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Review: Flashpoint #1


Flashpoint Spotlight

 

Editor's Note: We try something a little new here with multiple people reviewing the same issue in one review. Let us know what you think.

 

Flashpoint #1

Synopsis

 

Flashpoint opens with a scene familiar to anyone who has read ‘The Flash: Rebirth’, and likely countless other stories. Barry is imagining the time he and his mother broke down on the side of the freeway and no one was there to help. He sits at his desk, looking over her file, despite having had it put away at the end of Rebirth. An unnamed narrator speaks to us about life, how some things happen through chance and some things happen because we make them happen.

 

The next few pages run us through Barry's life and allow the narrator to let us know him a little better. We see Barry’s wedding, his extended Speedster family, and the Justice League, all while the narrator says he's not the hero of this story, that there's just too much blood on his hands to be called good, at least until he met Barry.

 

Speaking of Barry, we see him being woken up as he dozes at his desk in the crime lab. Immediately, he's out of sorts. He doesn't know who everyone is talking about. Apparently he's on a murder case where Central City's most celebrated hero, Citizen Cold, is accused of murdering Miss Alchemy. With the strong amount of public support, they're not allowed to go after Citizen Cold until they have rock solid evidence.

 

Barry prepares for a hasty departure when he notices he doesn't have his ring on. He trips down the stairs, only to be helped up by his mother, very much alive and well. As they prepare to head out to dinner, Citizen/Captain Cold quite out of Barry's mind, Barry begins asking questions his mother finds strange. It turns out his father is dead, there's no Superman or Justice League, but there is a Batman.

 

We cut to a splash page of Batman in Gotham, now sporting a dozen or so signs for Wayne Casinos. He's chasing a criminal in a uniform slightly different from the one we're used to seeing. He tackles Yo-Yo and begins grilling her on where the Joker is, and where he's hiding Judge Dent's children. After she says he's too late, that they're probably dead, he says she is as well and allows her to fall off the edge of the building. Before she can hit the ground, however, she's caught by Cyborg, to whom she surrenders.

 

Cyborg makes his way to Batman and informs him he found him easily because it's night and Batman always chases the criminals to that particular ledge. It's not so much implied as flat out said that this Batman kills. Cyborg says he isn't there to judge him, he needs help.

 

In the background, several heroes appear via hologram as Cyborg announces a vote.

 

Back with Barry and his mother, Barry says he needs to talk to Iris, who Barry’s mother has apparently never heard of. They arrive at the paper and Barry goes inside. He asks for Iris Allen only to be told there's no Iris Allen, only Iris West. He overhears her talking about going to "what's left of Europe" to report on what's going on. Before he can say anything to her, she embraces another man and Barry leaves. He borrows his mother's car and heads out.

 

Back at the rooftop, all the holograms begin to chatter. It seems Wonder Woman and Aquaman are trying to take over the world and killing millions in the process. Cyborg is rallying the troops together for a counter-attack. Unfortunately, no one in the crowd seems friendly with each other. Pied Piper, who was the only witness to Miss Alchemy's murder, doesn't trust Citizen Cold.

 

We're introduced to Farooq, The Outsider, Abin Sur, Enchantress, and other characters who have been re-imagined for this latest DC event.

 

The Secret Seven agree to help out by a vote of four-to-three. The Titans, including Isis, Osiris, Freddy, and Mary agree they're in. When Shazam appears, he's scarred and he's in.

 

Cyborg tells Batman they have their team, they just need a plan. That's where he comes in. It seems they forgot, through all their discussion, to ask him. He flatly refuses. When Cyborg tells him this will end with the destruction of everything, including him and Gotham, he says "one can only hope."

 

As soon as Batman announces he's out, the other teams announce they need to reconsider. Cyborg is left alone on the top of a Wayne Casino.

 

Outside Gotham, Barry is stuck in a seemingly endless traffic jam. For the Fastest Man Alive, that has to be the pits. Finally, he arrives at Wayne Manor, only to find it overgrown with ivy and in a state of disrepair. Barry manages to get down to the cave but finds it empty, save for a few items, a crossbow, a Wayne Family portrait, a gun under glass, and a few Batarangs.

 

The unnamed narrator rejoins us, and tells us the first time he met Barry Allen, he almost killed him. Batman attacks Barry and demands to know who he is. Barry tries to calm Bruce down, only to discover in next panel, Bruce is dead, Batman watched him die. The issue ends with Barry revealing this Batman is none other than Thomas Wayne.

 

Reviews

 

Melinda Hinman:

 

I'll admit, I'm not as familiar with the Flash world as I am with the Batman world. That being said, I do think Geoff Johns is trying to make this a Flash story anyone familiar with DC could read. I like the writing so far. It may be a cliched plot device, character wakes up in an alternate reality, but come on, this is comics.

 

The one point I didn't like, and maybe it's only because I was reading Rebirth this morning, Barry put his mother's case away. He knows who was responsible for his mother's death. It wouldn't change on the card, because Zoom wasn't officially charged with it, but he wouldn't feel the need to keep going over it.

 

Other than that, I'm liking the writing here. I like the voice they're using for Batman and for Barry. For right now, I'm feeling the confusion and frustration Barry is going through at not knowing what's going on in his world.

 

The art is somehow not what I was expecting, but at the same time completely appropriate for this story. We switch from the muted colors of The Flash scenes to the brighter palette of the Gotham scenes, quite the opposite of what you'd normally expect.

 

I'm anxious to pick up the next issue of Flashpoint, if only to find out what exactly Thomas Wayne does as Batman.

 

3.5 out of 5 Batarangs

 

Joe Jinks:

 

I loved this book! It’s as simple as that.

 

Not knowing exactly what to expect we are plunged into the story but miraculously, I can understand it. That’s not to say that I know exactly what’s going to happen or what exactly is going on but it’s written in a way that anybody interested in the event could pick it up, even with the most basic knowledge of the DC Universe, and I greatly appreciate that. Not being a comic reader for all that long, I struggled with ‘Final Crisis’ but this, despite probably not being of the same scale in terms of ramifications, I was able to comfortably read with all of the characters introduced and, even though I have read ‘The Flash: Rebirth’, the opening pages were a nice reminder and definitely helpful for new readers.

 

I am also a big fan of Andy Kubert’s art, it fits with the scale of the event and I’m very excited to see all of the re-imagined characters but in particular I love Batman’s new costume and I’m really excited as it seems Batman will be playing a very large role in Flashpoint. And even if it isn’t Bruce or Dick, I know that Johns has been eager to write Batman and I’m sure that it will come through in the series- I’m thoroughly looking forward to exploring Thomas Wayne as Batman.

 

Being a first issue there was some scene setting, but it was mostly handled in the ‘Flash’ ongoing series so the issue was well paced and I’m definitely excited for the rest of the mini-series as well as the Batman tie-ins and I’m sure that I’ll be picking up some of the other tie-ins as well.

 

Overall, and I think it helps that I have a decent background knowledge of Barry Allen, I thoroughly enjoyed the issue and am looking forward to issue #2. My only complaint is the price, I think after the ‘Drawing the Line at $2.99’ campaign, this event is how DC is going to make their money back- now I do believe that the Flashpoint flagship title will be worth it, but if all of the tie-ins come out at the same price, I’m going to be very picky about which ones I pick up because I just don’t have the money!

 

5 out of 5 Batarangs

 

Austen Beattie:

 

Flashpoint #1 by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, is the book The Flash series has been teasing for almost a year now, and does it live up to expectations? No, no it doesn’t. However, is it still a fun read? Yes, yes it is.

 

I don’t think this book is on the level of Blackest Night in that, the hype leading up to the book isn’t already proven by the first issue, nothing has really gone bad as it did in Blackest Night, and also, this book may be in the main DC Universe, but that doesn’t mean that going in, you can expect anything to stick. Let me explain:

 

No matter what you see happen in Flashpoint, DC can choose to ignore it, and keep things the same way they were before Flashpoint ever happened. This in comparison to Blackest Night, where it was really happening in the DC Universe, and if you saw someone die in Blackest Night, chances are, they were dead for good.

 

Flashpoint opens reminding us just who the Flash is and what he does, and then we are treated with most of the rest of the issue being “This is not your regular DC Universe!” And sure, some of this is great, such as Batman killing a crook and saying to Cyborg, the Superman of this new Universe “She fell…” and it is interesting to see the new Justice League, but the sense of urgency just isn’t there for me.

 

The issue is mostly a scene setter so you don’t get too much action here, however what you do get is entertaining, such as the ending, where Barry who is now without his speed, because his mother is alive, and he was not in the lab to be hit with a lightning bolt studying his mother’s case on the day he became the Flash, goes to see Batman. Barry drives to Wayne Manor to see it abandoned and goes to the Batcave and finds it derelict with only one table of gadgets and a small computer. As Barry looks on he is jumped by Flashpoint: Batman, as Barry shouts Bruce it’s me, Batman responds “Bruce is dead!” and Barry looks on as we get the reveal that Flashpoint Batman is Bruce’s father Thomas Wayne.

 

What a twist.

 

I didn’t hate this issue, I thought the art by Andy Kubert was great and the writing was good, however I couldn’t get past the feeling that whatever happens in Flashpoint won’t have any effect on the regular DC Universe once it is over. Could I be wrong? Yeah, but this first issue gives me no reason to believe otherwise.

 

As an issue itself, it is entertaining, if a little exposition heavy, but it is certainly worth a read, and after that last page reveal, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

3.5 out of 5 Batarangs

 

Initial Thoughts

 

Melinda Hinman:

 

I’m not really sure what to expect, I guess it’s just going to clean up a few of the continuity glitches. Honestly, what I’m really hoping is that it’ll bring Cassandra Cain back as a replacement for Superman.

 

Joe Jinks:

 

The main thing I’m hoping to get from this event is a good story, whether we’ll get that however remains to be seen. I’m sure that the actual Flashpoint series will be great and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the clashes between Aquaman and Wonder Woman as well as finding out how and why Barry is in this alternate timeline. However, it is often the tie-ins that come with large scale events that suffer from mediocrity as well as a general lack of necessity. On the other hand, and like I have already stated, I am very much looking forward to the Batman tie-ins.

 

I also hope that the story is original and does not turn into one cliched mess of forgettable, wasted paper.

 

I believe the general fear of the event is that it is unnecessary and will not have any ramifications and I hope that this is not the case. DC is being particularly cautious about letting anything slip, is this just so they can announce big things at San Diego or will Flashpoint generally make a difference? I hope it’s the latter.

 

On this topic, there is something interesting I noticed in ‘Batman Incorporated’ #6, now this may just be an unfortunate coincidence but Joe Average says “6PM Eastern we join forces with bosses from all around the world for a groundbreaking flashcrime event.”. Now I’m sure that this is just an unfortunately named plot-point but it did get me thinking, could this be the “true meaning of Batman Incorporated” that Grant Morrison keeps teasing us with? Will there be ramifications for Batman after-all? In any case, even if I’m just reading too much into it I am very excited for the next issues in both titles.

 

Austen Beattie:

 

I feel the series at the moment will just be an Elseworlds with no real effect on the main DC Universe at the moment, as it would likely be the only people remembering Flashpoint afterwards are Booster, Barry, Bart and Zoom, meaning that although it'd be a fun story, it doesn't have any life changing effects.

 

I'd say that people should look at the solicitations and pick and choose which of the stories interest them, such as the Batman story now interesting me after reading the Thomas Wayne twist, but I sure as hell am not going to read every comic with a Flashpoint logo. They may be building an entire world, but most of these titles are additional to books people are already getting, so it can become quite expensive to get "The fullest experience" from the event

 

Flashpoint #1 Overall Rating:

 

4 out of 5 Batarangs

 

Posted by Joe Jinks

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