REVIEW: Flashpoint #3

Posted by under *mixed, Comics |

DC Comics’ Summer event series, Flashpoint, hit the mid-way point this week as issue #3 arrived in stores. Flashpoint has perhaps become the most important series in the DC Universe with the announcement that every DC Comics title will relaunch after Flashpoint #5. The series got off to a strong start with big revelations and worldwide tension in the first two issues. There’s another significant revelation here, but generally the pace has slowed as we reach the middle.

Spoilers for Flashpoint and some of its associated tie-in issues may follow.

PTB: Batman and Flash recruiting Cyborg to aid them in this issue is important, but it’s really all about what the heroes find after breaking into Project: Superman beneath Metropolis. I felt like it may have taken too long to get there and that cut short some of the aftermath.

KevinMLD: Recruiting Cyborg only seems important in the context of him being needed to get to Superman. Batman and Flash seem to have no intention of intervening in the war in Europe.

PTB: This version of “Superman” has an interesting history crashing in Metropolis and killing 35,000 people and being imprisoned for years. I don’t know that more attention should have been placed on him, but I certainly don’t feel very invested in the character.

KevinMLD: Especially considering he just flew off without really doing or saying anything, this issue feels like a waste of time. I guess we’ll see how it pays off down the line. But how does recruiting Superman help set the timeline back to normal?

PTB: That’s a fair question. I still enjoyed the revelation though, and I wasn’t sure who exactly the principal characters were so shocked to be seeing on the cover. The words “Project: Superman Revealed!” did not even register when I first picked up the book! I also really liked Andy Kubert’s artistic choices for a Superman that’s spent his entire lifetime hidden from our yellow sun.

Beyond their search for Kal El, the only major plot point was the President of the United States acknowledging the death of one of their spies in New Themyscira and essentially firing Cyborg. It sets up a third army to potentially oppose the heroes along with the Atlanteans and the Amazonians, but it lacks some punch.

KevinMLD: I’m not sure that we’ve actually seen that Steve Trevor is dead. He may just be captured.

PTB: Getting Cyborg on board to with their plan is a big deal since he’s committing treason, but I’m not sure how much that’s going to matter with two issues left.

KevinMLD: Yeah, the whole series is weird. Cyborg only commits treason because he thinks Batman will join his cause to intervene in Europe. Now it’s starting to look like we may not see that intervention in this main title anyway. And why was Batman involvement such a lynch pin for the rest of the powered community? He’s just a guy with high tech toys.

PTB: Not having the story move to the European battlefront in this series would be incredibly disappointing. If that was the plan, they actually should have shown us even less of what’s happening there in this series. Batman in this world seems to be the most established costumed hero so I accepted that his decision on joining the others would carry some weight.

Issue #1 establishes the world and ends with the revelation that Batman in that timeline is Thomas Wayne. It was fantastic. In issue #2 the critical moment comes in Barry Allen trying to recreate the experiment that made him The Flash and failing, possibly fatally injuring himself. In issue #3 he tries again, and not only does he succeed he begins to heal rapidly from his injuries.

KevinMLD: I’ve always hated the idea that the Flash’s accident could be so easily replicated repeatedly. To have it happen twice in the course of two issues here doesn’t help matters.

PTB: It doesn’t even create a new wrinkle for the character or his status quo. Having him grievously injured or diminished in some way would have been better. I really didn’t like this since it undoes some of the previous action and makes the series feel like it’s meandering.

KevinMLD: Agreed. So far the series and the spin offs have created an intriguing world, but I don’t feel like the main title is on a clear path in terms of a plot. I have NO idea what Barry’s plan is or if he even has one.

PTB: Even having him put on the Reverse Flash costume would have been something. Particularly if Barry Allen is going to change history in an attempt to return to the previous timeline, wearing that costume creates a kind of symmetry that might have been interesting.

The other thing I’m disappointed in is that Wonder Woman and Aquaman have been presented as major threats in this world and have only appeared on a panel or two each. I feel like we’re not going to see much of them at all in the series. They’re mentioned a lot, but I guess I want more than that.

KevinMLD: I’m starting to think this title will eventually only focus on the effort to fix time. That anything involving the war in Europe will happen in Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Lois Lane and Grodd’s spin-off books. Or even worse, that it will be handled in the main Flashpoint title and will be completely rushed.

PTB: Again, that would be disappointing. The cover image for Flashpoint #4 suggests we’re going to be seeing at least the Flash interact with Wonder Woman and Aquaman next issue.

KevinMLD: One of the things I’m surprisingly enjoying about Flashpoint is that someone put together a Flashpoint Companion iPhone app. I’m pretty sure it’s unofficial and there’s not a lot to it. It just lists the shipping dates, solicitation information, and offers the ability to rate each issue on a five-star scale. The app also tracks how much of the series has shipped and how much of it you’ve read (based on the issues you reviewed.) I’m enjoying ranking each issue and the stats put in perspective how much (or little) I’m enjoying the series. So far just over 47 percent of the Flashpoint titles have been released and I’ve read 36 percent (of the total series). Currently the story is averaging a three star rating from me, but I really think Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance is artificially raising that rating because that series is fantastic.

PTB: I’m glad to hear the Flashpoint: Batman series is good. I’m not reading anything beyond the main series, but I did seriously consider Deadman and the Flying Graysons. I also heard very good things about the Reverse Flash issue.

KevinMLD: The Reverse Flash issue was nice because it outlined his history very clearly. As I mentioned last time, I find his history confusing. That issue helped. I’m not sure what the story that title is going to tell is going to be about however. I thought maybe we’d see how he messed with history to create the Flashpoint world, we’ll have to see where it goes.

Batman – Knight of Vengeance really plays with the concept that Batman and the Joker are twisted mirrored reflections of one another. It’s an idea that was focused on in the Killing Joke and other places and it’s something I’ve never completely accepted. In the Flashpoint world, the Joker is a child killer whose origin is very closely linked to that of Batman. I can’t wait to see how the story ends and I wouldn’t be surprised if these are characters that get revisited in the future series set in the Flashpoint world. Because if I’ve learned anything from Star Trek, it’s that when Barry and Batman mess with the past, the Flashpoint world won’t disappear it will just splinter off as an alternate reality.

PTB: That’s absolutely the way to go with these alternate timelines/universes. Marvel has revisited the Age of Apocalypse many times over the years and went back to the House of M world for three different mini-series that came years after the original had ended. I would be shocked if the same wasn’t done for certain characters in the Flashpoint timeline.

Read more about DC Comics’ Flashpoint on MyLatestDistraction,
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Flashpoint #2 / Flashpoint #4

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