The penultimate issue of the last 'event' in DC Comics for the foreseeable future (or so they say, it was my belief that Final Crisis was the event to end all events… the word 'Final' playing a pretty big part in that). Nevertheless, written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Andy Kubert, the issue opens up in Fawcett City with the six kids who together form 'Captain Thunder' (The Flashpoint Universe's take on 'Captain Marvel) as well as their pet tiger, 'Tawny'.
The Kids are watching the news as the President is addressing the country, at the same time, they start to discuss the topic of them helping in the effort to stop the Atlantean/Amazonian war.
Meanwhile in Coast City, Hal Jordan (who isn't a Green Lantern in the Flashpoint Universe) is preparing to fly the plane that will drop a bomb, designed to stop the war, on 'New Themyscira'- a story that those who have been reading the Flashpoint tie-in 'Hal Jordan' will be familiar with. Hal takes off amongst a fleet of other planes, just before we jump to Metropolis.
Batman, Cyborg and The Flash are still fighting the guards… and losing. That is until 'Element Woman' appears, disposing of the guards with ease. After introductions have been made, Barry suddenly collapses, his memories once again begin to change and realign to the new timeline, the effort of fighting it make him week but Batman gives him an antiephelaptic saying "Just fight it Allen. Keep fighting it. Don't forget my son".
We then jump back to the S.H.A.Z.A.M household where the teens are continuing their discussion about whether or not they should get involved in the war before their front door splinters open and Batman is standing in the frame (having just kicked the door down) supporting The Flash, alongside Element Woman and Cyborg. Batman took Flash to the kids because Billy, using the magical lightning, is able to stop the mind from deteriorating. When attempting this, Billy gets a flash of the correct timeline, "a world with hope". Nevertheless, Billy seems to help The Flash as he is no longer weak but as Barry stands up there is a news bulletin on the television. The fleet of U.S. Fighter planes that went to attack New Themyscira were met by the Amazon's own fleet of invisible jets, the first confirmed casualty being Hal Jordan.
It's at this point that The Flash realizes what he has to do, instead of trying to find Thawne to simply to return time to the correct stream he has to save the world as it is. Barry realizes that to get things back to exactly the way they were would be so complicated, so unlikely that he would do better to save the lives of millions of people and fix the world he's potentially stuck in.
Even managing to convince Batman, the group of heroes head off to New Themyscira where a huge battle is taking place, in the center of it all is Arthur and Diana before S!H!AZ!A!M is shouted from the clouds and the group of heroes (As well as Enchantress- from the 'Secret Seven' tie-in). The heroes dive in to battle, whilst Cyborg goes to destroy the Atlantean bio-weapon that threatens to destroy the whole of New Themyscira, The Flash goes to reason with Aquaman. Meanwhile, as Captain Thunder is wrestling with Wonder Woman, Enchantress casts a spell that separates the hero into its six separate beings. Realizing that Billy (The host body of the hero) is just a teenage boy, Wonder Woman runs him through with a sword causing an explosion.
As Barry picks himself up, he looks up to see the Reverse-Flash standing over him saying "Oh Barry. Look what you did". TO BE CONCLUDED!
Like the rest of the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this issue. I did however, at least on first read, find this issue to be a little rushed. I found it dialogue heavy and the art didn't seem up to its usual standard. I had a think about this and I think I've worked out why this was. At this point in the story, a lot of threads are coming together but exposition still needs to be made. The first issue, whilst being great at establishing the characters and universe, did very little to move the plot forward, the second issue also did very little in story development concerning the Amazonian/Atlantean war. I believe that the title is now catching up so that there are no loose ends when the title comes to an end this week. Having said this, and despite being dialogue heavy, I still found the story very engaging and it held my fullest attention, far from being put-off by the large amounts of text I enjoyed (particularly as someone reading all of the tie-ins) reading references to the other goings on in the Flashpoint Universe.
As for the art, which earlier I said didn't seem as good as usual, I am putting it down to a change of inker, instead of Sandra Hope doing the inking (like it said on the cover and the inker for the previous three issues) it was taken over by Jess Delperdang. The inking wasn't bad and it was similar in style to Hope's but I found it to be smoother and not as scratchy- an element which I believe compliments Kubert's art. It's proof how much difference an inker makes.
As for the story itself, I said earlier how I enjoyed seeing the plot threads beginning to twist together and I liked the references to the tie-ins, reading them has really enhanced the experience for me and whilst I can see why you wouldn't need to read them to understand the story, it does answer a lot of questions you may have regarding the smaller aspects of the story.
I am very much looking forward to the conclusion of this event, I definitely think it's been worthwhile as it's been a great story, I'm also looking forward to seeing how the event plays into the DC relaunch. As for specific story elements, I'd like to know why Enchantress turned on Captain Thunder and I'm very excited about hearing the event from the Reverse-Flash's perspective and what his plan entailed.
For Flashpoint #5 we are looking to have another multiple person review so look forward to that shortly after it's release.
Reviewed by Joe Jinks