‘Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons’, written but J.T. Krul with art by Mikel Janin, is the second of the Batman related ‘Flashpoint’ tie-in titles, featuring a Dick Grayson who still performs at Haley Circus with his parents and a Deadman who isn’t a ghost but still human, Boston Brand.
The issue opens in Kufstein, Austria, during an acrobatics performance by Deadman and the Flying Graysons. We see Deadman’s thoughts and learn that he is very egotistical, enjoys making the crowd “shriek and gasp in terror”.
After the show, the ringmaster meets with the Mayor of Kufstein. The war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans has caused a depression in Europe, people are worried if their country is the next to get invaded or even flooded but Haley Circus travels around the country offering entertainment.
As the circus packs up to move on to their next destination we get more insight into Boston Brand who is arrogant and selfish, we also see how much destruction to Europe the war has done through a map showing the flooded continent. The Circus avoids big cities as they are too easily targeted and could be risky, however, they continue to perform as they are cut off from America and need money to survive. Dick Grayson asks Doctor Fate (who happens to be one of the sideshow attractions) which towns would be safe to visit, Doctor Fate doesn’t answer but instead has a vision of several of the changes that have occurred due to the altered timeline.
We jump to Kalisz, Poland, where the circus is being set up for another performance, Brand approaches Doctor Fate, who he believes is sleeping, and attempts to wake him up. However, as soon as Brand touches Doctor Fate’s helmet he has a vision of himself, standing over Dick’s dead body. Brand is confused by this and storms off in anger.
We then jump back to Austria where Kufstein is being destroyed by, what appear to be, angels wearing armor. The leader of them attacks the mayor and demands to know where the ‘Helm of Nabu’ is as she holds up a poster of Doctor Fate.
Back in Poland, Dick and Deadman are getting ready for the show, Deadman tries to convince Dick that his parents are holding him back and that he has the potential to be great but Dick refuses to listen, saying that he enjoys performing with his family too much to cast them aside.
The issue ends with the three Graysons on a podium in the circus, just about to start but from outside, the group that destroyed Kufstein are flying down towards the circus.
Overall I thought the issue was fairly enjoyable although the lack of action made the issue drag slightly in my opinion, however, the new interpretations of the characters were interesting and the idea of the depression that has fallen on Europe brings a realistic, human element into the event that I wasn’t expecting and find refreshing.
The art really reminded me of Frazer Irving’s style, particularly in the coloring although the outlines were more defined. I’ve said before that I’m not too keen on his style but I did like it here and I believe that is down to Janin.
One thing I was confused about was the group that attacked the Austrian town; at first I assumed they were Amazons but they were winged and wearing full body armor, from what we’ve seen so far of the Amazons they don’t appear to be them. Because of this I’m curious to find out who they are and am looking forward to the next issue. Having said that, and this goes for all of the tie-ins, I am interested to see if they are contained stories of if it explains how the characters will get to their new status quo. I was also confused by the vision Doctor Fate had on the tour bus, hence why I didn’t go into detail; overall it appears to be showing some of the major changes due to the altered timeline but just before his vision, Doctor Fate says “Lightning strikes twice, Barry” and there is an image of the cover to ‘Flashpoint’ #2 (minus Batman) which implied to me that Barry will get his costume and powers back and things will go back to normal except all of the characters are in the wrong costumes for the re-launch so I am puzzled as to what this page means.
Like I said, there’s not a lot of action in this book and it left me a little confused but there were elements that I really liked and I’m definitely hooked for the next issue.
Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1:
Reviewed by Joe Jinks