At the beginning of the week, I noted that I’m not a Marvel fan as I reviewed Fear Itself. Today, I’d like to end the week by discussing DC’s summer event comic, Flashpoint. In fact, once it kicks into high gear, every Friday is going to look at the week’s Flashpoint titles and discuss which ones you should be buying. I’m doing this for a few reasons:
1) Event comics can be expensive and considering DC and Marvel are going head to head with events, and I already follow DC, then perhaps I can help my readers decide what to buy.
2) I want Fridays to be the place to discuss all things Flashpoint and maybe even discuss event comics themselves.
3) Sam is the biggest Flash fan in the world, so I’ll be buying every tie-in anyway, so I want to discuss this stuff so I don’t feel like we’re wasting a lot of money.
Also, I want to do Marvel Mondays to cover Fear Itself, but I don’t have the money to buy every issue of BOTH events, so if you’re buying tons of Fear Itself tie-ins and you’d like to share your thoughts on it, please let me know.
Now, let’s get to talking about Flashpoint.
I’m a bit apprehensive when it comes to this crossover because it has the potential to either be amazing or a complete failure. Alternate universes rarely fall into that middle ground of being inventive and interesting, but without significant commercial success. In my mind, the only real comparison is the Tangent Universe.
For those of you who don’t remember, a little over ten years ago, DC decided on a series of one-shots that were a glimpse into a completely different universe. All of the names of the characters were familiar because they were DC heroes, but they were repurposed, recontextualized, and completely different.
For instance, Green Lantern was no longer a space cop, but rather a woman with a lantern that could raise the dead so they could tell their story. Nightwing wasn’t the former sidekick of Batman, but a terrorist organization that controls the world. Superman wasn’t the square-jawed hero that protected the world . . . that role was fulfilled by the Atom.
I could go on forever, but here is the list of series on Wikipedia.
The Tangent Universe had some really great ideas and they were executed in a fun way. One-shots don’t require much investment from fans in order to become immersed in the world, but they also don’t provide long-term consequences nor an overarching story. The one shot format is a good business model to give readers a taste and an easy way to do a sequel.
Of course Flashpoint requires a bit of a larger investment from readers. More than just a series of one-shots, Flashpoint is made up of a five issue main mini-series, two issues of Booster Gold, SIXTEEN three-issue mini-series, and four single issue one-shots bringing the grand total of issues related to the universe up to 59. That’s right, 59!
The stakes are just a little bit higher than a collection of nine one-shots from the Tangent Universe.
Furthermore, both Johns and Didio have stated that Flashpoint will have long term effects in the main DCU, but I think that is hyperbole to get people to purchase everything and it’s also code for “if readers like certain characters, we’ll figure out a way to weasel them into the main universe much like Marvel brought in Nate Gray from the Age of Apocalypse years ago.”
I want this event to be great (mostly because I’m buying everything anyway, so it would be nice if my money meant something) and I want the Flashpoint universe to mean something. With Tangent, beyond the two series of one-shots, DC has incorporated the characters of Tangent every once in awhile into JLA, but the real continuation of the universe was in Tangent: Superman’s Reign.
When Tangent: Superman’s Reign was announced, I imagine that I was the only one who was really excited for it. I loved the characters of the Tangent universe and to see them return to their own world was fun to me. It took me back to when I was a kid and I used my imagination to craft all of their stories on my own.
Also, the art in the first six issues was by Jamal Igle and Fernando Pasarin so it was beautiful to behold as well. The later six issues were drawn by someone else, but those first six are well-worth hunting down.
There’s no doubt in my mind that DC will never completely abandon the Flashpoint universe in the future, but I can’t help but wonder how meaningful it will be after it is all over. Will they have crafted 59 issues only to end it all and return to the DCU proper? I’m not sure what the answers are, and I honestly don’t know what they should be. Maybe it would be cool to have a Flashpoint series in the same vein as the Ultimate universe for Marvel. Comic fans are smart enough to distinguish it from the main universe. I don’t really see that happening though. DC officially states that they don’t like to have multiple on-going universes existing at one time (which means that DC likes to ignore the First Wave universe, and likes to forget that the All-star comics are in their own separate universes).
I guess only time will tell where all of this is going.
And now for your very first Flashpoint Flash Facts:
- The Flash learns that his alternate reality counterpart, Hot Pursuit, is a cop whose cosmic motorcycle steals power from the speed force.
- Bart Allen shows up in order to remind readers that there is more than just one Flash in the universe (but no Wally West like the cover suggests) and Hot Pursuit warns Bart that he’ll “be more vulnerable than anyone to the effects of the impending timestorm” because Bart is from the future.
- Hot Pursuit continues to vaguely hint at some problem with the timestream that anyone with half a brain would guess is going to be caused by Professor Zoom, but apparently Barry hasn’t gotten there quite yet.
- The remainder of the issue revolves around the mystery of who is super aging people and for what purpose.
Overall, not a bad issue (Francis Manapul continues to be the best artist in the world), but I’m anxious for Flashpoint to start and this issue just seems like it exists to build anticipation.