Posted by: Graeme McMillan on June 7, 2011
As promised yesterday, here’re the Flashpoint-centric reviews I was meaning to write, before I launched into a Fear Itself diatribe…
FLASHPOINT #2: If there’s an award for the most exposition-filled comic of the year, it’ll have to go to Flashpoint. Almost every character spends a ridiculous time just explaining things to other people in this series; I almost want to see a spin-off series called Barry Allen and AltBatman Explain It All with the two heroes tackling different subjects each month. And yet, somehow, despite everything, it works. Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of things slowly being put into place – The introductions of Aquaman and, to a lesser extent, Wonder Woman in this issue feel appropriately important, and I like when they appear, after their mentions in the previous issue – or, more likely, it’s the comedy and “big idea”-ness of Barry’s “Clearly, I need to get my powers back” scheme (Where was this Barry Allen in Geoff Johns’ Flash series? Decisive, bold, actually doing things instead of running around and being confused and frowning… This is a Flash I would have enjoyed reading about!), which walks the fine line between genius and stupid so well that I have no idea what side it’s actually on. For the second month, I am genuinely surprised that this is better than expected, and actually Good. That said, next month, it’ll probably all go to shit, right?
FLASHPOINT: ABIN SUR – THE GREEN LANTERN #1: Well, I’ll give Adam Schlagman this: He can do Geoff Johns very well. In just one issue, he’s already got both the tied-up-in-continuity and inflated-sense-of-its-own-importance of the regular GL series down. Of all the Flashpoint stories so far, this feels most like a What If? story, especially with the final page recasting Flashpoint as Blackest Night in terms of prophecies. Felipe Massafera does a fine enough job, and I’m sure the synergy folks are very happy to see Sinestro look like his movie incarnation. Let’s say tenuously Okay if you like that kind of thing.
FLASHPOINT: BATMAN – KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #1: Jeff’s right, it looks lovely, but there’s nothing here that really catches my interest. Azzarello doesn’t make Thomas Wayne that interesting, it all feels pretty much like an undercooked Elseworlds Batman book and who hasn’t read too many of those already? Eh, and that’s mostly for the art.
FLASHPOINT: CITIZEN COLD #1: In theory, I really like The Flash, and equally in theory, the Rogues are a large part of that. I like the idea of a bunch of supervillains who are just pissy about one particular hero, and who have a sense of camaraderie and bros-before-superheroes mentality. That said, almost everything Geoff Johns has done for the Rogues has never worked for me, and this series, with Scott Kolins writing, is like everything I don’t like about the Johnsian approach to the character in one sensitively-rendered-in-pencil-and-overpowering-colors package. Crap, even before you get to the “So, DC is really ripping off Jimmie Robinson’s Bomb Queen? Really?” set-up.
FLASHPOINT: DEATHSTROKE AND THE CURSE OF THE RAVAGER #1: I’ve never liked Deathstroke, and making him a pirate really doesn’t do anything to change that. Like Citizen Cold, this is one of those comics that seems to think that bad people doing bad things because they’re bad is inherently interesting, and… Well, it’s just not for me, really. Eh, because it’s probably fine for people who are into this genre. If nothing else, there’s some interestingly Sean Philips-ish inking on Joe Bennett towards the end of the book that I’d like to see again.
FLASHPOINT: EMPEROR AQUAMAN #1: And after two books where the set-up of “Bad Guy Is Bad” turned me off, here’s one where I liked it despite myself. That’s not to say that Tony Bedard’s script doesn’t have flaws – The structure is all over the place, and the dialogue tends towards the melodramatic – or that Ardian Syaf’s art (Very late 1990s, not as Kuberty as recent appearances) is spectacular, but there’s something not just about seeing Aquaman as a bastard, but the specifics of his plan to destroy the surface world – Yes, it’s Aquaman as more successful Namor, pretty much – that hooked my interest. Okay, although I doubt I’ll pick up the rest of the series because I’ll be surprised if the threads I’m interested in don’t get resolved in the main Flashpoint book.
FLASHPOINT: FRANKENSTEIN AND THE CREATURES OF THE UNKNOWN #1: It’s very, very much early days for this series still, but I’ll admit it: I really like Jeff Lemire’s take on Frankenstein, and am happy to see him write the post-Flashpoint ongoing series announced today. Ibraim Roberson’s art is… just there, really, neither exciting nor disagreeable, although it’s weirdly reminiscent of William Tucci’s work for some reason. An Okay opener, and enough to get me to stay on for what’s next.
FLASHPOINT: SECRET SEVEN #1: Firstly, Enid Blyton must be rolling over in her grave when she sees what Flashpoint has done to her beloved creations. Second: This is really just Milligan writing a Shade series again, and I’m loving it. It’s not his Vertigo Shade, of course (Sadly), but there’s enough hint of that (“Why am I talking to this thing? It isn’t real. I feel the same way about myself. No. I have to get a grip. I’m real.”), mixed with some Ditko-esque lunacy to make me a very happy man indeed. Admittedly, like Frankenstein, this acts more as a taster to get me involved in the post-Flashpoint version of the book (Justice League Dark, which is a terrible name but a promising looking book), but even so: It’s Good.
FLASHPOINT: WORLD OF FLASHPOINT #1: Ah, finally, a comic that challenges Flashpoint in the exposition stakes! I guess it makes sense, but I’m clearly a sucker for this kind of thing because this was one of the more enjoyable tie-ins to me, even though nothing really happens until the last half of the book. That said, I like the Runaways-ripoff set-up enough to have some weird goodwill for the book, even if I’m not sure it’s got enough legs even to take it to the end of three issues. That said, it was Okay, and I might even pick up the next issue. Who knew?