This was the week I was waiting for – the release of the first wave of mini-series. While I’m intrigued by the main book for Flashpoint, I’m more interested in how the minis flesh out the world. In a normal event book, minis serve as a way to expand the conflict, but with Flashpoint, the minis serve dual purpose of not only expanding the central conflict, but of fleshing out the world itself.
Still, with so many different mini-series coming out, what ones are worth buying and which should you pass up? That’s why I’m here.
Flashpoint #2 – Of course you’ll have to buy this comic no matter what, but I can’t help but feel just a little disappointed with this issue. While an event of this magnitude must have a central focus in order to ground it, the main title is so grounded that it feels as if the world itself isn’t quite fully realized. It might be the purpose of the minis to flesh out the story, but the main title MUST establish enough plot to work with and I feel as if it lacks a little in this regard.
Ultimately, this issue is relegated to three scenes and while all of them are very well done, I never got the sense that this world is overwhelming, powerful, and amazing. Here’s how it mostly breaks down:
The opening scene features Deathstroke and his pirates. I was legitimately surprised to see some of the members of his crew, so I won’t spoil anything, but it’s my hope that in the post-reboot world, Deathstroke will lead his own team of villains. I realize that this was technically what he was doing in Titans, but I think he could support a book on his own like this.
The second major scene picks up where the last issue left off between Barry and Batman. It’s handled reasonably well, but it is mostly Barry coping with the changed world around him and Batman treating him as if he is crazy. I understand that its a necessary step in any altered reality story for characters to look around and be shocked, but that’s always my least favorite part. I want the narrative to move on.
Finally, Wonder Woman and the Amazons are finally shown, but other than lassoing Steve Trevor, they don’t really do much and really, this is sort of the problem. I get that Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war and while it might not be the most exciting of premises, I have come to accept that is where the narrative is going to go. However, other then mentions of how horrible the war is, we have been given nothing to show how fierce their armies are. The conflict itself has no real gravity to it, and so I find myself not caring.
Despite my complaining, it’s still a good issue, but it just isn’t building like I expected. There is no sense of urgency or drama and this could be because it is an alternate universe and I know none of this is permanent, but something needs to draw me into the main title other than Kubert’s absolutely perfect artwork.
Nevermind, nothing else really needs to draw me in other than Kubert.
Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1 – Of all the titles announced, this was the one that seemed absolutely perfect. Azzarello and Risso are perfect together and by putting them on a grim-and-gritty Batman book where they can do what they want, is absolute poetry.
And you know what? The issue doesn’t disappoint.
IGN’s review of this comic was a little breezy and really doesn’t give the issue very much credit. The point of this comic isn’t to simply further establish the Flashpoint Batman, but it is also to show what Gotham City is like without Bruce Wayne.
While the regular DCU might not like some of Bruce Wayne’s methods to fighting crime, Thomas Wayne’s methods are far more grey. We learn that the purpose of Wayne Casinos is to have the criminal element come to him. Thomas is funding some criminal empires so that he knows how they operate so he can stop them. In a sense, it’s a little like the Green Hornet premise, but on a much grander, and darker scale.
Furthermore, Gotham City’s police force has been privatized meaning that not only does Batman fund crime, but he is also funding the police. In the regular DCU, Bruce Wayne understands there are lines he can’t cross, while in Flashpoint, Thomas Wayne is more than willing to work all of the angles and this could be because of the ages they experienced their trauma.
Bruce saw his parents die when he was a boy, so he reacted as a boy would: take control as one man and fight back.
Thomas saw his wife and son die, so he takes control of all aspects of crime from the criminals to the police because as an adult, he can understand all aspects of crime.
There are plenty of other differences worth noting, but I’ll let you discover those on your own. This book is an absolute must buy.
Abin Sur: the Green Lantern #1 – As you probably know, above everything else, I’m a Green Lantern fan. Still, I had never heard of Adam Schlagman or Felipe Massafera before, so that worried me a little bit. After this first issue, my fears have been put to rest.
Seeing what the Green Lantern mythos would be like without Hal Jordan (or more importantly, any Earth Lanterns) is really quite interesting. Without Hal Jordan as an antagonist, Sinestro never turns evil or perhaps the Guardians have just never learned that he is an evil despot.
The Manhunters have been attacking various sectors, but we also learn that there are only 2,793 sectors that aren’t under the control of Nekron and the Black Lanterns. This detail is exactly what Flashpoint needs; a sense of a world outside of the central conflict. The issue never mentions Aquaman or Wonder Woman specifically, but does an excellent job of explaining why Abin Sur has to be on Earth.
The art is great, but it’s clear that the movie has influenced the art because Sinestro isn’t so much David Niven as much as he is Mark Strong. Despite the clear connection to the live action movie, the art is very strong.
This is also a must buy.
World of Flashpoint #1 – This book provides some context for the background of Flashpoint that no other book has done so far. The scene where Traci 13 visits Madame Xanadu is particularly an expository-filled few pages with a not-so-subtle reference to the importance of the Flash. Also, the members of H.I.V.E. are an interesting group worth paying attention to.
The issue provides some context to the world itself, but it’s not necessary to understand anything and while some may find Traci 13 to be a fresh and interesting character, I did not. Still, you might want to give it a read.
The Secret Seven #1 – I can’t tell you what happened in this issue. I don’t mean that to sound as if it was so shocking that you have to find out for yourself; I literally have no clue what happened in this issue. Perhaps my lack of knowledge about anything to do with Shade the Changing Man is preventing me from getting into this book because Peter Milligan is usually a great writer, but I seriously don’t know what happened.
The artwork is fantastic, so if you’re a George Perez fan, then you already know this book is a must buy, but from a strictly story standpoint, avoid at all costs.
What about you? What did you like about Flashpoint this week? What excites you? What bores you?