Review: Flashpoint #2

Barry Allen tries to duplicate the experiment that gave him his Flash powers in this new twisted reality that's leading up to DC's universe-wide reboot.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Flashpoint #2

Since the announcement from DC that they’d be rebooting most of their titles at the end of Flashpoint, the series makes a lot more sense. At first I couldn’t figure out why it felt so rushed, why it was cliché, why it seemed so focused on these easy “reversal” ideas and finally, why did it want to make villains out of two of the biggest heroes around? The answer is simple, Flashpoint is really only a means to an end, a way to rattle the cage quick and loud before the whole reboot takes place. For that reboot to be effective, the event leading up to it has to turn the entire DC Universe on its ear. Flashpoint does that; it just doesn’t do it very well.

Flashpoint #2, much like the first issue, reads like nothing but set up. I kept waiting for the issue to actually begin. It’s tantamount to a string of opening scenes to a movie all slammed together and going nowhere. First, we’re introduced to pirate Deathstroke who has a merry bunch of men including Clayface. Essentially we meet him so writer Geoff Johns can show us the brutal and murdering Aquaman. When I say that I’m completely serious, Aquaman shows up, makes a mean face and says “no survivors”. That’s his whole contribution.

The following long-winded scene between Batman and Barry Allen (who is powerless in the Flashpoint world) is another set-up and a ridiculous one. Thinking Barry Allen is an intruder, the new brutal Thomas Wayne Batman beats the crap out of him as Barry attempts to explain who he is. I hated this whole section because it flew in the face of the very basics we know of this new Batman. In the first Flashpoint, Batman refused to trust heroes that he knew, but here he decides to believe a total stranger because Barry talks about Bruce Wayne (Thomas’s dead son in the Flashpoint Universe) and shows him his costume. Really?

Evil Killing Wonder Woman makes a sudden appearance in order to set up that Lois Lane is a spy in the Amazonian camp and to introduce Steve Trevor. I’m going to assume Trevor and Wonder Woman will have some kind of relationship in a parallel and more violent take on their original story. The best is the end of Flashpoint, which is so silly it’s almost fun. The end game is that, two issues into Flashpoint, nothing has happened. It’s bizarre to read something that is so rushed but at the same time allows for zero to actually go down.

If DC is really going to reboot all of these titles and really shake up their whole catalog, don’t the characters deserve more than this rushed title? Why not make this a longer story, why not ease all of these plot points into a story that restructures things instead of just shakes them up? I know Johns is better than this, his current work on Green Lantern is some of the best stuff out there. I guess DC figures its better to go with shock and awe, but thus far I’m not impressed.

Andy Kubert’s art is the only thing to savor in this series and when I say that, I mean it. Even with the lackluster story, Flashpoint is worth buying just to view the glory of what Kubert does. The strength of the faces, the power of each panel, the movement and action, Kubert is a master of all of it. Even his attention to detail is staggering here. Even if the Flashpoint story lays flat on the page, it’s fun just watching Andy Kubert bring it to life.