REVIEW: Flashpoint #4

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The cover to Flashpoint #4 makes it abundantly clear that Barry Allen is about to encounter more familiar faces that have been drastically altered in the Flashpoint timeline. Despite this being the first major appearance of Wonder Woman and Aquaman in the main Flashpoint series, everything comes together very nicely. As we head toward the finale of this book, and ostensibly the DC Universe as we know it, seeing many of the tie-ins and their respective characters dovetail into the events here is a nice touch.

Spoilers from around the world of Flashpoint to follow.

PTB: I’m glad to see the story in Europe is hitting the main series. I know we talked about whether we’d see Aquaman and Wonder Woman last time, did you think this played out too quickly?

KevinMLD: It’s a double edged sword. In the main series, Flash realizing that they needed to get involved in the war was spurred on by Hal Jordan’s death. I’m ok with that. I just wish I knew what his previous plan had been. That change in focus is what was so jarring.

Having said that, the lead up to this confrontation between Aquaman and Wonder Woman was so well coordinated in the support series that it borders on astounding. Little pieces of information from the Aquaman series and the Wonder Woman series really give this moment depth without someone who is only reading the main series being left feeling lost. So many of the support titles end right at this moment. Not every support title is great, but overall this might be the best planned crossover I’ve ever read. Usually there are tons of majors contradictions in these types of series and that isn’t the case here.

PTB: That’s high praise and sounds like exactly the way I’d want an event like this to play out. A lot of the issue is dedicated to mobilizing the heroes to stand against the tide of destruction. In many ways, it mirrors some of the events of issue #1, but with Barry in the mix the result is very different.

KevinMLD: Yeah. I’m sure that’s intended as a statement about Barry Allen and his role in the DC Universe that the heroes only mobilize once he’s present, but guess what? He’s still boring and the DC Universe was better with him dead.

PTB: We see a bit more of these assembled heroes than we did at the beginning of the series. I have to admit I’m not familiar with a few of them. Fawcett City is a nod to the original publishers of DC’s Captain Marvel (Shazam!)?

KevinMLD: This is true. I the Becks are references to one of his creators C.C. Beck.

PTB: This Element Woman (Emily Sung) who’s so eager to join the team here is a new character from what I understand, but who is Metamorpho and what is their connection?

KevinMLD: Metamorpho is the DC Universe’s Element Man. A sometime member of the Outsiders and a generally fun character. Emily seems like an airheaded replacement version of him, but if he’s dead I’m not aware of it.

PTB: She’s supposed to survive in the “New 52” (or whatever we’re calling it). What did you think of her full introduction here?

KevinMLD: She seems like she’d be fine for comic relief in a team book. Beyond that we’ll have to see where they take her.

PTB: I think we have to expect Superman will return before the end of Flashpoint in issue #5, but as you mentioned we also get a brief cameo of Hal Jordan early in this book. We later hear a report that he’s a verified casualty. Any chance we’ll see him again?

KevinMLD: I don’t know. I’m way behind on his solo series.

PTB: Andy Kubert’s artwork is fantastic here once again, but I particularly liked the two-page spread of Aquaman’s pitched battle with Wonder Woman. It looks great and conveys a lot of backstory.

KevinMLD: Those pages tell you everything you need to know except that Aquaman and Wonder Woman were manipulated into their war by conspiring members of their inner circles. But that doesn’t even matter at this point. Wonder Woman killed Mera and wears her helmet like a trophy. Aquaman will destroy the world in his quest for revenge. He has nothing left to live for.

PTB: Speaking of backstories, is there a history between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel outside of the Flashpoint continuity?

KevinMLD: Nothing as personal as what we see here. You’d think they would though as they both have roots in Greek mythology.

PTB: I’m not familiar with a DC Enchantress at all, but I certainly know the Marvel Comics character of the same name. This Enchantress is a double agent? Or does she just have something against Captain Marvel?

KevinMLD: I believe she’s usually a villain in the real DC Universe. So I was surprised to see her acting like a hero in issue #1. I haven’t been reading the Secret Seven miniseries. She may have been a member of Bill Willingham’s Shadowpact.

PTB: Wonder Woman commits another very public murder and the Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom finally makes a full appearance. Since he’s responsible for the Flashpoint continuity changes, do you feel he should have shown up before the last page of the penultimate issue?

KevinMLD: I’m less concerned with Zoom’s absence than I am that we followed Barry for several issues while he gathered up Batman and Superman, without the slightest hint that he actually had a plan.

PTB: I’m actually OK with it. I think the pacing here has really worked for me. My only complaint is about issue #3 and the mulligan on repowering Barry Allen.

KevinMLD: I’m really not sure what Johns was going for there beyond wanting a shocking last image of a burnt up Barry Allen.

PTB: There was absolutely no consequence to it, but things were more than made up for in this issue. We’re headed in to what should be a very exciting finale and perhaps some indication of the in story origin of the “New DC Universe.”

Not surprisingly, the ads for “The New 52” were in full force here. I’m still not sure what I’ll be buying, but there’s a good chance I’ll be picking up some of these titles. We had talked about one point about how a Detective Comics #1 will almost certainly outsell what would have been #882. The question I have is whether #2 will.

KevinMLD:  That’s the question. If sales don’t go up… particularly digital sales, I think this whole thing is a failure. I watched the DC TV/movie theater commercial and I really don’t feel it gets across the idea that this is the single greatest jumping on point in a generation.

PTB: I hadn’t seen these until you directed me to them for this discussion, but I agree that it’s crucial to make that point above all others. I’m not sure that comes through in these videos.

The New Teen Titans “Games” ad caught my attention. I know you were a big Titans fan. Is this something you’ll pick up and what are your thoughts on the format and publishing of this “lost tale” by the creative team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez?

KevinMLD: I seriously couldn’t wait for this book to come out… in like 1993. I’m sure I’ll read it, but too much time has passed to still be excited. Next thing you know we’ll finally see the Art Thibert written and drawn Nightwing mini-series that was announced around the same time.

PTB: Never say never. Finally, are you buying Batman shoes?

KevinMLD: This is something I’ve considered at great length. I’ve studied them in stores. So far I’ve resisted.

Read more about DC Comics’ Flashpoint on MyLatestDistraction,
and follow each issue of the series here:

Flashpoint #3 / Flashpoint #5

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