Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Month Late and a Dollar Short: Flashpoint 4 + Other Flashpoint Stuff

Flashpoint 4
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Andy Kubert & Jesse Delperdang
Release Date: August 3, 2011 (print)/September 2, 2011 (digital)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels

In a recent post at Living Between Wednesdays, Johnathan asks what the theme of Flashpoint's world is. I don't know how well this theme carries through the end of the series, but I believe this panel from issue 4 suggests one possibility:
Flashpoint asks, "What would the DC Universe be like without hope?" Which makes it even more ironic that in the world of Flashpoint Barack Obama is president, whereas he isn't in the "world with hope" Billy Batson refers to above; is Geoff Johns really that cynical or did he just not carry that thought through to its logical conclusion? Regardless of Johns's feelings about President Obama, the fact that he's contrasting the hopeless world of Flashpoint with the hope-filled DCU gives me hope that the new DCU he's now constructing will not simply be a Marvelized DC Universe. Many consider the primary difference between Marvel and DC to be the latter's optimism versus the former's pessimism, and I'm reassured to see that Flashpoint 4 suggests that Johns considers that hopeful optimism an intrinsic part of the universe he's recreating.

When Justice League 1 came out this week, I was beginning to feel annoyed by DC's decision to release Flashpoint digitally a month after the print release date. Now that the New 52 has begun, who cares about Flashpoint? I'm thinking now, though, that it will be kind of fun to read the final month of Flashpoint concurrently with the first month of the New 52, and look for thematic throughlines.

Mini-reviews of other Flashpoint titles released digitally this week:

Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance 2
Rating: 3 out of 5 Pixels
Lois Lane meets up with Grifter's Resistance. High adventure with several unexpected cameos. I like that this story picks up threads from Flashpoint: Canterbury Cricket, as part of the appeal of Flashpoint is the idea of an entire world being contained within this set of miniseries and specials, and otherwise the Canterbury Cricket one-shot might have felt relatively pointless.

Flashpoint: Project Superman 2
Rating: 3 out of 5 Pixels
I was feeling pretty uninterested in this story about some random guy who the government tried to give Superman's powers, until the last few pages where we see a tweenage Kal-El meet a tweenage Lois Lane for the first time, protect her from a threat, and then watch her father selflessly sacrifice himself to save both kids. It was a nice moment, and good to see Sam Lane not be a total bastard for once.

Flashpoint: Batman, Knight of Vengeance 3
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels
I really dig the premise of this series, that (spoiler alert!) Bruce Wayne was killed by a mugger instead of his parents, and that Thomas becomes Batman and Martha the Joker. This makes the Joker interesting in a way that the character has never been for me, and makes for a fascinating Batman/Joker dynamic. This issue has a particularly poignant moment in which Thomas asks Martha whether he should do what he can to change history so that they die instead of Bruce, and she makes him promise her he will do so.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven 3
Rating: 2 out of 5 Pixels
Um... I'm not sure exactly what happened in this issue. I'm kind of sort of intrigued by the possibility that plot threads will carry over from this book into Justice League Dark, considering the fact that both books share the same writer, protagonists, and antagonist, and the fact that these characters by their nature transcend dimensional boundaries, but honestly if Justice League Dark is as confusing as this is, I don't see myself sticking with it for long.

Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint 3
Rating: 3 out of 5 Pixels
This issue returns to the theme of hope, the idea here being that hope does exist in the world of Flashpoint, it's just not so visible. A nice issue focusing on the relationship between Traci 13 and her father, but the niceness crosses the line into cheesiness on the last page, in which everything is tied up nicely in a neat little package.

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