Posted by: Graeme McMillan on June 20, 2011
I am a bad comic fan, I think, because I didn’t manage to get to the store this week. On the plus side, it’s because I was doing a bunch of other things, so maybe I’m just a busy comic fan. Luckily, though, DC thought to send me preview copies of this week’s and next week’s Flashpoint minis, so it’s apparently round two of the great Flashpoint mini-series reviewathon:
FLASHPOINT: DEADMAN AND THE FLYING GRAYSONS #1: Apart from a spectacular cover from Cliff Chiang – Really, it’s lovely – there’s little to this issue beyond the high concept, which is, admittedly, a great one: What if Robin’s parents hadn’t died, and performed in the same circus as Boston Brand, who also hadn’t died? Sadly, everything done with that concept – They’re touring Europe to bring joy to the hearts of those hit hardest by the war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans! They have the helmet of Doctor Fate, which can somehow see the regular DCU! – feels kind of pointless and filler, leaving this pretty Eh, even with the nice art by newcomer Mikel Janin.
FLASHPOINT: GRODD OF WAR #1: I would love to have been in the meeting where they came up with the idea for this one. “So, Gorilla Grodd has taken over an entire continent, right?” “Okay.” “But he keeps picking fights, because he’s got a deathwish.” “The monkey has a deathwish?” “He’s an ape, but yeah. And, get this: His limo gets blown up by a bunch of kids hardened by war, but he kills them and then lets one live so he can grow up and kill him! Deep, right?” “The ape drives a limo? And, wait, he kills a bunch of kids?” “You did say we needed 20 Flashpoint books in June, didn’t you…?” “Oh, alright then. Just get someone like Ig Guara to draw it and make it look better than it deserves to.” Crap.
FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST #1: I’ll say this for this book: I didn’t think Flashpoint would somehow manage to have two dystopian alternate DC universes, but apparently anything’s possible with time travel. Weirdly enough, it actually kind of works – something I’ll lay firmly at the feet of writer Sterling Gates, who manages to get the tone of this just right, even with the potential doom and gloom surrounding it. He also gets points for doing something interesting with two dangling threads from the end of Geoff Johns’ Flash run (Jeff will be happy to see Hot Pursuit back), and, surprisingly, tie it into the Superman work he did with James Robinson awhile back. For fans of Kid Flash, this is Good, and will make you even more sad that Gates’ announced Kid Flash book never ended up happening.
FLASHPOINT: LEGION OF DOOM #1: Hey, remember what I said about Citizen Cold a couple of weeks ago? This is pretty much the same thing, all shitty psychology and posturing, and very, very Crap. The last page reveal in particular is all manner of disappointing.
FLASHPOINT: LOIS LANE AND THE RESISTANCE #1: Like everyone who likes DC Comics, I’m convinced that there’s a great Lois Lane book out there, waiting to win over fans and non-fans alike ready for a series about a smart, funny, capable woman who doesn’t let anything keep her for a story. Until then, there’s this, sadly, which is Eh at best, and Awful for those not feeling as charitable. The art is annoyingly cartoony, the story reduces Lois to plucky bystander who tries to make a difference when fate gives her the chance, and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning – who are actually British – somehow manage to make their British character Penny Black (Cute name, for all the stamp lovers out there) sound as if they’ve never, even been to Britain in their life (“Wotcha, Lois. American, eh? Well, as you yanks like to say… We’ve got to book!” Trust me, Americans: No-one in Britain actually talks like this. Not even in alternate reality Britains. Pretty much a massive missed opportunity.
FLASHPOINT: THE OUTSIDER #1: Like Secret Seven before it, this feels like it’s got too much potential to be thrown away at the end of Flashpoint – in large part because, at the end of the first issue, I’m still not entirely sure I understand who the Outsider is, in a good way. Oh, he’s very charismatic – James Robinson writes him as, essentially, a dandier Shade from Starman – but his motivations and larger schemes seem unknown after this first issue, and I find myself wanting to know more. Maybe this is one of the characters that’ll escape, Age of Apocalypse-style, into the reborn DCU at the end of the series, and take over as the DCU’s big bad behind the scenes, replacing Lex Luthor. After this Good debut, I kind of hope so.
FLASHPOINT: REVERSE FLASH #1: First off, ignore the front cover that reads “First Issue of Three,” because it’s a oneshot. Secondly, ignore the rest of the issue, because if you’ve already picked up Geoff Johns’ Reverse Flash spotlight issue of the last Flash series, you’ve pretty much read this already. Like the Grodd issue, a pointless cash-in oneshot, and one that only gets Eh because Joel Gomez’ art ably synthesizes Scott Kolins’ an Francis Manapul’s.
FLASHPOINT: WONDER WOMAN AND THE FURIES #1: More backstory of the Atlantis/Amazon war, and this time Abnett and Lanning come up with the goods – I particularly liked the far-flashback into the first meeting between Diana and Arthur, before they’d settled into their roles as Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and the whole thing unfolds nicely, despite the stiffness in Scott Clark’s otherwise pleasing enough artwork. I’m not sure whether the cliffhanger ending here confirms or contradicts descriptions of events in the Emperor Aquaman book, but I’ll probably stick around to find out. Good, surprisingly enough.
For those keeping track: No, we’re still not through all of the tie-ins yet. There’s still Hal Jordan, Project Superman, Green Arrow Industries and The Canterbury Cricket to go. I know, I know: You’re as excited about those last two as I am, aren’t you…?