The issue opens up with pirate Deathstroke on board a ship along with a small crew, one of whom is Clayface (that's not important but seeing as this is the Batman Universe…). It turns out the group are in Paris and they realize they've gone too far inland when they see a shipwreck but before they can turn the ship around, they are hit by a massive wave and Aquaman appears on board with Ocean Master. It's clear that Deathstroke is not working with the Amazons, nevertheless, Aquaman kills him saying "No survivors".
We then cut to Barry Allen and Thomas Wayne in the Batcave, still fighting. Batman mercilessly beats Barry who believes he is either on a different Earth or trapped in one of Mirror Master's Mirror Worlds. That is until his memories start to rearrange themselves to fit the timeline and he "remembers" the war between the Atlanteans, who have flooded Paris, and the Amazons, who have taken over London- he realizes that he is in the real world. For some reason this rationalizes Batman who says "That's the first thing you've said that's made sense" and stops attacking Barry but just then, Barry's ring falls from seemingly nowhere and bounces across the floor.
Barry puts on the ring but instead of his own costume, the yellow costume of the Reverse Flash bursts from it. From this, Barry deduces that Thawne is responsible for the altered timeline and is taunting him. With this knowledge, Barry knows he needs to find Thawne and get him to revert history to what it was. Thomas Wayne, who asks why Barry called him Bruce, is all too happy to help Barry after he finds out that he can make his son live instead of him.
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Back to the story, we jump to London, aka "New Themyscira" where US special forces agent, Colonel Steve Trevor- on a mission to recover Lois Lane, is captured by Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman finds out that Lois has been an undercover spy in London who has been reporting to Cyborg, from this we also learn that Wonder Woman has a spy in America.
Back in Gotham City, Barry Allen is getting ready to synthesize the accident that gave him his power by hooking himself up to an electric chair with the chemical he was carrying on that fateful night. The chair is powered by lightning rods, lightning strikes but instead of joining the Speedforce, Barry bursts into flames. The issue end with the severely burnt carcass of Barry Allen lying in the rain. Next: The Search for Superman?
Overall I really liked this issue; we got to see the introduction of Aquaman and Wonder Woman and we caught a glimpse of what the Flashpoint World is like. I also find the idea that your memories re-arrange to make you feel you've always known them a very interesting concept. The last page, as well, was great; I was not expecting it and I'm very interested to see how Barry will deal with that. I thought the pacing of the story was good too, we got a range of characters and story development with the focus still being on Barry and Batman, my favorite part of the issue was definitely when Barry says "I became the fastest man alive–" before Thomas Wayne punches him in the face and says "You weren't fast enough to avoid that you delusional son-of-a-B!+©#"; one of the few times I have actually laughed out loud at a comic.
Having said that, I did think that the way Batman suddenly calmed down was a little too abrupt and needed to taper out a little more. It was also very awkward to read Barry telling Thomas how he was going to restore the correct history as that obviously means the death of Thomas Wayne. Barry was almost oblivious to the fact that he was telling the man he needs to help him that he will die, just so that Barry can get back to normal. It was very fortunate that Thomas was willing to sacrifice his own life so that his son might live but if he wasn't, I think Barry would have had more than just a broken finger.
There were a couple of very odd things in this issue, I've already mentioned how the ring seemed to appear out of nowhere but even weirder than that, on the first close-up of the ring, the lightning bolt is facing the wrong direction, at first assumed that it was just the Reverse Flash's ring, particularly with the costume that comes out of it but on closer inspection, every image of the ring after the initial one shows the lightning bolt in the correct orientation. The other odd thing, and this is probably a problem with many Flash books but it's the first time I've ever noticed it… if the Flash's suit is truly frictionless, how could Barry hold it? By its very definition, nobody could ever hold the Flash's costume as nothing could ever grip it, it should simply slide out of his finger onto the floor and then continue to slide for eternity. I also though it was funny how Barry managed to "pull a Hulk" after bursting into flames, losing every piece of his clothing except for his ripped hot pants… and apparently his hair is also flame resistant.
Overall I did thoroughly enjoy this issue; the story was good and the art was spectacular. I tried not to let the events that this book is leading to impede my judgment and I haven't.
Posted Joe Jinks