mother turned up alive, a moment that served as a bittersweet realization that the world has gone horribly awry.  With his powers gone, he struck out on his own to find the one man who he knew could think their way out of any puzzle, but it seemed that he wasn’t the ONLY one who suddenly had a parent that wasn’t deceased.  Reverse-Flash’s manipulation of time has created a terrifying new world for Barry, and the real scale of the horror hasn’t even become clear…  yet.

Chaos On A Global Scale…

We start with a scene familiar to anyone who has read one of these alternate reality tales (What If, Elseworlds, Age of Apocalypse):  The establishing-shot-with-guys-yo-already-know-in-their-new-context, specifically Deathstroke The Terminator, now a maritime pirate with a shipful of familiar faces.  After a clever joke about Sonar (I chuckled), we find Slade coming up against his arch piratical nemesis, The Warlord, making me expect some sort of battle sequence.  What we get instead is the revelation of Flashpoint Aquaman and a shocking ‘Planet Of The Apes’ moment.  The King of Atlantis dispatches Deathstroke a little too quickly for my tastes, though, smacking of the Rob Liefeld school of ‘new character beats up the last new character who was the strongest and bestest character ever.”  In Gotham City, Thomas Wayne’s short temper leads him to deal rather severely with the interloper in his Batcave, breaking one of Barry’s fingers mostly to differentiate him as not your father’s Batman.  (Ironically, he IS your Batman’s father, though.)  Barry’s lunatic babbling serves only to anger the Darker Knight, until Barry tells him that his son SHOULD have survived that night in Crime Alley.

…Pain And Suffering On A Personal One.

While Thomas comes to terms with Barry’s stories of a better world, we cut back to Europe, where a mysterious soldier fights Amazons in the wreckage of London.  He is quickly overwhelmed, and the Amazon Queen (yes, it’s her) wraps her lasso of truth around his throat.  This creates another familiar Alternate Universe schtick:  The-long-in-character-explanation.  Turns out our Freedom Fighter is none other than Steve Trevor, who has come to find the spy in Wonder Woman’s midst, a woman named Lois Lane.  To my eye, Wonder Woman’s helmet looks halfway between ridiculous and awful, though, which undermines a bit of the drama and combines with the long exposition to grind the issue to a halt.  We end with a bang, though, returning to Gotham to see what’s up with Tom and Barry.  After discovering that his costume has been replaced with the yellow uniform of Reverse-Flash, Barry rigs up a device to return his powers.  Strapping himself to an electric chair (!!) and surrounding himself with chemicals, he waits in the rain for a stray lightning bolt.  As goofy as it sounds, the scene works relatively well, and the literally shocking final panel is an interesting choice.

The Verdict: Some Expected Pitfalls, Some Unexpected Peaks

Unfortunately, even as it’s interesting, it serves to remind us of how ridiculous The Flash’s origin actually is, and even after the issue recovers from Steve’s exposition, we end with a quiet “WTF?” feeling.  The intent of these type of stories is always to disorient us, to put familiar faces in the wrong places, but then bring them back together at the end to prove your thesis.  We’re theoretically 40% of the way through the main story, and we’re just now getting to the action and the reveal of the strange new status quo of our heroes.  I think the greatest failing of the issue for me is the realization that you WILL have to read other supporting material to get a full story, though I hope that my choice to read only those supporting minis that catch my fancy doesn’t kill the big story arc.  All in all, it’s not a disappointing issue, as Kubert’s art is strong throughout and the story (while slower than I’d like) is still interesting, leading Flashpoint #2 to hit a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. Best of all, knowing where things are going to end up in a month or two doesn’t quash the parts of the issue that work…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Stephen recently opined that Thomas Wayne as Batman could work in the regular DCU, at least temporarily.  Is he genius or cheese sandwich?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. June 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm — Reply

    I think this comic would be good for a laugh. Might wait to read it when it’s all over. Like, haha, remember when they did that.

    As for Mr. Schleicher’s suppostion that Thomas Wayne aka Batman could work in the mainline(what’s left of one) DCU, will say give it a shot. What could it hurt?

  2. eric
    June 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    This sounds like DC came up with a lot of ideas and decided to thrown them against the wall and see which ones would stick. Yeah that sounds good lets do some story with that piece of crap. I dont get it.

  3. ray
    June 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm — Reply

    I just want them to finish the Morrison Batman story, after that I don’t care.

  4. Kmack
    June 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm — Reply

    I think the last page of this issue is fantastic. Talk about your all-time backfires! Classic……just classic.

  5. Ced
    June 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm — Reply

    The story is interesting, but the darker characters are boring.

  6. June 1, 2011 at 11:07 pm — Reply

    The Thomas Wayne/Barry Allen scenes are worth the price of admission alone! And the Abin Sur issue was OMG good.

  7. Adam
    June 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm — Reply

    Now that I know how it ends, this whole event feels very ‘meh’ to me now. The whole old faces in new places will end up being younger old faces in kinda newish places you’ve already seen before in a few months. So why would I care about what happens right now, when, it seems, a lot of us are more concerned about what’s going to happen in August.

    I’m not sure what to think anymore.

    • June 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm — Reply

      I care because of the scenes like those I mentioned between Wayne and Barry. We comics readers sometimes forget it’s the journey, not the destination.

  8. Kara Zor-El
    June 2, 2011 at 12:44 am — Reply

    They are rebooting the Legion.

    That is right now what is on my mind.

    The other part of me is like, ‘I don’t care about Barry, I want Wally.’

    But… DC is DC. I will continue to buy my titles, even though they might be getting rid of my favorite characters.

    • Damascus
      June 7, 2011 at 1:40 am — Reply

      But if they do it even halfway well, there will be 52 brand new relaunched books that at least some of them have to be halfway decent and they can do quite a few new things with these characters. I just want a really good quirky book using the unlikeliest of people, telling interesting stories. I want something fun like Rocket Raccoon and Groot, like a Swamp Thing and Clayface team-up, I dunno something weird.

      Hey and maybe we have a new chance to get a decent take on the Outsiders, they’ve needed to reboot that series since friggin Didio got his hands on it. That and please, if you aren’t going to involve a book in a big event (like Outsiders with War of the Supermen and then followed by Blackest Night) then leave all mention of the events out of my books. The inclusion of Terra coming back to mess with Brion was stupid and lasted like an issue and then from there it sucked. Oh well, I just have to breathe…..okay. Maybe we can get Beast Boy and Animal Man and um….the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man and Plastic Man in one book. Or bring back the Elastic Four. If I see anything remotely cool coming out of this, I’ll be happy.

  9. TaZ
    June 2, 2011 at 9:00 am — Reply

    (SPOILER COMMENT): The last panel was NOT what I expected…which is a good thing in comics. As much as I hate to admit it I’m VERY curious as to how this works out now. Thomas Wayne as Batman makes Miller’s “Dark Knight” Bruce look like a girl scout. No high-tech bat-cave just a man that had his entire world taken away but who would be willing to “die” again in an instant if his son could live. Barry Allen being “taunted” by the “invisible” Reverse Flash. Steve Trevor being in love with Lois Lane before being offed by Wonder Woman. Aquaman as the bad-ass that The Sub-Mariner wishes he could be. Barry Allen getting fried (literally). I liked it, really enjoyed the art and I’m in for the rest of the series to see where it goes. I have vented on the other posts about the “reset” but since that’s where we’re heading I might as well enjoy the ride. It’s still not bad enough to make me switch over to “Fear Itself” yet.

  10. Ricco
    June 2, 2011 at 11:41 am — Reply

    As a listeners of the podcast I wasn’t surprised by the end of this issue, remember Matthew’s review of Flash with “Hot Pursuit”? I would have been shocked had it actually worked.

  11. Alisha Mynx
    June 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm — Reply

    “Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Stephen recently opined that Thomas Wayne as Batman could work in the regular DCU, at least temporarily. Is he genius or cheese sandwich?”

    He’s the third option: The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It’s a good thing, it’s the rumored birthplace of the Ice Cream Cone.

  12. Damascus
    June 7, 2011 at 1:47 am — Reply

    This whole thing boils down to DC wanting to get rid of Damian Wayne. He shouldn’t exist if Bruce died as a kid.

    ;) lol

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