By: J.T. Krul (writer), Fabrizio Fiorentino (artist), Kyle Ritter & Ander Zarate (colorists)

The Story: Wow Boston—we’re so close now, it’s like you’re in me.

The Review: Here’s a pretty good indicator of worthwhile series: when each episode, chapter, or issue has its own agenda yet plays together with the others to form a cohesive story.  In other words, if you can predict how things will turn out the next time around by what you get at the moment, then you lose nearly the whole point of a continued plotline.  When the element of surprise disappears, so does your reason for investment.

Krul has set up a pattern of movement which every issue of this title has followed, even to the very end.  We again start with a foreboding monologue: “But instead of bringing a spectacle of thrills, we brought the dogs of war.  We brought the Amazons.  We brought death.”  Gag-worthy melodramatics aside, let’s commend Krul for that “dogs of war” bit; way to skirt the line on calling those women something offensive, sir.

We also have the obligatory scenes of Boston trying to weasel the easy way out of the life-and-death situation our circus crew find themselves in, and of Dick acting impulsively self-righteous.  It’s a noble attitude, no doubt, but grating just the same, especially when coupled with claims like, “We became soldiers the day the war started.  We just didn’t know it until now.”  Their squabbling over survival vs. justice is part of a tiresome formula we’ve grown all too used to.

About the only break from the familiar, but one we knew was coming from the first issue, is Boston’s newfound devotion to Dick, even in death.  We can deduce Boston’s motivations stem from an affection for the young acrobat even he’s unaware of; that explanation by itself would suffice just fine.  But Krul insists on emphasizing how Boston made a promise to John Grayson to protect his son, only the thing is: Boston never made such a promise.  Read the last issue and see for yourself, but it’s a fact.

So it should be to no surprise the story just limps on the last leg of the issue, with Boston taking up the ghostly guise he’s always meant to, which works out to ultimately save Dick’s life.  A neat wrap-up, but again, one so obvious you could have written it yourself based on the blunt groundwork Krul set up from previous chapters.  And if you think I’m just spouting some big talk here, allow me to refer you to my review of this title’s first issue, where I noted, and I quote: “Dare I guess a painful lesson in the value of companionship is in store for our dear Boston?”

Considering the dissatisfactory results he gave us when he drew half of last issue, you have to question the wisdom of allowing Fiorentino a whole issue to himself.  He has a rudimentary, uninspired style that looks like something a very ambitious high school art student might offer.  And though the script may be just as much to blame for this, Fiorentino draws some incredibly illogical scenes, like an Amazon tackling Dick by the legs when she holds a perfectly good sword (or is it two swords?  Hard to tell, as it’s drawn like two blades coming from the same handle) to just run him through with.  As the numerous dead innocents show, it’s not as if she’d have any hesitation in just killing him to get what she wants.

Conclusion: It’s safe to say Flashpoint has produced some of the biggest dogs of the year, and this one certainly counts as one of them.

Grade: D

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Jack Grayson: “…you have to learn to miss the jump before you learn to make the jump.”  Dick: “Dad, that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”  Jack: “Doesn’t make it any less true.”  No, I agree with Dick; that’s really just the dumbest thing I ever heard, too.