Warning – as these series are reaching their conclusions, I may let a spoiler or two slip out in my commentary.
Now let’s talk Flashpoint!
FLASHPOINT #4 (of 5)
(w) Geoff Johns (a) Andy Kuburt and Sandra Hope
So after three issues of set up, Flash and company head off to face the combined forces of Atlantis and the Amazons. Now if you’ll pardon the pun, things begin to move a bit faster. After being abandoned by the alien Subject 1 (Kal-el) Bats, Flash and Cyborg are quickly joined by the Element Girl who helps them out of a jam (and she brought extra juice boxes). From there they are off to find others to help stop the war.
See this is what confuses me a bit, If Flash wants to return the world to what is was, shouldn’t he be trying to find Zoom; or using his own speed to go back in time and try to undo what Zoom is doing? Where is Booster Gold? That is right up his alley. It could be Quantum Leap, the DC version. I guess Barry feels they have to stop what’s going on first, to make sure thereactually is a world to save.
While I have been enjoying this series in general, sometimes the pacing has just felt off. I feel that TPTB decided after this series was pitched and plotted to make it the gateway to the new 52. Some things seem forced and others rushed. I also feel there was too much reliance on the supporting series to tell some pretty important parts of the story, while others have little bearing, except to fill out the world (and shipping schedule).
BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #3 (of 3)
(W) Brian Azzarello (A) Eduardo Risso
By far and away, this has been my favorite of the supporting mini-series. Of course this could have easily been one of the Elseworlds from the mid 90′s, and didn’t have to be part of Flashpoint at all. I guess that is part of why this series works.
One of the things that does help link this story back to Flashpoint, is to help explain the motivations of the Batman and why Thomas eventually does agree to help Barry Allen, who by all accounts, is just this crazy guy.
The relationship of the Joker to the Batman, no matter what world they are on, is a constant one. The two have been linked together for so long, it is easy to imagine them as old married couple. Well turns out here that just happens to be the case; and how Martha Wayne became the Joker is just as tragic and heartbreaking as how Bruce originally becomes the Batman.
Brian Azzarello goes from here to the world of Wonder Woman, with the art chores by Cliff Chiang. I for one, am curious and excited to see what they have in mind for the Amazing Amazon.
DEATHSTROKE and the CURSE OF THE RAVAGER #3 (of 3)
(s) Jimmy Palmiotti (a) Tony Shasteen and Alex Massacci
Ya know what? I liked this book. Like Batman, this easily could have just been an Elseworlds book. Deathstroke as a pirate. Was there a pirate Elseworlds? There had to be!
Though at times things seemed a little forced, the run in with Aquaman seemed only to be there to remind us that this was in Flashpoint, and there were, what I would have thought, better ways to make the connection: Smuggling in and out of the UK perhaps? Maybe a connection to Cyborg’s network? In all the story of high stakes on the high seas was satisfying. The action was intense and the motivations of Slade Wilson were true to the man we know in the DCU.
Will Slade and Rose have a place in Flashpoint #5 or is their story done until Deathstroke’s new ongoing comes out in September? I guess we will have to wait to see.
SECRET SEVEN #3 (of 3)
(W) Peter Milligan (A) Fernando Blanco and Scott Koblish
This series was one of the ones I was most looking forward to 3 months ago. Shade the Changing Man, the Enchantress, all of DC’s mystic characters; they have all been pushed to the corners of the DCU, and sometimes it’s nice to have something bigger than just technology. The problem is that fantasy is very hard to write, especially in a shared universe. The rules to magic are very important.
This series turned out to be a bit more uneven than I’d hoped. A strong story, but hampered by its mission to fit into the greater Flashpoint story. There were also some questionable visual choices made by the art team (the much ballyhooed Zatanna redesign being front and center). The art direction inside the book is a shame, because Zee looks pretty bad-ass on the cover, even if her scar is just a ripoff (excuse me, homage) to Harry Potter.
Come September, we’ll probably be revisiting a lot of this material in the Justice League Dark series (Really? That was the best name you could come up with?). I understand the need to brand, but that title just sounds so lame. Couldn’t you have used the word “league” in a better way? League of Mystics? League of Magick? Shadow League of Eternity?
WORLD of FLASHPOINT #3 (of 3)
(W) Rex Ogle (A) Eduardo Francisco
What I was expecting to be a sort of mixed-bag of tales about what happened to characters who didn’t get a spotlight in Flashpoint (Hawkman, Guy Gardner, Stargirl) turned out to be a very focused story of Tracy 13, a minor character (sorry if you’re a fan of hers) and the reaction of the world to the sinking of Europe and the war in general.
I am not going to say I was disappointed by this series, and with one more issue of Flashpoint coming out, maybe its story isn’t completely done. It just really didn’t connect to the core story enough for me. It parallels the main story of Flashpoint nicely, but it really didn’t add to it.
I felt they wasted some interesting possible connects with the previously mentions Secret Seven, and under-utilized some more interesting characters, like Madame Xanadu.
I am sure we will being seeing Traci 13 again in the New 52, somewhere on the “Edge” (probable the aforementioned poorly titled Justice League Dark.
After all is said in done, we are now in the last 4 weeks of Flashpoint, the last 28 days of the DCU as we have known it, more or less for last 25 years. It will be interesting to see what comes next.