By: Adam Schlagman (writer), Cliff Richards (artist), Allen Passalaqua (colorist)

The Story: Snakes and planes!

The Review: Last issue churned out so little noteworthy material that it produced my shortest review on record.  I’m usually never at a loss of what to say, but when the story gives so much plot and scenery that’s been done before without a new take on it, talking about it seems a waste of time.  Even to the final panel of the issue, Schlagman gave us a tale that bore no reflection on the changes of Flashpoint, and could simply have been a watered-down Hal Jordan origin story.

This time around, Schlagman strives to be a little more true to the new reality, but not in a very coherent way.  While Ferris Aircraft has traditionally had a major role with the US military, it doesn’t make any sense they’d have full access to Abin Sur’s spacecraft to reverse engineer its tech with their own aircrafts, especially considering the ultra-secrecy with which the military has taken with other extraterrestrials (see Flashpoint: Project Superman #2).

But logical holes abound this issue.  Hector Hammond raves about Hal’s friendship with Abin, “We can’t trust that freakish extraterrestrial…!  Who knows what secrets he’s stealing from us.”  The fact he can say this with a straight face and absolute sincerity at the same time he takes Abin’s ship apart for its advanced systems is nonsense enough, but you also have to wonder what possible secrets can prove to be of any value to a race several dozen degrees superior to our own.

Before you can begin to rationalize the incongruity of this point, Ferris gets attacked, though not by alien invaders as Hector darkly speculates.  “They’re freakin’ invisible planes!”  That’s right; it’s Amazons Attack, part two!  Again, the scene flies in the face of established Flashpoint continuity in that the Amazons have never expressed any antagonism toward any nation besides Atlantis, so this sudden, unprovoked doom drop on Ferris makes no sense whatsoever.

Essentially, that renders Hal and Carol’s entire flight sequence, which takes up the majority of the issue, almost completely pointless.  It basically just kills time while doing nothing to advance the plot.  Then again, what is the plot?  Schlagman has given us a lot of action and melodrama, but with no direction to any of it.  You can argue that it’s a character piece on Hal’s growth, but since we’ve gotten only the most superficial (dare I say, cinematic?) characterization of him so far, we don’t really know what part of him is growing.

Richards tries to ape the realism of Ben Oliver, but his looks even more posed and lifeless.  Oftentimes, his figures look more like glorified playthings than convincing beings (that hydra—yes, a hydra shows up at one point—rampaging amongst a clutter of buildings being a good example).  Basically, his art does nothing to make the underwhelming script more worthwhile.

Conclusion: Even with a fairly terrible story arc, I’d stick around to the end just to see how things wrap up.  With a nonexistent plot, even if the final issue of this series ends on a high note, I still won’t have any reason to care.  Consider the tie-in Dropped.

Grade: D

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Richards proves there can be downsides to a skintight uniform.  All I have to say is either Abin Sur has a really unfortunately-placed, protruding alien appendage, or he is impressively well-endowed.

– “Something’s entered our airspace.”  “But nothing’s on radar.”  Someone please explain to me how that’s possible.  Also explain to me how Hal knows invisible planes are about if “They’re freakin’ invisible planes!”  (I will never tire of mocking that line, I think).