Flashpoint (Issue #1) (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Flashpoint (Issue #1)


Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Andy Kubert & Sandra Hope; Colors by Alex Sinclair; Letters by Nick J. Napolitano; Cover by Andy Kubert, Ivan Reis, and George Pérez

May 20, 2011 DC Comics Bookmark and Share

The first issue of Flashpoint starts DC Comics’ big summer event on some truly shaky ground. Geoff Johns had recent homeruns with Green Lantern, Blackest Night, and parts of Brightest Day, but his attempts at transforming The Flash into a marquee star (I smell a movie in the works!) aren’t quite living up to The Scarlet Speedster’s legacy. The Flash is one of my favorite characters and he deserves much better than this. Johns’ forthcoming The Flash Omnibus is a doorstop-sized reminder that the scribe can write one hell of a Barry Allen story (several in fact). Despite its many writing hiccups, this issue is a joy to look at because of Joe Kubert’s very talented son, Andy Kubert. His work always has a gleeful hue surrounding it and inker Sandra Hope and colorist Alex Sinclair make the characters pop out like a 3-D movie. Kubert’s splash pages are always fun to behold. Just check out his Gotham City skyline or the rooftop reveal of Flashpoint‘s ad hoc “Justice League.”

Despite being DC’s Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer, the main problem with issue #1 is somewhat out of Johns’ hands. DC’s promotional blitz of teasers for Flashpoint have succinctly ruined many of the series’ surprises and “alternate timeline” twists of famous characters, such as Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Cyborg, and Green Lantern. The overall through-line is also extremely similar in tone and execution to the first arc in the current Booster Gold run —some villain is zipping through the time stream and undoing the origins DCU’s greatest heroes. There’s no need to spoil you any further with the plot details of this issue. If you’ve avoided DC’s The Source blog you will most likely enjoy this story exponentially more than than this review portrays it. It’s not exactly normal to review a series based on its promotional cycle, but it’s hard to ignore it in this case. It’s akin to watching a trailer that gives away the identity of the serial killer in a mystery/thriller.

Don’t approach this issue expecting tons of story beats relating to Barry Allen. We basically get the obligatory origin recap in the opening panels and a few scenes where Allen slowly discovers this world is vastly different from his own. (It’s funny that Johns starts his hero’s journey awaking from a nap at the police office.) It highlights the seriousness of an event that can be explained by the following phrase: “well, it’s only a dream alternate timeline, so everything will go back to normal.” This summer will see if any grave repercussions occur after this manhandling of the time stream. The rest of Flashpoint‘s opening salvo deals with alternate Batman and “America’s hero,” Cyborg. The book is hurried in introducing all its B-list characters during the “voting” scene, but it’s great to see Cyborg get some added attention.

Victor Stone is desperately trying to rally superheroes to battle against Atlantis and Themyscira in these panels. It seems as though this world’s Aquaman and Wonder Woman have torn apart and flooded Europe. I kept thinking that their backstory sounds way more intruiging than the aftermath. Hopefully the Wonder Woman and the Furies and Emperor Aquaman one-shots will remedy this. After all, Flashpoint‘s limited five-issue run will also involve sixteen three-issue mini series, and a number of one shots. Another problem with Flashpoint will be buyer fatigue. The main series will be the place to go for just the basics, but the checklist that is found within this issue is ridiculous. June has 24 issues of new tie-ins alone! That’s approximately $70 to plunk down for all of these weird, new characters. Did the ‘90s return?

[Spoiler] A story element that worked well for this issue was the implication that Allen doesn’t have his speed force powers in the Flashpoint universe. The few panels depicting him stuck in rush hour traific on the way to Wayne Manor were extremely funny, but it also pointed to this issue’s biggest problem: Do readers care about a Barry Allen/Flash story without super speed? In a recent Newsarama interview, Johns says we will know soon enough. Oh, and the last page’s big reveal that Thomas Wayne is Batman was enough to keep me interested. [End of Spoiler]

Continuity Question: In the past, DC set up that The Reverse-Flash can alter the past but he can’t slay Barry Allen because his “negative speed force” can’t exist if Allen’s Speed Force doesn’t. How is he still wreaking havoc when Barry is powerless? I’m hoping that Johns explains this further in the second or third issue and I’m eagerly anticipating it despite #1’s hurried flub-ups. (www.geoffjohns.com / www.dccomics.com/sites/theflash)

Author rating: 4/10

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