DC Comics is kicking off its summer spectacular featuring Barry Allen as the Flash in a world no one recognizes especially the Flash! The purpose behind the review isn’t so much about the adventure the Flash goes through in this alternate reality but the inclusion of Batman in it.
I’m practically champing at the bit to discuss the big reveal at the end of “Flashpoint #1” but that would be getting ahead of the game. Let’s just say, to me, it is a real forehead slapper.
So before we go too far, let’s take a quick look at Flashpoint. Geoff Johns the author/creator of this series is a noted Silver Age fan and a big proponent of Barry Allen as the Flash. It was Johns’ renewed influence and authority that brought Allen back as the main Flash character displacing Wally West. Much as he did with Hal Jordan displacing Kyle Rayner as the central Green Lantern.
Despite the long history of the Flash in DC comics one could argue that he has become less of an intriguing character. Not to the depths that Wonder Woman has sunk to. But not a person of interest either. Hence, this very splashy series featuring the Flash in order to reinvigorate the character.
What precipitated this altered timeline given here isn’t entirely clear yet. The Flash wakes up in his forensic office to find the world changed around him. His mother is alive but he is no longer married to his wife Iris. The world’s greatest superhero is Cyborg and he is trying to forge an alliance that will stop Wonder Woman and Aquaman from tearing the planet apart for their own selfish desires. The key to this alliance, Batman.
Batman, ah yes. This being an altered reality the Bruce Wayne Batman is not featured here. Naturally the big reveal is the true identity of this particular Batman.
We first hear from Batman as he provides the voice over narration to start this adventure. He paints himself as much less of a hero although one that has felt the sting of personal loss. He still patrols Gotham City albeit one that is festooned with enterprises that advertise Wayne Resorts and Casinos that are abundant in number. His methods are more extreme than the Batman we know exemplified as he tosses a Joker acolyte off a rooftop when the information he seeks is not forthcoming.
This perp tossing brings Cyborg into the picture. Cyborg further illustrates the murderous bent of this Batman when he alludes to the many perps that get tossed into this particular alley in Gotham as Batman retorts, “she slipped”.
Apparently this iteration of Batman is as much a loner as the one we classically know. He rebuffs the Cyborgs entreaties and sneers, “one can only hope” when Cyborg warns him the end is near for not only Batman but for the world itself.
Barry Allen, as far as we know, is the only one aware that the world is askew. He drives to Gotham to seek out Batman and here more is revealed about the true nature of this Batman. As Allen (sans super speed) arrives at Wayne Manor, he finds it an abandoned and decrepit hulk. Knowing the entrance to the Batcave he descends the long stair way and discovers a lair fully devoid of computers, vehicles, souvenirs and the other minutia that makes the Batcave so impressive. In fact the only thing to be found is a spare table, a family portrait and a hand gun under glass. (Ok, there is one souvenir.)
As Barry sifts through the paltry contents of the cave he is assaulted by Batman. A furious Batman demands to know who he is and starts a relentless beating in order to find out. Allen pleads for him to stop and calls out “Bruce!” A shocked Batman stops and replies “Bruce is dead” “I watched him die.” So the big reveal to this Batman’s identity is…
Next, my take on the Thomas Wayne Batman and the art of Andy Kubert.
Posted by David Healey