By: Geoff Johns (writer), Andy Kubert (penciller), Sandra Hope (inker), Alex Sinclair (colorist)
The Story: Huh… So this is Superman. He’s shorter than I imagined.
The Review: There are essentially two important conflicts driving the events in Flashpoint: you have Reverse Flash’s alterations to reality, the consequences of which remain unclear; and you also have the oncoming final blowout between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, which threatens the altered Earth. Johns has tried to give equal weight to both plotlines, but with mixed results.
It’s pretty clear Johns has relegated the Amazon-Atlantean brouhaha to second banana in the grand scheme of this series. Maybe he assumes we’re reading more of the clarifying tie-ins than I suspect most of us actually are, because he only drops in developments on the war front through brief, interstitial asides. Instead of letting us see things reach a fever pitch, he has Lois Lane cipher facts to us, and even then we cut away from her before it gets really interesting.
So despite Cyborg’s insistence that this war will be the end of the world, you really can’t take it all his forebodings all that seriously. Besides the rare glimpses of devastated Europe, the war seems only to exist on the fringes of your awareness, especially since the rest of America seems (as it often does in real life) only dimly concerned about the doomsday about to visit them.
The rest of the issue once again centers on Barry striving to put right what once went wrong, in possibly the most ludicrous manner possible. Only in comics could you possibly be expected to even consider suspending your belief enough to accept that after frying himself in his first attempt to regain his powers, Barry wants to have another go. And here’s the even crazier part: spoiler alert—it works! Why the second time around proves the charm, we don’t know. It just has to for the story to get a move on, I guess.
And boy, does the story need to get going. Three issues in, and we still haven’t come close to passing the first 24 hours in this new world, and we still have only a vague idea of what Barry wants to do here. He plans to reassemble the Justice League, but never explains how he plans to use them. We can only assume he’ll attempt to “fix” reality by confronting Reverse-Flash, but why he needs the League to do this remains unclear.
With only two issues left to go, you’d reasonably expect at this halfway point for the story to start reaching its climax, but the prevailing tone is a story that’s only starting to get itself together. And frankly, with so much important substance left to the Flashpoint tie-ins to cover, the primary series has just done a poor job of making itself feel important. For a plot that intends to affect the entire DCU, the events just feel small and forgettable.
Kubert offers the same solid work he has done so far, but since we mostly get a lot of talking-heads panels, much of his art gets obscured by fat text balloons. He also does a great job giving us a gaunt, refugee version of Superman, whose bulging doe eyes convey the greatly deprived life he’s had to live. That said, Kubert’s art does little to give the title the sense of import that the script lacks.
Conclusion: The story seems to be spinning its wheels in place as we continue to crawl forward. We can only hope that the last parts of this series gets itself in high gear to make up for it.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – What kind of Batman just falls off a building without shooting off a grappling hook to save himself?
– No, not Krypto! Seeing that panel was the only time I felt this universe was sick and wrong and shouldn’t exist. And why did they leave the lights on?